Social Capital Archives - Page 6 of 8 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Triple Your Business Revenue By Writing

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

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

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

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

You Never Know Who’ll Give You a Great Referral

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in networking is to dismiss someone too early, to assume that he or she has nothing to offer you because of his or her professional background or some other reason, and not pursue the relationship.  Unfortunately, I see this happen a lot.

The truth is, you simply never know where your next great referral is going to come from.  You should make it a point to consistently connect with high-quality professionals from all fields, from any and every background. Forget about trying to contact the VPs and high-level executives–they don’t want to hear another sales pitch. But any professional who is good at what he or she does will be well-connected to other highly successful businesspeople.

Take my painting contractor, for example. Through his work he has come to know A-list Hollywood celebrities, among many other affluent people. He’s one of the most connected people I know.

I have a favorite story, which I think illustrates this point perfectly.  In this case, a multimillion-dollar referral (one of the biggest I’ve seen recently) was given by a dentist in Malaysia. She briefly shut down her practice to attend a networking conference. When she reopened, one of her clients asked her about the conference and, as a result, she was able to connect the client with someone she’d met at the conference–which led to the the multimillion dollar referral.

If you want to hear the details of this powerful story, watch my latest show on yourBusinessChannel.com.

By the way, my shows on yourBusinessChannel are related to my involvement in the Million Dollar Challenge.  The Million Dollar Challenge invites promising businesses across the globe to take the challenge and have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform their business and skyrocket it into success with a team of acclaimed business experts.  CLICK HERE to find out more.

Is Your Network a Mile Wide and an Inch Deep?

In Southern California we have many huge, tall, lush eucalyptus trees that topple over fairly easily in the high winds that occur almost every year.  When they’re uprooted and blown over, you can see that their root system is broad and wide but not very deep.  I think this is a powerful metaphor for what to consider in building your personal network.  To go deep in establishing your network, you can do three things:

1.  Build quality relationships. Take time beyond normal business interactions to deepen your relationships with referral sources.  Invite them to social functions, learn their hobbies and interests, and help them pursue their personal goals.

2.  Network in new places. Other than your strong–and casual–contact groups, look for new areas to find partners with common interests, such as charitable organizations and professional support groups.  Don’t prospect right away; let the relationships mature.

3.  Focus on others. Rather than having a “What’s in it for me?” mind-set, ask yourself, What can I do for this person?  Continually look for ways to bring business and benefits to others in any group you’re a part of.  Make yourself known as the person who always has something for others.  This is a powerful way to both deepen and broaden your network.

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will not hold up in the winds of today’s economy.  Go deep in building relationships and you’ll do well in these challenging times.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment.

The Platinum Rule: Treat Others How THEY Want to be Treated

Lately, I’ve observed a few networking blunders occurring that have reminded me of the importance of what Tony Allessandra calls the Platinum Rule. Most of us are familiar with the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), but to network effectively, you’ve got to be relationship-based, so you need to use the Platinum Rule–not only with your referral source, but also with the prospect.

There are three people involved in a referral: 1. You. You need to know how you work best and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.  2. The referral source. How does this person like to communicate? How does he like to be treated? If you want him to help you, you’ve got to treat him the way he wants to be treated.  3. The prospect.  How does the prospect like to be sold to?  What’s the best way to communicate with the prospect?

Strive to be adaptable and accommodate the behavioral style of your source when you’re working with him or her, and of your prospect when you’ve been put in touch with him. If you seek to find out how people want to be treated and then treat them that way, you won’t make the mistake of assuming everyone likes the same things you do. Looking for a fast way to destroy a budding relationship? Assume that your client or referral partner enjoys deep-sea fishing as avidly as you do and insist that he come along on your next Old Man and the Sea adventure. Then watch as he turns green and hugs the rail of the boat the entire day.

By learning about the other person’s goals, accomplishments, interests, networks and skills, you can establish the groundwork for a smooth-running referral relationship from the start.  All of these factors together will tell you the best way to communicate and what to talk about.

What Does It Take for You to Refer Someone?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Capital Taught in College?

UniversityOfLaVerne

About a year ago, I posted a blog called:  “Networking, a Soft Science? Only to College Professors!”  OK, I’ll admit it–I was on a rant about how we don’t teach networking in colleges or universities.  But in my defense, there were many, many, people who identified with this frustration according to the numerous comments posted on that blog.

Today, I’m here to tell you that there may actually be a change on the horizon.  Yes, a university dean who believes that social capital is a relevant topic in business.  “Not possible,” you say?  Well, that’s what I thought, too, until I met Ibrahim Helou, the new dean of the School of Business & Public Management at the University of LaVerne.

Ibrahim "Abe" Helou

Ibrahim “Abe” Helou

As crazy as this may sound, he actually believes that emotional intelligence and social capital are relevant topics to cover in business school.  To make this even more amazing, Helou’s background is in accounting and finance. Wow, I don’t know what to say. This just shakes up my whole world view about academia.

According to Helou, business should focus on issues relating to long-term organizational sustainability.  He says that the “three pillars” of organizational sustainability are: people, planet and prosperity.

The “people” part includes long-term employment, social capital and empowerment.  The planet involves social and ethical responsibility and prosperity is about the long-term financial success of the organization.

Did you notice that “long-term” is a recurring theme here?  I did.  He believes that there has been an overemphasis on short-term profits to address monthly or quarterly revenue reporting in corporations.  This short-term view has helped lead us into some of the current financial issues we are experiencing today.

Well, Dr. Helou, I’m impressed, especially with your interest in social capital and emotional intelligence.  Now all you need to do is convince the faculty.  Let me know how that works out for you.  🙂

‘Multi-Touch Marketing’ Helped Win The Presidential Election

OK, the economy was clearly the big factor in this presidential election.  However, that aside, I am in awe of the “multi-touch marketing campaign” by President-elect Obama that helped steamroll the election.  No matter what party you are with or which candidate you supported (I’m an Independent), you have to admire the technology strategy implemented by the Obama-Biden team.  It was, I believe, the first true 21st century presidential campaign.

This “new millennium” approach to politics involved a mixed-media plan that began with an online video announcing Obama’s candidacy.  The campaign then used Facebook and YouTube extensively.  A social network for the Obama-Biden ticket was also utilized throughout the process.  Supporters created their own websites and linked back to the campaign website.  E-mails and text messaging were used extensively, and donations came in droves through this process.

Technology flattens the communications hierarchy.  In this campaign, technology was implemented with such an effective multi-touch methodology that the results were amazing to behold.  The campaign used multiple points of influence to pull people through to the election.  It is a case study that we entrepreneurs can draw from to market and promote our own businesses.

If President-elect Obama and his team run the country as well as they ran this campaign, some amazing things may take place.

Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World

Earlier this month Susan RoAne’s latest book, Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World, was released. I think it is an essential read for everyone interested in becoming a better networker.

Susan has been a good friend of mine for years, and she is one of the few people I know whom I can confidently say is the epitome of a born networker.  In her new book, she uses her innate charm, grace, humor and rare networking know-how to teach people everywhere how to communicate like an expert and stand out positively in both business and personal situations.

The world is becoming more and more reliant on technology as a way of connecting, and Susan’s techniques and strategies for making and maintaining genuine connections show people how to let technology enhance life instead of dominating it.  Her advice is extremely effective, and the skills she teaches are important for networkers and everyday people alike to remember.

To find out more about Susan RoAne and Face to Face, click here.

Volunteer and Become Visible

One of the first steps toward networking your business is to become more visible in the community. Remember that people need to know you, like you and trust you in order to refer you. Volunteering can position you to meet key people in your community. It connects you with people who share your passion. It gives you opportunities to demonstrate your talents, skills and integrity, as well as your ability to follow up and do what you say you are going to do. It instantly expands the depth and breadth of your network.

People who volunteer demonstrate their commitment to a cause without concern for personal gain. Thus, you should be volunteering with organizations or causes for which you hold genuine interest and concern. If administrators or other volunteers perceive that you are in it primarily for your own gain, your visibility will work against you, and you will undermine your own goals.

Volunteering is not a recreational activity; it’s a serious commitment to help fulfill a need. To find an organization or cause that aligns with your interests, you need to approach volunteerism with a healthy level of thought and strategy.

Start by asking yourself the nine questions below.

1. What do you enjoy doing for yourself in your spare time?

2. What hobbies do you enjoy?

3. What sports do you know well enough to teach?

4. What brings you joy and satisfaction?

5. What social, political or health issue are you passionate about because it relates to you, your family or your friends?

6. Based on the answers to the first five questions, what are three organizations that you can identify that appeal to you? (Examples: youth leagues, libraries, clubs, activist groups, church groups, homeless shelters) Choose the one that most appeals to you, and research the group online and in the community.

7. Now that you’ve researched this group, will it give you an opportunity to meet one of your professional or personal goals? If so, visit the group to “try it on.”

8. Now that you’ve visited this group, do you still want to make a final commitment of your time?

9. Are other group members satisfied with the organization? (To learn this, identify three members of the group to interview in order to assess their satisfaction with the organization. Consider choosing a new member, a two- to three-year member, and a seasoned five- to six-year member to interview.)

Once you’ve done the research required to satisfactorily answer these nine questions, join a group and begin to volunteer for visibility’s sake. Look for leadership roles that will demonstrate your strengths, talents and skills. In other words, volunteer and become visible. It’s a great way to build your personal network.

Go the Extra Mile

On a daily basis, I am surrounded by people who know that connecting with others to network their businesses is extremely important. However, I am often surprised at how many people don’t put enough effort into purposefully strengthening their network relationships. The fact is, you want to be in solid with the people who constitute your network, and vice versa. You want to be the first name that comes to mind when those in your network scratch their heads and wonder, “Hmmm . . . Whom could I go to with that problem? Who would be a good fit for that referral?”

Going the extra mile provides you several ways to stand out and be positively memorable. Focus on things that you can do to demonstrate the unforgettable value you bring to the table as a network member. Even though our networking is about business, not social relationships, you have to admit that people like people who help them. If you help someone, he or she, in turn, wants to help you.

Take the initiative in developing a relationship with someone who could be of help to you in networking your business. Here are some strategies on how to do this:

1) Be a value-added friend. Focus your attention on the kind of value you bring to the relationships you form.

2) Become a catalyst. Take the lead and be the person who makes things happen.

3) Find an accountability partner–a person to whom you can be accountable, responsible and answerable, and who cares whether (and how effectively) you implement networking strategies and meet the goals you set for your business.

4) Volunteer as a way of building visibility for your business.

5) Send thank-you cards. This is a simple but powerful two-minute activity.

6) Timely follow-up is extremely significant and it is tremendously important in pushing a relationship forward.

Going the extra mile with the people in your network not only expresses your sincerity, but it also opens the door to accept what the law of reciprocity has to offer you and your business.

The Word of Mouth Manual

I just ran across a good e-book on word of mouth that I definitely think is worth a read. The book is called the Word of Mouth Manual by Dave Balter and is available free as a downloadable here. You can also buy a hardcopy version of the book from Amazon.

The process of word-of-mouth marketing and networking are, in many ways, inextricably tied. I teach people how to network to build visibility and credibility in order to generate referrals (word of mouth). Although this book doesn’t really talk about networking, it thoroughly covers the process of word of mouth, primarily from an advertising and marketing perspective. However, it offers several valuable insights for both networking and word of mouth.

Here are a few key points from the book:

  • There is a growing emergence of the “shared collective experience.” People love to share their experiences–good, bad, and otherwise.

  • What is a word-of-mouth conversation actually worth monetarily? One study says it’s “worth 1,000 times more than a standard ad impression” (arguably a high estimate). Dave offers a formula on page 33 that is worth consideration.

  • “From the outside, word of mouth seems like an awfully easy channel to tap into . . . But the reality is that the power of the medium is affected by the most subtle of social norms. It’s about how we talk to each other and what makes us willing to share our opinions, which makes it a more flexible and fluid medium than any other.”

I don’t completely agree with the comments about word of mouth and cultural differences. Often people point to the fact that every culture is different and, therefore, there are concerns about “word of mouth” transcending cultural differences.

In my opinion, what is generally overlooked is that word of mouth in different countries doesn’t happen outside the cultural context; it happens inside the cultural context. Cultural differences become an issue when Americans are trying to work with Brits, Brits are trying to work with Scandinavians, Scandinavians with Malaysians or Malaysians with Australians, etc. But word of mouth tends to work well when it happens primarily within a specific cultural context (There’s a whole blog I can do on this subject!).

Suffice it to say that I’m not in complete agreement with Balter on this issue, but I completely recommend the book as a valuable read to anyone who wants to build his or her business through word of mouth.

Should You Network on the Net?

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing quite a bit of research about online networking. And the more I read (and work on the net), the more I realize that if you’re in business today, you definitely need to be on the net (in addition to good, old-fashioned, face-to-face networking)! The problem is, an entire technology, vocabulary, culture and marketplace have been born in only a few short years. This has left many business owners at a loss about what to do and how to do it when it relates to the internet and their business.

If you’re finding it hard to grasp ways to utilize the net to network your business, spend some time checking out social networking sites (particularly business-related ones such as Ecademy.com and LinkedIn), along with various bulletin board and chat room communities. These sites and communities allow people to connect on a regular basis, exchange information and ideas, and get to know one another a little better. By browsing through some of these sites, you’ll get an idea of how others are using the net to build social capital and promote their businesses, and you’ll no doubt come up with some ideas of how to do the same for yourself.

The internet flattens the communication hierarchy while broadening people’s access to ideas, information, products and services. Understanding how to network on the net is quickly becoming a must. I’d recommend starting out by Googling “social networking sites”–and then start clicking!

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