No Time for Small Talkstring(22) "No Time for Small Talk"

People often mistakenly perceive what goes on at networking meetings and events as making small talk with a bunch of strangers.  Real business networking , however, isn’t about making small talk at all; rather it is about building meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with other business professionals and small talk isn’t generally something that helps further this aim.  Serious networkers, recognizing that they have limited time to introduce themselves and convey the essence of what they do, generally avoid lengthy small talk. 

 

If you want to build your business through word of mouth, you must give a message that’s heard by others.  You need to create a positive message and deliver it effectively–who are you, what do you offer, and to whom do you offer it?  When you properly position yourself with an effective message instead of trying to connect through making small talk, you save time because others quickly understand  what your company represents and offers.

Take the time to plan your introduction and prepare some concise and descriptive overviews of your products or services.  Then, when you meet someone for the first time, you can give him a good explanation of what you have to offer.  I recommend that you develop several scripts that you can readily use when attending networking meetings.

Show pride in who you are and what you do.  As an example of this, I often mention a fantastic quote from Martha Taft.  When she was a young girl in elementary school, she was asked to introduce herself to a group of people.  “My name is Martha Bowers Taft,” she said.  “My great-grandfather was President of the United States, my grandfather was a United States Senator, my daddy is Ambassador to Ireland, and I am a Brownie.”

If you have honed your message and have crafted an introduction which has been very effective for you at networking functions, I encourage you to share it in the comment forum below and to explain how you went about constructing your message and your introduction.  You never know who you’ll help by sharing your insights. Thanks!

Networking Faux Pas Video Series: Abusing the Relationshipstring(58) "Networking Faux Pas Video Series: Abusing the Relationship"

This is the first post of a series of video blogs I’ll be doing on networking faux pas.  The faux pas I talk about in this video is what I call “abusing the relationship.”  I tell the story of a woman who used her relationship with another networker in a way that was very wrong and even somewhat deceptive.

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to do videos from time to time on some of the most egregious faux pas I’ve seen over the years when it comes to networking.

I’d love to hear your reaction to this first faux pas–how would you handle it if someone from your networking group invited you into a similar situation?  Would you feel comfortable referring them to others in your network in the future after the incident?   Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

Training Referral Sources to Generate Referrals for Youstring(55) "Training Referral Sources to Generate Referrals for You"

If you interact with your clients, customers, referral sources, and contacts with a referral mind-set, show them that you are a giver, help others, and continually and strategically give referrals, you’re modeling the behavior you want others to exhibit toward you.  By itself, however, that’s not enough to train them to give you referrals.

Contacts who are not involved in your strong-contact network may not be aware of what is involved  in the kind of true referral networking that you are conducting.  Often you will have to coach them as you go, letting them know exactly what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what they may expect from your efforts.

Let’s say you’ve heard about a colleague whose stolen credit cards have been used to run up some big charges: “Stephanie, I’ve been talking with a colleague about your identity-theft problem and have arranged for him to send you a number of internet links that will help you quickly straighten out your credit problems.  I also know a lawyer who specializes in this field.  Would you like for me to contact him for you?  I hope you’ll keep me updated on your progress, and let me know if there’s any other way I can help.”

Similarly, if you’re passing a referral to an untrained but potentially valuable referral partner, let him know exactly what you’re doing and suggest ways he can reciprocate: “Jim, I know a specialist who provides the exact services you say you need.  I’ve known him for fifteen years and have used him many times.  He’s good, and he’s trustworthy.  May I ask him to call you?  And by the way, if you know a general contractor who constructs steel-frame buildings in the Valley and can use the new kind of fasteners I sell, would you please consider giving me a referral?”

By talking openly about what you’re doing, you’re not only modeling the behavior you want from your potential referral partner, you’re getting him to think about it, which is an essential part of learning.  You’re also asking him to practice it in a way that will help him repeat the behavior later.  It’s not a guarantee that he will reciprocate, but it makes it more likely that he will get the idea and respond in kind–at first, out of simple gratitude; later, out of the realization that a continuing referral relationship is good business for both of you.

One of the best ways to train a referral source is to go to a professional referral-training seminar and take your source with you.  This way, you will both be trained by an expert and will be speaking the same language–the language of referrals.

If you have an additional tactic for training referral sources to generate referrals for you, I’d love to hear it.  Please share it in the comment forum below. Thanks!

Are You Building Deep Referral Relationships?string(45) "Are You Building Deep Referral Relationships?"

Many people have surface-level referral relationships.  They know just enough about a referral source’s business to get by.  They don’t actually know a lot about the person themselves.  They tend to say vague things like: “They are really nice,” “You’ll like them, they are a good person,” or “Well, if you just meet with them, I am sure you’ll like them.”

So, what are the key points to having a deep referral relationship?  If you know the following points about a person and his or her business, you would have a pretty deep referral relationship:

  • You believe they are an expert at what they do.
  • You trust them to do a great job and take great care of your referred prospects.
  • You have known each other for at least one year.
  • You understand at least three major products or services within their business and feel comfortable explaining them to others.
  • You know the names of their family members and have met them personally.
  • You have both asked each other how you can help grow your respective businesses.
  • You know at least five of their goals for the year, including personal goals and business goals.
  • You could call them at 10 o’clock at night if you really needed something.
  • You would not feel awkward asking them for help with either a personal or business challenge.
  • You enjoy the time you spend together.
  • You have regular appointments scheduled, both business and personal.
  • You enjoy seeing them achieve further success.
  • They are “top of mind” each and every day.
  • You have open, honest talks about how  you can help each other further.

You may be shocked at the level of personal knowledge required for a deep referral relationship, feeling that referrals should be all about business.  I completely disagree.  It takes a lot to develop this type of relationship, and my hope is that you’ll make the effort with someone you truly like, have the desire to help, and want to spend time with.

After reviewing the bullet points above, what conclusions have you come to about the depth of your current referral relationships?  Are your relationships more or less in line with these points, or could they use some work?  If you have some work to do, what are some of the tactics you are going to start with in order to deepen your relationships?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below.

The 3 Networks You Need to Join If You Haven’t Alreadystring(60) "The 3 Networks You Need to Join If You Haven’t Already"

In the book Room Full of Referrals (click here for the paperback edition and click here for the Kindle edition) which I wrote with Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons, we talk about the Top Ten Referral Marketing Basics and number one is:

RfOR

Belong to Three Different Networks

  • A Service Network like the Rotary Club, for example.  Service clubs are devised for just that, to provide service to an organization.  Your main reason for joining a service clubwould not be to gain business.  Most people truly believe in what the organization is doing and have a passion for it.  While your main goal is to serve the community or organization, you will also be building relationships and, yes, business may come to  you through this group.  However, it should not be your main reason for joining.
  • A Casual Contact Network, like a Chamber of Commerce.  Casual networks provide a way for you to meet a larger amount of people at one time.  There are less restrictions with this group, and they mainly do large mixers.  A key benefit to the casual contact networks is that you can meet people who would be good referrals for your referral sources.  Having a large sphere of influence is important in your being able to give lots of referrals on a regular basis.
  • A Strong Contact Network, like BNI. Strong contact networks like BNI provide exclusivity.  For example, only one person per profession is allowed to be part of the group.  They also incorporate more structure and commitment from their members, which in turn greatly increases the amount of loyalty and participation.  These groups are designed to gain referral business.  The key is to only belong to one of these types of groups to ensure follow-through, commitment and loyalty.

When you create a strong referral network, you’ll want to be able to give lots of referrals to them as well.  You’ll need a wide sphere of influence within which you have substantial credibility, so as they need things in their life, you can refer them.  It’s as Referral Institute® Partner Mike Macedonio states in the book:

“It is not just the breadth of the relationships that you have, it’s the breadth and depth of the relationships that are the most important.”

Being involved in three different networks will give you breadth–all you have to do is create the depth! 

What are you going to do this week to expand your networking involvement to include all three networks and to deepen your relationships?  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum.

Who’s In Your Room? – A Personal Storystring(50) "Who’s In Your Room? – A Personal Story"

A few years ago my company was in the midst of one of the largest projects in the history of our organization.  The project involved many people—it was very complex and financially challenging.  It was also in trouble.  I needed to select a key player for the project team.  The man I chose had incredibly strong technical skills.  He was very qualified for the project and was the perfect person to help turn this around . . . or so I thought.  I knew he came with a lot of baggage.  He didn’t always play well with others, he would fly off the handle emotionally when talking to people and, worst of all, he brought an immense amount of drama to the workplace.  On the other hand he was highly qualified for the work. Based on those qualifications, I hired him as manager. I suspected there would be problems with the drama and the outbursts – however, I felt I could coach him and guide him through this.

It turns out I was wrong.  Monumentally wrong. 

Despite his incredible technical skills, his behavior more than offset his technical strengths.  The project went from problematic to horrific within a year.  It was way over budget, well behind schedule, and not nearly the quality that I expected.   Around this time, one of the project team members told me that the best thing the project manager could do for a meeting was to call in sick!  The team member said when the manager was not there they got a lot more done.

Right about that time, I attended a presentation that Stewart Emery did where he talked about the concept of “Who’s in Your Room?”.  I walked out of that presentation and decided right then and there that this project leader should have never been in my room.  I also realized that getting him out of the room was going to be very difficult.  Why?  Because he kept everything close to the vest.  Most of the people in the project didn’t understand or know many of the aspects of the work, because this project leader didn’t collaborate or share information freely.  I understood that removing him from the room was going to be difficult and painful.  But I was clear on the reality that it had to be done.

It ended up taking months to lay the ground work with everyone on the team by me personally engaging them in pieces of the project they needed to know but weren’t privy to with this manager.  I had to drop many of my normal responsibilities and devote an immense amount of time to this process.  I promoted some people and moved others around.  When all was ready, I made the move and let go of the project leader.  There was an immediate and palpable change in the project.  Today it has made incredible strides, and it is becoming exactly the product that I was hoping for and it is something I am proud of as an entrepreneur.

The lesson I learned in this very expensive and very stressful process was this: be very selective about who you let in your room.  Don’t allow people in just because of their technical skills.  I want a work environment that is a “drama-free” zone and I pick people for my organization who I want in my room.  I now try to select qualified people who fit the organizational culture of collaboration, people who share information and knowledge and people who don’t bring to the process an Emmy Award winning soap opera of behaviors.

Have you experienced this phenomenon?  If so, please tell us about it in the comment forum below and, also, please share any thoughts you have on Stewart’s Who’s in Your Room concept. Thanks!

Enhancing Your Reputation through Referral Marketingstring(52) "Enhancing Your Reputation through Referral Marketing"

For those of you who think the referral process is the safest form of doing business, here’s some information that may surprise you . . . the referral process is, in reality, the least safe form of doing business yet it is well worth the risk if you do it right and it can significantly enhance your reputation and contribute to the growth of your business.

In this brief video, I talk about how referral marketing can not only enhance your reputation but can also result in a “win-win-win” situation for you, the person who refers people to you, and for the client who was referred to you and ends up using your products and services.

If you have a story or an example of how referral marketing helped you enhance your reputation, I’d love to hear it so please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

Stewart Emery: “Who’s in Your Room?”string(54) "Stewart Emery: “Who’s in Your Room?”"

In this video, I talk to bestselling author Stewart Emery about his concept “Who’s in Your Room?” which prompts people to practice discernment in regard to those they let into their life.

Just imagine you are going to have to live your entire life in one room with an entrance door but no exit door–who would you let in and who would you keep out?  Knowing the answer to this may be more valuable than you realize . . .

What do you think about this concept?  Does it encourage you to be more careful about the people you let into “your room”?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below . . .

Have You Been Overlooking This Important Step in Your Networking Efforts?string(73) "Have You Been Overlooking This Important Step in Your Networking Efforts?"

I recorded this video a few years back for an organization interested in learning about business networking and when I ran across it last week, I thought it would be good information to share here as what I discuss is still just as important as ever.

If you don’t know what a Contact Sphere is, I urge you to watch this short video because developing a Contact Sphere is one of the most important steps in business networking.  After watching the video, think about who might be a good fit for you in creating a Contact Sphere and if you have questions, please leave them in the comment forum below.  I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have and, also, if you’ve already developed a Contact Sphere, please share your thoughts on how it has helped you to grow your business.

International Networking Week 2018®

Welcome to International Networking Week!string(41) "Welcome to International Networking Week!"

This week marks the 7th annual celebration of International Networking Week which is recognized each year by thousands of people around the world.

International Networking Week is about celebrating the key role that networking plays in the development and success of business around the world.  It is about creating an awareness relating to the process of networking.  Not just any kind of networking, but what I call “relationship networking”–an approach to doing business based on building long-term, successful, genuine relationships with people strategically through the networking process.

International Networking Week has been acknowledged by many governmental organizations (including a joint resolution of the California State Assembly and Senate) and is celebrated in many countries across the globe through .  Start the new year out with more business by using this week to build your networking skills and expand the opportunities within your reach. If you belong to any networking groups, be sure to tell them that this is International Networking Week (Feb. 4-8).

CLICK HERE to view a short video about International Networking Week 2013.  Please feel free to share the video with others and show it at your networking meetings this week.

For more information and a list of worldwide events, please visit www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com.

So what will you be doing to recognize International Networking Week?   Please share your plans in the comment forum below.

International Networking Week 2018®

Get Ready for International Networking Week 2013!string(49) "Get Ready for International Networking Week 2013!"

International Networking Week®  2013 is almost here and with it comes tremendous opportunity for  businesspeople across the globe to grow business through the development  of powerful new connections!

International Networking Week®  is an initiative of BNI® and its focus is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the  development and successs of business around the world.  It’s about  creating an awareness of the process of networking.  Not just any kind  of networking, but “relationship networking”–an approach to doing  business based on building long-term, successful relationships with  people through the networking process.

Over the past several years, International Networking Week has been  gaining momentum worldwide and for the past few years, the Week has been recognized by  tens of thousands of people around the world and acknowledged by many  governmental agencies and high profile organizations.

The number of people participating in this year’s celebration of International Networking Week®, through hundreds of large events and thousands of smaller events, is expected to be even greater than it was in 2012.

You can join in the celebration of the Week by:

  • Watching the 2013 International Networking Week Video by CLICKING HERE. Please feel free to share the link with everyone in your network and post it on any websites you may have.
  • Visiting www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com for more information and a list of worldwide events.
  • Participating in this year’s recommended special International Networking Week networking exercise by bringing an individual who has been a significant influence on your business/life to the  networking meeting or event you’ll be attending during International  Networking Week.  For full details, please click on the link below.

SPECIAL NETWORKING EXERCISE–INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING WEEK 2013

How are you planning on celebrating International Networking Week?  I’d love to hear your ideas on additional ways to celebrate this year so please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Movie Producer Barnet Bain: Emotionally-Charged Connections are Crucial to Your Successstring(87) "Movie Producer Barnet Bain: Emotionally-Charged Connections are Crucial to Your Success"

Last October, I posted a video I did with referral marketing expert Eddie Esposito on emotionally-charged connections (CLICK HERE to view that video).  On a recent vacation in Bali, I had the opportunity to do this new, five-minute video with movie producer Barnet Bain (producer of the Academy Award winning film “What Dreams May Come”) which is a perfect follow-up video to the one I did previously with Eddie.

Here, Barnet shares his two-step process for unlocking the key to being able to connect emotionally with others in a way that always focuses on helping and supporting them which Bain emphasizes is critical in order for you to succeed in your own business, life, and relationships.

I find this process fascinating and it would be extremely powerful if, after watching the video, you would be willing to share in the comment forum what you learned about yourself upon completing the two-step process and also what you discovered as far as how you might better be able to form emotionally-charged connections with others based on your own unique experience.

To lean more about Barnet Bain, please visit www.BarnetBain.com.

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