Just Ask. Right? . . . Nostring(25) "Just Ask. Right? . . . No"

The following article was written by my friend and partner in the Referral Institute, Mike Macedonio. I wanted to share it with you here because it mentions some very important points regarding asking for referrals. After you read the article, I’d really like to hear what you have to say in response, so please feel free to post a comment.

Just Ask. Right? . . . No.
By Mike Macedonio

I was recently attending a BNI National Conference and there was a lot of effective networking going on. With the culture of “Givers Gain” there were participants offering to help one another and make connections. On several occasions I was also watching some businesspeople walk up to people who barely knew them and ask to be referred to their valued relationships. I felt a sense of awkwardness in the conversation.

I think what I was actually feeling was deja vu. I’ve been on the receiving end of the “referral ambush” before, when someone I may hardly be in the “Visibility” phase with is asking me to expose my reputation by referring them to one of my valued relationships. In some cases, I was even asked to promote them or their company to my entire database.

During the BNI Conference, there was one participant who approached the main speaker and introduced themself. Shortly into the conversation, they let the speaker know that they understood the speaker knew an internationally known personality and that they would like an introduction to that person in order to pitch their business to him. WOW . . . that was a big ask. So why did it feel inappropriate? Part of the reason is the stage of the referral process, or the VCP Process, that the attendee and speaker were engaged in.

VCP is the acronym Ivan Misner uses for Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability. In the Visibility stage, two people simply know of each other. If both people can state the other’s name and business, that would be considered a qualified Visibility relationship. Credibility is when the relationship between two people has developed and both parties hold a mutual trust for one another. Profitability is the ultimate referral relationship goal. In this stage, both parties are reciprocally referring each other business.

In the situation I observed at the national conference where the conference attendee asked for the referral to the internationally known personality, the attendee was merely in the pre-visibility stage with the speaker. It’s true that the attendee might have mistakenly felt that they were in the credibility phase with the speaker, maybe felt that they knew him, since they had been watching him connect with the audience repeatedly over the course of the three-day event. However, it’s important to always remember that credibility is something that is established over a substantial period of time–not just a few hours, days or weeks. It takes months and, in many cases, years to develop real credibility with someone.

In closing, let me clarify that yes, I do believe that in order to get referrals we need to ask. The key, however, is to know how to ask and when it is appropriate to make the request. When is the right time, you ask? The right time to ask for a referral is when BOTH parties are in the Credibility phase of the referral relationship. Networking should not be a system that ends up alienating your friends and family. Be conscious of the deposits you make into your relationships before you start “writing checks” or, in essence, ASKING for referrals from those you have relationships with.

Anchor Your Networking Group with Strong Relationshipsstring(54) "Anchor Your Networking Group with Strong Relationships"

Today’s blog is a unique one because normally you only hear from me; but this entry, which talks about building relationships, was fittingly co-written with my wife Beth, the person in my life with whom I have the strongest relationship.

This summer, our family took a multi-day, small ship tour of the Great Barrier Reef. The first night we noticed that the anchor being used to secure our small ship in the middle of the Coral Sea was quite small compared with the size of the ship.

The second night we were anchored off Hope Island, some very strong winds began to kick up. Our captain started the engines and backed the ship up, letting out more length of chain to the anchor. Curious (and admittedly a bit concerned), we asked him how it was possible for such a small anchor to hold the ship in place with the winds blowing against it so aggressively.

“It’s the chain that’s holding the ship, not the anchor,” he informed us. Apparently, after the anchor is lowered, the captain looks to the first mate, who signals from the prow which direction the chain is lying on the bottom of the sea. The captain can then maneuver into the right position and let out the necessary amount of chain to hold the ship according to the particular conditions at that time.

This particular night, with the winds growing stronger, the captain realized that he needed to let out more chain.

It struck us that this dynamic is relevant to networking groups. You see, a networking group’s anchor is its system, its process of doing business. However, it’s not actually the anchor (the system/process) that dictates the strength of a networking group.

Take a look at your networking group and think about the links, or relationships, you have formed with the individual members. How many “links” does your chain have? Do you have strong relationships with all the other members in the group, or are you closely linked with some but disconnected and detached from others for whatever reason?

So how do we go about adding more links (aka building more relationships) so we can let out more chain during times when the economic winds have strengthened against our businesses? We need to get serious about developing stronger relationships with every member of our networking group, even the ones we might not think have the contacts we want, or perhaps are in a business that isn’t exactly symbiotic with ours.

We naturally form relationships with those businesses that are closely related to ours, but what do we do about those members whose businesses are totally out of sync with ours, our members who seem to be unable to provide qualified referrals to us? Try scheduling one-to-one meetings with those members. Spending the time to have one-to-one meetings with each and every member of your group helps you develop a longer and stronger chain of relationships. Each person in your group is one of the links that lengthens that chain.

The wisdom of laying down a longer chain to strengthen the ability of the anchor to hold strong is critical for the success of your networking group.

So starting this week, try making it your main focus to develop your relationship chain within your networking group. We guarantee it will be what anchors your business and your networking group for longevity, despite economic fluctuations.

Attending Networking Eventsstring(27) "Attending Networking Events"

Experienced networkers know that the fastest way to expand and enhance their network is to regularly attend gatherings where networking takes place. Having many people with overlapping interests within arm’s reach facilitates the process of making connections based on mutual benefit.

While flipping recently through Masters of Networking, a book I released back in 2000, I ran across an article contributed by my friends Cindy Mount and Jeremy Allen. The article outlines a great, six-part foundation for success at networking events, so I thought I’d share their outline with all of you here.

Attending the Networking Event

As every good networker knows, one of the fastest ways to grow your business quickly and successfully is through word-of-mouth marketing. That’s the fundamental reason networkers attend networking events. And people who have made a science of systematic networking keep six essentials in mind. Each time they attend an event, they have 1. a purpose, 2. a goal and 3. a plan, and they make sure to 4. execute the plan, 5.  evaluate their efforts and 6. follow up on all contacts.

1. Purpose

What’s your reason for attending the event? Do you expect to show up, shake hands and exchange business cards just to be sociable? No . . . your reason for being at the event should be because you see networking as a complete philosophy of doing business and living your life, and because you see that helping others is the best route to helping yourself. Keep this in mind at all times.

2. Goal

What is your destination? What do you need to accomplish at the event? What do you expect the outcome to be? How many contacts do you need, and in what kind of businesses? Do you need to become a gatekeeper as a step in obtaining your desired outcome? Think of professions, trades or business owners who would most likely hear of or see people who need your service or products, and target these people for your networking efforts.

3. Plan

Once you know your destination, you need a map to show you how to get there. A good networking plan will include these things:

Research. Whom do you have to meet? Where do they have lunch? What do their company’s annual plans say? What are some of the trends within your target industry?

Competition. Who are your competitors? What is their market share, and how much market share do you expect to capture? What edge does your competition have? What are your strengths and advantages?

Resources. What resources do you need, and where will you get them? Do you need guidance? Are your listening skills good enough to get you your money’s worth?

Backup. Do you need to recruit new contacts or associates who can take over some of your duties or help you reach your goals faster?

Schedule. How much time have you given yourself to achieve your goals? Do you have contingency plans in case you encounter problems along the way?

4. Execution

Plans don’t work unless they’re implemented. To be successful, you must begin executing your plan. Use a time management planner and project organizer that can show you a week at a glance. Mark dates when you expect certain results, then work backward to monthly, weekly and daily completion of specific objectives.

5. Evaluation

As you reach each checkpoint in your plan, stop and evaluate your results. If you find that a particular networking group is not meeting your goals, adjust your plans. You may need a new way to work the group, or you may need a new group. You may also need to consider learning a new skill or getting some help to meet your goals.

6. Follow-Up

Make complete notes on everybody you meet, keep their business cards and brochures handy, and think about the potential of each new contact you’ve made. Begin making appointments to meet and work with these contacts as soon as practical. Don’t let a recent introduction grow cold and be forgotten.

The key word in “networking” is “work.” It takes time, effort and patience, but the payoff of powerful networking will be a personal marketing strategy that accelerates the achievement of your goals.

The Virtual Abundance Expo: July 27-30string(38) "The Virtual Abundance Expo: July 27-30"

I just posted a blog this past Monday on the “Seven Key Aptitudes of Abundance Intelligence,” as outlined by my good friend Kim George, and if you’d like to further your education on how to achieve and maintain an abundance mind-set, the perfect opportunity is coming up next week.virtualabundanceexpo.jpg

As one of the Expo’s speakers, I’m inviting you to be among the first to explore the Virtual Abundance Expo. From July 27-30, more than 12 of the the world’s thought leaders, teachers and inspirational luminaries will come to your home or office via the internet for an entire week.

You will hear from leaders such as Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, Alex Mandossian, Marci Shimoff, Bill Harris, Scott Martineau, Lisa Nichols and more, all of whom will be sharing their wisdom and insight on creating more abundance in your life.

  • Get any question answered about any abundance topic imaginable.
  • Switch your mindset from scarcity to abundance in every area of your life
  • Create a greater abundance mind-set and improve your happiness, performance, networks, thinking, marketing, finance, values, beliefs and every other important area of your life

Go to http://www.TheVirtualAbundanceExpo.com to sign up for the Virtual Abundance Expo.

The Seven Key Aptitudes of Abundance Intelligencestring(49) "The Seven Key Aptitudes of Abundance Intelligence"

Whenever I turn on the news these days, it seems the media are pushing all of us to embrace a scarcity mentality. Embracing a scarcity mentality, however, will get you nowhere; there couldn’t be anything more pointless and counterproductive than to let your thoughts focus on lack and worry.

Because of this, I’d like to explain a much more valuable concept–the concept of AQ (Abundance Intelligence) which my good friend Kim George introduced in her 2006 book Coaching into Greatness: 4 Steps to Success in Business and Life. AQ is different from IQ (intelligence quotient) in that we measure a person’s ability to perform at his or her optimal level consistently and authentically.

AQ measures masterful people by their prevalence of abundance aptitudes, patterns and beliefs. Successful people of all types have a high AQ. They believe there’s more than enough to go around and that the proverbial glass is not only half full but overflowing. They accept that life is not always easy and doesn’t always follow the straight and convenient path, but they don’t fight changes in the world or the economy. Instead, they adapt to those changes.

Based on Kim’s in-depth work with hundreds of business owners, here are seven key aptitudes you should adopt to gain a high abundance intelligence and resist being bogged down by a scarcity mentality:

1. Self-worth. Abundant people understand their uniqueness and how they add value to their customers, their networking partners and others in their lives.

2. Empathy. Abundant people do their best to understand and serve their customers in any given situation, and they sustain themselves through tough times by networking with supportive friends who are able to provide reciprocal support empathically .

3. Self-expression. Abundant people are convinced that they are the best with whom to do business and they retain a professional posture of sticking to their personal standards, which pulls people to them.

4. Actualization. Abundunt people don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for things to happen. They take action consistent with their skills and talents. They accept responsibility for their actions and don’t blame others for shortcomings. If they face a barrier, they ask for help and support to find an acceptable solution for all sides. They comfortably give and receive.

5. Significance. Abundant people are confident about their uniqueness, knowing they are the best person for a particular job. They demonstrate self-confidence when asking for business, building their social capital and following up.

6. Surrender. Abundant people don’t view surrender as a form of weakness, rather a sign of letting go of old habits, attitudes and behaviors that don’t serve them in a healthy way. They see potential opportunity in everything that passes by.

7. Inquiry. High Abundance Intelligence means high openness to other points of view. Uncertainty is a reason to thrive and be curious. Security in their curious and creative aptitude enables abundant people to move through all challenging situations. Learning while acting keeps them growing and improving while being pioneers in their industry.

Work the above characteristics into your own persona. Each of these abundant aptitudes contributes to purposeful actions and a well-defined goal orientation to the effort. Instead of being derailed by worrying about the past or the future, you will find inspiration and forward momentum in your immediate surroundings.

An Important Secret to a Great Networking Groupstring(47) "An Important Secret to a Great Networking Group"

I was speaking throughout Japan last week to BNI networking groups and the public. Before leaving the country, I took my daughter to a little restaurant called Gonpachi, which was near the hotel we were staying at. It was a nice little place in Tokyo with great food and service, but what really got my attention was the reception we received when we entered the dining room. As we entered the room, one of the waitresses yelled “irasshaimasei!” Whereupon all the patrons joined in by yelling “irasshaimasei!” I asked my daughter, “What in the world?” are they yelling at us, to which she replied: “They are more or less saying, “Welcome to the restaurant!” I thought, wow, that’s pretty impressive. What a nice touch.

I sat back and watched as patrons flowed into the restaurant, and with each group of people the waitress and the patrons would yell out, “Welcome to the restaurant!” in Japanese. As people slowly trickled out of the restaurant, they yelled, “arigatou gozaimashita!” which means, “Thank you very much” to everyone as they left.

Isn’t that what a good networking group should be like? When you visit a networking organization and the members say (through their actions and words), “Welcome to our group” and “Thanks for visiting us” with enthusiasim and genuine interest, you just have to come back to the group again.

This truly is an important secret to a good network. Make visitors feel welcome! When people feel welcome, they want to come back.

OK, if you start yelling “irasshaimasei!” at them when they enter the room, you might not actually get the response I’m thinking about here but . . . you get the idea. Make people feel welcome, and they’ll return. That, my friends, is the sign of a great restaurant as well as a great networking group.

The Importance of Leadership in Networkingstring(42) "The Importance of Leadership in Networking"

At a recent networking event, a woman approached me and told me that she had heard of BNI and was interested in joining a chapter but explained that she was hesitant based on an experience she had recently when she attended a meeting of another local networking group.  She had been very put off by the attitude and the comments of the meeting’s apparent leader.  Being new to networking, the meeting was the first of its kind that this woman, an esthetician, had ever attended and she said that she had expected something very different.

She had been told the networking group she was going to meet with was filled with positive, welcoming people who would be as interested in learning to help her promote her business as she was in learning to help them promote theirs.  What she found upon arrival, however, was that very few people took any interest in her at all because most were busy socializing in clusters reminiscent of high school cliques.  Then, to start the meeting, the group’s leader stood up and announced that he was in a crabby mood and urged everyone to find their seats quickly.  As soon as she sat down, a member of the group informed her that she needed to move because she was sitting in “his seat.”  Needless to say, she got up and, instead of finding another seat, headed out the door.

I wish I could say this was the first time I’ve heard of an occurrence like this but, unfortunately, it’s not.  When a networking group doesn’t have strong, positive leadership to set a good example and enforce structure, the group runs the risk of turning into nothing more than a coffee klatch.  I encouraged the esthetician to seek out her local BNI chapter despite her bad experience with the other networking group and ensured that she would have a much better experience simply based on the difference in leadership.  Groups follow the example of their leaders and in the situation of the networking group this woman visited, the leadership set a very bad example and the group members followed suit.

The fact holds true that whether you’re talking about networking, business or life, people will follow the example of those in leadership roles, which means it’s imperative for leaders to be wise, positive and solutions-focused.  One of the most important aspects of a good networking group is the leadership team that runs the meeting.  These individuals should be chosen based on their ability to size up any situation, point in the direction that’s best for the group and lead the group toward the most positive path–they recognize the importance of leadership and the domino effect that both bad and good leadership can have.

Leaders, in any aspect of life, set the tone for how other people following their example will act. I encourage every one of you reading this, whether you’re in a networking group or not, to remember that whether or not you’re in a recognized leadership role, people are always observing you.  If the leaders in your life aren’t setting a good example, why not step up and act as a leader yourself?  If one or two members of the “high school clique” networking group mentioned above had done this, other members of the group might’ve followed their lead and the esthetician might not have walked out with such a negative view of all of them.

If you have any stories about how you stepped up and became a leader when those in leadership positions were lacking, I’d love to hear them.  Please leave a comment.

Networking From Tokyostring(21) "Networking From Tokyo"

I am in Japan doing presentations on business networking this week and it has made me think about how word-of-mouth marketing is a concept that crosses cultural, ethnic and political boundaries. It resonates within entrepreneurs all over the world. It resonates in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas–because we all speak the language of referrals.

As I put together business development networks or referral groups in many countries around the world over the past two decades, I was frequently told that this type of networking won’t work in other countries. It was ironic to hear “this won’t work here, we’re different” the first time because it was said by someone in one part of Southern California talking about people who were 25 miles away in another part of Southern California!

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I later came to understand that this person just didn’t want to do the hard work necessary to slowly build his referral business. Rather than say, “I don’t want to do that,” it was easier to say, “we’re different here” (even though “here was only a few miles away from “there”).

Over the years I was amazed to come across some people who absolutely refused to follow the tried-and-true fundamentals that proved to work in generating referrals as I developed networking programs through BNI across the  United States and later the world. In many cases they used the “we’re different” argument or said things like “that won’t work here.” When talking about self-development, I have a friend who often says, “When it comes to ourselves, we’re always the exception.” Everybody else should do what’s been proved to work. It seems that the “we’re different here” mantra that some people spout actually prevents them from following proven methods of self-development. Only truly successful people understand that everyone who has achieved success has succumbed to the basics.

Years ago, I began to dissect what we were doing to determine just what it is about referral marketing that makes it cross national and cultural boundaries so well. I determined that the lowest common denominator is that people want referrals! The public wants referrals, the business community wants referrals, everyone seems to want referrals. In order to generate referrals, people must build trust. Building trust takes time. Structured networking programs speed up the process in a safe environment, but they still take time.

Apparently, this concept does transcend cultural differences. One of the reasons this happens is that networking programs operate within the cultural context, not outside it. That is to say, the cultural differences can easily integrate within a structured program that takes time and is based on building trust among other business people. Structured networking programs may then embrace cultural differences while following an overlay or system that emphasizes relationship building and referral generation.

Now of course it’s true that people are different around the world, but normally all businesspeople want to conduct business more effectively. When harnessing the power of relationship marketing is the goal, driving businesses further and faster through business-to-business networking can be an effective result. Codifying the process of networking into a networking system helps businesses learn how to do that, thereby transcending our cultural differences.

My experience has shown that people in any entrepreneurial economy can use a networking system to improve their business. If this system is done within the cultural context and not outside it, I have found that the same networking concepts and techniques are almost completely transferable from one country to another. It is basically due to the truth that business is business when it comes to relationship marketing, no matter the culture, ethnicity or political persuasion.

This doesn’t change the challenges that occur when someone from one country networks or does business with someone from another country; however, networking techniques are simply business techniques. They work around the world–especially when they are applied within the specific cultural context.

 

 

America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, South Africa or Germany, different races and religions, different colors and cultures: We are all different–but we all speak the language of referrals. We are all different–but we all believe that relationships are the key to building a business. We are all different–but we all believe we can do better by helping connect people.

Networking is a great way to “get” business… but it’s an even better way to “do” business. While there may be many other things to divide and separate us–different countries and cultures, different languages and religions, different people and places, different races and accents–we are all united by one thing: We all speak the language of referrals. And that my friends, transcends our cultural differences.

Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group!string(53) "Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group!"

Membership in a good networking group can be worth a considerable amount of money. Especially if you calculate the time you spend each month and the business value of your time. Make your time and efforts worthwhile. Don’t squander your opportunity by doing the wrong things in those meetings!

Success in a networking group comes when the rest of the group members trust you enough to open up their best referrals to you. Until they’ve seen your work, you have to earn that trust by demonstrating your professionalism to them. Since I founded BNI almost 25 years ago, I’ve seen how people have truly succeeded in networks–and I’ve seen how people have totally wasted their time in them.

Here are the top 10 ways to waste your time in a networking group (avoid all of them):

No. 10. Go ahead, air your grievances among your fellow networkers and guests; after all, they really want to hear about your complaints.

No. 9. Wing it in your 60-second presentations; you’ve got plenty more chances anyway.

No. 8. Use one-to-one meetings to talk about your networking group’s issues instead of learning a lot more about each other.

No. 7. Focus your efforts on selling your services primarily to the members of the group.

No. 6. Don’t rush following up on a member’s referral. They know where you are.

No. 5. Use others’ 60-second presentation time to think about what referrals you can give that week.

No. 4. Why invite your own guests? Just focus on those who show up.

No. 3. Don’t worry if you get to the meeting late. No one will notice.

No. 2. Be absent; it’s no big deal. You can just call in your referrals . . . right?

And the No. 1 way to waste your time in networking groups . . .

No. 1. It’s OK, take that phone call or text message during a meeting. It won’t bother anyone, and it’s a real sign of professionalism that everyone admires.

So there it is–The Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group! Print this out. Memorize it. Share it with your fellow networking members. Above all–avoid these mistakes! You’ll get a lot more out of your group and so will your fellow members.

I’d love to hear some more ways that are big time wasters in a networking group. Please leave your comments below. Let’s add to this list.

Oh, and to visit a good networking group in your area, feel free to Click here.

The Brower Quadrantstring(19) "The Brower Quadrant"

These days the economy seems to be an inescapable topic of conversation. Whether you refuse to participate in a recession or not, people are still going to engage you in conversations centered around finances and the state of the global economy.  Chances are, they’ll be focusing on “how bad things are” instead of focusing on what we can actively do to make things better for ourselves.

I was recently involved in such a conversation, and all the other person kept trying to do was get me to agree that we’re all doomed and that everything is only getting worse. No matter what I countered with, he wouldn’t let go of this doomed-victim mentality he had. I suddenly thought back to a pretty powerful passage from my friend Lee Brower’s latest book, The Brower Quadrant, and I thought it might get this guy to finally see the light. So I paraphrased Lee’s ideas for him. leebrower.jpg

I said, “Look. I have a friend named Lee Brower who is an expert on wealth preservation and financial planning, and he puts it pretty simply when he says that when you let yourself get overcome with perceived barriers to your future dreams, you’re really writing the script for your future. How you spend your time each day–every choice, every thought, every action– is either a deposit or a withdrawal from your future. So there you have it. If you let yourself become paralyzed with the fear of dealing with an uncertain economy, then instead of doing what you can to promote a successful future for yourself, you’re actually making efforts to ensure a negative impact on your future.”

For the first time during our 15-minute conversation, the guy had nothing to say. I told him he should really read Lee’s book because it outlines strategies for what Lee calls “true wealth”–strategies that help people do more and achieve real wealth in all areas of their life instead of accepting a life of scarcity and struggle. I went on to explain that the strategies in the book are straightforward and very powerful, but that implementing them takes real commitment and real effort.

I completely agree with Lee’s ideas that anybody can create wealth in all areas of life no matter their current financial circumstances and that it’s done by making the choice to focus on what you can do with what you have, rather than to view yourself as a victim based on what you don’t have. It’s very true that that’s much more easily said than done but, like I always say, we can’t control the economy but we can control how we respond to it (even if it seems like the hardest thing in the world to do).

I really hope that my nay-saying conversation partner picked up a copy of The Brower Quadrant, and I strongly encourage all of my blog readers to pick up a copy as well. Not only will you learn how to cement yourself in true wealth, you’ll know how to respond to people when they try to convince you that you’re doomed. You might even positively change the course of their future because of it.

To learn more about Lee Brower and The Brower Quadrant, please visit: www.LeeBrower.com.

Let Me Introduce You to Bobstring(27) "Let Me Introduce You to Bob"

dsc02883.JPGWhen my daughter Cassie was only 8 years old, she made a little stick man, which she named “Bob,” from a small piece of red pipe cleaner and gave him to me. That’s Bob and me to the right by the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last year.

Why is Bob in a picture with me, halfway across the world from my home, eight years after Cassie originally gave him to me?

Well, it all started when one of my business trips prevented me from attending a Girl Scout event that Cassie was participating in. I felt bad that I couldn’t make the event, so I took a photo of Bob and myself in the mirror at the hotel and sent it to Cassie, telling her Bob and I were thinking about her and congratulating her on her achievement. She liked it so much that I started sending photos of Bob whenever I could.

Throughout the years of travel, I have always stowed Bob safely in my briefcase and, whenever possible, I have someone take a picture of the two of us to send back to Cassie.  More often than not, I can immediately see what the heck is this guy’s deal? written across people’s faces when I ask if they’d mind taking a picture. Once I explain what the photo is for, however, it’s amazing how people’s responses change.

You see, one of the great things about running a successful international business is that you get to travel a lot. Yet one of the really bad things about running a successful international business is that you have to travel a lot . . . when ydsc04437.JPGou have small children, that can be a real challenge. People, especially those with children of their own, understand that. So when I explain the purpose of taking a picture with a goofy little man made out of pipe cleaner, people realize I’m not actually nuts after all and that Bob is really a family tradition that keeps me connected to my daughter.

The thing is, we can all take a lesson or two from Bob.

First off, Bob is a great example of how the smallest gestures can forge powerful connections between people.

I may not be able to be with my daughter at times when I want to be, but the simple gesture of sending her a picture of Bob and me keeps us connected. This same concept applies to keeping you connected with your networking contacts. You may not be able to attend every event you’re invited to or have lunch with every one of your contacts on a weekly basis, but you can find simple strategies to stay connected, such as giving them a quick call to check in or sending them a card.

Second, Bob is a terrific representation of why it is so important to explain the value you (and your business) bring to the table, and not to assume that people understand.

Think about it. When my unsuspecting “Bob photographers” initially respond to my request for a picture with my tiny red traveling companion, they see a man who probably belongs in a room with padded white walls, holding a contorted piece of pipe cleaner and smiling like it’s his best friend. Why do they react this way? Because they don’t understand the value Bob brings to the table as a powerful connector.

Once Bob’s specific purpose and role are explained in a way people can understand, his value is undeniable and people want to help me and applaud my dedication to my family. This is the same with explaining the value you and your business present to your networking partners–assuming people know the value you bring to the table is simply to leave money on the table every day.

Cassie is now about to turn 18, and she graduated from high school last week. She’s off to college in September, but I still plan on sending her photos of Bob and me as we travel around the world.dsc04974b.jpg

Bob’s looking a little worn with his travels (and I guess I am, too), but as long as I’m on the road, Bob will continue to be my traveling companion, Cassie will see evidence of our adventures, and she will always know we’re thinking of her as we travel the globe.

For more photos of Bob and me, go to: Facebook Photos of Bob.

June 23rd Teleseminar with Keith Ferrazzistring(41) "June 23rd Teleseminar with Keith Ferrazzi"

Early last week, I posted a blog about Keith Ferrazzi’s new book, Who’s Got Your Back, and how the book outlines imperative success strategies for developing meaningful relationships through networking efforts and accomplishing any goal.keithferrazzi2.jpg

I got quite a few comments on that post from blog readers who are really interested in Keith’s book and the subjects he covers, so I wanted to invite everyone to a teleseminar that I will be doing with Keith on Tuesday, June 23 at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time). You can sign up for the teleseminar by clicking here.

Keith and I will be discussing the one key thing that the world’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs rely on to achieve extraordinary results and record-breaking success–building the right relationships and leveraging them at the right times. We will also be joined by Andrea J. Lee, bestselling author of Multiple Streams of Coaching Income and a leading entrepreneur who excels at building powerful relationships in order to accelerate success.

Even if you can’t make it to the live call, go ahead and register anyway because Elizabeth Marshall, host and founder of AuthorTeleseminars.com, will send you a recording of the call after it’s over. In the meantime, if you have any questions e-mail Elizabeth at host@authorteleseminars.com.

Click here to save your spot on the call and, whether you attend the live call or listen to the recording, come back and leave a comment. I’d love to hear your feedback!

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