Being Right But Doing It All Wrong!string(35) "Being Right But Doing It All Wrong!"

The business I’m in involves a lot of coaching and guiding of franchisees to teach them how to coach and guide entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professionals to generate referrals for themselves and others.  Sometimes this feels a little like ‘herding cats’; entrepreneurs hate being told what to do and it takes a real skill set to move them in a direction that involves a lot of hard work but will help them achieve the results they want.

One of the biggest challenges I have in this process is not with the actual entrepreneur or salesperson but with the individual I’m coaching to be able to guide the entrepreneur or salesperson. These people have gone through many hours of training, tend to have a fair amount of field experience, and have support manuals that exceed a thousand pages of documentation to assist in the process.   They are true expertsI’ve discovered, however, that sometimes expertise can actually be a problem. Just because your expertise may arm you with the knowledge to recognize the solution to a problem or challenge, it doesn’t mean other people are going to automatically ‘believe’ you know the solution and/or want you to actually tell them the solution.  I know that sounds counter intuitive; however, if you’ve ever raised a child, you know that this is often times absolutely true!

So, let’s say you’re an expert.  You know you’re an expert.  You know that you can help someone else.  You also know that this “someone else” is a grownup who runs their own business or is an independent sales rep who chose their particular career for good reason . . . they like the freedom of being independent.  How do you move these people in the right direction?

I had a person who worked for my company who once went into one of my locations and was appalled by how badly things were being run by the members of the group.  She let them know in no uncertain terms what they were doing wrong and how they needed to turn it around. Her assessment of the situation and the solutions she proposed were spot on but her presentation of them was all wrong. She was so blunt with the group’s members that she received a very negative reaction from them and ended up leaving the place an even bigger mess than it was when she first walked in.  When I met with her to talk about how she might have done things differently, she grew furious with me for not supporting her since she was right and the members of the group were wrong.  I wasn’t arguing that she was right–she was.  The problem I had was how she handled the situation–in that area, she was completely wrong. I tried to explain this to her by sharing one of my favorite sayings relating to the dilemma:  “Don’t burn down the barn to roast the pig.” In other words, don’t make things worse than you found them when you were trying to fix them in the first place.

She could never really wrap her head around the concept that people may not welcome her advice with enthusiasm and agree with her stance on an issue when she was clearly right.  She didn’t work for me for much longer (make of that what you will) and, eventually, we got an expert to work with that group who ‘listened’ to their issues,  Built relationships with the group members, and then coached them into achieving the greatness they had within them.  It’s important to note that this process took time and patience.

There are two things I try to teach people in this situation.

First, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If you want people to listen to you when you are coaching them or re-directing them, they have to know that you care about them and want them to succeed.  If they don’t know this down to their core – they will not listen to your advice.  Ever.

Second, is a saying given to me by mother on a paper weight when I was about 16 years old and I was running an uphill battle for a student council race.  My mother gave me this paper weight (which is still on my desk in my home to this date).  The paper weight says: Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” When she gave me that, she explained that I had to learn how to work “with” people – not “through” people.  She said that even if I did know the answer to a problem – it did no good if no one else believed me.  That advice helped me win the election and it has helped me many times throughout my life.  I have to admit that I don’t always use it as well as I can – however, when I do use it, things almost always go more smoothly.

The bottom line is this: being right doesn’t help much if no one is willing to follow you.

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Maybe you can share a story . . . but, remember to keep it positive.  Let’s focus on positive outcomes more than just horror stories.

Yeah, But I’m Differentstring(25) "Yeah, But I’m Different"

An old friend of mine, Don Osborne, shared with me some material he wrote many years ago about how many of us use the “I’m different” syndrome to simply avoid doing something we don’t want to do. I’ve revised it a bit and am sharing it with you here today.  I hope you find it interesting.

When it comes to ourselves, we’re always the exception.  Everybody else should do what’s been proved to work. Personal development works as soon as we stop treating ourselves as the exception. True, everyone is unique–but not different when it comes to self-development. 

 Perhaps it’s only procrastination that leads us to declare that we’re “different.” Or our “circumstances” prevent us from agreeing to follow proven methods of self improvement. Maybe it’s the fear of success or failure in making changes. There are all kinds of legitimate concerns, but none is an adequate excuse for not engaging in self-development activities. There is no good excuse for not following the basics. 

Everybody who has achieved success has succumbed to the basics. In fact, many success stories talk about fighting the urge to reinvent the wheel and sticking to what’s been proved to work. Why we fight city hall on “I’ll succeed without doing what’s been proved,” I don’t know. But it’s a fight you’re going to have to lose if you want to win the battle for an improved lifestyle.

It shouldn’t take a tragedy or a major event to send you down the road of self-development.  True, most of the success stories we hear about or grab the headlines are like that. You could wait for, or create, a spectacular situation to spur you on. Most stories of success go untold because they weren’t born out of tragedy. Rather, they were born out of frustration, and being sick and tired of being “sick and tired.”

The reality is that most of us are living out our own story in quiet desperation. A story sufficient enough to make you different. The kind of different that qualifies you as unique and, therefore, a candidate for the tried-and-true methods of self-development.

Stop hiding behind the excuse of “I’m different.” Accept what all who have succeeded know: The basics work, no exceptions.

It’s Not WHAT You Know, But WHO You Know–True or False?string(67) "It’s Not WHAT You Know, But WHO You Know–True or False?"

How many times have you heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know” when it comes to determining success??  I’m willing to bet that over the course of your life to this point, you’ve heard it a lot.  Do you think it’s true?  Well, it’s not–it’s false.  It’s not what you know, or who you know–it’s how well you know them that really counts.

Here’s the difference.  How many people do you know?  Open up your e-mail address book and count the names.  You know as many people as are listed n your e-mail address book and probably a lot more.  Now, reach into your pocket and pull out your car keys.  How many of the people you know would you hand your car keys to?

Surely, now you understand that the importance of how well you know a person.  A contact is a person you know but with whom you have not yet established a strong relationship.  A connection, on the other hand, is someone who know you and trusts you because you’ve taken the time to establish credibility with that person.

Your network must not only be broad but also deep.  When you rely on others to cross-market your business or promote your program to a client, you’re not asking a simple favor.  For true referral networking, you need relationships that are deeper than mere contacts; you need strong connections, established well in advance.

So, beginning this week, focus on taking the time and energy to cultivate deep relationships by giving your referral sources anything and everything you can to help them succeed.  These will be the relationships you can count on when you need powerful connections because it really isn’t what you know or who you know–it’s how well you know them, how well they know you, and how well they know the people you want to meet.

Whoopee in the Cornfieldsstring(25) "Whoopee in the Cornfields"

Here’s the thing with networking: If you want to get more business, you have to  be willing to give business to other businesspeople. That’s why I founded my networking organization, BNI, on the central, guiding philosophy of giving benefit to others–Givers Gain®. It’s an ethical theme that is common to all religions, all cultures: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you want to get referrals, do the best job you can of giving referrals to others.

I’d like to share with you a story that I originally heard from one of my BNI directors, Art Radtke, which will help you remember this concept.  It was originally called “Sex in the Cornfields,” but I figured “Whoopee in the Cornfields” would be a more decorous title. 😉

Whoopee in the Cornfields

A farmer in Nebraska won the state fair four times in a row with his corn. Nobody had ever done that before, so the paper sent someone out to interview him.

The reporter asked, “What is your secret? Do you use special corn seed?”

The farmer said, “Absolutely. I develop my own corn seed, and that’s an important aspect of it.”

“Well, then, that’s your secret,” said the reporter. “You plant a type of corn that’s different from your neighbors.”

“No, I also give it to my neighbors,” said the farmer.

“You give it to your neighbors?” asked the incredulous reporter. “Why in the world would you give your award-winning corn to your neighbors?”

“The farmer said, “Well, you’ve got to understand how corn is pollinated. It’s pollinated from neighboring fields. And if you’ve got fields around you that don’t have this top-quality corn, your field is not going to grow top-quality corn either. But if my neighbor’s field has this really strong corn, I have awesome corn. And that’s how I’ve won at the Nebraska State Fair the last four years in a row.”

This story is a great metaphor for how networking works.  Put simply, if you’re going to be an effective networker, you need to go into networking with a commitment to helping other people because that is how you’ll be helped in return.

Make the Connectionstring(19) "Make the Connection"

One of my employees told me this week that she passed some advice from one of my books on to her cousin; it was about making connections at networking functions.  She told me that her cousin, Greg, recently joined a chamber of commerce to promote the new business he started after being laid off from the company he had worked in for a number of years and he felt clueless as to how to form connections with the strangers he came in contact with at mixers.

My employee remembered reading an article by Alice Ostrower in my book Masters of Networking about making connections so she passed it on to Greg. Reportedly he feels much more comfortable at mixers and has been having a lot more success in networking his business because he now has a strategy for making connections and he feels he knows his purpose when he arrives at a networking event.

Here are the four standard techniques that have been working for Greg and I guarantee they will help you get your networking message across effectively and encourage a positive response (Thanks, Alice! :)):

1.  Get the person’s attention.  Show interest by asking questions: “How are you?” “Where are you from?” “What do you do?” “Have you heard about? . . .” “Did you know? . . .”

2.  Add interest.  Respond to the answer but don’t move the conversation to you; elicit more information from the other person.

3.  Involve.  Use the “feel, felt, found” formula (“I know how you feel, I felt the same way, and this is what I found”) to involve yourself in the other person’s message before you deliver your own.

4.  Network.  Tie it all together by connecting one person’s needs or goals with the resources, needs, or goals of another person.  For example: “I felt the same way until I met John Jones.  He really helped me accomplish my goals.  Why don’t I have him give you a call?  Is tomorrow evening convenient?”

This is networking at its best.  Your new acquaintance finds a solution to a problem, your referral gets new business, and you gain a reputation as a friendly, reliable, knowledgeable person who seems to know everybody.  Your name and reputation will become familiar to more and more people, and your business will automatically benefit in the long run.

Learning to Use the Law of Reciprocity: 4 Tipsstring(46) "Learning to Use the Law of Reciprocity: 4 Tips"

I posted a blog this past Monday explaining what networkers need to know about the law of reciprocity, and I promised that I’d follow up today with some tips on what to keep in mind as you learn to use the law of reciprocity in your networking efforts. Below you will find four very important things to remember:

Tip No. 1–Giving means helping others achieve success. What is your plan to contribute to others? How much time and energy can you spare for this? Do you actively seek out opportunities to help people? You could volunteer to help out with something that’s important to someone in your network, offer advice or support in time of need, or even work hard to connect someone to a valuable contact of yours.

Tip No. 2–The person who helps you will not necessarily be the person you helped. Zig Ziglar says, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” In other words, what goes around comes around. If you focus intently on helping others, you will achieve success in the end.

Tip No. 3–The law of reciprocity can be measured. It is a myth that networking cannot be measured and, in my latest book, Networking Like a Pro, my co-authors and I use the Networking Scorecard Worksheet, part of the Certified Networker Program offered through the Referral Institute, to measure networking. If you apply the law of reciprocity, you will see your weekly total networking score gradually rise.

Tip No. 4–Success takes getting involved. Contrary to Woody Allen’s assertion that “90 percent of success is just showing up,” you have to do more than simply be present to be a successful networker. If you join a chamber of commerce, become an ambassador. If you join a BNI chapter, get involved in the leadership team. If you join a civic organization, get on a committee. The law of reciprocity requires giving to the group; it will pay you back many times over.

A master networker understands that, although networking is not the end but simply the means to growing a business, service to your network of contacts must always be uppermost in your networking activities. Once you have established a solid reputation as someone who cares about the success of others, the law of reciprocity will reward you with an abundance of high quality referrals.

What You Need to Know about the Law of Reciprocitystring(50) "What You Need to Know about the Law of Reciprocity"

The term reciprocity is at the center of relationship networking, but it is often misunderstood. Webster’s dictionary defines reciprocity as “a mutual or cooperative interchange of favors or privileges,” as when actions taken for the benefit of others are returned in kind. This leads many inexperienced networkers to expect an immediate return for any actions they take on behalf of another.  Givers gain, right? Wrong.

Not every act of giving will be immediately rewarded by the recipient, and if you go into relationship networking thinking that simply giving a referral is enough to get you a referral in return, you’re confusing a relationship with a transaction. On the contrary, the idea driving Givers Gain® is actually the principle of giving without the expectation of an immediate return. In networking, this idea is called the law of reciprocity ,and the law of reciprocity differs from the standard notion of reciprocity in that the giver cannot, should not and does not expect an immediate return on her investment in another person’s gain. The only thing she can be sure of is that, given enough effort and time, her generosity will be returned by family, friends, colleagues and others–many times over and in many different ways.

Put simply, the law of reciprocity in networking means that by providing benefits (including referrals) to others, you will be creating strong networking relationships that will eventually bring benefits (especially referrals) to you, often in a very roundabout way rather than directly from the person you benefit.  This makes the law of reciprocity an enormously powerful tool for growing your own business’s size and profitability.

I know a lot of experienced networkers who have amazing stories about how the law of reciprocity has proved to them that there’s far more business to be gained by referring business to others than you might at first expect. If you have a story you’d like to share, I’d love to hear it, so leave a comment. Also, be sure to check back on Thursday for some tips on what to keep in mind as your learn to use the law of reciprocity.

How Did You Learn to Network?string(29) "How Did You Learn to Network?"

In reviewing the results of the Referral Institute study of more than 12,000 businesspeople from all over the world, we have some interesting data on how people become better at networking. Respondents were allowed to select more than one method that they used to develop their skills in this area.

Interestingly, participating in networking groups was by far the No. 1 method that people identified in developing their networking skills.

How have you developed your networking skills and what do you think is the best way to do so?

 

Businesses Say Networking Helps Them Succeed; Professors Have to Look up the Term Networking!string(93) "Businesses Say Networking Helps Them Succeed; Professors Have to Look up the Term Networking!"

My recently completed Referral Institute study of more than 12,000 business professionals from all around the world has ended, and I’ve been going through mountains of statistics and data (oh joy).  I thought I might share an important one with my readers.  This statistic will not surprise anyone in the real world (yes professors, I’m saying you live in a fantasy world):  91.4 percent of all respondents claimed that networking played a role in their success.  Only 6 percent said it did not, and I’m guessing that the 2.7 percent that said networking wasn’t applicable were the professors I just outed as being clueless about the real world.  If you think I’m being harsh, read my blog about my experience with the dean of a local California University who said that networking would never be taught in his school!

OK, so the rest of us aren’t surprised about this result, but here’s why I posted it: Finally, we have some empirical data as to how important business networking is to the success of a business! Maybe now that we are starting to have something boring–like  hard data– more professors in business schools will start to teach this content.  Oh well, it’s good to have goals.

Are You Paying ‘Attention’ to Your ‘Intention?’string(71) "Are You Paying ‘Attention’ to Your ‘Intention?’"

Today’s blog posting is from Betty Jo Waxman of Productive Learning and Leisure. I saw a presentation she did recently and really liked her material, which she has allowed me to share here:

You always have an intention –and it’s always working.  If you haven’t set one consciously, then your unconscious intention is in play!

Project yourself ahead, to some point in the future. Then, looking back, what would you like to come away with and how do you want to feel about it?  Answer = your intention.

What to Use It for:

  1. Long Term–where you’re going and who you’re becoming.
  2. Any situation that has some level of importance to you where you have some level of doubt about how it will turn out–really, doubt about how you will do/perform/feel. One “helpful” step:
    Commit it to paper!

Five “critical” factors:

  1. State it in the present or the past. The future never comes!
  2. State it in the positive; what you want, not what you don’t want.
  3. Identify what you want to achieve, not how you will achieve it.
  4. Make it believable . . . to you! You always believe something: Either you believe your intention is possible, or you believe it can’t happen–which becomes your intention!
  5. Your Attention must be in alignment with your Intention. What you give your attention to is what you’ll find, and in turn it’s what you will have the opportunity to engage in.

We have to master both Intention and Attention to take ourselves to the level of consciously creating our own success.

Xerox, A Love Storystring(19) "Xerox, A Love Story"

I love a company that takes care of its employees.  When times are tough, you hear one story after another about companies callously letting go of the very people who drive the business.  Well, here’s a story that I think every company should emulate.

A number of years ago, Xerox had some big cutbacks.  A large government contract had not been renewed and Xerox was forced to close down work being done in one of its large plants in Southern California.  Unfortunately, three buildings had to be shut down, and virtually all the employees working in those buildings had to be let go.  My dad was one of those employees.  He was 62 years old and had worked for the company as an electrician for nine years and 8 months.  He was, unfortunately, only four months short of vesting in his retirement and medical benefits.  When management discovered this, officials worked with him to change his classification and to allow him to help clear out, board up and shut down the three buildings.

When my dad finished the job early, Xerox found other work for him to do.  The company ended up laying off every employee in those buildings, including my father’s supervisors.  However, it kept my dad on until he hit 10 years and one week of employment.  Then the company laid him off with all his fellow employees.  However, he was now fully vested in his retirement and medical benefits, which completely changed his lifestyle for the better during his retirement years.

Most companies, under these circumstances, would have let an employee go without blinking.  Most companies would not have cared that an employee was only four months short of retirement.   Xerox cared.  I love that about the company, and I love its product. This happened more than a decade ago.  I promised myself that I would only buy Xerox copiers from then on.  The latest one is in my office today.

I love a company that cares about its people this much because it speaks volumes about the company’s ethics and loyalty–it shows me that it does what’s right even if it doesn’t necessarily benefit the company.  A company that cares about doing what’s right is a company you can trust; you don’t have to constantly look over your shoulder and wonder if it’s going to take advantage of you or rip you off.  To this day, I have great confidence in Xerox as a company and I am more than glad to give it my business.

If you have had a great experience with a specific company, why not pay them a little lip service?  I, for one, would love to find out about great companies that probably deserve my business.  Leave a comment here and tell me what company you love and what it is about them that makes you love it.

‘Relationships are Irrelevant!’ Really?string(51) "‘Relationships are Irrelevant!’ Really?"

Last week I wrote a blog called “Premature Solicitation,” which was about a situation where someone whom I had never met and didn’t know asked me to introduce him and his product to a very important connection of mine.

I shared this blog in a couple of venues, including one of my favorite online social networks.  A great dialog ensued with most people sharing their horror stories and frustrations about people who pounce on them at networking meetings asking for business even though they’ve never met the person before.

Every time I start to think this is an almost universal feeling of distaste for that approach to networking, I am brought back to reality by the minority of people who still think that this is actually a good networking technique.

To my astonishment, someone on the forum actually wrote:

“I don’t happen to believe that you need a relationship with the person you are asking first. What you must have is a compelling story or product/service that would genuinely benefit the referral . . .

The fact that you had not cultivated a relationship with the person has become irrelevant because, more importantly, you had been in a position to help [your contact] benefit from the introduction.  If it’s of genuine benefit to the person being referred, I don’t see the problem . . .

It’s about the benefit of what’s being referred rather than the relationship with the person asking for the referral . . .

Who am I to deny my contacts of something good?”

Wow.  What can I say?  The “relationship” is irrelevant! All you have to have is a good story, product or service and I owe it to any stranger (who says he or she has a good product) to introduce him or her to a good contact of mine!  Really? People really think this way!? According to this writer, it doesn’t matter if I actually know or trust the person wanting the business.  As long as the person has a good product (or so he says), I should refer that person because I would “deny” my contacts “something good!”

Networkers against Premature Solicitation unite!  We need to teach people that this is NOT a good way to network.  After reading my blog, a good friend of mine, TR Garland, started a Facebook page called: Facebook Users Who are Tired of Premature Solicitation (Oh My)! Take a look at it and sign up!

Also–tell me here in this blog what you think about the quotes above.  Do YOU want to get hit up by people at networking events this way?  Please tell me I’m not alone!  Networking is about relationship building–not “pouncing” on people because you think you have something good to sell them!

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