Ivan Misner, Author at Dr. Ivan Misner®
Home-based Business

Home-based Business Networking

I’m often asked these days about how to network and build a referral business as a home-based business owner. During the eight years I worked from home (The photo is the home I started BNI in), I learned a great deal about the pros and cons of working from home and how it related to my networking efforts. Although most of the networking techniques that work for any business work for most home-based businesses, there are at least two important issues that I think apply to a home-based business more than any other.

Promoting My Home-based Business

My opinion in this area rubs some home-based business owners the wrong way, but I feel strongly about it: When networking, I don’t recommend you share that you run a home-based business. I believe telling people you meet in networking environments that you “work from home” has either a neutral or a negative impact because it either doesn’t matter to them, or they’re not impressed that you operate your business out of your house.

When I worked from home, I rarely, if ever, met anyone who said, “Oh, fantastic, you work from home–I must do business with you!” Working from home was just not something that I found made people “want” to do business with me. Therefore, why should it be emphasized when meeting people through networking?

Often, when I attend a networking function, I see someone stand, say what they do, how people can refer them and then add at the end that he or she runs a home-based business. I believe that bit of information will generally have no impact or a negative impact on what people think of your potential abilities–it almost never has a positive impact on people wanting to do business with you.

The Cave-Dweller Syndrome.

I find that many home-based business owners seriously suffer from Cave-Dweller Syndrome. Home-based business owners who want to build your business through word of mouth, you have to be visible and active in the community by participating in various networking groups and/or professional associations that will get you out of your cave. These kinds of groups include Casual Contact Networks (like your local chamber of commerce), Business Development Networks (like my own BNI), professional organizations (almost all professions have one), and service clubs (like the Rotary or Lions Clubs).

Look for other ways to be very visible in your circle of influence. For example, be active in your child’s school PTA or your church. Keep your eye open for opportunities to be involved in groups of people who come together for a common cause.

The bottom line is, networking doesn’t change too much whether your business is based from home or a corporate location. The dynamics of developing a strong word-of-mouth-based business transcend your business location. The caveat for the home-based business owner is that you’ll have to be even more diligent and focused on finding those networking opportunities.

 

Five More Ways Others Can Promote

Five More Ways Others Can Promote You

If you’re like most people, you aren’t prepared to accept help at the moment it’s offered. You let an opportunity slip by because you haven’t given enough thought to the kinds of help you need. When help is offered, it’s to your advantage to be prepared and to respond by stating a specific need. Don’t let the next opportunity for others to help slip through your fingers! Being prepared with some simple examples of five more ways others can promote you and your business from my book Networking Like a Pro that can make a real difference in the success of your business.

Make initial contact with prospects and referral sources.

Instead of just giving you the phone number and address of an important prospect, a network member can phone, email or meet the prospect first and tell them about you. When you make contact with the prospect, he will be expecting to hear from you and will know something about you. Better yet, your source can help you build new relationships faster through a personal introduction to that person. Ideally, they would pro­vide you with key information about the prospect while also telling the prospect a few things about you, your business and some of the things you and the prospect have in common.

Arrange a meeting on your behalf.

When one of your sources tells you about a person you should meet or someone you consider a key contact, they can help you immensely by coordinating a meeting. Ideally, they’ll not only call the contact and set a specific date, time and location for the meeting, but they’ll also attend the meeting with you.

Publish information for you.

Network members may be able to get information about you and your business printed in publications they subscribe to and in which they have some input or influence. For example, a referral source who belongs to an association that publishes a newsletter might help you get an article published or persuade the editor to run a story about you. Many companies showcase topic-specific experts in their newsletters; you could become the expert in your field for some of these.

Form strategic alliances with you.

Of all the kinds of support that a source can offer, this one has the greatest potential for long-term gain for both parties. When you engage in a strategic alliance, you’re developing a formal relationship with another business owner that says you’ll refer him busi­ness whenever possible and they’ll do the same. This works best in businesses that are complementary.

For example, a handyman would find advantages in forming an alliance with a real estate agent, because they continually encounter people who need home repair work done. Conversely, a handyman probably deals with homeowners who are considering selling their homes after the handyman is finished making repairs. Such strategic alliances can work with a number of other businesses (CPAs and financial advisors, mortgage brokers and real estate agents, hotel salespeople and event planners and so on). The key is to find the person with the right complementary busi­ness and then make it work for both of you.

Connect with you through online networks.

When people connect with you online, you can notify them about your events or projects and you can receive the same kind of information from them. They can see your business profile and biographical data and can refer you to people in their networks. Once con­nected, they can provide recommendations and testimonials for the rest of your network to view.

Last week I shared the first part of this series with, “Five Ways Others Can Promote You”. Put your networking circle to work for you with these additional ways others can promote you to generate new business. When other people offer to help you spread the word about your business, have these ten ideas ready to go. 

 

Steve Farber

Steve Farber shares “Love is Just Damn Good Business”

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Steve Farber, discusses his book, “Love is Just Damn Good Business” with me in this video.
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Steve is a good friend and a fellow member of the Transformational Leadership Council with me. I know him well and I love his material.
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Order this book by Steve Farber on Amazon:

The proven principles you’ll find in this book will help you lay the groundwork for a thriving, competitive enterprise. When love is part of your organization’s framework and operationalized in its culture, employees and customers feel genuinely valued. Employees who are passionate about the work that they do are more loyal, innovative, creative, and inspired, and that translates to great customer experience. They don’t serve others out of obligation, but because of a genuine desire to improve people’s lives. And when customers reciprocate by loving your products, your services, and your people, that’s when something great happens. That’s when you get loyalty. That’s when you get raving fans. It’s a refreshingly human way of doing business.
 
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In addition to Farber’s field-tested strategies, you’ll find inspiring case studies from a wide range of industries and leaders, revealing self-assessment quizzes, and practical pointers on how to build a corporate culture based on love, the ultimate competitive advantage. At the end of the day, it’s just damn good business.
ways others can promote

Five Ways Others Can Promote You

Has anyone ever said to you, “If there’s anything I can do to help you with your business, let me know?” and you responded with, “Thank you. Now that you mention it, there are a few things I need” or did you say, “Well, thanks, I’ll let you know”? If you’re like most of us, you aren’t prepared to accept help at the moment it’s offered. Before you can do so, you have to make the connection between specific items or services you need and the people who can supply them. Systematic referral marketing helps you do that by determining, as precisely as possible, the types of help you want and need. Some are simple, cheap and quick; others are complex, costly and time-consuming. Here are some examples of the ways others can promote you and your business from my book Networking Like a Pro.

Display or distribute your literature and products.

Your sources can exhibit your marketing materials and products in their offices or homes. If these items are displayed well, such as on a counter or a bulletin board, visitors will ask questions about them or read the information. Some may take your promo­tional materials and display them in other places, increasing your visibility. A dry cleaner attaches a coupon from the hair salon next door to each plastic bag he uses to cover his customers’ clothing; a grocery store includes other businesses’ marketing literature in or on its grocery bags or on the back of the printed receipt.

Make an announcement.

When attending meetings or speaking to groups, your sources can increase your visibility by announc­ing an event you’re involved in or a sale your business is con­ducting or by setting up exhibits of your products or services. They can also invite you to make an announcement yourself.

Invite you to attend events.

Workshops and seminars are oppor­tunities to increase your skills, knowledge, visibility, and contacts. Members of personal or business groups you don’t belong to can invite you to their events and programs. This gives you an opportunity to meet prospective sources and cli­ents. Even better, they could invite you to speak at their event, effectively positioning you as an expert in your field.

Endorse your products and services.

By telling others what they’ve gained from using your products or services or by endorsing you in presentations or informal conversations, your network sources can encourage others to use your products or services. If they sing your praises on an MP3, a DVD or social media, so much the better.

Nominate you for recognition and awards.

Business professionals and community members are often recognized for outstand­ing service to their profession or community. If you’ve donat­ed time or materials to a worthy cause, your referral sources can nominate you for service awards. You increase your visi­bility both by serving and by receiving the award in a public expression of thanks. Your sources can inform others of your recognition by word of mouth or in writing.

Put your networking circle to work for you with these five ways others can promote you to generate new business. When other people offer to help you spread the word about your business, have these ideas ready to go. 

Part 2: Five more ways others can promote you

Part 3: Additional Ways Others Can Promote You

Edify Your Referral Source

Edify Your Referral Source

Here is a very important concept that is rarely discussed.  When you get a referral and you meet with the prospect, it is really important that you edify your referral source.  This is a great technique to use because you open up the discussion with the prospect by talking about an area of overlapping interest and knowledge – your mutual acquaintance.  Before you start talking about your business or even asking questions of the prospect – it is important that you edify your referral source.  Tell the prospect how much you respect the person that referred you and talk a little bit about that relationship and why it is so important to you that you give great service to anyone that this person refers.  Spend some time talking about how you both know this individual.  It is a fantastic way to warm up the referral and more importantly, it is a great opportunity to make your referral source look good for having made the referral.

Remember, the number one rule for referrals is to make your referral source look GREAT. You need to demonstrate that you know how to sell to the prospect in a way that doesn’t embarrass the source of your referral—that you’re going to consult with the prospect, discover their needs, offer solutions based on those needs, give them some options, and not force a sale if you know you can’t provide a good solution. On the other hand, if your technique is to hold the prospect hostage at his kitchen table until he breaks down and buys, your referral source will not be pleased that you’ve abused your relationship with them and damaged their relationship with your client. You may get the deal, but you’ve shut yourself off from further deals with that client—and with any future referrals from your source.

Always edify your referral source and act in a way that would make that person want to refer more people to you.

Entrepreneur

Through the Eyes of a New Entrepreneur

What was going through your mind when you first decided to become an entrepreneur? To many of us it exciting, amazing, confusing, overwhelming, and frightening. You did not know what to do. However, that was a long time ago. Now, you believe that was the best decision you made.

It may be over 10 years for you since you first became an entrepreneur, but is the first few weeks for a new entrepreneur.  Think about what you know now and think back to the things you wish you had known then.

The same thing occurs with business networking

It may be years for you since you first started business networking, but is the first few weeks for a new entrepreneur who has recently joined a networking group like BNI. Therefore, I want you to take a moment and see “networking” through the eyes of a new member. Think about what you know now and think back to the things you wish you had known then.

That’s the reason I wrote “The Networking Mentor”

I have a newly revised book, “The Networking Mentor”, that is available on Amazon. “The Networking Mentor” is a parable about the transformation of someone’s life because another person took them under their wing and mentored them relating to the do’s and don’ts of networking. It starts with a struggling business owner, Ken, who is invited to a BNI networking group by a business associate. He proceeds to mentor Ken and helps him learn how to network effectively and build a referral-based business. Ken’s mentor teaches him very specific strategies on how to network better and at the same time, the mentor improves his skill set as well.

I wanted people to remember by writing this book, the concerns, fears, and frustrations when they first became an entrepreneur and started business networking with others.  Most importantly, I wanted to show how a mentor can make a HUGE difference in someone’s life. Volunteer to be a business networking mentor and you will also become a better networker. You will improve your game; you will improve your skill set.

We all have someone in our story. However, whose story are you in? At your next meeting connect with a new member.  Take them under your wing.  Teach them what you’ve learned and be in their story.

Please review this book

If you read my book. “The Networking Mentor”, I’d really appreciate if you would post a review on Amazon using this link. https://tinyurl.com/reviewsofthenetworkingmentor

For everyone who does a review of “The Networking Mentor”, we will send them a link to a one hour webinar that I did on Who’s in Your Network. It is a free gift for anyone who helps me out by posting a review. After posting your review, please send me a private message letting us know you posted a review. We will reply with a link to the recorded webinar.

Best New Financial Success Books

“Who’s in Your Room” made it to the Best New Financial Success Books

I’m happy to announce that our book, “Who’s in Your Room: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life”, made it to BookAuthority’s Best New Financial Success Books.

Financial success is part of “creating your best life” and BookAuthority recognized that. BookAuthority collects and ranks the best books in the world, and it is a great honor to get this kind of recognition. Thank you for all your support!

Our book is available for purchase on Amazon.

Raymond Aaron

Raymond Aaron shares his “10-10-10 PROGRAM”

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Raymond Aaron, discusses his “10-10-10 PROGRAM™” with me in this video.
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Raymond Aaron is a personal friend and I absolutely love this program. Be A Branding Superstar, Eliminate Competition, & Increase Your Prices Effortlessly by writing your book with his 10-10-10 program.
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What is the best way to improve your brand? Become a published author!

When you write your book, you are NOT selling your book, you are selling YOU and improving your name. You write the content and Raymond will help you with the marketing messages to build your brand.

  • Raymond will assign his own Personal Book Architect to you
  • He will help you to get a Perfect Topic and Title
  • Learn the Perfect Book Length
  • You have ONE YEAR to complete the 10-10-10 Program™
  • You will have more Authority, even before your book is done
  • Using the 10-10-10 Program™ Ghost Writing Protocol, Raymond will write the Foreword for your book
  • Once your Book is written, Raymond will publish your book
  • Raymond will also publish any subsequent book you will ever write
  • Raymond will list your book for sale on www.Amazon.com and you keep all the proceeds
  • At his own expense, Raymond will host your Official Book Launch to promote you and your book, where you sell your book and keep 100% of the sales

http://10-10-10program.com/

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Please click this button to have a 10-10-10 PROGRAM™” expert contact you on how you can get started. When they do, say the code “IVAN” and get 50% discount.

 

Life is much too precious to postpone. It’s time to put yourself in your own story and write your book. The whole world changes when you have a book. 
opportunity cost

The Opportunity Cost of Saying Yes

Although we love to say yes as often as possible, sometimes the opportunity cost of saying yes is too great. In these cases, try to be at peace with your decision to say no and realize you are protecting entry into your room. Say no and then move on knowing that you made the right decision for you. To network well, you really need to learn how to help people, build relationships, and support your connections in some way. But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to also say “no” to requests that are made of you.

Don’t Seinfeld it.

One of the really funny tropes from the old TV series, Seinfeld, is how the characters go off on some crazy subterfuge or complicated ruse that ends up getting them in more trouble than if they had just been candid in the first place. Be polite but be honest and be direct.

Propose something else.

If you are unable to do something that you’re being asked to do, offer them something else instead. For example, I am always having people ask me to send some communication out to my entire mailing list. The answer is always “no.”  However, with people I know and trust, I propose something else. I propose that I post it on my social media instead. That generally works just as well to maintain the relationship.

When you say it, mean it!

Be a broken record. Sometimes, people don’t take “no” for an answer. I try to be polite and smile, and repeat what I said before (on some occasions, I’ve repeated myself three times before they realized I really meant it).

say no

Ways to Say “No” Without Sounding Like a Jerk

It’s important to recognize when someone’s opportunity is your distraction. These are generally situations where someone’s project is not on mission for your business or your life. In these situations, you need to learn how to say no.  The word “no” is a one-word sentence. It’s just not a full sentence that I like to use very often and I think there are a fair number of people like me out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally good with saying “no,” to people when it is necessary. The secret is: how do you say “no” without sounding like you don’t care?

If I said yes, I’d let you down.

A very effective way to tell someone “no” is to tell them that you believe that you’d let them down if you do what they are asking. It might be because you don’t have the bandwidth, the knowledge, or the expertise to do what they are asking. In any case, you’re not the person to help make this idea a success and you don’t want to disappoint them.

Recognize the difference between an opportunity and a distraction.

That begins by knowing your own personal or professional mission. If you know your purpose/expertise/mission then you can say “no” when someone comes to you with something that is a distraction to that mission. I do this all the time by telling people that my mission is to do X. As interesting as their idea is, it’s not something that fits with what I do.

Refer them to someone more qualified.

When I say “no” to someone, I almost always try to refer them to someone who is more qualified or more suited to help that person.  I also try to refer them to someone who’s mission is more in alignment with their project.

To network well, you really need to learn how to help people, build relationships, and support your connections in some way. But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to also say “no” to requests that are made of you.

 

incentive program

Final Thoughts About Your Referral Incentive Program

To meet the challenge of finding the right incentive program, tap into the assistance and insights of other people.  An effective way to do this is to invite about ten people you know to meet with you.  Include a representative sample of your customers/clients/patients, business associates, partners, and friends.  Their purpose is to think up incentives you could offer to produce a larger word-of-mouth-based business. Host a lunch or dinner for the group and either take copious notes or tape-record the meeting.  Invite those who are willing to donate about two hours for your benefit (and receive a free meal, of course).

Prepare yourself, well in advance of the group meeting.  Think the subject over beforehand so you have an idea of the limits that you may need to set for an incentive program, such as cost, duration, appropriateness, etc.  Have water, note pads, a preliminary questionnaire, sample materials, a flip chart, and even a few ideas to get the ball rolling.  If you’re going to discuss a product, bring actual samples to give the group a point of reference.

Begin the actual session by clearly stating a specific problem.  Make sure your group understands that the incentive has to be geared to the group you’ve targeted.  Explain that you are looking for a variety of ideas and that you won’t make any immediate decisions.

An accountant in St. Louis thanks those who successfully refer a client to him by paying for a dinner or two at least one hour’s drive from their homes.  This approach firmly plants the accountant in the minds of his referral sources:  they won’t be able to use it right away because the distance requires that they plan for it.  As the date approaches, because it has been planned, they’ll be talking about it, and probably about the accountant.  Later, when the referring party runs into someone else who might need an accountant, who will he recommend?

I’ve heard many novel ways businesspeople reward those who send them referrals.  A female consultant sends bouquets of flowers to men.  A music store owner sends concert tickets.  A financial planner sends change purses and money clips. Please share below in the comments about how you reward others who send you referrals.

someday

Sam Horn shares “Someday Is Not a Day in the Week”

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Sam Horn, discusses her book, “Someday Is Not a Day in the Week” with me in this video.
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Sam is a personal friend and I absolutely love this book. Full of inspirational insights and advice, lifehacks, and real-world examples, “Someday is Not a Day in the Week” will help readers get what they want in life today rather than “someday.”
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 Download the Kindle version of this book by Sam Horn on Amazon

Are you planning to do what makes you happy someday when you have more time, money, or freedom?

What if someday never happens? As the Buddha said, “The thing is, we think we have time.” Sam Horn is a woman on a mission about not waiting for SOMEDAY … and this is her manifesto. Her dad’s dream was to visit all the National Parks when he retired. He worked six to seven days a week for decades. A week into his long-delayed dream, he had a stroke. Sam doesn’t want that to happen to you. She took her business on the road for a Year by the Water. During her travels, she asked people, “Do you like your life? Your job? If so, why? If not, why not?”

The surprising insights about what makes people happy or unhappy, what they’re doing about it (or not), and why…will inspire you to carve out time for what truly matters now, not later.

Life is much too precious to postpone. It’s time to put yourself in your own story. The good news is, there are “hacks” you can do right now to make your life more of what you want it to be. And you don’t have to be selfish, quit your job, or win the lottery to do them. Sam Horn offers actionable, practical advice in short, snappy chapters to show you how to get started on your best life ― now.
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