Relationships Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Contact Sphere

Developing a Networking Contact Sphere

A contact sphere is a group of business professionals who have a symbiotic relationship. They are compatible, non-competitive professions. Contact spheres are a broad list of professions that could work well with you. While your Power Team is only those that you are actively working with. Hence, the power team working that symbiotic relationship created in the contact sphere.

My favorite example of a contact sphere is the caterer, the florist, the photographer, the videographer, hairstylist, makeup artist, and the travel agent. I call this the “wedding mafia”! If one gets a referral to a wedding, then they all get a referral to the wedding. These professions, more than most, have truly learned how to work their contact sphere. A contact sphere can be a steady source of leads. Each has clients who can benefit from the services of the others.  This is why a wedding often turns out to be, on the side, a business networking and referral-gathering activity.

To get the most out of your contact sphere:

  • Identify as many professions as possible that fit within your company’s contact sphere. Take a look at what professions your industry tends to work with to get an idea of repetitive and reciprocal referrals. Create a list of these professions.
  • Identify specific individuals who could fit into your contact sphere. Go to various networking groups and consult your business card file and database.
  • Invite these people to participate in networking groups with you so you can formalize your relationship and have a way to stay in regular contact. Maintaining a relationship is key. A good way to do that is to participate in groups that put you together on a regular basis.
  • Evaluate the professionals in your contact sphere that you are presently referring to. If they are not reciprocating, you may have the wrong profession or the wrong person. Fill the spot with someone who is willing to reciprocate.

Although developing a solid contact sphere will greatly increase your business, you must remember that it alone is not enough. Because contact spheres consist of small groups, you’re not likely to gain exposure to a large number of individuals. Hence, work on developing your overall network of contacts at the same time you are developing your contact sphere. Good luck. Contact spheres are a great way to start building your professional network.

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.

Edify Your Referral Source

Edify Your Referral Source

Here is a very important concept that is rarely discussed.  When you get a referral and you meet with the prospect, it is really important that you edify your referral source.  This is a great technique to use because you open up the discussion with the prospect by talking about an area of overlapping interest and knowledge – your mutual acquaintance.  Before you start talking about your business or even asking questions of the prospect – it is important that you edify your referral source.  Tell the prospect how much you respect the person that referred you and talk a little bit about that relationship and why it is so important to you that you give great service to anyone that this person refers.  Spend some time talking about how you both know this individual.  It is a fantastic way to warm up the referral and more importantly, it is a great opportunity to make your referral source look good for having made the referral.

Remember, the number one rule for referrals is to make your referral source look GREAT. You need to demonstrate that you know how to sell to the prospect in a way that doesn’t embarrass the source of your referral—that you’re going to consult with the prospect, discover their needs, offer solutions based on those needs, give them some options, and not force a sale if you know you can’t provide a good solution. On the other hand, if your technique is to hold the prospect hostage at his kitchen table until he breaks down and buys, your referral source will not be pleased that you’ve abused your relationship with them and damaged their relationship with your client. You may get the deal, but you’ve shut yourself off from further deals with that client—and with any future referrals from your source.

Always edify your referral source and act in a way that would make that person want to refer more people to 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.

30th wedding anniversary

30th Wedding Anniversary Thoughts

Yesterday my wife, Elisabeth, and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary together in the Champagne region of France.  We just left a BNI Conference in France and wanted to take a couple of days to celebrate alone.

This gave me time to reflect on the many ways she has been such an amazing life partner and I wrote down some of the things that I’ve said about her over these many years. She is the greatest referral of my lifetime.

Here are just a few 30th wedding anniversary thoughts:

  • You bring color to my black & white world. 
  •  I make the living and you make the living worthwhile.
  •  President John Adams always depended on Abigal Adams as his advisor and confidant. You have always been my “Mrs. Adams.”
  •  It’s hard being me – without you.
  •  You are always the most beautiful woman in a room.
  •  I am a compass and you are magnetic north. I will gravitate to you wherever you are.

She is my bride of 30 years. I wish her another 30 years together.

30th wedding anniversary

 

 

5.6 Billion People

Are We Now Connected to 5.6 Billion People Worldwide?

Here’s an interesting question:

“Hi Ivan – How are you? With BNI at 250,000 members in 70+ countries according to Dunbar we are all 1 degree of social connection from 38 million people, and 2 degrees from 5.6 Billion people (or about 3/4 of the worlds population). Dunbar says 150 people each so 250,000 x 150 x 150 = 5.6 billion people. Is this correct?” 

I received this question in my inbox and it is a very reasonable “Ask Ivan” question.  From a purely mathematical perspective it sounds true.  However, the short answer is, “sorry, no.”

The idea that 5.6 billion people are ALL connected by six people is a myth.

Here’s why.  The Dunbar Number is a sociological equation not a pure mathematical equation.  For example, if you use pure math you must assume that there is no overlap between the 150 people you know and the 150 people I know.  However, we both have many of the same 150 people in our own personal sphere (hence the sociological equation vs. a pure mathematical equation). In addition, don’t forget that Stanley Milgram’s “Six Degrees” is actually a fallacy.  Check out this short video as to why:

https://ivanmisner.com/santa-claus-easter-bunny-six-degrees-separation/

Sorry.  I don’t mean to be a “kill-joy.”  It was a good question.  Maybe the best question I’ve had in a long time.  I like the way you think. I highly recommend for everyone to please continue to send me your questions and I will attempt to answer as many as possible.

Currency

Relationships Are Currency

How can you deepen the relationships with people to get to the point where they will be be willing to help you out in the future? Here are four quick steps about relationship currency to get you moving in the right direction.

Social capital

Social capital is the international currency of networking, especially business networking. If you take as much care in raising and investing your social capital as you do your financial capital, you’ll find that the benefits that flow from these intangible investments will not only be rewarding in themselves, but they will multiply your material returns many times over.

How many times have you seen an entrepreneur, maybe even yourself, go to a networking event, meet a lot of good people, then leave and never talk to them again, right? It probably happens too often. Not because the entrepreneur doesn’t like them; it’s really because they haven’t had system to connect. New contacts are really where future business is often born. It’s meeting those new people and getting into visibility that leads to the rest of your business.

It’s not the number of contacts you make that’s important, but the ones that you turn into lasting relationships. You’ll always get better results trying to deepen relationships with people you already know than starting relationships with strangers.

Relationships are part of the fabric of the development of your social capital. You must keep investing in the relationship if you ever expect to make a withdrawal. 

 

Ivan’s Inner Circle

Tomorrow is the Unveiling of Ivan’s Inner Circle

Ivan’s Inner Circle is addressing both of these pain points because I will be your mentor. I will teach everything I have learned over the past 30+ years in networking and referral generation, and our technology partner at Synduit will become the only marketing software you need to build and implement your marketing plan for the entire year. I have not been this excited in years because the impact that all of us will produce together will be seismic in the world, and it will also take your franchise to the next level while supporting all of your members as well.

The more I think about this launch, the more I realize how vital this program is to the success of small business owners and franchisers. Networking, referral generation, and marketing have become somewhat of a lost art and nearly every marketing software that I have ever seen is too complicated for the everyday user.

I am ready to share Ivan’s Inner Circle with you and anyone else you decide to invite during our official unveiling tomorrow – Tuesday, March 26 at 12 pm ET (9 am PT).

If you have not done so, please make sure to register here: https://tribe.synduit.com/IvanInnerCircle0001

Inner Circle

Be a Part of my Inner Circle

Networking, referral generation, and emotional intelligence still aren’t taught in colleges and universities and nearly every marketing software system that I have ever seen is too complicated for the everyday user. For the past decade I have been thinking about building an environment where I could easily share the top lessons and skills I have acquired on networking, referral marketing, time management, and scaling a company with a select inner circle.  I am pleased to say that I found the perfect partner to make these lessons an absolute game-changer for business people.

Ivan’s Inner Circle

I am really excited, because after 10-years of contemplating this idea, my friends at Synduit have developed a program they call “Ivan’s Inner Circle” which will officially launch on Tuesday, March 26 at 12 pm ET (9 am PT) during a FREE live webinar and Q&A.

I will be your mentor. I will teach everything I have learned over the past 30+ years in networking and referral generation. Our technology partner will become the only marketing software you need to build and implement your marketing plan for the entire year. Allow me to mentor you on networking, referral generation, and marketing with the simplest marketing software for your business that you will ever find.

Who’s in Your Network?

The first webinar topic is: “Who’s in Your Network?”  It is a spin on the content from Who’s in Your Room? but it is specifically aimed at BNI members and networking. Please invite other business people you know to this experience too.

I invite you to please join me by registering here: https://tribe.synduit.com/IvanInnerCircle0001

I have not been this excited in a long time, and I am eager for you to take part in this monumental launch of “Ivan’s Inner Circle”.

Paolo Mariola

Collaborating Instead of Competing – by Paolo Mariola

International Networking Week: “A New World of Opportunity” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Paolo Mariola

National Director – BNI Italia

Paolo Mariola

When we talk about work, or more generally about the changes we are dealing with everyday, a word is often recurrent: the word opportunity. A word that, in the right phrase at the right time, create in the listener a series of thoughts, and hopes of reaching a goal or to realize a project. One of the synonyms of opportunity is a favorable occasion, that brings with it a positive change (almost everytime). And if we think about it, we live in an age where many opportunities are at hand. But above all, we live in what we could define the most relational age ever. The age in which relationships are not a way but a real aim.

When I think about this, I begin to reflect on the great opportunities that referral marketing has brought and continues to bring to professionals and entrepreneurs all over the world. And I always pause on one in particular. When we talk about marketing strategies, we usually declare “beat the competitors”, “doing better than competitors”…and so on. Referral Marketing turns upside down this point of view by finding in collaboration and not in competition the real opportunity for growth starting from a precise assumption: the global result coming from collaboration is larger than the sum of the single results that would be obtained individually. It is an approach to the business world that looks at the Other not as a competitor but as an opportunity: a great resource from a professional, intellectual, human point of view, able of enriching us and giving us the possibility to reach goals that we would not be able to reach alone.

For years I have worked as an entrepreneur in information technology and business processes. I have always realized that if I had tried to go on looking only at my interest or I had kept for me every business opportunity that came from my client, I could not say today that I had succeeded as entrepreneur. One of the fundamentals of my success, is that I have always been able to have competent and specialized people around me in those fields where I was not up to the task or who did not represent my specific preparation

Seeing today many Italian entrepreneurs and professionals who apply this approach to their business is certainly one of the things that makes me proud. Approaching the market by practicing the culture of abundance brings positive benefits for the customer, for suppliers, for the market and for the whole economy in a larger scale. Therefore, thanks to Referral Marketing and the culture of abundance, a new world of opportunity opens up to us. An opportunity as big as the world.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2019!

Paolo Mariola National Director – BNI Italia

say no

Improve Your Life by Learning How to Say No

Sometimes people come knocking at your door because they want something from you. However, you either don’t want to work with them or that project doesn’t resonate with you or your values. Other times, you may be dealing with people already in your room, and we feel this is an important aspect of our message. Here are seven ways you can say no and not come across like a jerk (or worse):

  • If I say yes, I’m afraid I’d let you down. A very effective way to tell someone no is to tell them you believe you’d let them down if you do what they are asking. It might be because you don’t have the bandwidth, the knowledge, or the expertise to do what they are asking; but, in any case, you’re not the person to help make this idea a success, and you don’t want to disappoint them. This type of response not only gets you off the hook but also affirms your work ethic and shows you want the person and their project to succeed.
  • Know the difference between an opportunity and a distraction. Recognizing this distinction begins by knowing your own personal or professional mission. If you know your purpose/expertise/mission, then you can say no when someone comes to you with something that is a distraction to that mission. This strategy can be particularly helpful for projects that perhaps interest you in theory but don’t align with your goals and mission in practice, right now. One of the best ways to apply this concept is to use the technique below.
  • Refer them to someone more qualified. When we say no to someone, we always try to refer them to someone who is more qualified or more suited to help that person. We also try to refer them to someone whose mission is more in alignment with their project. Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should if it’s not truly your area of expertise.
  • I don’t do that. Sometimes the request and response can be very simple. For example, when someone tries to convince Ivan to have a piece of cake or pie, he simply says, “Thanks, but I don’t eat processed sugar.” When they say something like, “Oh, just a bite,” he has no problem telling them they should feel free to have his bite—because he doesn’t eat sugar.
  • Don’t “Seinfeld” it. One of the really funny things on the old TV series Seinfeld was how the characters would go off on some crazy, complicated subterfuge or ruse and end up getting in more trouble than if they had just been candid to start with. Be polite, but be honest and direct.
  • Propose something else. If you are unable to do something that you’re being asked to do, offer them something else instead. If you are a restaurant owner, maybe you can’t afford to cater that 5K charity race for free, but maybe you can afford to donate several gift certificates for the charity to raffle. By proposing something else, you can still build a relationship.
  • When you say it, mean it! Be a broken record. Sometimes people don’t take no for an answer. Try to be polite, smile, and repeat what you said before. Don’t be surprised if you have to repeat yourself multiple times before people understand you meant what you said.

Let Me Help You Create Your Best Life

This is the premise behind the newest book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life” by Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio.

To order the book, please use this link: https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom

The Kindle edition of “Who’s in Your Room” is available for a limited time for only $1. Download it while the Cyber Monday special lasts.
https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoomKindle

Engines

Are the People Trying to Enter Your Room Engines or Anchors?

Over the years I’ve recognized that there are some people who are positive and supportive individuals that I really want to be around.  They are solutions focused relating to most problems and are almost always willing to talk through challenges with a positive end in mind.  These people are engines.  They help me be my best self and they motivate me to drive forward.

I’ve also noticed, as I’m sure you have, that there are some people who complain as though it were an Olympic event (for the record – it’s not!).  They tend to be negative, argumentative, and obsessed with problems.  I’ve learned not to spend much time with these people because they focus on all the things that are wrong relating to most challenges.   If all someone does is focus on problems – they become an expert on problems and not on the solutions.   These people are anchors, they hold me back and weigh me down.

Who do you surround yourself with: engines or anchors?

This is an important question for everyone.  It’s particularly important if you are trying to build a powerful personal network of people around you.  Is your network full of people who are engines helping you go to the next level in your life or your career?  Or, are they anchors weighing you down with the plethora of issues, problems, and complaints? Do they hold you back, or do they drive you forward?

The funny thing here is that no-one thinks they’re an anchor.  No one!  Of course, they’ll tell you that they are an engine – they just do not like the direction you are going and that’s why they come across the way they do.  For the record – they’re an anchor – with a motor attached. My advice is to call for “all hands on deck,” cut loose the anchors in your life, partner up with your fellow engines and go full-speed ahead.

Doorman

This is where your Doorman comes in. Your Doorman is looking for engines, people helping you go to the next level in your life. Your Doorman should forbid entrance to the anchors, people weighing you down with a plethora of issues, problems, and complaints.

This is just a little of the content from my new book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life.”  Check out the book here: https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom.

If you would like to be in my room, CLICK HERE. 

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