business networking Archives - Page 4 of 6 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

This is International Networking Week

What are you doing for International Networking Week?

2012 marks the 6th annual celebration of International Networking Week which is now recognized by many countries across the globe, with thousands of events being held during the celebratory Week. One of the main goals of the Week is to help businesspeople everywhere build their networking skills and expand the opportunities within their reach and, in the video, my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I offer some very valuable pointers on where to focus your efforts in order to make the most of International Networking Week.

This short, 9-minute video, sponsored by Referral Institute (www.ReferralInstitute.com) and Entrepreneur Press (www.Entrepreneur.com), explains how the week of February 6th-10th, 2012 will bring about great opportunities for businesspeople around the world and increase worldwide awareness about the powerful benefits of business networking.

For additional Information, please visit www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com.  This is a great time to invite your friends and associates to a network you belong to.

Tell me, what will you do this week to help your networking efforts?

When Does Going Faster, Make Things Slower

When Does Going Faster, Make Things Slower?

I start this blog with a riddle: When does going faster, make things slower?  Well the answer is: when you are rushing a relationship.

A few years ago a close friend of mine, Dr. Emory Cowan, contributed an article for my book Masters of Networking.  I’m sharing his contribution in my blog today because I think it is a great concept to think about as we start the new year.

Building a word-of-mouth marketing plan requires developing a trusted network of partners — which means cultivating relationships. But relationships require time, energy, persistence, and, most of all, patience.

I believe that patience gives us the most difficulty. We live in a quick-fix, immediate-gratification society where patience is neither valued nor encouraged. We want our sales now, our business fully grown now, our satisfaction in wealth now. But when I grow impatient with the tedious process of developing relationships, one of life’s many humbling lessons comes back to remind and instruct me: Drink no wine before its time.

Many years ago, I bought some peaches at the farmers’ market in Atlanta. They were the famous Georgia peaches, grown in orchards in the Fort Valley region and renowned for their sweet, juicy taste and wonderful aroma. I took them home, visions of peach pies and cobblers dancing in my head. We ate some right away; most sat out on the kitchen counter.

One morning I was awakened by the aroma of peaches filling the house. I knew that something would have to be done with them soon or they would spoil. Wine, I thought. Why not make some peach wine? I knew my parents, who lived fifteen miles away, had an old ceramic crock and an old family recipe for fermenting wine from fruit. I found the crock, cleaned it, and, on the way home, bought cheesecloth for the top, along with yeast and sugar for the ingredients.

By the time I got home, my excitement over this project was so great that I could almost taste new wine as I cut up the peaches, added the sugar and yeast, and closed the top with the cheesecloth. But the process of making wine is slow, and I was impatient. With the crock safely stashed in the cool basement, I drove home from work each day with growing excitement. I would go immediately to the crock and smell the brew. As the days went by I became more intent on having the wine ready for consumption. But it was not happening fast enough for me.

So, one afternoon, frustrated that it was taking so long, I carried the crock to the kitchen, determined to speed up the process of fermentation. I removed the contents, used a blender to further emulsify the peaches, and added more sugar and yeast. Smug and satisfied, I returned the crock to the basement, and three days later I had — vinegar!

My vinegar-making triumph has become a life-shaping parable for me. When I am tempted to rush the process of forming relationships, whether in business, in a networking group, or in my personal life, I am reminded that some things just take time to happen. I am aware that letting my impatience force the process can turn the potential of new wine into vinegar.

Patience in developing relationships is a virtue. It leads to solid networked contacts who can help you with your business, your interests, and your life.

This is a powerful lesson for us all to consider for life and for networking.  Good wine and great relationships both take time.

What are your thoughts about this story?  Have there ever been times where you tried to rush a relationship and had a bad result?  Share your story here with us here.

 

Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think

Business Networking And Sex (not what you think)

Business Networking and Sex (not what you think) is officially released this week in bookstores.  This book was more fun to work on than any book I’ve ever written.  My co-authors: Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker were fantastic to work with.

You may be wondering what sex has to do with networking.  You may also be excited to learn how to use your sexual prowess to influence business deals.  Well, get your mind out of the gutter!  Sorry to burst your bubble, but this book is really more about gender than sex, but who’s going to want a book called Business Networking and Gender (do you hear the crickets chirping)?  Not many people walk around thinking about gender, but many people think many times a day about well, you know.

The book is based on the findings from a survey that we conducted.  Over a four-year period, more than 12,000 businesspeople from every populated continent of the world participated in a study focused around 25 simple questions.  Beyond irritating you, the answers may also make you excited and motivated to learn how to work with the opposite sex.

So, pick up a copy of the book – if you dare.  But be WARNED.  It might make you angry.  Oh, and there’s some statistics too.

If you would like a sample chapter or would like more information, go to www.BusinessNetworkingAndSex.com If you have an advance copy of the book – tell me what you like most about it.  What surprised you?  What annoyed you?

 

 

Where There Are Systems There’s Success

I’m excited to tell all the readers of this blog that my next book, Business Networking And Sex (not what you think), will be released in January.  There was a substantial amount of survey data(*) that my co-authors and I were unable to use in the book so we plan on sharing much of that data on the BusinessNetworkingAndSex.com blog.

The following table shows the response to a question about having a “system to track money” in relation to whether or not the respondent felt that networking has “played a role in their success.”   As you can clearly see in this graph, people who had a system to track their business were more likely to have felt that networking has played a role in their success.  Even more notably, those who did not feel that networking played a role in their success were almost twice as likely to not have a system for tracking their business!

This is a powerful finding for people who wish to produce a referral-based business.  Clearly, those people who do not use “systems” to track their business are much more likely to feel that they are not successful in their networking efforts.

(*) Survey data is based on a survey of over 12,000 people from every populated continent in the world.  This survey is the basis of the book – Business Networking and Sex.

The lesson here is to start creating systems to help manage your referral marketing and business networking efforts.

Question – Have you used systems to manage this process?  If so, what have you done and how has it worked out?

The Secret to Getting More Business Through Networking

I am constantly being asked, “What’s the secret to getting more business through networking?”  After more than two decades in the world of business networking I can confidently say that there is, indeed, a proven way to get more business through networking, though I wouldn’t quite call it a secret . . .

The best way to get more business through networking is, without a doubt, to spend more time doing it!  Okay, so, it’s a tad more complicated than that because you have to spend the time doing the right things with the right people.  However, based on a recent Referral Institute study on business networking, there is a definitive answer in regard to the amount of time people spend networking and the impact on the amount of business that is generated by that amount of time.

The most dramatic statistic found in the study is that people who reported “networking played a role in their success” spent an average of 6.5 hours a week participating in networking activities.  However, the majority of people who claimed “networking did NOT play a role in their success” spent 2 hours or less per week developing their network!!

This means that there is a direct correlation between the time you devote to the process and the success you realize from it.  To illustrate this further, I have inserted a graph below which relates to the average percentage of business generated from someone’s networking efforts in comparison to the amount of time spent participating in networking activities.  Here you can clearly see that people who are spending between 5-9 hours a week networking are generating, on average, 50 percent of their business from these activities.

People who spend over 20 hours a week networking, on average, are getting almost 70 percent of their business through referrals!

How much time are you currently spending on networking each week?  Do these statistics make you want to devote more time to networking?  If you ask me, the time investment is definitely worth making.

If you have found certain networking activities to be particularly worthwhile and productive, please share them in the comments section.  Telling about what’s working for you may help others wishing to devote more time to networking to make more informed decisions about exactly which types of networking activities they will devote more time to.

Do Men or Women Get More Referrals?

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7spXRgDljhg&feature=channel_video_title[/tube]

[Business Networking and Sex is scheduled to be released in January of 2012.  Stay tuned to other topics from the book by visiting www.BusinessNetworkingAndSex.com.]

Do women get a higher percentage of business from networking or do men? This is the lively discussion taking place between my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I in this short video.  What do you think?  I’d love to get your opinion on the topic!

After watching the video, leave YOUR opinion here.  Share which gender you believe gets a higher percentage of their business from networking and WHY.

Winning or Losing, Trying or Quitting

I met with my good friend Dr. Mark Goulston for dinner recently.  Casually, over our meal he said something that made me reach into my pocket and scribble it down on the back of one of my business cards.  He said:

We have much less control over winning or losing at something than we do over trying or quitting at something.

If you always try, you can eventually win.  If you always quit, you can never win.

I loved this statement and it completely resonated with me and what I’ve seen in relation to people being successful at networking or at anything for that matter.

When people give up (even in their thoughts), it’s ‘game-over.’  I’ve always thought that I may not be the most successful man in the room or the smartest man in the room, but I’m pretty confident that I’m the most persistent man in the room.  That commitment to “trying” has helped me succeed.  I think it is the one thing that consistently helps anyone have long term success.

The whole process must begin with the old axiom – if you think you can or you think you can’t… you’ll be right.

When have you seen this in your life or someone close to you?

Sick of Politics and Power Trips?—You Might Be an Entrepreneur

BNIBusinessIndex.com has released its worldwide business survey findings for the first quarter of 2011.  Almost 1,500 business people participated in the survey—people from every populated continent around the world—and the results (see graph on the right)  indicate that, overall, the global economic state is improving.  69.4% of the respondents for the first quarter of 2011 feel that business is growing or growing substantially (compared to this time last year).  This number has increased since the prior BNI Business Index Survey which was conducted during the last quarter of 2010—respondents to this same question at that time weighed in at 67.8%.

Furthermore, half of all business people who took the survey (see the pie chart below) for the first quarter of 2011 (50.2%) said that they would, or possibly would, be hiring people over the next few months.  The retail sector (not shown here) responded with a strong 61.2% to this same question.  This is definitely good news for the global economy and certainly a move in the right direction for the recovery.

What was most interesting in this survey however, were the hundreds of comments offered up by business people and entrepreneurs around the world.

I’ve broken these comments down into six primary categories:

  1. Government Regulation
  2. Changing Target Markets
  3. The Credit Crunch
  4. The Yo-Yo Effect
  5. Natural Disasters
  6. Creative Responses

Government Regulation
Frustration relating to government regulation was adamantly expressed by many respondents and this topic was commented on by more people than almost any other.  A particular comment from one of the survey respondents summed up the frustration best.  This business owner said, “I’m tired of politics and power trips!”

This type of frustration was mirrored by many individuals who complained forcefully about “tax increases killing business . . . serious government intervention . . . the loss of tax credits . . .  mismanagement of government programs . . . and serious regulation.” It’s significant to note that these complaints were not limited to simply one or two parts of the world; on the contrary, these comments were echoed by entrepreneurs based on virtually every continent.  Business owners everywhere unanimously expressed great frustration with taxes and government intervention.

Changing Target Markets
The need to change one’s focus in the marketplace is another theme that cropped up in the recent survey responses.  As one respondent put it, “I’ve changed my target market to one that has both a greater need and a willingness to do something differently.”

Another entrepreneur said, “(Although) business is growing, the comfort zone of (keeping) a client has been lost.  There is a feel of uncertainty for business in the next quarter. The style with which the world does business is changing fast.”

This respondent went on to describe how some businesses are tweaking their target market in order to add on new “market segments” for additional revenue streams.

The Credit Crunch
Many observations were made about the credit crunch.  One was a complaint that seriously resonated with me.  The respondent stated, “I have great credit but Amex has still dropped my credit line by more than 50% in the last two years!!! It’s hard to run a business without a proper credit line.”

Another business owner said, “(There are) still not enough cash reserves or (enough financing) from banks” to support the business.  One individual put this a little differently, stating: “This is just another (line) in the chorus of ‘it is really hard to get loans.’ We tried to get a business loan and got rejected despite great credit because of our lack of a track record. We are only three years in business and were not considered a good risk. Instead, we are taking out a personal loan and will be lending the money back to the business ourselves. Strange but true.”

The Yo-Yo Effect
Many entrepreneurs spoke of the Yo-Yo like market place—business starts looking up and then things slow down.  Things start to go up again, only to fall back down the following month.

One person said their “billable hours more than doubled late last year” only to see them drop during the first quarter.  They went on to say that things are moving upwards again.

Another respondent said, “The adjustments and contractions are still occurring and it has naturally forced many of us to change and adapt. We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Natural Disasters
The long series of natural disasters have been a big issue mentioned by many entrepreneurs.  In North America, one person lamented, “My area has been getting pounded with snow, more snow, sleet, and freezing rain which has certainly had an impact on store traffic.”

A survey participant from New Zealand said, “Business here is incredibly tough, particularly since the earthquake – everyone is traumatised and there is a ripple effect through to all corners of the country. However, we are a resilient bunch, and there is an amazing ‘can do’ culture here- so we will overcome this tragedy.”

Many people from Australia wrote about the flooding in Queensland and challenges created because of weather in the country that has dramatically impacted their business.   One respondent stated that the natural disasters in the country have made “people much more reluctant to spend money on services that they perceive aren’t absolutely necessary.”

Creative Responses
Despite the obvious anxiety that exists, many entrepreneurs were hopeful.  People said: “There is greater optimism out there, it is noticeable with clients and prospects . . . since I’ve spent much more time networking I’ve felt the results more than double.” One person said, “I am on track to match last year’s revenue in the first quarter of this year!!!”

Another individual stated, “Consumers are willing to start spending more . . .” He went on to say that he has really focused on building a stronger referral-based business.  He said, “What was good enough three years ago is not good enough today.  This recession has motivated me to get better.”

The following statement from one particular respondent sums up the situation well: “I believe that it is important to not get caught up in what you are being fed. That doesn’t mean hiding your head in the sand, but not getting caught in the hype. Things are always changing, so stop and think how you can be a part of it. Reinvent yourself if you can, or think outside the box. Refusing to participate in the recession and looking to where you can grow are important strategies. If you don’t get caught in the negative (aspects) of change, sometimes you can see opportunity.”

Despite some of the written responses expressing negative perceptions of the economy, the survey results are promising.  With 69% of the respondents saying that business is better today than a year ago, things definitely appear to be moving in the right direction.   Now, if only the government and the environment would cooperate!

What are your thoughts about the results of this survey???

Also – take the 2nd Quarter 2011 BNI Business Index Survey Here.

___________________________________________

Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are based on survey results from BNIBusinessIndex.com.  The data, information, opinions, and comments documented here are not necessarily the views of BNI, its franchisees, members, or this author.

Jack Canfield Talks about Why the VCP Process® Makes Sense

A couple of weeks ago, Jack Canfield and I did a one-hour interview where we talked about business networking and success principles.  In about a month, the video of the interview will be available to view on Jack’s website (www.JackCanfield.com) in the “Inner Circle” section.

In the meantime, I invite you to check out the 3-minute video above where Jack talks about some of what he picked up about networking during our interview and why the VCP Process® really strikes a chord with him.

Great Opening Question

A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should use them both proportionately. When you meet someone in a networking environment you should ‘listen’ more than you ‘talk’ (especially if it is the first time you’ve met). Consequently, in books like The 29% Solution and Networking Like a Pro, I’ve written a lot about the kinds of questions you should ask when you meet someone for the first time.

Recently, I was at a networking event and, at the end of the conversation, someone asked me a question that no one has ever asked me before at a networking meeting. She asked, “What is the most amazing thing that has happened to you today?”

I love that question because it is so positive and unique.  It made me stop focusing on anything other than the question at hand and required me to be completely present in the moment because I truly had to think about what the greatest thing was that had happened in my day so far.  At the time, I shared what came to mind with the woman who asked me the question.  However, it’s interesting to note that today, many months later, what I remember most is that question . . . not whatever “amazing” thing happened to me that day.

If you have a great opening question, I’d love to hear it. In the comments section, share a stand-out question that you, or someone you’ve met, has asked at a networking event.

Business Networking “Coaching” Videos

One thing most businesspeople and entrepreneurs have in common is that they’re usually very busy and tend to have little time to spare. Their busy schedules often create challenges when it comes to making time to educate themselves on building valuable business skills such as networking.

This is why Entrepreneur.com has created the Coaches Corner, a highly convenient educational resource offering extremely brief educational videos on topics like networking, social media, marketing, starting out, managing employees, funding, and business planning.

The majority of the videos are under three minutes long and packed with helpful tips from experts whom Entrepreneur.com refers to as “some of the brightest minds in the biz.”

I’m honored to say that they’ve asked me to participate in this project and I’ve recorded a number of powerful educational videos on networking including:

Check out these videos for quick, instantly usable tips on networking and feel free to share the links with all those in your network!

Let me know what you think here on my blog.

The New India

I’ve been in India for the past several days conducting seminars on business networking and, I have to say, I’ve been very impressed by the business community here. The businesspeople I’ve met are passionate about learning and they are hungry for information and knowledge.  I have found the audiences here to be extraordinarily respectful and almost sponge-like in their interest in absorbing new ideas.

Although it is still a developing nation, it is obvious that the infrastructure of India is growing quickly.  There are construction projects going on virtually everywhere and the development of transportation systems seems to be a high priority.

India has quite an interesting blend of history, tradition, and modern society, along with a serious quest for improving people’s lives.  I don’t think the West fully recognizes the transformation that is taking place here.  Although the middle or entrepreneurial class in India is only about 20% of the population, this percentage represents over 200 million people!

The fact is, education is crucial to achieving growth and success; India’s business community truly understands this and it is inspiring to see how they wholeheartedly embrace a culture of learning.  With their interest in education and training, and their focus on creating infrastructure, I believe that India is likely to be the financial powerhouse of Asia within the next decade.

Businesspeople around the world would benefit tremendously by following India’s example in regard to the value the people of this country place on education.  It has been an amazing opportunity to be able to experience the culture of India and the graciousness and generosity of the people here.  I am deeply grateful to all those I have met during this trip and judging from the way these people embrace knowledge and exude the Givers Gain® philosophy, I have full confidence that India will soon achieve tremendous growth and worldwide recognition.

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