Strategy Archives - Page 9 of 10 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Sponsorship Opportunity

Local communities and organizations–be they service clubs or professional groups–depend on sponsorships to make ends meet at some of their events.  This is also true for association trade shows and exhibitions.  In most cases, the dollar amounts for sponsoring events of this sort are modest–ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

How many times have you been asked to be a sponsor?  How many times have you offered to sponsor a select event in order to help out someone in your network?  Both situations have the potential to give you huge exposure if done well.  In addition, sponsoring an event for someone on your word-of-mouth marketing team enhances the relationship, because you are helping that person meet a goal.

When you consider which people you will network with and where, you’re being selective.  Choose carefully, too, when you’re thinking about sponsoring an event.  Is it a good investment of your time and money?  Whether you’re being recruited or are volunteering, ask yourself the following questions before deciding . . .

  • What is the target market for this event?
  • What kind of exposure do I get for my investment?
  • Can I get this kind of exposure without this investment?
  • Do I get direct access to the audience?
  • Does it make sense for me to be there?
  • Which business or networking goal does it help me complete?
  • Are other sponsors my competitors?
  • How does this enhance my credibility with the person I’m helping?
  • Why wouldn’t I do it?

All of these questions help you determine the value of a sponsorship opportunity.  Now, imagine one day being in charge of putting on a huge event.  Suddenly, someone from your network steps forward to offer you a substantial sponsorship because she heard through the grapevine that your event needed money.  How would you feel about that person?  You can create that same feeling toward yourself in someone else by offering that exact gift.  Be selective, and offer your support in person.  In effect, you are making a tidy “deposit” in your relationship bank account.  This act of generosity definitely comes back to you in time, but for now it simply nurtures the relationship by helping someone in your network meet her goals.

This week, think of the people in your network.  Who do you know that is planning an event–a conference, an open house, a 10K fundraiser–who could use your financial support?  To strengthen your relationship with this individual, offer as much help from your business as you can provide.

Have you sponsored an event in the past?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and how it impacted your relationship with the person in charge of the event.  Please share your story in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

The VCP Process® Explained–What’s Your VCP Story?

As some of you may know, Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I are currently working together on a book about networking.  This short video is one of many others, some of which I’ll post in the future, that cover networking topics which we will be focusing on in the book.  The videos are the result of brainstorming sessions for the book and in this particular video, I explain each step of the VCP Process® approach to networking in careful detail, emphasizing that credibility is really the key to networking success.

I share a personal story which demonstrates why trying to drum up referrals from people you’ve never met before is an exercise in futility as you’re not even at the visibility stage with them, and I outline the absolute best way to establish credibility with others.

If you have a story relating to the VCP Process® which fits the criteria I describe in the video, please visit www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com to submit your story for a chance to be published in the upcoming book on networking that Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I will be publishing.  Also, I’d love for you to briefly summarize your story in the comment forum below as well.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

 

Purposeful Meal Meetings Equal Networking Opportunity

So, what exactly is a purposeful meal meeting?  First, I’ll clarify what it isn’t.  It’s not a way to escape work, it’s not a time to have three martinis, it’s not a romantic date, and it’s not about critiquing new restaurants or reviewing fine wines.  All these things can be great fun, I’m not arguing that–it’s just that none of them are focused on, or maybe even conducive to, productive networking.

A purposeful meal meeting is nothing more than a meeting that includes a meal and a specific, meaningful purpose.  And the specific purpose I want to talk about today is networking.  When networking at a meal meeting, your networking purpose might be to further develop the relationship, to help a colleague solve a problem, to learn how to refer someone in your network, to introduce your colleague to someone significant, or to teach someone how to talk about your business to his own network members.  These meetings are strategic and results oriented.  They provide high value for your invested time.

Let’s begin by considering the average work week of five days.  There are three main meals which could be eaten per day.  Barring the usual hindrances to daily scheduling, this gives you fifteen opportunities each week to have a purposeful meal meeting.  That’s 780 opportunities in a year.  Now, dining with 780 people could not only put a hole in your pocket, but it could tear a hole in some of your personal relationships as well.  Let’s be realistic . . . imagine what your significant other would begin to think if instead of eating the majority of your meals with them, you were out eating each meal with a different person.  You certainly don’t want to stay away from home so much that your children and/or pets no longer recognize you.  So, let’s say half of your meals are spent eating with your family–you still have an estimated 390 opportunities for purposeful meal meetings.

NeverEatAloneThe point is, the potential exists for a substantial amount of networking over meals.  No one capitalizes on this concept better than Keith Ferrazzi in his book Never Eat Alone: “I’m constantly looking to include others in whatever I’m doing.  It’s good for them, good for me, and good for everyone to broaden their circle of friends.”  This level of networking increases his productivity and helps him connect with people from different parts of his community.  Ferrazzi believes that his strongest links have been forged at the table.  He has learned how powerful the art of throwing a dinner party can be in creating memories and strengthening relationships.  Something magical and companionable happens when friends break bread together.  Ferrazzi is quick to mention, however, that if we continue to have dinner parties with the same people, our circle will never grow.  His solution is to identify and invite “anchor tenants” to your party.  These are people who are related to your core group but who know different people, have experienced different things, and thus have much to share.  They tend to be the people who have had a positive influence on your friends’ lives.  It’s akin to inviting the CEO to the manager’s table, as Ferrazzi says.  Soon, other executives will want to be there too.

I had the opportunity to experience one of Keith’s networking parties firsthand and the anchor guest that night was the legendary author Gore Vidal.  Providing the entertainment was America’s oldest collegiate a cappella group, the Whiffenpoofs of Yale.  Clearly, not all of us will be able to get Gore Vidal and the Whiffenpoofs at our networking party, but I’m guessing that Keith didn’t have them at his first party either.  However, the strategy is sound, and I encourage you to try out the concept as a way of building your visibility in the community.  Keith has paid close attention to how a meal can most appropriately be leveraged for a business networking opportunity; the primary focus should always be on developing the relationship.  Learning about each other, helping one another with problems, and giving of ourselves–that’s what defines a purposeful meal meeting.

Do you have any stories about purposeful meal meetings or dinner parties where you made memorable, beneficial connections?  If so, I’d love to hear your story–please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

‘Givers Gain’ Is a Standard, Not a Sword

Givers Gain® is a philosophy based on the law of reciprocity.  In the context of networking groups, people who adopt this philosophy dedicate themselves to giving business to their fellow networkers rather than making their foremost concern getting business for themselves.  In doing so, other people naturally become eager to repay their kindness by sending them business in return.  Givers Gain is a great way to live life in general and it is a standard which we can all apply to ourselves—key word being “ourselves”; it is not a sword to be pointed at others who may not adopt the philosophy.

Unfortunately, I have seen the Givers Gain concept abused from time to time and, as you may have guessed, the reason I’m writing about it now is because I saw it abused quite recently.  The entire concept gets misused when we start pointing a finger at others and saying things like, “Milton doesn’t have a Givers Gain attitude—he’s going about things all wrong.”  What’s interesting is that when we say things like this about other people, it’s often because they’re not doing something we think they ought to be doing in business or life.

Again, Givers Gain is not a sword to wave around at people who aren’t doing what we think they should be doing.  It is a standard we can apply to ourselves and ourselves only.  Ironically, when we point our index finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at us—it’s a perfect reminder of whose actions and tactics we really need to be worrying about, don’t you think?  Don’t be the person who tends to blame others for their woes instead of focusing on their own behavior.

People who criticize and point fingers at others can be very caustic, which is one of the reasons it is important to be really selective about the people you surround yourself with (especially in the context of networking groups).  That said, there will undoubtedly still be people in our lives who are unendingly critical, judgmental, and just plain vitriolic.  I know I certainly have a couple of them in my life, including one person in particular who appears to have made criticizing me his favorite pastime.  They’re the people who love to talk about you, but who never actually talk to you about issues.

So, what do you do if you practice the Givers Gain philosophy in a sincere and consistent way, yet there is still someone waging a very personal attack on you?  How do you respond when they start waving their interpretation of the Givers Gain concept in your face like a sword of criticism?  The answer is simple—be yourself.  Continue to apply the philosophy to yourself in every way you can.  Vitriolic people are that way because they can’t control themselves.  Maybe they’re basically angry, maybe they’ve had a difficult life—who knows?  It doesn’t really matter because they are who they are and you can’t change them.  As much as we’d all like to steer clear of these people, there will be times when it’s virtually impossible.

Telling someone they’re wrong about you never works (I know this from personal experience); they’ll just come at you even stronger.  I can tell you what does work though.  What really works is when somebody else stands up and says to the person who’s badmouthing you that they’re out of line, or that what they’re saying is simply not appropriate.  It’s a little like a referral—nothing beats a third party endorsement . . . or, in this case, a third party defense.

Why am I bringing all this to light?  Because, the fact is, you are going to find yourself around a vitriolic person at one time or another—someone who’s combative instead of collaborative, someone who’s saying horrible things about someone else—and I want to take this opportunity to strongly encourage you to stand tall and speak up.

Good people stand up when caustic people say bad things about others; and if you practice Givers Gain as your own personal standard, you already know that standing up for others will encourage others to stand up for you.

Do you have a story about an experience with a person who was criticizing you to others or other people to you?  How did you handle it?  I’d love to hear your story, as well as your feedback on this blog post and on the Givers Gain concept in general.  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

How to Invest Your Time & Money for the Highest Return

In this video, I talk about how to invest time and money into your business in the way that will ultimately pay the highest return–education.

Many businesses fail within their first three years of existence because they only pay lip service to education yet aren’t willing to invest the time, effort, and money into learning about how to continually grow and develop in order to achieve the business goals and the vision they outlined for themselves at the start.

The fact is, people who immerse and engage in a culture of learning are much, much more successful than those who don’t. Watch the video now to learn about an action you can take this week that will help you measure whether or not you’re investing enough of your time and money into what will truly help your business earn more and achieve more. 

BobGrowthGraphI’m quite interested in hearing your thoughts on this video, your comments about what you currently do in order to invest in educating yourself to build your business, and also your results from carrying out the action item I explain at the end of the video.  Please leave your feedback regarding any or all of these things in the comment forum below, and for the first ten people who add to their comment where Bob makes his cameo appearance (and get the answer right) during the video, I’ll send them a surprise gift that will most definitely help them invest in their networking education!  (Note: To ensure you receive your gift, please e-mail your name and complete mailing address to erin@bni.com with the subject line “Bob.”)  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Spray and Pray Networking

An associate of mine once told me about an interesting experience she had when she struck up a conversation with a woman at a networking function.  When the woman asked my associate what she did for a living, my associate explained that she  helps small business owners build their businesses through networking and referrals.  The woman smiled quite confidently and said, “I’m a business owner myself and I’m actually really good at networking!  I’ve been doing it for a long, long time.”

This, of course, ignited my associate’s interest so she said to the woman, “I’m always interested in the tactics of successful networkers; do you mind if I ask you what your secret is?”  The woman flashed a self-satisfied smirk, stood up straight with an air of accomplishment, and said, “Well, I always make sure to go to networking functions with a friend and when we enter the room we draw an imaginary line right down the middle.  If my friend takes the right side, I take the left side and vice versa.    Once we each choose the side of the room we’re going to cover, we agree to meet back together at a certain time, and then we spend the entire time networking only on our individual side of the room trying to gather as many business cards as possible.  When the time comes for us to reconvene with each other, we compare how many business cards we each collected and whoever has the least is the loser so they then have to buy lunch for the one who collected the most.”

My associate inquired further, “So what do you do each do with all of the business cards you gather?”  Donning her proud smile yet again, the business woman said, “That’s the beauty of it.  I enter them into my prospect list and begin to send them information about my services!  Since I have all their contact information, I figure why not pitch my services to them–they’re all potentially good prospects, right?”

When my associate told me this story, she was appalled that the woman would network in this way and I wholeheartedly agree that this is NOT an effective way to network.  Instead, it’s a classic example of how some people use networking as a “face-to-face cold-calling” technique which I like to call “spray and pray”–it’s basically just like taking a networking spray can (so to speak) full of meaningless information, dousing the room of people with your spray, and praying that you’ll hit a few people who will respond to the generic concoction you’ve sprayed them with.

Networking is not . . . I repeat NOT . . . about simply gathering contact information and spamming people at a later date.  In reality, that’s nothing more than glorified cold calling–Brrrrr–it gives me the chills!  I used to teach cold calling techniques to business people many, many years ago and though cold calling may work some of the time, I did it long enough to know that I didn’t ever want do it again.  Nearly three decades ago, I decided to devote my entire career to teaching the global business community  that there is a much better way to build long-term business than “spraying and praying”–not only is it better, it is the absolute best way to grow any business–the secret to effective networking and long term business success is investing in strong, mutually beneficial business relationships based on trust.

Have you ever had an experience with someone who adopted the “spray and pray” networking style, or have you ever been a “spray and pray” networker yourself?  If so, please share your story here–I’d love to hear your experiences!

Did Woody Allen Get it Right?

Woody Allen is often quoted as saying that “80% of success is showing up.”  It’s a great phrase and there certainly is some truth to it (you may be able to guess what’s coming next . . .); however, is it completely accurate?  I don’t believe so. Woody Allen1

I believe showing up is, indeed, the first step toward success yet there’s a lot more which must be done after simply showing up in order to achieve any degree of significant success.  I bring this up because a year ago I had a conversation with a man about his participation in a networking group and he used this quote from Allen to argue that he should be experiencing significantly more success from his networking efforts than he currently was, simply due to his dedication to showing up and maintaining perfect attendance at networking functions.  I asked if he was doing some specific things which I feel are very important in order to succeed in a networking group and he said “no.”

I told him that I firmly believe taking action (beyond simply showing up) is key in order to achieve real results and, to put it mildly, that did not make him happy; he was beside himself with agitation in response to my suggestion.  He felt that just being there regularly at meetings and functions should yield the results he wanted from his network.  Well, based on the results he was getting, he was absolutely mistaken.

Years ago, I was filmed by Rhonda Byrne for the film – The Secret (about the law of attraction).  If you saw The Secret and don’t recall seeing me in it, that’s because the segment of film I was featured in ultimately ended up being cut during the editing process.  However, what I talked about in that never-aired segment was that one of the things I love most about the law of attraction is that it’s a great starting point for success (in my opinion).  I’d like to take a second though to clearly point out that the word “action” is part of the word “attraction.”  I believe we must first attract what we want in life but that’s not where things end . . . we must then do our part taking the appropriate action in order to achieve what we desire.  Unlike a portion of the film which talks about having a personal genie who will do your bidding upon your command, I believe WE are our own “genie” and that we must take action to attract and achieve what it is that we want.  Attraction without action is basically wishful thinking.  Wishful thinking alone does not allow you to achieve success.

Going back to Allen’s assertion that “80% of success is showing up”–showing up is indeed taking action and this is certainly the first step toward success, which is why I think what Allen says has some truth to it.  However, just showing up is in no way enough.  I believe you actually have to do something when you show up in order to really obtain success, no matter what it is your aiming for in life (what a notion).

What you have to do depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  For the man I was talking to last year, he wanted more results from his network.  Some of the actions I told him he needed to take were to:

  1. Create an introduction that changed every time and focused on a small element of his business.  I told him it was important to train a sales team, not try to make a sale at each meeting.
  2. Schedule one-to-one meetings with a different person from the group each week to build deeper connections and learn more about his fellow networkers (as well as them learning more about him).
  3. Take a leadership role of some kind within the group.  This would help him stand out among the crowd.
  4. Bring referrals (legitimate ones) for other members.  If you want to get business, you have to be willing to give business.
  5. Immerse in referral education.  Read books, blogs (I suggested this blog as a start), articles–anything to help him learn how to engage in the networking process more effectively.

There is so much more he could have done but the list above is a good start for any networking action plan.  I am pleased to say that, to his credit, he actually took my advice (especially the bit about immersing himself in referral education).  Not long ago, I spoke with the man again and he shared with me that his referrals have gone up dramatically over the last year.  Interestingly enough, we ended that last conversation with him stating, “Woody Allen only got it partially right . . . 80% of success BEGINS with showing up.”  Needless to say, I agreed.

I’d love to get your feedback on what I’ve talked about in this post.  What are your ideas about the law of attraction in relation to success?  Are there specific action steps you’ve taken which have made a dramatic difference for you on your path to success in one or more of your networking, career, or life endeavors?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below–I’d love to hear from you!

Time + Learning + Networking = Referral Marketing Success

In this short video, I’m joined by two esteemed referral marketing experts, Phil Bedford and Tom Fleming, each of whom offer memorable metaphors which demonstrate the crucial nature of education in achieving success when it comes to business networking and referral marketing.

Watch the video now to find out how lumberjacks, lots of excuses, driving a vehicle, and one good reason can all combine to help you make time in your schedule to learn more and ultimately earn more.

After watching the video, think about the ways in which you might already seek out education in regard to business networking (e.g., reading the blog posts on this site, etc.) and please leave a comment in the comment forum below sharing your suggestions for great educational resources which may help others learn valuable tools and skills to improve their referral marketing success.  I’m always on the lookout for great books, blogs, etc. so if you’ve found educational resources that have been particularly helpful to you, I’d love to hear about them–thanks!

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To find out more about the Referral Institute®, the educational organization in which Phil Bedford and Tom Fleming are both highly involved, please visit www.ReferralInstitute.com.

Tactics for Tapping into the Customer’s Perspective

Last week I posted a blog explaining why I believe that understanding the buyer’s perspective is one of the most important keys to selling.  Today’s post is a follow up to that post because I want to take this opportunity to offer some tactics for tapping into the buyer’s (i.e., the customer’s) perspective.

Learning and adapting to the issues and whims of the buyer while moving the sale forward to a conclusion is a complex and intricate task.  Attentive listening can help you, the seller, determine if the buyer is putting you off or merely attending to pressing internal demands.  Personality profiling (come back on Monday, July 22nd for details about Personality Profiling) also helps by giving you knowledge about how to craft your sales and reporting program to the style of communication most comfortable to the client.  All customers like to be communicated with in a manner that is most familiar to them, and knowing their personality profiles helps the seller customize a sales approach for each unique individual.  One form of customer communication is the product presentation, which has a strong influence in a successful sale.

Andy Bounds, from Liverpool, England, is a sales communication expert who reminds us that the ” . . . prospect is really interested in the total opposite of most commonly delivered product presentations.  The prospect really only cares about his or her own present and future, whereas most presentations focus on the seller’s past and product features.”  Andy reminds us to talk about what the product will do for the customer rather than its features.  His favorite phrase is, “Customers don’t care what you do; they care about what they’re left with AFTER you’ve done it.”  He uses the word “after” to keep the product presentation focused on the customer’s needs, and recommends the following customer-oriented questions:

  • “What are you looking to achieve after our work together?”
  • “What would success look like to you as a result of this project?”
  • “Looking back a year from now, what will need to happen for you to think things have gone brilliantly?”

Nothing works perfectly every time, and being able to read the customer’s buying signals is crucial to making necessary course corrections that meet the customer’s top-of-mind concerns.  The state of the selling art allows masterful salespeople to combine a little science with human relation strategies to create a wonderful buying experience for the consumer, while still maximizing the seller’s commission.  Most of the time, timing is everything, which is why we wanted to take the time to share several concepts, strategies, and techniques to help you land the hesitant customer in front of you (whose hesitation may have nothing to do with your product).

Are there some additional tactics for tapping into the customer’s perspective which you’ve personally had success using?  If so, I’m eager to hear them–please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Sales: The Buyer’s Perspective

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in an airport waiting for my plane to arrive and I struck up a conversation with the young man sitting next to me.  He was wearing a nice suit, carrying a laptop, and appeared to be traveling on business so I asked him if he happened to be traveling to the same business event that I was.  It turned out he wasn’t headed to the same place but we ended up having a very interesting conversation about sales.

He explained that he’s somewhat new to the sales industry and that he has found it a bit difficult to achieve the level of success he had envisioned when he entered the field.  I offered him some advice about what I believe is one of the most important keys to selling and I’d like to share it with you here as well . . . it’s understanding the buyer’s perspective.

The way I see it, selling has everything to do with finding out what the customer wants, is able to pay for, and then making the deal (assuming you can provide the product/service).  If it were really that simple, however, there wouldn’t be a demand for salespeople; buyers could get all they need from a machine.  But, in fact, many buyers head off to go shopping for a product or service with only a vague sense of what might satisfy their needs.  Turning a buyers vagueness into clear solutions is the job of the salesperson.  Always remember that the buyer is looking for the best solution, delivered in an effective and pleasurable manner.

Buyers are multifaceted, and when they shop, they weigh the many pros and cons of a potential purchase.  Some of these they will share with the seller, while many other thoughts they will keep to themselves.  Learning and adapting to the issues and whims of the buyer while moving the sale forward to a conclusion is a complex and intricate task . . . and it’s the responsibility of the sales professional to ensure it happens.

Brian Roach, a friend of mine who sells computer technology told me about a great concept he calls the sales clock.  He describes it this way:

It’s a great day.  You answered a call from a new prospect, met with their team to discuss your product, and . . . they asked you for a proposal.  Soon after delivering your proposal you started your wait for their decision.  The sales clock ticks as you wait on the fate of your proposal.  It may tick a long time before hearing back from the customer, and as the seller, you don’t know if you are being ‘stiffed’ or if the customer is swamped with other pressing priorities.  Whatever the reason, waiting out the sales clock can be stressful.  The last thing you want is for your own stress to create a negative impact on your prospect.

Brian reminds us that ‘it’s all about the customer,’ in the sense that the customer is the ultimate buyer, but the seller also has to earn a commission, meet monthly targets, and ensure proper work scheduling.  Brian’s sales clock reminds us to always look at both the customer’s perspective as well as the seller’s demands with each sales scenario.

I have some tactics for helping you, the seller, determine if the buyer is putting you off or merely attending to pressing internal demands and also some techniques for effective communication which will help you tap into the customer’s perspective and I’ll be sharing them with you next Monday so be sure to come back then and check them out. 

In the meantime, I’d love to get your take on some other ideas that you believe are important keys to selling so please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

 

Crucial Conversations

We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s not so much about what you say, it’s more how you say it that really matters” and, let me tell you, I learned the hard way how true that actually is.  Conversations can be tricky–especially when one or more of the people involved are upset.

 

Back in the 1980s when I first started BNI®, there were only a handful of chapters in existence, as the organization was in its very beginning stages, and it was still small enough to where I was able to make personal visits to chapter meetings.  One day, the chapter president of a local Southern California BNI chapter called me up and asked me if I would come sit in on their next meeting and offer some insight into how they could improve because they were having some challenges keeping their networking group running smoothly and effectively.

I was more than happy to help out however I could so I went to their next meeting, sat back and observed, and then when the chapter president called me up to the front of the room and asked me to offer my feedback, I stood up and began to go over my list of suggestions and changes they should make in order to improve their effectiveness.  All of a sudden, one of the chapter members raised her hand and said, “Excuse me but who in the heck do you think you are, sashaying in here (I didn’t know that I “sashay”)  and telling us everything you think we’re doing wrong?!–You don’t know anything about us!”

How did I respond?  I didn’t respond . . . I reacted.  I went with my gut reflex which was to defend myself, saying that I was the founder of the organization and I tried in vain to argue that my points were valid and that they needed to listen to what I had to say if they wanted to improve.  The way I handled it was completely ineffective because, in a heated situation where somebody was obviously very upset and already convinced I was the enemy, I had no strategy for guiding the conversation in a positive, solutions-focused direction and trying to argue and stick to my guns only made things worse.

That day, on my commute back home from the meeting, I spent the first twenty minutes fuming about how rude the woman was to me in spite of the fact that I had gotten up early to drive out to their chapter meeting and taken time out of my day to go above and beyond to help them.  In the privacy of my own car, with my blood boiling, I drove through traffic flaring my nostrils, vehemently muttering several choice words (which I will not detail here) while I verbally bashed them for being so ungrateful (suffice it to say, I definitely would have been in trouble if there were anyone else in the car to hear me!).

But then I started to calm down and think about how I might have handled the situation differently and it was during that same lone car ride that I came up with BNI’s corporate policy (which is used to this day) on customer support and handling customer complaints.  Below are a few select bullet points from the policy:

  • Remember–people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
  • Listen and let them talk.  Then . . . listen, listen, listen.
  • Ask questions.  Then . . . listen!
  • Acknowledge the information
  • Understand their complaint and ask how you can help
  • Follow up
  • Thank them
  • Remember–diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.  Be diplomatic!

Some years later, I came across Crucial Conversations, a book which teaches people how to prepare for high-stakes situations, transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, create situations where it is safe to talk about almost anything, and to be persuasive not abrasive.

Not only are some of the tactics and strategies right in line with what I outlined for BNI’s policy on dealing with tense situations, but it contains a slew of additional tactics that are immensely helpful for ensuring that whatever it is you are trying to say in any given situation is presented in the best possible way (i.e., “how you say it”) in order to achieve the best possible results for everyone involved.

If you really think about it, all conversations are crucial on some level because once you say something you can’t take it back and saying the wrong thing can have sometimes have tremendously negative repercussions.  Whether you are conversing with your fellow networkers, your business associates, or with those close to you who you love and care about, it’s always best to know what you want to say and how you want to say it (and to have a plan to diffuse things if the conversation gets heated) before anything comes out of your mouth . . . take it from someone who definitely learned this the hard way. 😉

To learn more about Crucial Conversations, please CLICK HERE or visit: http://www.vitalsmarts.com/crucialconversations/.

 

Got Jet Lag? Use This Trick to Banish It Once and for All . . .

Ugh . . . jet lag–the dreaded tormenter of travelers far and wide.  I know a thing or two about traveling as it’s a huge part of my career and my years of consistent traveling have taught me the one and only thing I need to know about jet lag which I’m going to share with you today.  Last year alone, I traveled on roughly around 50 flights, many of them being international routes requiring long (and I’m talking LONG) hours of plane travel and adaptation to some significant time zone changes which can sometimes make the simple act of sleeping a very challenging task.

When people learn of my travel schedule, I’m commonly asked how on earth I deal with what must be horribly exhausting jet lag–a common affliction for business professionals in any industry which requires extensive travel.  I actually have a very simple tactic for overcoming jet lag and, I made this brief video to explain it in hopes that it will help others to whom jet lag is a big challenge.

I can almost guarantee you that if you adopt this jet-lag-combatting strategy, you’ll be up and at ’em, networking like a pro and doing business like a true sales star no matter where your travels take you or how hectic and exhausting your schedule is!

Do you have any creative strategies or sure-fire tips for dealing with jet lag?  If so, please share your ideas in the comment forum below–there are tired travelers all over the world who would LOVE to hear your suggestions!

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