Building Relationships Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
invest time

Invest Time to Learn About Others

If you want someone to learn about the value of your products or services, you have to spend time learning about the value of theirs. The best way to do this is a personal meeting. Master networkers meet regularly and invest time to raise each other’s understanding of their businesses.

“John, I’d like to be able to refer more business to you, but I need a deeper understanding of what your company does and how you operate. Could we get together next week to discuss this?”

Although you don’t say so, John understands that he’ll learn something more about your business at the same time. It’s not always easy to know how confident your contacts are in referring you. By having a personal meeting, you show interest in helping them to grow their business. Therefore, they will also be interested in helping to grow your business.

Ask yourself if you invest time to learn about others

  • Am I being realistic about the time it will take, in my profes­sion, to gain the critical level of confidence?
  • Am I regularly making stimulating, educational presentations to my fellow networkers about the value I provide to my clients?
  • Am I doing business with others in my BNI chapter so I can give them dynamic testimonials and steer business to them in hopes they’ll return the favor?
  • Am I meeting regularly with my networking colleagues to learn about their businesses so I can confidently refer my contacts to them?

If you can endorse the quality of products or services offered by a networking partner — that is, increase others’ confidence in them — your partner will be disposed to return the favor. Testimonials from one or two of your partners may, in turn, trigger a much larger and more valuable referral from another partner who was waiting for more evidence before taking a risk on you.

If you’re following these simple tactics, then you are well along the road to getting all the referrals from others’ networks that you deserve when you invest time to learn about others.

inspire confidence

Inspire Confidence to Refer You

When it comes to getting referrals from your network, the confidence others have in you is a vital component. None of them wants to risk their personal reputation by referring to a stranger. Until you inspire confidence that referring contacts to you won’t harm their reputation with their clients, associates, friends or family, you’re still a stranger. People won’t refer you if they feel you’re going to let them down.

Your profession matters to inspire confidence

The more significant the business being referred to is, the greater the risk to the referrer’s reputation. If you’re a florist, it may take only a week or two for people who try your services to recommend you on the basis of their experience with you. The risk associated with referring a florist is usually small unless you’re bidding on a large wedding that also might be your referrer’s top client. If you’re a financial advisor, it may take you six months or a year to reach the critical confidence level. However, since the stakes are higher, your referrer stands to gain more if the results are successful.

No matter what line of work you’re in, if you don’t perform well, your referrer will learn of it and you may not get another referral from that source.

Educate others about your business to inspire confidence

Don’t assume your fellow networkers understand your company or industry well enough to refer you confidently. You have to educate them and keep on educating them as long as you’re in business.

A networking group like BNI is ideal because everybody is expected to address the group at regular intervals. Make your presentation interesting and stimulating. Tell them how your product or service improves others. Each time you speak, present a new aspect of your business. Let your knowledge and eloquence persuade them that you’re very good at what you do. You will inspire confidence and your name will come to mind whenever a referral opportunity arises.

If you’re following these simple tactics, then you are well along the road to getting all the referrals from others’ networks that you deserve by inspiring confidence to refer you.

Scorched Earth Networker

The Scorched Earth Networker

Over the years, I have noticed different styles of networking.  One of these styles results in the ground smoking wherever these networkers tread.  I call this “Scorched Earth Networking”.  It is very important to AVOID this type of networking. Here are the five hallmarks of a Scorched Earth Networker.

Constantly Moves Groups

They are dissatisfied with the referrals received.  The Scorched Earth Networker does not stay in one place long enough to build the type of relationships it takes to really capitalize on networking.  It’s like planting a tree in one spot. When the growth isn’t happening fast enough, it’s uprooted again and replanted.  Each time that tree is uprooted, it takes longer to build itself back up to even where it was before being moved.   A serious networker understands that in order for that tree to thrive, it needs to stay where it is.

Talks More Than Listens

Have you met someone who talks on and on about their services and does not seem genuinely interested in your business? You met a Scorched Earth Networker!   A serious networker will want to learn all about you and your business, and how they can help you accomplish your goals.

Does Not “Honor The Event”

They network at inappropriate events.  You’ve seen the Scorched Earth Networker wanting to do business and passing out business cards at a church function, funeral or other inappropriate events.  The key to networking at all times is to do it in a way that is appropriate.  While it can be entirely appropriate to begin a relationship at an event, such as a wedding or funeral, going around looking for an opportunity to pass out business cards is not the right way to do that!

Thinks That Being Highly Visible Is Enough

The more you are seen in the business community (visibility), the more you become known and trusted (credible).  The problem with the Scorched Earth Networker is that they believe that anything that makes them visible is beneficial.  Wrong!  As people begin to trust you, they begin to refer you to others. This is when you will see more business referrals (profitability).

Expects Others To Be Consistently Referring Them.

The Scorched Earth Networker expects a source of dependable and constant referrals.  This view of networking is a transaction, NOT a relationship.  There is a law of reciprocity and synergy that cannot be denied when you focuses on giving referrals to those around you.

The Scorched Earth Networker Will Fail

Building your business through word-of-mouth is about cultivating relationships with people who get to know you and trust you. People do business with people they have confidence in. It’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s how well you know them that counts. If you go into this process understanding Scorched Earth Networking, you will have a better opportunity to build your business through word-of-mouth.

When you are networking, are you creating relationships by building your social capital or are you leaving a scorched earth behind you?

Summer Networking

Summer Networking Tips

The temperature is rising and so are your summer networking opportunities!

Every once in a while I hear a BNI member say that their chapter slows down during the summer months. I also know of many chapters that flourish in the summer with new members and referral growth! So why are some up and some down? It is a matter of gearing towards the season by refocusing on referrals during your networking activities? Build your business while traveling on vacation too.

What summertime networking activities are you attending? These may not seem like networking activities, however, you should still always be prepared.

  • BBQ
  • Block Parties
  • Pool parties
  • Picnics
  • Ball games or sporting events
  • Music Festivals
  • Reunions
  • Parades
  • Or just some summertime fun:
    Golf, Boating, Traveling, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping or Gardening?

Barbecue / Block Party Networking!

Whether headed to a holiday block party blowout or a more intimate birthday celebration for a colleague, barbecues are a great chance to meet friends of friends and expand your professional network.

Make the most of your family barbecue. Bring a few sample products to the barbecue to give out to family and friends. Who better to help spread the word for you? If you are so inclined, ask attendees to bring a new friend with them to the event. More than likely, some family members will show up with uninvited guests anyway. The more the merrier, right? Use these opportunities to get to know people and share what you are looking for. You never know who they know! But don’t break out in a sales pitch at a barbecue. Ever. People are there to have fun, relax and enjoy.

Pool Party  / Picnic Networking:

Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately! Listen to what everyone is saying at your summertime activities. What topics are they mentioning?

Are they complaining about their business? 
Invite them to visit your BNI chapter.

Are they excited about a wedding?
Share about those members in your chapter that are good referrals for them.

Do they talk about their home being too hot in the summer and it costs too much to cool?
Talk about your HVAC or solar member.

Do they want to remodel their home or need to move homes?
It’s Referral time!

Ball Game / Sporting Event Networking:

A great networking strategy is to get tickets to a local ball game or sporting event and invite BNI members and potential referral partners you know to introduce to each other. Whether your team wins or loses, great connections can be made!

Music Festival Networking:

The hills are alive with the sound of networking. Music brings people from all different types of professional backgrounds together networking through all of the music and dancing at a music festival will be a challenge, but it can prove to be invaluable. While each attendee might have a different background, many will have the same overall goal– utilizing networking to make meaningful connections and build their businesses. Every personal encounter is a potential opportunity for networking, so don’t overlook anyone.

Networking at Reunions:

Summertime is the time for both family reunions and class reunions. These are essentially a gathering of (potentially) dozens of people who, despite the fact that they took various different professional paths, automatically have a great deal in common and genuinely want to see one another succeed. So if you’re looking for a job, a career change, industry advice or even if you’re just hoping to network within your field, attending your reunion could be just the ticket. The question is not whether you should attend your reunion, but how you will network effectively at the reunion.

The FOUR hour “one to one” Networking Foursome!

If you are a golfer, find a fellow BNI Member who also plays golf. Set up a round of golf and you each bring a favorite golf playing client to introduce to each other as a referral source for the other BNI member. What a great way to solidify a top referral source and score a ‘hole in one” referral yourself with someone else!

If you do not play golf? Is there a summertime activity that you do that you and a fellow member can invite clients to attend? (Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping,  or Gardening)

The GOAL?

Any place you go with family, friends or strangers is a networking opportunity!

  • Bring Your Business Cards! Bring your fellow BNI members’ business cards with you to all your summertime events!
  • Remember Your Fellow Members and make a goal for one referral per event you attend!
  • Who have you met at these summertime events that you can invite to your chapter as a visitor?

Here’s to a GREAT summer in the Northern Hemisphere filled with lots of referrals! Those BNI Members south of the Equator can wait to use these tips in December or try to network on the ski slopes.

Steve Farber

Steve Farber says “Love is Good Business”

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Steve Farber, talks to me about focusing on finding love in business. Steve is one of the best speaker’s I’ve seen on the stage.  His message is both surprising and impactful. When we were in Cancun together last week, he talked to me about love being a part of your every day mantra as a business owner.

It’s true. Love is just damn good business. Here’s the logic:

1. You have a massive competitive advantage when your customers love your product or service.

2. The only way to create that experience for customers in a meaningful and sustainable way over time is to create an environment or culture that people love working in.

3. You can’t create that kind of culture unless you love your business, your team, your colleagues, your employees, your customers, yourself, first.

4. Employees will model how they are treated by their leaders.

Love being part of our every day business

Businesses that promote love and celebrate love still need profits to keep their doors open, but they understand the powerful connection between loving what you do in the service of people who love what you do. It builds strong relationships, trust, loyalty, and the commitment that allows a business to not only make money but make a difference. Love being part of our every day business is no more complicated than the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

Steve Farber, 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

Think of this the next time you order a pizza. It’s a great example of “love is just damn good business” in action. 

Standing

Standing in the Middle of a Room Full of Referrals

 Referrals are all around us. Are you paying attention? You are standing in the middle of a room full of referrals.

Referrals are all around us, it’s just that we’re not paying enough attention to what’s going on in order to identify them.  You see, there’s a part of our brain that’s called the Reticular Activating System.  It can be described as a filter between our conscious and our subconscious mind. Your subconscious screens out things you determine that aren’t important and it alerts you about things you think are important. Therefore, understanding how it works can be a great tool to recognize the daily referral opportunities surrounding us.

Standing in a Room Full of Referrals

Watch the video now to learn not only about the Reticular Activating System but also about another powerful tool which I call the “Language of Referrals”.  After watching the video, you will likely begin to remember times when your Reticular Activating System was in full effect. However, you just didn’t realize it at the time.  You may also remember instances where you’ve clearly heard the language of referrals in conversations with people.

I’d really love to hear about your referrals experience with one or both of these things so please share your story/stories in the comments below.  Thanks!

Best Life

The Secret to Your Best Life… “Who’s in Your Room”

Learn how to live your best life, embrace happiness, and discover “Who’s in Your Room”.

This 2 ½ minute video will give you a good overview of what the book is about. Therefore, please watch this video at https://tinyurl.com/CreateYourBestLife

Live Your Life to The Best

This is what Jack Canfield says about this book: “Who’s in Your Room is one of the most powerful personal-development books you will ever read.  It has changed my life and it will change yours.”
The quality of your life depends on the people in your life. First, learn the secret to creating your best life by managing “Who’s in Your Room.” Therefore, change your life and click on this link: https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom
Who's In Your Room

Who’s in Your Room?

I’m really excited about the upcoming release of my latest book, “Who’s in Your Room?” in December. It is my 23rd book and I believe it will have the biggest impact on people’s lives than any other book I’ve done. This is the public version of the book and is vastly different than the BNI version.

What if you had to live your life in one room?  Whoever you want to interact with in life is in that room.  There is only one door.  It is a one-way door.  Whoever is in your room, stays in your room forever.  Whoever comes into your room impacts your life directly in many ways.  If you knew that this person would be in your room forever, would you have let that person in your room?

We design the room we live in, along with the people who are in it.  We can do that consciously, or we can do that by happenchance.  The choice is ours.  Understanding this idea now, who are we going to let in our room from this point on?

What do you think about the concept of “Who’s in Your Room?”  Knowing this concept now – what would you do differently in the future?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

To preorder the book, please use this link:

https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom

Target Market

Developing Your Target Market

In the second edition of my book “Networking like a Pro”, I share one of the biggest mistakes I see business professionals make. It is trying to be everything to everyone.  Having a target market for focusing your efforts makes networking more effective.

Staying in Your Lane

Have a clear understanding of who your ideal clients actually are. This is your strategy. When you try to be everything to everyone, you wind up being very little to anyone.  Identify the types of businesspeople that make up your target market. This allows you to better focus your resources in the areas that are most likely to provide success.

Spheres of Influence

The most successful networkers have developed a thorough strategic planning process. They have deepened their relationships with a variety of people across diverse networks. A sphere of influence is a group of people who are most likely to work with you. To determine your spheres of influence take a look at which of your past and current clients you enjoyed working with the best. Then, determine what they have in common. Look for similarities in their businesses or personalities and write down a few of them as your spheres of Influences.

Target Markets

Once you have established two or three target markets, focus your networking on them. Building your business is all about leveraging your strengths within the context of your prospects’ needs, and then networking with as many of those people as you can.

Follow these steps and you will build a great foundation to understand and develop your target market. Find out more about this topic in my book, “Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections – Second Edition“. Please go to my website at https://ivanmisner.com/books/ to learn how to purchase any of my books.

business networking

What is Business Networking?

What is business networking? Let me share the true definition of networking.

“Business Networking is the process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge and expand your sphere of influence.”

Notice that the key word here is relationships. 

Successful networking of any kind starts with the genuine desire to build relationships for the purpose of giving and receiving business. If you are only networking to gain and not to give, you’ll never be successful.

Building Relationships should become one of the most important components of your business. You should build your business by farming not hunting. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it’s not powerful. Social capital is like financial capital. To amass financial capital, you have to invest and grow your assets. You have to have money in the bank before you can make a withdrawal. Relationships are very much the same – referral relationships in particular. You must support and help others with their business before you can ask for their help.

Remember business networking is more about FARMING than it is about HUNTING.

It’s about cultivating relationships and taking the time and energy to help them grow and flourish. A good farmer knows when to tend to his crop and when to harvest it; if you over pick, you’ll be left with nothing. But if you continue to care for and maintain your crop, it will grow abundantly.

Let’s think of the farmers, the ones who cultivate steady, growing, genuine and authentic relationships with the people they feel are important to include in their network. They have a steady back-and-forth of interactions that benefits not only them. Everyone involved is rewarded. Why? Because the time is taken to really get to know people enough to make a relationship means that when it comes time to make a referral, it’s much easier to call upon them.

Watch this video below to hear more details about the true meaning of business networking.

How do you define “Business Networking”?

This word has become so overused that some business professionals can no longer define networking. Many people think that networking is attending social or business after-hour events, shaking a few hands, collecting a few cards, and, of course, giving away a few cards of their own. Sadly, they actually believe that’s all there is to networking. To be fair, we could say they’re engaging in social networking. That’s never to be confused, however, with business networking.

Businesspeople tend to fall into one of two groups when it comes to their views of networking. For many, the current mindset is that networking is a passive business strategy, not a proactive marketing tool. This attitude results in a scattered, often ineffective networking approach that consequently wastes the business owner’s time and money. Not surprisingly, when people feel they’ve been wasting their time and money on something, they’re understandably not going to continue that activity.

On the other hand, some proprietors do consider networking a proactive marketing tool for their business. How can you tell? They make it a significant part of their marketing and business plans. These business owners have networking goals. They may even have a budget line item for networking. Most importantly, they practice it and live it every day. They are training a sales force. Their networking team is there to keep an eye out for potential clients. If you “target talk”, that is, hone in on exactly what type of client you are looking for, better, more qualified referrals will result.

After watching the video, let us know your thoughts on the definition of business networkingDo you have a different definition or any feedback on what may be missing from the new definition of networking that we’ve provided here?  We’d love to hear from you so please leave your comments in the comments below. Thanks!

Networking Fundamentals

Networking Fundamentals

Have you ever wondered what the ONE secret to success is in regard to networking for your business? In this video, I reveal the answer to that very question and I also explain four key networking fundamentals which are guaranteed to boost your bottom line.

In order to be successful in building relationships that will lead to business referrals and opportunities, there are four things you need to focus on:

  1. Be selective.

Quality is first on the list for a reason. The process begins by being very selective about who you bring into your circle of business networking relationships. You want your network to include quality business professionals who have a positive, supportive attitude. You also want people who are good at what they do.

Effective networking is dependent on the quality of the relationships you develop. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you won’t be getting the referrals you expect. Therefore, it is important to build meaningful relationships with your referral partners over an extended period of time if you want to generate more business.

  1. Continuously add people to your network.

Years ago, I learned that there is a dramatic correlation between the size of a quality group and the number of referrals that are generated by that group.

In your network, the number of possible business referral connections is a squared multiple of the actual number of people in your network. So as you begin to build your own network of referral relationships, keep in mind that the more, the better. The bottom line is that the greater the number of connections you have (based on quality relationships of course), the more referrals you can generate. The math is pretty significant and consistent.

  1. Seek engagement.

Engagement involves a promise and an action. In order to achieve success in your networking relationships, you and your contacts must promise to support one another and take the actions necessary to fulfill that promise.

There are many ways that you can become engaged. Have you taken the time to regularly meet with the people in your network? Have you educated them on the key features of your business so that your products or services will be top-of-mind as they meet others who have a need for them? Have you educated yourself on the key features of their businesses so that you can do the same?

The greater the number of people in your network engaged in these activities, the more likely they will be to generate significant referrals. The reason for this is a shared vision of success and a shared implementation of that vision.

  1. Share stories.

Listening closely to information shared by those in your referral network will help you tell positive stories about them when you see potential opportunities to refer them. Holding regular meetings with contacts in your network will help you tell stories when you give referrals and vice versa.

A good story compels people to take action. If you want to build your network in order to generate more referrals, place story-telling at the top of your efforts. Facts tell, but stories sell.

Ask a Favor

When to Ask a Favor (classic video)

When is the right time to ask a favor? Building a relationship takes time, and cashing in your relationship capital before it has earned enough interest can be devastating.

The following video is classic rebroadcast of my “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years. Originally published on March 30, 2016.

In this video, I discuss how to identify and prepare for the appropriate time to ask for a favor within the context of a business relationship. Social capital is a key factor when it comes to asking for favors from others.

Most of us have been in a situation where someone has asked for a favor before the social capital to make that kind of request. If you want to amass financial capital, you have to invest and grow your assets. Social capital works the same way. You have to invest before you can withdraw.

Throughout my career, I have had a huge number of folks come to me and ask me to promote something for them. The thing is the majority of those who contacted me had never even met me, had never had a conversation with me. If they did, they met me once and we had the briefest of conversations. They never invested in the relationship and yet they wanted a withdrawal from the relationship.

You may be shocked at the level of personal knowledge required for a deep referral relationship. You may want to argue that referrals should be all about business. I completely disagree. It takes a lot to develop this type of relationship. Those who do will certainly succeed at building a business from referrals.

When Is It Appropriate to Ask for a Favor?

So the answer to this question of when should you ask for a favor, before you ask for a withdrawal, make sure you make an investment and build a deep referral relationship.

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