Credibility Archives - Page 6 of 8 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Preparing to Network in Asia?–Consider These Valuable Tips

Last week I posted a blog about how cultural differences play into global networking and how understanding those differences becomes very important as we do business around the world.

On a related note, I’d like to offer some valuable tips I’ve picked up from a handful of networking experts in Asian countries–today I’ll focus on China and Vietnam and in the coming weeks, I’ll revisit this topic and provide the additional advice which comes from experts in Malaysia and Japan.

One of China’s leading experts on networking, Jihong Hall (pictured with me below), says that “face is everything to the Chinese.”  When used in a business context, face is not something you wash or shave but is something that is granted or lost.  In China the word face is an idiom for dignity, prestige, honor, respect, and status.  According to Hall, Westerners often make jokes at their own expense or at other people’s expense.  They have a knack for laughing at themselves.  However, she strongly recommends that you do not do this with the Chinese until you know them very, very well.  If you lose their face you will lose their business.

She has three additional recommendations when working with the Chinese:

  • When negotiating, always keep plenty in reserve.  A deal must be a compromise in which you have given enough ground so that their face is satisfied.
  • Numbers are very important to the Chinese.  For example, if your company was formed in 1944 it is best not to mention it because that means “death, death” in Chinese culture.  Even prices and fees charged are guided by the right numbers.
  • How you look is VERY important.  Dress well.  Smart, casual dress is fine; however, wear stylish clothes.

Vietnamese business networking expert Ho Quang Minh (pictured above) also recommends that you look formal when doing business in Asian countries.  He says:

  •  Westerners should be aware that some Asian businesspeople may talk less because they do not feel comfortable speaking English.  Don’t assume that they are not highly successful or that they are not driven business professionals simply because they come across as quiet or reserved.
  • Discuss business over a meal.  Do not go straight to the point at the first meeting.

What do you think of this advice–do you find it helpful?  If you are a networker in Asia or commonly network in Asian countries, what has your experience been?  Do you have any insights to share?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

 

 

Business Networking and Sex: Survey Says . . . Transactional vs. Relational

In this short video, I share a portion of the results from the survey of 12,000 businesspeople on which my most recent book, Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think, is based.   The results I discuss here indicate that men and women act differently when it comes to the VCP Process®, transactions, and relationships.

Based on your experience, would you say these results jive with what you’ve found to be true in the networking world?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section–I’d love to hear them!

Too Much Visibility?–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Two months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 3 of the series.  Enjoy.

WHEN IS TOO MUCH VISIBILITY, WELL, TOO MUCH ‘VISIBILITY’?
(Part 3 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to the moniker – The Networking Nomad™.  In short, this moniker describes the type of networker who appears to be misinterpreting the very definition of Business Networking.  Click here to review that blog post.  In Part 2 of this series, we recommended you understand that ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to networking – and we encouraged you to be careful about whether or not your network perceives you as a PREDATOR or a PARTNER.  Click here to review that blog post.

Today, we’d like you to give some serious thought to the very first letter in the VCP Process® to Networking.  In short, your goal should be to first enter Visibility with people, then perform activities that will help you build trust and Credibility with them, and finally through time and the strengthening of that relationship, they will most likely pass you consistent referrals in the Profitability stage.  After all, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

Years ago, only the elite networkers were privy to this powerful concept.  These days, chances are this valuable information has trickled down to the average networker.  This is both a good thing – and a bad thing.  From our perspective, the good thing is that the average networker is now aware of this concept.  The bad thing is that the average networker typically misinterprets and mismanages the implementation of this concept.  Don’t agree?  Please hear us out . . .

Remember the movie “A Few Good Men” with Jack Nicholson where he forcefully delivers the famous line “You want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”?  Well, the facts are clear and the truth in business networking is that the average networker’s strategy doesn’t focus on successfully navigating through the VCP Process® and doesn’t focus on finding Referral Partners whom they cultivate long term, mutually beneficial relationships with to provide them consistent referrals.  Or worse yet, the average networker has no strategy at all.

The goal of networking is to build the ultimate network of professionals who, when asked:

  • Can and will support you
  • Can provide you with information to make you more valuable
  • Can vouch for you
  • Can lend you their credibility when introducing you to people in their networks
  • Can refer to you on a consistent basis

If you put yourself out in the marketplace as a person of value, others will want to connect with you.  Your role is to expose yourself to your local business community in a valuable way so that people feel a personal connection with you and feel compelled to assist you.  Most people have no concept of this strategy.  That’s what makes it so potent.  And then the dilemma is that a large percentage of those exposed to this strategy will never do the hard work that it takes for success to become a reality.  But, as noted above, the average networker typically misinterprets this concept.

Here’s an example:

Ivan met a woman years ago who told him she was the consummate networker – 100’s of contacts and a wide-ranging network of people from all walks of life.  Then one day in a conversation with him, she dropped a bombshell and said her networking efforts weren’t paying off.  She went on at some length about all the groups she went to, people she met, and how she made all these contacts but wasn’t getting any business.  The truth is that she was so busy running around and making appearances that she wasn’t learning how to actually ‘work’ these networks and build deep relationships.

A music teacher once told his students: “Lousy practice makes a lousy musician.”  The same holds true for networking; lousy networking makes a lousy networker!  This is why “practice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect.”

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Have you exhausted all opportunities in your local community to attend Business Networking and/or Referral Marketing Training workshops?  Have you sought out an expert or someone that has proven results from their networking efforts that you can ask to be your accountability partner?  And…if you have attended workshops in the past, what are the results you’re getting today?  If you’re not getting the number of referrals you expect, maybe it’s time to revisit those workshops?”

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 4 called “Expose Yourself!”

Perception Is Reality! — “Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Last month, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 2 of the series.  Enjoy.

 

PERCEPTION IS REALITY!

(Part 2 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

Last month, in Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to the moniker – The Networking Nomad™.  Click here to review that blog post.

In short, we described the type of networker who appears to be misinterpreting the very definition of Business Networking.  In fact, The Networking Nomad™ is actually treating networking as if it were a direct sales competition and an exercise in prospecting for new clients.  As a result of this type of behavior, they never stay in a networking group long enough to cultivate long-term referral relationships.

The reason why we’re refreshing your memory is because we don’t want you to forget that ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to networking.  And if you’re simply perceived as someone who focuses on his/her network buying your products or services, then any amount of time you invest in that particular network might not deliver you the Return on Investment (ROI) you expect.

You’ve heard us mention before that the VCP Process® to Networking (Visibility leads to Credibility which in turn leads to Profitability) describes the process of creation, growth, and strengthening of business relationships.  It’s useful for assessing the status of a relationship and where it fits in the process of getting referrals.

The Networking Nomad™ noted above is actually investing most, if not all, of his/her time in something we call pre-Visibility.  They’re not effective at getting consistent referrals because they’ve fallen into a trap. From time to time they run into a prospect they’ve met before, but aren’t really doing much else to deepen that relationship or work towards finding consistent Referral Sources.

Think about it.  Isn’t it better to have 6 referrals from one person in your network over the next 6-12-18 months rather than to have them become a client today?

There are major differences in the Sales Mindset versus the Networking (or more specifically Referral Marketing) Mindset.  For example, in Sales YOU are the center of the process:

  • YOU have to identify new prospects.
  • YOU have to go out there and meet the new prospects.
  • YOU need to build trust, credibility, and rapport with them.
  • YOU need to inch closer to the sale by conducting the needs analysis.
  • YOU need to respond to Requests for Proposal (RFP’s).
  • YOU need to send and reply to prospect emails.
  • YOU need to do everything you can to get that sale.
  • YOU get the picture?  😉

With the correct Networking Mindset, the process works WITHOUT YOU. Your well-trained Referral Sources and Referral Partners are spreading YOUR message within THEIR network – while you’re spending your time more effectively.

A successful networker has taken the time to seek and forge strong relationships with Contact Sphere Professionals who aim to serve the same or similar client target market.  Therefore, each new client of theirs can be a new client of yours.

And, that same successful networker is saving valuable time by having their network refer them into the sales process steps ahead of what they could’ve accomplish on their own.

Now that’s what we call leveraging another’s efforts.

But…you cannot accomplish this if your network perceives you as a PREDATOR versus a PARTNER.  Therein lays the difference between approaching Business Networking with a Sales Mindset versus a Networking Mindset.

At the end of the day, we understand and respect the fact that it’s your choice on which mindset you approach your networking efforts with.  However, understand that we believe your network will perceive you and deliver you the results that reflect your approach.

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Have you ever perceived someone as exhibiting behaviors of a Predator or a Partner when networking?  If so, what did you observe and what insights did you learn from this observation?” Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below and remember, at the end of the day, we’re only human and it’s important to learn from our own as well as other people’s successes and/or mistakes.

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 3 called “When Is Too Much Visibility, Well, Too Much ‘Visibility’?”

It’s All About Your Mindset–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Today begins the much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which address this and contain some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  TR and I hope you’ll enjoy the series as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR MINDSET
(Part 1 of 12 of the “Navigating the VCP Process® to Networking” Series)

Leverage.

Let’s restate that word again out loud because it is the essence of why leading sales professionals and small business owners invest their valuable time in Business Networking activities.

Leverage.

We think that probably the best representation of ‘leverage’ as it relates to the topic at hand is J. Paul Getty’s famous quote, “I’d rather have one percent of the efforts of 100 people than 100 percent of my own efforts.”

You see, the difference between the success or failure of someone who is networking as a way of generating revenue is most likely what their perspective of ‘networking’ is.

Story after story is reported to us about people who believe that if they cease going to networking meetings and mixers every single week that their revenue will STOP.  Their perspective is that if they do not maintain a high activity of mixing and mingling with new people that they aren’t ‘networking.’  The truth is that their personal definition of Business Networking appears to be skewed.

Their own description of activities that THEY are performing sounds a lot like selling, doesn’t it?

At its core, Business Networking is “selling through your network, NOT to your network.”  Applying the foundational basics includes building relationships first, amassing trust and credibility in time, and then asking for referrals.  Don’t expect your network to buy from you.  If they do, that’s a bonus – but don’t plan on it or even try to encourage it.  It might actually backfire.

We see it all the time.  People are attracted to the size of the event (i.e., your city or county’s biggest mixer) or the size of the weekly group such as a local BNI Chapter.  These individuals are most likely sales people looking for a Buyer’s Club to help them achieve their quota – nothing more.  Once they pitch their network and a small percentage of people buy from them, they consider that group or network tapped out.  In this instance, you’ll hear these individuals murmuring, “Oh, that networking group isn’t a good one.  I tried it out for 3-4 months, but they don’t pass any referrals.”  They then move on to another networking group and repeat the same self-centered activities (i.e., the rinse and repeat).

Once another 3-4 months rolls by again and they tap out that small percentage of kind souls that purchase from them, it’s back on the meandering trail to wander around and find that next networking group…and the next…and the next.  This is why we’d like to introduce the moniker The Networking Nomad™ — as it fits this type of person and their behavior.

Remember, Business Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting.’  It takes time to cultivate relationships.  But once you dedicate the effort, we believe these relationships ultimately allow you to ‘harvest’ referrals for a lifetime.

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Has my definition of Business Networking evolved through the years?  If so, what events or insights from others influenced this evolution?”

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 2 called “Perception IS Reality!”

Also, we highly encourage you to leave your feedback in the comments section below . . .

New Blog Series with Top Referral Marketing Trainer TR Garland!

In this video, TR Garland and I announce the launch of our new, 12-month, BusinessNetworking.com blog series  “Navigating the VCP Process® to Networking,”

TR is not only my good friend, he is one of the top referral marketing trainers in the world and he and I co-authored the #1 Amazon Best-seller Building the Ultimate Network together.  I am really excited to be doing this new blog series with TR because he is in the top 1% across the globe in regard to understanding how to implement referral marketing effectively and this series is going to be a huge resource for people in learning how to understand and  implement the VCP (Visibility, Credibility, Profitability) Process® effectively to produce real, business-boosting results from networking efforts.

Whether you’re a businessperson, an entrepreneur, a novice or seasoned networker, or simply someone who wants to learn, be sure to come back to this site on Monday (2/20/12) which is when we will be posting the first blog in the series! 

So what do you think?  Are you as excited about this new series as TR and I are?  Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts . . .

Getting to the Referral Stage with a New Contact

People often ask me how to move a relationship with someone they just met to the point where the new contact feels comfortable passing them a referral.

I always say that the best way to get to this next referral-passing stage depends in part on how you came into contact with a person in the first place.  Let’s say you met while giving a brief presentation to a group of people who are in your target market.  Assuming you did a good job, then you absolutely have the possibility of receiving a referral, even though you just met.  Why? Because the presentation moved you from visibility to credibility in the new contact’s mind and now they’re probably willing to risk their reputation and recommend you to someone they know.

The same thing is true when you’re out networking.  If you have a good conversation with someone and truly add value to the conversation, then moving from visibility to credibility isn’t that difficult, and you’ll be in great shape for getting some referral-based business.  What’s more, it’s not terribly important whether the person is someone you might do business with directly.  Even if your businesses don’t match up, the other person might have information that’s useful or might know other people you’d like to get in contact with.  It’s often worthwhile to develop a networking relationship with people who have little in common with you because they can bring an entirely new network into contact with yours and broaden your business horizons.

Just bear in mind that even if there is a strong possibility that you’re going to do business with this new contact, it’s probably not going to happen there at the networking event, where conversations last anywhere from an eye-blink three minutes to a long-winded seven.  Instant business is not likely to be had.  But if you follow up with a quick note a few days later, you can make some one-to-one time and come up with ways the two of you can help each other.  That meeting is where you’ll have your best opportunity for a quick referral.

What has your experience been with moving to the referral stage with new contacts–do you have a tactic that seems to be particularly effective?  If so, please share it in the comments section.

 

What Do You Do When People You Don’t Know Ask For Business?

I received an e-mail this year from a man named Robert and it contained an excellent question.  The full message read:

Good morning, Dr. Misner.

I was wondering if you could answer a question for me.

When it comes to networking and being a connector, how do you handle requests from people you barely know (or don’t know at all) who ask you to give them the names of your contacts so they can connect with those people for their own ventures or projects?

For example, I received a message from a woman I met years ago via the Chamber of Commerce. She was laid off by the Chamber and now is attempting to find her niche. She sent me a message on LinkedIn that read:

“Hello and Happy summer! Do you know personally any life/disability agents or financial planners? I need to meet as many as possible in RVA to see if they can use our medical services at Portamedic to complete the medical portion of the insurance applications. Please forward any names to me if you do. Thank you.”

This is a great question, Robert.

When people contact me with requests like the one you’ve described, I refer them to my article on the VCP Process and explain to them that though I appreciate them reaching out to me, we’re not even at “visibility” yet.  In order for me to feel comfortable referring them, I would need to build a relationship over time that gets us to strong “credibility.”   When most people read the article, they move on to someone else because they think that networking is about “direct selling” and they don’t understand that it is about long-term relationship building.

How would you respond to this and what is your “policy” for giving referrals?  Please leave your feedback in the comment section.

 

The Proper Way to Give Your Business Card

Have you ever wondered about what the best way to pass your business card to someone might be?

Watch this under-two-minute video where Phil Berg from BNI UK offers a very valuable tip on how (and how not to) to pass your business card to ensure that it will be valued and well received.

At the end of a video, Phil and I ask a question that we’d love for you to answer in the comments section below so, please, don’t be shy and chime in with your comments . . . thanks!

Position Yourself as an Expert by Becoming an Author

Years ago, an associate of mine who read one of my books and attended some of my training sessions called me and said, “I really love your material, but why don’t you put more emphasis on your ideas about ‘creating your identity as a brand’ and how it affects your networking efforts?  These ideas have made a huge impact on my business, but I don’t hear you talking about it very often.”

I admitted that this associate of mine was right.  I haven’t talked a lot about identity in my material, and I agree that I should say more.

When I started my first business decades ago, I had no idea how important it was to focus on branding my company and myself in the marketplace as a way of enhancing my networking efforts.  I understood the concept from an advertising and marketing perspective, but with a small business I didn’t have the advertising budget to mold myself or my company into any kind of brand—at least, that’s what I thought at the time.  So I ignored it.  I realized later that I’d made a big mistake in not pursuing any strategies to brand my identity.  It wasn’t until the early ’90s that I started to think about branding and how it would help in my networking efforts.

Networking is all about relationships.  Relationships are about establishing credibility.  Credibility takes time.  What I needed to do was expedite that process as much as possible while still creating genuine credibility in the marketplace at large.  Not having much of a budget, I had to get creative about how I would make this happen. 

I saw that if I wanted to increase my visibility and enhance my credibility in the community, I needed to be viewed as the local expert.  The way I decided to start creating that brand was to begin writing articles.  Now, you may say, “What’s so special about that idea?  I’ve heard people suggest it before.”  Well, here’s the bottom line: hearing it and doing it tend to be very different things.

You can derive the same identity-building, brand-boosting benefit from writing articles as I did.  It may surprise you, but editors and reporters need good story ideas and will use them wherever they can find them.  Think about the things you know and understand best.  What elements of that knowledge might be of interest to the general public, a specific industry, or some targeted demographic?  Review the types of media outlets that write for your chosen audience.  Consider newspapers, magazines, and industry journals, but also take a good look at online opportunities such as e-zines, online newsletters, and information sites.

Either by phone or letter, tell the editor why readers will be interested in the feature idea you have or why it is newsworthy.  What are you doing in your business that strikes a chord in the community?  What can you share that will educate the editor’s readers?  A word of caution, though:  too many people who seek to be featured in newspapers or magazines send the equivalent of a company brochure.  They fail to realize that editors and reporters need hooks, angles, ways to relate to a distracted, overworked, frenzied readership. 

Guided by the Certified Networker training I developed for the Referral Institute, the associate of mine that I mentioned earlier chose a topic he knew about and worked with it for some time.  He is in the travel industry, so he wrote a series of articles about travel and sent them to various outlets each month for several months.  He received some responses—all “No, thank you”—until, finally, one local newspaper called him and said they’d like to use his piece in the next day’s edition.  After it came out, they contacted him again and asked if he’d like to do a monthly piece.  Before long, another media outlet saw his work and asked him if he’d like to write for them.

Today he writes regular articles for several media outlets.  More importantly, it has totally changed his business.  Although many travel companies are going out of business due to vast changes in the industry, he is actually growing and thriving, because his articles have created an identity or brand for him and the company he owns.  Moreover, he is still an active networker, and he notes that the articles he writes put him way above his competition by enhancing his credibility with the people he meets.  He capitalizes on this regularly by bringing his recent articles to networking meetings.

This businessman’s experience serves as a great example of what’s possible for your own networking efforts.  When you get some of your pieces published, promote themThey won’t necessarily increase your sales overnight, but they will greatly enhance your credibility throughout the networking process, which absolutely increases your sales over time.  My friend also told me that he now includes links on his website to some of the online articles he produces as a way of enhancing his credibility with existing and potential clients.

So, if this is such a great idea, why haven’t I said more about it in the past?  Well, in my book Masters of Success, I talk about success being the “uncommon application of common knowledge.”  If you ask a successful person the secret of his success, you will almost never hear a secret!  Writing articles regularly and continually to increase your credibility and enhance your networking opportunities is not a secret.  It’s simply an idea that most people are just too lazy to implement. 

The bottom line is, 98 percent of people won’t actually do it.  Or, they’ll do it for a little while and give up.  The associate that encouraged me to talk more about this strategy agreed, but he said, “Do it for the 2 percent of people like me who will apply the idea.  It will make a difference for them, as it did for me.”

If you believe you can stick with this strategy over time, sit down and jot out topics of four articles you could write that fit with your business and networking goals—and that you believe would serve the readers of a particular publication.  Then, draft a letter addressed to the editor of that publication, and pitch your ideas.  If he says yes, it’s time to start writing!  If the answer is no, consider following up with him to determine what kinds of articles would better fit his needs.  

Well, there you go.  That’s a lot of advice and my associate should be happy that I took his good suggestion to talk more about branding for the 2 percent of people that will follow through.  So, the question now is: Are you part of the 2 percent or the 98 percent?  It’s your choice.

Get to Know the Go-to Items on Your Referral Marketing Checklist

Last week I had a couple of blog readers comment that they felt they would benefit from a detailed description of each of the items on the checklist of materials for a successful word-of-mouth campaign.  Thank you to Betsy Maniotis and Adam Erstelle for taking the time to send in their feedback and I’m more than happy to comply with their requests for the list below.

1)  Testimonial letters from satisfied clients–Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to showcase the quality of the products or services you provide.  You can keep hard copies in a binder, or you can post them to your website.  If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can ask the clients in your network to “recommend” you.

2)  Photos of yourself, your office facilities, equipment, and/or products–A professional photo, or headshot, is important for promotional opportunities and for your social media profiles.  Photos of your office or business operation and products help to legitimize your business and gain credibility.

3)  Logos of your key customers–You can put these on your website to show the type of clients you have successfully served.

4)  A list of your memberships and affiliations–This is very helpful when you meet someone for the first time — it’s a great way to see if you have mutual acquaintances or business associates.  It may also lead to an introduction to someone in one of your organizations to whom you have been hoping to be introduced.

5)  Question-and-answer sheets–One of the quickest ways to learn about a person’s business as a networker — and for him to learn about yours — is to make the initial meeting as organized as possible.  A sheet with questions that you can each ask each other can ensure you don’t forget to find out the most important information about each other’s businesses, the information that could lead to a referral the quickest!

6)  Photos of awards and certificates you and your staff have earned–These items can rank almost as high on the credibility factor as testimonials.

7)  Articles you have published, or in which you’re mentioned–Writing articles (or being professionally mentioned in them) is a great way to become known as an expert in your field — and people like to know they are working with experts.

8)  A one-page flier–You should have a brief overview of your business ready to pass along at all times — both a hard copy to fax and an electronic copy to e-mail — in case you meet someone while networking who wants to quickly pass along your information to a prospective client she knows.

9)  New-product or service announcements or press releases–As you network, make sure the people who might potentially hire you — or refer others to you — are immediately informed when you offer new products or services, or if you are expanding you operations geographically, or of any other achievements that might help further establish you.  The best way to do this is through press releases and announcements.  In addition to submitting these to news outlets, you can also hand these out at meetings, or you can post them on your website and on your social media accounts.

10)  Current brochures, circulars, and data sheets, and product catalogs–This may seem like a no-brainer, but quite often I’ve noticed that business owners are too busy running their business and neglect their collateral materials.  If you hand out a brochure that doesn’t list your most recent offerings, you could miss a chance of earning the business of someone looking for just these offerings.

11)  Items that reflect your “brand”–These items go a long way in building the consistency and recognition of your brand: Logos, trademarks, service marks, patterns, designs you’ve used, posters, banners, and display materials used at trade shows.

12)  Items that help you explain your business to your network–These can include: your annual report, capability statement and prospectus; your motto, mission statement or service pledge; or even a written history of your company.  You can also use information from newsletters or news-type publications, survey results (from surveys created and compiled by you or by others in your industry), presentation notes or slides (including audio or video), advertisements you’ve run, or audio or video presentations.

13)  Client or customer proposals, bid sheets, or marketing letters you have written to existing clients–Keeping this information top-of-mind will come in very handy if you are at a networking event and have the opportunity to talk to a prospective client in depth.  The prospect may have a specific need that is similar in scope to jobs you have already bid on, and having the ability to quickly refer back to previously-completed proposals may give you an edge with the prospect.

14)  Articles on trends affecting your target market–Keeping up with issues and news items that are important to people helps you to be able to target your conversation and, subsequently, your products and services more directly to your prospects whom you want to turn into clients.

Remember, this is  not a complete list of items needed to market your business.  The items in this list are focused on enhancing your networking activities which will lead to greater word of mouth and referrals.

Do You Have the Right Materials for a Successful Word-of-Mouth Campaign?

In order to run a successful word-of-mouth campaign, you need to build an arsenal of credibility-enhancing materials.  You should always have these at your disposal to make the most of every networking opportunity.

Below is a checklist of items you may already have available or wish to begin assembling, which can be used as collateral materials in developing your desired image.  These are not ranked in a particular; they are all key components of the toolkit of a successful word-of-mouth campaign.

Note: Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list of items needed to market your business.  The items in this list are focused on enhancing your networking activities which will lead to greater word of mouth and referrals.

1-Testimonial letters from satisfied clients

2-Photos of yourself, your office facilities, equipment, and/or products

3-Logos of your key customers

4-A list of your memberships and affiliations

5-Question-and-answer sheets

6-Photos of awards and certificates you and your staff have earned

7-Articles you have published, or in which you’re mentioned

8-A one-page flier

9-New-product or service announcements or press releases

10-Current brochures, circulars, and data sheets, and product catalogs

11-Items that reflect your “brand”

12-Items that help you explain your business to your network

13-Client or customer proposals, bid sheets, or marketing letters you have written to existing clients

14-Articles on trends affecting your target market

For the sake of space,  I didn’t go into much detail here regarding each of the items in this list but I can certainly go into plenty more of an explanation as to what these items entail.

I’ll leave it up to all of you blog readers to weigh in on whether or not you’d like to see a follow up blog explaining each of the items listed above . . . so, leave a comment and let me know–should I write a blog giving the details regarding these items?  Thumbs up, or thumbs down?? . . . Thanks!

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