Educating your networking group’s members about the type of referrals you want (and even the names of the individuals with whom you want to meet and develop relationships) is much more important to the success of your networking in a closed contact network than selling to the members. This demands a shift in how you see your networking partners and educating them about your business. They are not the clients! They are, in effect, your sales force! In order for any sales force to get out there and sell you effectively, they have to know who to sell you to and how to sell you.
When meeting someone for the first time, do you ever find yourself getting tongue-tied or feeling lost when it comes to knowing what questions you should ask to get a conversation going? Help is here!
Below, I list 10 questions that I personally use when I’m meeting someone for the first time. Most of the questions shouldn’t be too surprising to you because what you’re trying to glean from an initial conversation with someone is usually pretty standard. However, there are two questions that I really, really love. One of them will allow you to get an idea of what someone is truly passionate about when it comes to their business. The other will create a powerful opportunity for you to make a real connection and begin building a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.
Here are ten great questions to ask someone while networking that are then likely to be asked of you in return. These would be great questions to pose during your next one-to-one meeting.
1. What do you do?
2. Who’s your target market?
3. What do you like most about what you do?
4. What’s new in your business?
5. What’s the biggest challenge for you and your business?
6. What sets you apart from your competition?
7. Why did you start your business?
8. Where is your business located?
9. What’s your most popular product?
10. How do you generate most of your business?
In his book Endless Referrals, my good friend Bob Burg posed what may be the single best question we’ve heard to ask someone about what he or she does. Bob writes that the question “must be asked smoothly and sincerely, and only after some initial rapport has been established”. The question is this: ‘How can I know if someone I’m talking to is a good prospect for you?” Bob is right on the mark with this question. It separates you from the rest of the pack; it’s a question that the average person doesn’t ask. And it demonstrates one of the top ten traits of a master networker: helpfulness
Please think about what questions you ask people during an initial introduction. Do you have any different or unusual questions which you’ve found to be particularly helpful in your conversations? I’ve told you what questions I use and I’m very curious to hear what questions you’ve had success with, so please take a moment to share in the comment forum below.
Working in a startup is completely different than an established company, and comes with its own unique set of challenges. Not only do employees or founders of a startup need to be conscious of these different challenges, there are also keys to business that become even more important when you work with a startup.
Not only do you need to attend networking events, you should host them. When you attend an event, you will stick in the minds of those who were also in attendance. Ideally, you’ll make positive impresses on everyone you connect with. When you host an event, however, not only will people who you connect with at the event remember you, so will everyone you invited but couldn’t make it. While their impression of you won’t be as developed as those who attended, invitees who couldn’t make will remember that they were invited, and it will be easier to hit the ground running with them when you finally do make that connection.
The follow up is vital. A huge part of networking is that follow up, and letting those that you connect with know that their time is appreciated and that you want to continue developing that relationship. When you are working on starting your business, that follow up becomes a tool of its own. Your number one priority needs to be growing your business, gaining notoriety, and establishing new connections in your industry to help support that growth. Letting people know that you’re thinking of them, whether they are new contacts or old, helps to develop those relationships and can keep you moving forward.
You need to lose some ego. As business people, we’re smart. Not only that, but we need to be confident to succeed in business. What that doesn’t give you the right to do is to allow your ego to control your actions. Whatever reason you’re involved in a startup, whether you were looking to break into a different industry, or you’re on the latest of many new businesses, your reputation cannot carry you here. With a new venture, you need to develop a new name for yourself, so you cannot rely on what you have accomplished before. It can help you get part of the way, but you must lose the ego if you want to go far.
Have you ever worked with or owned a startup? What advice would you give to those just starting out? Let us know in the comments below!s
I am a natural introvert. I know, I know. Shocking. It can be hard to believe that I might be a bit shy, considering how many dozens of times a year I get up in front of audiences and speak on a variety of topics. However, even an introvert is able to muster up some charisma and get in front of a crowd. To build up your own charisma, here are a couple tips you can try.
First things first, develop some interests. Read the news, listen to the radio, travel, watch speeches done by people you consider charismatic or by people who are leaders in your field. It is generally easy for people to talk about things that they find interesting, or things that they know about.
Another great way to build up some charisma is to go into your conversations with a positive attitude. Nobody wants to talk to a Debby Downer. Plus, if you act happier, you may even trick yourself into feeling happier.
Talking with hand gestures can actually help you feel more confident, as well, and come across in your charisma. The catch here is don’t overdo this, as it can quickly spiral out of control and cause you to seem a little scattered and off-putting.
Finally, your body language can do a lot when it comes to your charisma. Are your shoulders tense and bunched up toward your neck? Are your knees locked while you’re standing? Are you figditing? These are very obvious signs of being uncomfortable. Consciously work to control these, and you may just see your confidence and charisma skyrocket.
What steps do you take to build up confidence when speaking in front of strangers or large groups? Share your tips in the comments section below!
Your values shape you and your career decisions more than you may realize. Before making any changes in your professional life, you may want to sit and think about what you value. You may be surprised what answers you come up with.
Your values are qualities that are important in the way you live and work. These are different for everybody, so you should be sure to answer this question for yourself and not take another’s answer. Values help us to determine our priorities, and when our actions stray from our values, we can feel the negative ramifications in all aspects of life.
To start with, we all have core values that resonate in our lives. These core values are the building blocks that all of our other values build upon. These values will be stable throughout your life, and typically won’t change based on that situation. To determine some of your core values, answer the following:
- What career should I pursue?
- Should I accept this new job/promotion?
- Should I compromise in this?
- Should I follow tradition in my family/circle?
- What do I want from my personal life?
After figuring out your core values, you can move on to the values specific to helping you move forward in life. When thinking about new opportunities in your life, it is important to understand your values – particularly the ones that may play into the changes. To determine these values, follow the following steps.
- Identify times when you were happiest. Find examples from both your personal and professional lives, and figure out what factors and people played into this happiness.
- Identify the times you felt a sense of pride. Ask yourself, “why was I proud?” and figure out what factors played into that.
- Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied. What need or desire was fulfilled to leave you feeling satisfied? Why was the experience memorable, and how can you recreate it?
- Determine your top values, based on your past experiences of happiness, pride and fulfillment.
Each person’s experiences will help them build a unique set of values, and staying true to your values can help you get the most out of your professional life to be the happiest in your personal life.
What are some of your most important values? What questions above helped you find these values? Let me know in the comments section below!
One of the biggest issues I see or hear when it comes to networking and word-of-mouth marketing strategies comes from the individual businessperson’s mindset. So often, people believe that in order to network successfully and set themselves up for the most referrals, they need to tell everyone who will listen (and some who won’t) everything that their business does. This misconception simply leads many to believe that by talking to everyone in the room, they’ll maximize their referrals.
This is not at all the case. What this actually does is bores your intended audience, and overwhelms them with more information than they could ever possibly remember.
The key instead is to come up with a unique selling proposition for your company, business or service, and use it when you network. Your unique selling proposition will be a brief summary of your business, the key word here being brief. You’ll want to share this description as concisely and as engaging as possible. Not only will your audience walk away understanding what you do, but if you have described your business in a compelling way, they’ll be more likely to remember you because you entertained them and kept them listening.
The biggest indicator of a good unique selling proposition is that it gets people to ask you more about your business, and keeps them genuinely interested in what you do. They should be short, sweet, and to the point, without being vague or misleading. Your goal is to open the door for a conversation, not leave any potential contacts confused.
What is your business’s unique selling proposition? How do you use it to get word-of-mouth referrals? Tell me in the comments below!
I do a countless amount of interviews each year, and one of the questions I get asked most often is: “What is your secret to success?” In this video, I tell my personal story about my journey on the road to success and, if you are thinking the road was a quick and easy one–think again.
I often tell people who are striving to achieve success in a snap that I am a twenty-year ‘overnight’ success. In other words, there is no such thing as overnight success. It took me twenty years of working diligently and consistently, day in and day out, doing the same things over and over in order to achieve some degree of success. I firmly believe that the secret to success without hard work is still a secret. However, there is a key idea which I talk about in this video that I learned through doing research for my book Masters of Success, and it can really help when it comes to attaining success.
What’s your take on the secret to success? Are your ideas on how success is achieved different than the ideas I discuss within this video? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Last week, I posted a video where my friends and partners in the Referral Institute® and I offered our individual thoughts on how to create a truly amazing business. Today, I’m following up that video with this one where the four of us talk about what it takes to create a spectacular life.
Watch the video now to learn about what each one of us views as an essential key in establishing the ultimate, ideal life which you have always envisioned for yourself. We also offer specific, actionable steps you can take toward achieving your unique version of a spectacular life, so make sure to watch the video the whole way through.
After watching the video, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the ideas we shared, and we’d also love for you to share your own ideas on this topic within the comment forum below. Thanks so much for watching–we’re looking forward to hearing from you!
I recently had the opportunity to get together with my partners in the Referral Institute® (Eddie Esposito, Mike Macedonio, and Dawn Lyons) to discuss a really interesting concept: What exactly does it take to have an amazing business and a spectacular life?
So, we decided to do a couple of quick videos to share our individual ideas surrounding this concept. In today’s video, each one of us shares both a key idea and a surefire action step (to implement that idea) which we believe are crucial in developing an amazing business.
What I really appreciate about our discussion here is that each of us contributes our own unique and specific piece of insight, so the gamut of advice shared within this brief video is actually pretty comprehensive being that there’s such an element of diversity within our individual comments.
After watching the video, please share with us in the comment forum below your own thoughts on what it takes to create an amazing business. And, be sure to check back next week to watch the subsequent video we filmed which will address what it takes to create a spectacular life.
When it comes to making big choices in business and in life, decision making can often be a torturous process filled with stress, worry, confusion, and fear. When we’re trying to figure out what to do about something that’s going to greatly impact ourselves or others, it can be a really, really exhausting and difficult process.
In this video, I talk to my good friend, acclaimed entrepreneurial and business authority Sandi Stuart, about how to cut through grueling decision-making confusion and figure out the undisputed right decision every time. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this idea! It’s one of those rare things that come along in life that are just so simple but SO surprisingly powerful!
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t in the world of big business where Sandi learned the secret to stellar decision-making. She learned this invaluable key when she and her husband were faced with a very difficult personal decision, and it turned out that executing one extremely simple process allowed them to rid themselves of the fear of regret and make the right decision in an instant.
Watch the video now to learn this simple secret to decision making that will help put an end to all the worrying and allow you to make powerfully positive decisions that will position you for success.
What are your thoughts about this decision making tactic? Were you as surprised as I was to learn how simple it is? Please share your feedback in the comment forum below. Thanks!
The fact is, networking truly is a marathon of an endeavor–it’s most definitely not a sprint. I have met so many people who practice what I call ‘hyperactive networking’ and they mistakenly approach networking at the speed of an all-out sprint–they want to be absolutely everywhere and meet absolutely everyone and they go, go, go ALL of the time until they soon inevitably burn out, ‘collapse,’ and give up.
It’s a real shame because if these people would, from the beginning, just slow down and take the time to develop a networking strategy and understand that networking takes time, patience, hard work, dedication, commitment, and endurance, they would be reaping great rewards from their networking efforts instead of exhausting themselves with nothing to show for it in the end.
Networking at its core is about taking the time to build genuine, trusted relationships. Sure, visibility is important, but without building trust right along with it, visibility won’t get you very far in the long run. You can run around all day long going to networking events and shaking people’s hands, but if you’re not spending time following up and developing trust with the people you meet, then you haven’t really achieved much of anything that will actually give you results from your networking efforts–do not confuse activity with accomplishment.
So, what are your tactics for pacing yourself in the marathon of networking? What actions do you take to strategically build relationships? I’d love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment forum below–thanks!
I’m currently in Asia doing a number of speaking engagements and yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking at the BNI Japan National Conference. Today, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from the speech I gave where I explain the following five ways in which your network can promote you:
- Display your literature and products
- Make announcements for you about your business
- Endorse your products and services
- Provide you with referrals
- Introduce you to people / arrange meetings on your behalf
This is content straight from my book Business by Referral and if you’d like to learn about the additional ten ways your network can promote you (which I share in the book but not in this video), click here for an article I wrote specifically on this topic.
If you have any favorite tactics which you’ve personally found to be highly effective when it comes to putting your networking circle to work for you, please share them in the comment forum below. Thanks!