Networking is a Verb Not a Nounstring(31) "Networking is a Verb Not a Noun"

Today, I have a guest blog written by my good friend Frank DeRaffele.  Frank is a BNI Director and radio talk show host for the Entrepreneurial Excellence Radio Show.

Networking is a Verb Not a Noun.  What does that mean?  A verb, as described, by our 4th grade teachers, is an action word. A noun is an object or thing. That means that in order to network you must take action … do stuff … not just show up at things and be seen. If you go to a chamber meeting and just “be there” then you are a noun … you are just an object. If you go and actually participate and make things happen … you are now taking action … you’re a verb.

You are not going to find any form of marketing more important and probably more effective than your networking efforts during the next 12 to 24 months. That means that no matter what type of marketing campaigns you are doing they will be 5 to 10 times more effective if you are supplementing them with relationship networking.

If you are in a strong contact network (such as BNI) you have an advantage over every other businesses out there, especially your competitors. You have a group of like-minded people who believe in the development of relationship marketing and they practice the Givers Gain® philosophy.

There is no recesssion for you … so go take action … go BE A VERB!

Triple Your Business Revenue By Writingstring(39) "Triple Your Business Revenue By Writing"

A business contact of mine telephoned me awhile back to ask why I wasn’t including writing in my business training anymore. I had previously included it in my training sessions because I think it is an extremely valuable way to establish credibility in business. However, when I checked the numbers, I realized that only about 2 percent of the people I trained in writing really picked up on the message and followed through.

In other words, 98 percent of people I trained never used the advice at all. So of course I stopped teaching it. Well, my business associate asserted over the phone that I should be training on writing regardless of the small number of people who were doing something with the advice because, he claimed, the results for the people that do take action are absolutely phenomenal. He urged me to include writing in my business training because it is worth teaching for the sake of those 2 percent who get amazing results.

In my most recent show on yourBusinessChannel.com, I talk more about how this business colleague of mine took my advice on writing years ago and turned his business around. By his own calculations, he tripled his revenue by becoming a well-published author of business articles.

Watch the show HERE and then think about how writing might help you increase your business revenue.  Will it take hard work and dedication? Yes.  Is that hard work and dedication worth the results you will get? Definitely.

Do What Others Don’tstring(26) "Do What Others Don’t"

To some businessspeople, networking is something to try when they’re hurting for business.  However, networking is actually a primary strategy for generating business relationships that lead to more referrals.  When done correctly, networking is a proactive strategy for business growth, not a reaction to slow business.

I think the most important single idea in networking is to do what others don’t.  Doing what others don’t gives you an edge.  It can position you head and shoulders above your competition.  It helps you stand out in a positive way and, when you do, people are attracted to you and your business, and your success grows stronger, deeper and more durable.

So go beyond the norm. Take the time to gather information for improving your business by getting straightforward feedback from people.  This will help you identify your business’s strengths and weaknesses so you can take corrective action.  Some more ideas that most people don’t take the time or effort to implement are:

  •  Adopt the attitude of a host at networking mixers.
  • Use your influence and professional status to help members of your network solve problems.
  • Learn to specifically ask for referrals.
  • Take every opportunity to educate yourself on how to better your business and your networking efforts.

Networking Entrepreneur Blog is in The Top 30string(45) "Networking Entrepreneur Blog is in The Top 30"

I’m pleased to let my readers know that this blog has been ranked as one of the top 30 blogs for Entrepreneurs.  It was ranked No. 26 out of 150 blogs by eCairn.com as shown here by the InvenioGroup.com website.

Thanks to all of you for reading this blog.  A special thanks to the many of you who regularly leave comments.

All the best.

Ivan Misner

International Networking Week: Mark Your Calendarstring(49) "International Networking Week: Mark Your Calendar"

International Networking Week, Feb. 2-6, 2009, is quickly approaching and it’s a great way to start off the New Year.

Make 2009 the year you see opportunity when others see problems, seek growth when others expect collapse and see success when others see failure.  Watch the short 2009 International Networking Week video and find out about how to join me and many other successful business people in recognizing and participating in this year’s International Networking Week. Focus on what you do best, and don’t let other people sidetrack you from building your business.

WATCH THE 2009 INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING WEEK VIDEO HERE!

The New Year is a Time for Vision Makingstring(40) "The New Year is a Time for Vision Making"

Each year, a few days before New Year’s Eve, I head off to my mountain retreat in Big Bear Lake, Calif., to recharge my batteries. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with the family and prepare for the onslaught of the coming year.

It’s also a good time to give thought to the vision you have for your business and life over the next year.

It’s hard to hit a target you’re not aiming at.  The new year is a great time to think about some of your plans and goals for the next 12 months (and beyond).  Even if all you have is a couple days, take the time every January to slow down and do some “vision making” for your business.  Remember that a successful businessperson needs to work “on” the business as well as “in” the business.  Work “on” your business this month by creating your vision for 2009.

Happy New Year!

Ivan

#1 Sales Article of 2008!string(25) "#1 Sales Article of 2008!"

The Top 10 Sales Articles site, an initiative of The Sales Corporation , provides a single location where time-strapped sales leaders, sales professionals and publishers can locate the top sales articles published every week.

 

Each week The Sales Corporation selects the very best sales articles from the major article sites, which have been written by top sales experts from around the world. It culls through articles until it finds the 10 best pieces of sales advice, and then each Sunday it announces the Sales Article of the Week.  The weekly winners compete for monthly honors and ultimately the Top Sales Article of the Year.

In March of this year, salesopedia published an article of mine entitled “The 10 Commandments of Networking.”

The article was picked up by The Sales Corporation and it has been nominated, along with 11 other articles written by different sales experts, to compete in the running for the title of the #1 Sales Article of the Year.

To vote for The 10 Commandments… article or one of the other selections, please click on the graphic to the right:

 

If you voted, I’d love to hear what you thought of the article.  Please leave a comment below.

Create an Informative Newsletterstring(32) "Create an Informative Newsletter"

Think about the people you consider experts. They are known for sharing their knowledge through books, research papers, columns, articles and newsletters. Experts write. If you wish to be seen as an expert, consider writing an informative newsletter.

Of course, you don’t just sit down and crank out a good newsletter overnight. You need to think it through–and plan out many of its attributes well in advance. If you like the idea of a newsletter and want to use it to network your business, here are 10 questions to ask yourself:

1.  What will be the purpose of the newsletter?
2.  Who is the target audience?
3.  Why would my target audience want to read it?
4.  How will it benefit my audience?
5.  What features will it contain?
6.  Who will write the text?
7.  Will I use a professional to design the layout?
8.  How often will it go out?
9.  How will it be distributed?
10.  How will people sign up for it?

Your newsletter should be informative and educational so that it brings value to your audience and motivates people to read it. Also, unless you have a publishing or web design expert on staff, you should seriously consider outsourcing the production of your newsletter to a professional. Remember, your newsletter is an extension of your business, and it’s often the first thing a prospect sees of you.

Publishing a newsletter week after week or month after month is time-consuming and requires a strong commitment, but it can be a powerful networking and marketing tool. You want your audience to come to expect it–indeed, to look forward to receiving it–and that means you have to deliver it on time and deliver top-notch quality.  An expert produces nothing short of the best.

What Does It Take for You to Refer Someone?string(43) "What Does It Take for You to Refer Someone?"

At the BNI International Conference in Long Beach this past November, I had a great conversation with my business partner in the Referral Institute, Mike Macedonio (pictured to the right).  He was explaining why he feels there are only a few criteria that must be met to make people referrable by him.

The first criterion is that the individual is must be an expert at what he or she does.  He looks for people who have invested in learning their trade and continue to invest to master their trade.  Do they specialize in a certain area?  What achievements have they attained in their area of expertise?

Another one of Mike’s requirements is that the person is passionate about what he or she does.  This, especially, makes a lot of sense to me because if you’re not passionate about what you do, how could you expect other people to get excited about working on your behalf?

Mike’s last criterion stipulates that the person he is referring understands and honors the referral process.  More specifically, Mike wants to ensure that the person receiving the referral understands his or her number-one responsibility.  To quote Mike, “The number-one responsibility when you receive a referral is to make the person who gave you the referral look great.”  As long as the people Mike gives referrals to are doing this for him, Mike can remain confident that his reputation will be protected.  It also compels him to continue giving these people referrals.

Mike’s list of qualifications that make a person referrable is short, yet very powerful.  After discussing it, we both agreed that we should expect others to evaluate our referrability by these same criteria.  Are we invested experts, and do we continue to invest in our trade?  Are we passionate about what we do?  Are we practicing what we preach?  Do we make our referral sources look great?  I’m glad to say that I’m confident we both do all of these things.

So what makes people referrable by you?  I’m sure many of you have some great ideas in response to this. I’d love to hear them, so please feel free to leave a comment.

The Culture of Entrepreneurismstring(30) "The Culture of Entrepreneurism"

I just attended the BNI International Conference in Southern California.  There were almost 1,000 people from 40 countries around the world at the event.  It looked like a meeting at the United Nations with people from different countries and different accents all meeting for several days.  It was amazing to watch business people from various cultures working together to network and build each other’s businesses despite their differences.

It was appropriate that Brian Tracy was a keynote speaker at this event because he and I spoke about the subject of cultural differences and doing business a few years ago.  We had lunch in San Diego and I asked him if he changed his material when he did seminars in other countries.  He said that he didn’t.  He said that entrepreneurs want to do things more efficiently or more effectively.  If you can show them how to achieve either of those, the cultural issues are not as big a factor as many might believe.

This made me start to think about why structured networking programs work so well and in so many countries.  It occurred to me that there is a “culture of entrepreneurism” that in many ways transcends other cultural issues.  The core of this process is the importance of trust.  When people get to know and trust each other, that factor supersedes many cultural factors. 

Different people, different places; different countries, different cultures; different races, different religions, we all want to do business with people we trust.  While there may be many other things to divide us and separate us, we all speak the language of referrals.

Capture Your Success Storiesstring(28) "Capture Your Success Stories"

Many of us are taught as children that we should refrain from bragging about our successes. But there’s a caveat to those rules that our parents usually didn’t teach us: The rules apply to our individual, personal lives–not our businesses.

Success stories about businesses and entrepreneurs are vital for those of us dedicated to learning all we can in order to make our own enterprises as successful as possible.  What’s more, having your own success stories heard could bring you opportunities to network your business far beyond the playing field of the typical networking arena.

Here are four approaches to capturing your success stories:

1.  Ask for written testimonials: Get satisfied customers or colleagues to write letters on their own letterhead to spotlight their positive experience with you and your business.

2.  Write down two success stories: Highlight your successes to help your network understand who best represents your preferred client.  These stories should clearly emphasize what you do better than anyone else.

3.  Write a personal introduction: Provide your network with material they can use when talking about you and your business with people who fit your preferred client profile.  You don’t want your sales force making stuff up about you, right?  This simplifies their task and ensures accuracy.

4.  Toot your own horn: Tell people about the good things your business does.  This isn’t about crowing over your amazing golf handicap or complimenting your own fine taste in silk ties.  It’s about spotlighting your business’s strengths, as well as its legitimate good works in the community.

Love

Do What You Love And You’ll Love What You Dostring(50) "Do What You Love And You’ll Love What You Do"

As an adjunct university professor for almost 20 years, I would often have students say to me, “What kind of business or profession should I consider going into right now?”  I would respond by asking them, “What do you like to do?  What do you really enjoy?” They’d respond by saying something like . . . “No, no, you don’t understand, I’m asking what I should do?” And I’d reply back by saying . . . “No, you don’t understand, what do you love to do?  What are you really interested in?”

They’d look back at me, obviously perplexed, and stutter out something about trying to figure out what a good profession to go into would be or what kind of business they should start. I would proceed to explain to them that you can’t achieve sustained success over time without doing something you love.  Therefore, they should think about what they really enjoy doing and look for opportunities in those areas.  

According to the NFIB (the National Federation of Independent Business), it’s estimated that 60 percent of all businesses started in the late ’90s “were based on hobbies or personal interests.” More and more you see people turning their dreams into their livelihood.

I saw a great example of this in action when I attended a fundraiser for Azusa Pacific University over the weekend.  During the evening, the program highlighted a graduate from the physics department. His name is Steven Moser. He graduated in 2001 from the university. After graduation, he worked at NASA’s JPL in Pasadena.  While Moser was working at JPL, a close family member died in a tragic accident. Moser and his wife (who also had a very successful career) evaluated their lives and decided to make a major change. They chose to pursue a hobby they had had for some time, making all-natural body care products and turning it into a full-time business. This would enable them to work from home, spend time with the family and do what they really love.

Steven’s company is called Anti-Body. It not only offers all-natural body-care products, but it also promotes global fair trade. It sources all its raw materials directly from workers in developing countries, creating sustainability for those that might be exploited in most markets.

This is a great example of doing what you love and loving what you do. Moser changed the course of his life to do what he loves.  His business seems to be thriving, and he definitely loves what he is doing.

I understand that loving what you do is no guarantee that you’ll be successful. However, I am equally confident that if you’re not happy at what you’re doing, you can never achieve any sustainable success over time. So if you’re thinking about starting your own business, do what I used to tell my children when they couldn’t figure out what ice cream they wanted to eat. Stick your tongue out. Wave it around. What does it feel like? Pick something you really want. You’ll be happier (and I’m not talking just about ice cream).

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