Ivan Misner, Author at Dr. Ivan Misner®
Love Is Just Damn Good Business

Love Is Just Damn Good Business – Ivan’s Inner Circle Interview

Join me as I join fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Steve Farber, to discuss topics from his book, “Love is Just Damn Good Business”. Steve is one of the best speakers I’ve seen on the stage.  His message is both surprising and impactful about focusing on finding love in creating a damn good business.

According to Steve, “Love is what leads to customer loyalty, it’s what leads to word-of-mouth and growing your organization.”

I think this advice is spot on. If your customer relationships are held in as high regard as the service you provide, you can only benefit. Customers want to love you-they want to trust and believe in you, which are foundational building blocks of love. Focus on building those blocks with the goal of creating loving, loyal customer relationships, and you’ll create a strong reputation that will hold up in the business community.

His game-changing approach to love as a practical business strategy will help you to:

  • Identify your passions and share them with others
  • Create a culture of love at work and spark innovation, productivity, and joy
  • Serve your customers, so they love how you treat them and have them coming back for more
  • Invest time in making personal connections that are mutually rewarding
  • Focus on serving the needs of others they’re going to love it
  • Do what you love and make it your business, so others love it, too

Love Is Just Damn Good Business,” is one of my favorite books and I am looking forward to these interviews with Steve. We are going to host three different sessions so it is convenient for everyone to join us:

Monday, December 9th at 10:00 AM / 4:00 PM / 11:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

Click here to register: SteveFarberWebinar

Steve Farber, the founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, is a popular keynote speaker and leadership expert. Steve’s been featured on my blog before. He’s the bestselling author of The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater Than Yourself. Learn more about Steve on his website at stevefarber.com

I hope you are able to make one of our sessions as I know this will prove to be a great use of your time.

Three Big Lies

Three Big Lies About Networking

Misconceptions about networking are widespread, even among business professionals. Before you can commit yourself to the task of building a healthy network, you probably need to overcome at least one of these three big lies about networking.

I can’t network if I’m not an outgoing person.

There are many techniques that can make the process a whole lot easier. For example, volunteering to be an ambassador or visitor host for a local business networking event can be a great way to get involved without feeling out of place.

When you have guests at your house or office, what do you do? You engage them; make them feel comfortable; you offer them something to drink. What you don’t do is stand by yourself sulking about how you hate meeting new people. By serving as a visitor host at your local chamber event, you effectively become the host of the party. Try it, you’ll find it much easier to meet and talk to new people.

The person-to-person referral business is old-fashioned.

Today, most people do business on a larger scale, over a broader customer base and geographic area. The personal connections of the old-style community and the trust that went with them is mostly gone. That’s why a system for generating referrals among a group of professionals who trust one another is so important, and it’s why referral networking is not only the way of the past but the wave of the future. It’s a cost-effective strategy with a long-term payoff. It’s where business marketing is going, and it’s where you need to go if you’re going to stay in the game.

Networking is not hard science. Its return on investment can’t be measured.

I once suggested to the dean of a large university that the business curriculum should include courses in networking. His response, “My professors would never teach that material here. It’s all soft science.”

Why don’t business schools teach this subject? I think it’s because most are made up of professors who’ve never owned a business. Almost everything they know about running a business they learned from books and consulting.

Business schools around the world need to wake up and start teaching this curriculum. Schools with vision, foresight, and the ability to act swiftly (the way business professors say businesses should act) will be positioning themselves as leaders in education by truly understanding and responding to the needs of today’s businesses.

Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of a strong network and are willing to put in the time it takes to develop fruitful connections. If any of these three big lies are holding you back, it’s time to correct it with the tips provided and watch your business grow.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2019 Video Message

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. There is no time like the present to pause and acknowledge the people that we are grateful for. Please click here to watch my personal video message about Thanksgiving then take a moment today to show appreciation for and to return gratitude to others.

Giving thanks every day, not just on Thanksgiving.

I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this video and if it gets you thinking about what you’re thankful for. Therefore, I would really love for you to share your thoughts in the comment below.  Gratefulness can be contagious so don’t be shy–share what you’re appreciative of no matter how big or small it may be.  Thanks! 🙂

networking

So why go to a networking meeting?

You go because networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Sometimes you go to increase your visibility and to connect with people you have never met. Sometimes you go to establish further credibility with people you know. And sometimes you may go to meet a long-time referral partner and do some business. In any case, the true master networkers know that networking events are about moving through the relationship process and not just about closing deals. Visibility leads to credibility which, with time and effort, leads to profitability.

Your goal at a networking event is to make yourself memorable without talking about yourself. It sounds paradoxical, doesn’t it? But, if you know how to do it, you will stand out in people’s minds when they look back on the event. The secret is simply to ask people about themselves and their businesses. In order to make your networking efforts work, you need to embrace a “relationship networking” mentality.

Remember these ten networking tips to make yourself stand out when attending networking events:

  1. Don’t go there to sell, go there to connect.
  2. Have meaningful conversations with the people you meet.
  3. Make yourself memorable.
  4. Talk less and listen more.
  5. Follow up with people you found interesting or who you can help in some way.
  6. Don’t follow up to sell them something.
  7. Don’t show off, show interest.
  8. Meet these people in a one-to-one setting and learn more about them
  9. Ask them: “how can I help you?”
  10. Go for the long-term relationship, not the short sale.

What is the goal of your networking? If it is to build your business, then it’s all about building a relationship with people. Keep your eye on the ball. Don’t try to dazzle them with your brilliance. You can do that later.

Stand out from the crowd and impress them with your genuine interest in them, not your interest in selling to them.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Making Word-of-Mouth Marketing Work for You

Word-of-mouth marketing is often considered one of the oldest and most powerful forms of advertising. In fact, most business people understand that it works–they just don’t know how it works.

If you want to be successful at developing word-of-mouth for your business, you should be as organized and thoughtful about it as you are about other types of advertising and marketing. In fact, if you take this approach, eventually, you can get most of your business exclusively through word-of-mouth! The key to creating a successful word-of-mouth program lies in developing a formal plan for systematically meeting people and cultivating relationships with them. Here are ten ways for you to get your own word-of-mouth marketing program off the ground.

Avoid being a cave dweller.

Get out and meet people. Start by setting a goal for the number of appointments you’ll establish with people you wish to develop networking relationships with every week. Social capital works for everybody, not just people who set out purposefully to become networkers.

Ask for the referral.

There are specific techniques you can learn and develop that will help you hone your ability to ask for the referrals you want. One such technique is to ask “Who do you know who…?” You would then list several types of people you can help, such as someone who is new to the area, someone recently married or someone who has just started a business.

Join three networking groups.

Consciously select at least three different business or networking groups to join in the next three months. These groups might include chambers of commerce, community service groups and trade associations. When joining various organizations, make sure you select a well-rounded mix of business groups in which to participate. Try to avoid being in more than one group per category (i.e., two chambers of commerce), as this will divide your loyalties and put you in a position where you’ll be making promises to too many people.

Create referral incentives.

Develop a creative incentive to encourage people to send referrals your way. A music store owner, for instance, sends music tickets to people who refer business to him. Another example is the chiropractor who posts thank-yous on a bulletin board in his waiting area to all his patients who referred patients to him the previous month.

Learn, learn, learn for lifelong learning.

Spend time developing your networking skills. Read books and articles on networking, listen to tapes, and talk to people who network well. Networking is an acquired skill.

Act like a host.

When attending a business mixer, act like a host, not a guest. You are wasting your time at mixers if you stand around visiting with coworkers or others you already know rather than meeting new contacts and introducing them around. These events offer a great way to increase your visibility! If appropriate, ask to be the ambassador or visitor host in the organizations to which you belong. As such, it will be your official duty to meet people and introduce them to others.

Create an elevator pitch.

Invest time in developing a brief message about your business that explains what you do. What would you say? I want you to keep in mind that this is not a sales pitch; it is a creative and succinct way to generate interest in the listener. When you introduce yourself to others, use your elevator pitch. Chances are, this will help them remember you and what you do. Keeping these seven rules in mind when you create an elevator pitch will set you apart from the crowd.

Take notes and follow up.

When you meet someone and exchange cards, take a few moments to flip the card over and jot down some information about them or their business that will help you remember them and follow up with them later. This is a very simple, yet powerful, way to make a great first impression that can be developed into a mutually beneficial networking partnership. When you follow up, I recommend that you offer opportunities, whether a simple piece of information, a special contact, or a qualified business referral.

Talk less and listen more.

Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them accordingly. Our success in networking depends on how well we can listen and learn. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship.

Collaborate and help others.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Helping people shows that you care. Connect with people outside of business meetings whenever possible. Drop notes, letters and articles that might be of interest to them in the mail. Call to check in with them or invite them to events you may be attending that might be of interest.

You are potentially linked to a vast network beyond your own sphere. By implementing the tactics above, you will receive benefits from that network. Maximize your opportunities to cultivate networking relationships with others, and you will see just how effective word-of-mouth marketing can be!

Take Action

Take Action to Achieve Your Dreams

The Law of Attraction is powerful. However, “action” is part of the word attraction. Therefore, you must take action to achieve your dreams. I firmly believe taking action (beyond simply showing up) is key to achieve real results. Making a plan is meaningless if you don’t shift toward action.

Networking truly is a “contact sport.” It involves full engagement in order to get solid results. Many entrepreneurs simply don’t know how to take action to reach their goals. Engagement is an absolutely critical step in the networking process. It involves a promise and an action. In order to achieve success with your networking partners, you must promise to support one another, and then you must take the action necessary to fulfill that promise.

Networking involves interacting with others. There are several ways that you can take action to become more engaged with your networking partners:

  • Be a good listener.
  • Develop a positive attitude.
  • Collaborate to serve others.
  • Be sincere and authentic.
  • Follow up.
  • Prove your trustworthiness.
  • Be approachable.

Most people who are successful at networking view the process as a series of small actions to create long-term positive growth for their company. The process is more of a marathon than a sprint. Throughout the race, you form alliances and help each other in what may seem like little ways over the long haul, but these small actions over time can create big results. Therefore, to be an effective networker, you should always be working on strengthening your relationships with your referral sources.

Reach your goals and create a better life when you dream, believe, and achieve…

Make a Plan

Make a Networking Strategy Plan

A dream without a plan is just a fantasy. It is your thoughts about believing in your dream which will lead to achieving your dreams. However, first, you would need to develop a networking strategy.  Make a plan that will work for you based upon these three essential questions:

Who Are My Best Prospects?

It’s important to know that each target market will have a strategy that requires you to network in different places. If you’re not sure who your target market is, look at your list of past clients. What industries were they in? How long had they been in business? Were your clients even businesses to begin with, or have you worked mostly with consumers?

Once you’ve put together a profile of your past clients, ask people close to you for patterns you may have overlooked and get their input on who might be a good fit for your business.

Where Can I Meet My Best Prospects?

As you begin targeting specific niche markets, there are other venues and opportunities that fall outside the typical networking event.  Here are some examples of specific target markets and where you should network to find people in these markets:

  • Small-business owners–chamber of commerce, local business association, referral groups, and social media pages,
  • Representatives from big corporations in your area–service clubs, nonprofit groups, and volunteer work
  • Consumers–your kids’ events: Little League, School activities, and so forth

Whom, Exactly, Do I Want To Meet?

Even if you can’t name the people you want to meet, the better you can describe them, the greater the chance you’ll get to meet your ideal contact. Be as specific as possible when asking for contact because it focuses the other person’s attention on details that are more likely to remind him of a specific person rather than if you asked, “Do you know anyone who needs my services?”

Networking works.  It’s just a matter of developing a strategy that puts you in contact with the right people. That’s exactly what the three questions above will help you do. However, you must take action to achieve your goals.

Dream Big

Dream Big

Our 2019 BNI Global Convention just wrapped up. I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who joined us from around the world at this exciting event in Warsaw, Poland.  Dziękuję Ci. This year’s convention is all about our theme, Dream Big. Therefore, I want to share a few thoughts for those of you not in BNI on how you can reach your goals when you dream, believe, and achieve…

Dream Big

Do you dare to dream? If so, you are a results-oriented person. Dream big to help you transform your own life, both personally and professionally, and contribute to making the world a better place.

Marcia Wieder, CEO, and Founder of Dream University was our keynote speaker at our 2019 Global Convention. She spoke about the entrepreneurial mindset of having a dream for your business and how to successfully realize that dream.  I met Marcia through the Transformational Leadership Council which we are both members of and, let me tell you, Marcia is truly the best of the best of when it comes to understanding this facet of your business. Please watch this video to learn more.

Marcia explains that in business, dreaming is serious business; it’s the driving force for transformation and without vision, many companies fail.

Make a plan.

A dream without a plan is just a fantasy. It is your thoughts about believing in your dream which will lead to achieving your dreams.

In the book, “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, he recommends “steering your mind to a productive, useful goal so you can reach the greatest port in the world, peace of mind”. If you believe in yourself and believe that you can achieve your goals. you will. However, you need to take the next step.

The “Law of Attraction” is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. This belief is based on the ideas that people and their thoughts are made from pure energy, and that a process of like energy attracting like energy exists through which a person can improve their health, wealth, and personal relationships.

Take action.

The Law of Attraction is powerful. However, “action” is part of the word attraction. Therefore, you must take action to achieve your dreams. I firmly believe taking action (beyond simply showing up) is key to achieve real results. Making a plan is meaningless if you don’t shift toward action. You can’t make improvements through thought alone. You can also start to achieve your dreams with these six simplest actions you can take.

Reach your goals and create a better life when you dream, believe, and achieve…

 

 

Getting Along

The Importance of Getting Along With Others

When I was very young, my mother gave me a paperweight that said, “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” She went on to say, “Honey, I love you but you are a bull in a china shop; you just run people over. You have to learn how to work with people.” This advice was a major influence on me for the rest of my life. Think back to your elementary school report card and how it graded you on your ability to play well with others. Well, things haven’t changed. I believe your success in business, and particularly your success at networking, means that you need to learn how to collaborate — or in other words, getting along with others.

You can’t always choose who comes to the playground, and you won’t always get a say in who you’re working with. Why do you have to be friends with everybody? You don’t even have to like everybody. It’s also important to recognize that different personalities add different perspectives and that, when managed well, can actually make a group more productive.

Do not allow other people to control your actions. This begins with some tolerance, a frequently invoked word that’s under-used in practice. Remember, keep your eye on the ball and try not to be too sensitive about those difficult people. Here are some techniques that will help you with this process.

Here are 5 things to consider when you’re talking to a difficult person

  • Listen without arguing.
  • Ask questions. Not argumentative questions, but questions that will give you more insight into their point of view.
  • Show interest in their point of view. You don’t have to agree with it to show interest. Trust me on this one.
  • If you can, get them to focus on the solutions to the issue and not just the problem. If all we do is focus on the problem, we become an expert on problems. Say to them: I get it, I see the issue. Now, the real question: What’s a realistic solution. If they offer a lousy solution, then say, “OK, that’s one possibility. What’s another realistic solution?” Coach them toward calmness.
  • Clear, open, honest and direct communication is the best way to deal with difficult people or other people who are dealing with them. Every time I’ve had big challenges with people, one side or the other held back in their communication. That doesn’t mean unload on people. It means to talk to them professionally.

Six suggestions to be aware of when there is a difficult person in your group

  • Make yourself invaluable to people by focusing on solutions.
  • Stay clear of drama and rise above fray by checking your emotions and focusing on results.
  • Don’t complain. Be positive. Complaining is not an Olympic sport.
  • Stay aware of your emotions, and don’t let others limit your success.
  • Use your support system. Talk to others about the solution.
  • Be a leader, not a leaver.

Don’t let their craziness drive you in a direction you don’t want to go. As Lisa Earle McLeod says in her book, The Triangle of Truth, “I discovered that what actually puts us over the edge towards craziness ourselves is not other people’s dysfunctions; it’s their denial of their dysfunctions. You know, how they go out acting all normal, and even self-righteous as if we’re the ones who are loopy.”

Don’t let others control your success. Leaving an opportunity (or a network) because someone is being difficult gives them leverage over you and it gives them free rein to lord over others. Don’t give away that power.

Poland

Witajcie w Warszawie!

This week most of our BNI directors from around the world are traveling to Warsaw to attend the 2019 BNI Global Convention. Welcome to Poland! To those BNI directors and members attending, I am looking forward to meeting you. Therefore, if you have never been to Warsaw, here are some tips from Ryszard Chmura, the National Director of BNI Polska that will make your trip to Poland more enjoyable!

Welcome to Warsaw! I am honored that Poland, Warsaw, will host BNI Global Convention 2019. This event will be held in Europe for the first time! A lot of BNI Members and Directors from all over the world will visit Poland this month. I can’t wait for this event and I am looking forward to meeting you. If you have never been to Poland, here are my tips, that will help you enjoy your stay here.

Polish language

I speak polish – what’s your superpower? I can’t say Polish is an easy language to learn, but knowing some basic greetings will help you with networking at the conference. But don’t worry, English is the second most common language spoken in Poland. I recommend you to try to learn a few words, which could help you break the ice with the Poles. The most popular greeting “Hello! How are you?” in Polish is “Cześć! Jak się masz?”

Must-see in Poland

Taking part in the 2019 BNI Global Convention is the best opportunity to visit Poland and sightseeing in our beautiful country. Poland’s capital, Warsaw is the heart of the country. The center of Warsaw’s public life is the Old Town. Visit the Old Town to see the most beautiful houses and palaces in the city or check out the museums. My second recommendation is Cracow. Cracow is the most often visited city by tourists in Poland. This city is not only the second-largest city in the country but also one of the oldest ones. Wawel Castle, the Old Town, and the Kazimierz district are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Polish cuisine and must-eats in Warsaw.

The market square in Warsaw offers a wide range of good restaurants with polish cuisine, where you can try polish traditional foods: pierogi, bigos or żurek. After the conference’s lectures, you can spend time at the market square, not only trying polish food but also polish traditional drinks. Have you ever tried “wiśniówka”?

Poland is known as the most hospitable country in Europe and I hope you will enjoy your stay here! Wishing everyone a fantastic 2019 BNI Global Convention.

Ryszard Chmura, National Director – BNI Poland

Business Travel

Business Travel Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs

Today’s entrepreneur will spend time traveling for business meetings, trade shows, or industry conventions.  Business Travel has become a key part of the job description. Here are some tips for a successful business trip.

Things to do before business travel:

  1. Research your destination:  Look up online the general layout of the area plus the local culture, lifestyle, and customs. Read the local news and be informed regarding any events that could cause delays during your trip.
  2. Exchange Currency: You can get better rates by ordering foreign currency from your local bank or credit union a week before leaving. Research the visa requirements as some counties have a minimum currency requirement to enter their country.  It is the “zloty” in Poland.
  3. Passport: Allow plenty of time before your trip to apply for a passport; processing normally takes 4 to 6 weeks (3 weeks for expedited service). All visitors to Poland are required to hold a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into the country.
  4. Visa: Passport holders from the U.S., Canada, and Australia can enter Poland without a visa and stay for 90 days. Passport holders from EU member countries, including the U.K., do not need a visa. Make sure to carry the minimum currency requirement to enter their country.
  5. Medical Requirements: There are no unusual health concerns for visiting Poland, and visitors are not required to get any special inoculations or show medical documents to enter the country. However, getting your annual flu shot is always a good idea when traveling abroad.
  6. Cellphones: Contact your service provider to sign up for an international travel plan that will allow for international roaming. Polish cellphones operate on a GSM band of 900/1800MHz. This is the same standard in use throughout Europe but different from the one used in the United States. U.S. mobiles will work here, provided they are tri-band phones (not all phones are tri-band) Keep calls to a minimum, however, since roaming charges can be steep.
  7. Weather. The weather forecast (as of 10/27/19) for Warsaw Poland for November 3-10 is for cloudy skies with temperatures ranging from 1°C to 11°C/ 34°F to 52°  F

Remember to pack these for business travel…

Please read my blog article, “My Must-Remember Items When Packing for a Business Trip“, published last year on my website with a list of items to pack that can certainly come in handy on a business trip. There are certainly more items to include, but these can certainly make or break an important business trip. So you definitely do not want to forget them. Here are some additional items to remember.

  1. Laptop Computer: Besides checking your email while abroad, your laptop will allow you to upload photos from your camera. Plus you can share photos and stories from your trip on your social media pages.
  2. Phone battery power bank. It is amazing how much power banks cost at an airport. Bring a power bank that will allow you to recharge your phone remotely when electricity is not available.
  3. Power adapter/converter. Wall outlets in the Republic of Poland are Type C (CEE 7/16 Europlug) and Type E (CEE 7/5 Schuko) and supply electricity at 230 volts AC / 50 Hz frequency.
  4. Batteries:  Bring a spare package of AA and AAA batteries for your devices.
  5. Energy Bars: Pack a box of protein meal bars to give you a boost of energy and when feeling hungry. Those attending from the USA will be experiencing a 6-9 hour time zone difference. Therefore, Sleep and mealtime schedules will need to be adjusted. Plus hydrate as much as possible.

I’m extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively for both business and pleasure. Over the years, Bob and I have accumulated numerous tips to help aid overseas business travel. It is also important to know the role that cultural differences play in global networking and how understanding those differences becomes very important as we do business around the world.

 

cultural differences

3 Tips About International Cultural Differences

We now live in a fully global society where it is imperative to have an awareness of cultural differences as they relate to networking.  We often notice differences within our own country. However, what about businesses that are networking with businesses in other parts of the world? We should be aware and prepared for some of these particular cultural differences that can affect the way we network with other cultures.  They are sometimes as simple as the way we hand out a business card, to as complex as the study of personal space, and the use of gesters.

Networking in today’s market takes finesse and knowledge of the culture in which you are networking.  Furthermore, if you attending a global convention or event, you will need to know the customs of networking for the various cultures attending, not just those of the host country. Here are three areas where cultural differences mandate a closer look at networking etiquette:

Business Card Etiquette

Exchanging business cards is an essential part of most cultures.  The business card is much more in the Asian culture than it is to us here in America.  It is truly an extension of the individual and is treated with respect.  Things like, tucking it into a pocket after receiving it, writing on it, bending or folding it in any way, or even looking at it again after you have first accepted it and looked at it are not considered polite and can insult your fellow Asian networker.

Consideration of “Personal Space”

When networking, it’s very important to respect the cultural boundaries relating to personal space. Some cultural dynamics are fine with close personal interaction, while others demand a bigger bubble.  This is not a point to underestimate.

In Saudi Arabia, you might find yourself recoiling while your business associate may get the impression that you are stand-offish.  In the Netherlands, this might be reversed due to the fact that their personal space equates to our social space.  Do your homework and be sensitive to cultural differences in this area.

Use of Slang and Gestures

When using slang in a business environment, you might want to keep in mind that what means one thing to us might have no meaning or have a very different meaning in another culture. I recommend that you consult with someone in that country who is familiar with that culture before interacting with the business people.

It was invaluable to me to be able to have my Israeli Director in BNI, Sam Schwartz, coach me regarding the Orthodox Jewish custom of not shaking hands with someone from the opposite gender.

 Networking basics are universal; with some care for taking into account cultural nuances. It is important to find things that bring us together.  Things that are similar for us all.  For example, we all speak the language of referrals and we all want to do business based on trust.  This transcends many cultural differences. 

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