Entrepreneur.com Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Getting Along

The Importance of Getting Along With Others

When I was very young, my mother gave me a paperweight that said, “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” She went on to say, “Honey, I love you but you are a bull in a china shop; you just run people over. You have to learn how to work with people.” This advice was a major influence on me for the rest of my life. Think back to your elementary school report card and how it graded you on your ability to play well with others. Well, things haven’t changed. I believe your success in business, and particularly your success at networking, means that you need to learn how to collaborate — or in other words, getting along with others.

You can’t always choose who comes to the playground, and you won’t always get a say in who you’re working with. Why do you have to be friends with everybody? You don’t even have to like everybody. It’s also important to recognize that different personalities add different perspectives and that, when managed well, can actually make a group more productive.

Do not allow other people to control your actions. This begins with some tolerance, a frequently invoked word that’s under-used in practice. Remember, keep your eye on the ball and try not to be too sensitive about those difficult people. Here are some techniques that will help you with this process.

Here are 5 things to consider when you’re talking to a difficult person

  • Listen without arguing.
  • Ask questions. Not argumentative questions, but questions that will give you more insight into their point of view.
  • Show interest in their point of view. You don’t have to agree with it to show interest. Trust me on this one.
  • If you can, get them to focus on the solutions to the issue and not just the problem. If all we do is focus on the problem, we become an expert on problems. Say to them: I get it, I see the issue. Now, the real question: What’s a realistic solution. If they offer a lousy solution, then say, “OK, that’s one possibility. What’s another realistic solution?” Coach them toward calmness.
  • Clear, open, honest and direct communication is the best way to deal with difficult people or other people who are dealing with them. Every time I’ve had big challenges with people, one side or the other held back in their communication. That doesn’t mean unload on people. It means to talk to them professionally.

Six suggestions to be aware of when there is a difficult person in your group

  • Make yourself invaluable to people by focusing on solutions.
  • Stay clear of drama and rise above fray by checking your emotions and focusing on results.
  • Don’t complain. Be positive. Complaining is not an Olympic sport.
  • Stay aware of your emotions, and don’t let others limit your success.
  • Use your support system. Talk to others about the solution.
  • Be a leader, not a leaver.

Don’t let their craziness drive you in a direction you don’t want to go. As Lisa Earle McLeod says in her book, The Triangle of Truth, “I discovered that what actually puts us over the edge towards craziness ourselves is not other people’s dysfunctions; it’s their denial of their dysfunctions. You know, how they go out acting all normal, and even self-righteous as if we’re the ones who are loopy.”

Don’t let others control your success. Leaving an opportunity (or a network) because someone is being difficult gives them leverage over you and it gives them free rein to lord over others. Don’t give away that power.

Elevator Pitch

Seven Rules for an Elevator Pitch

I used to hate the expression “elevator pitch.” It just drove me crazy. But now that everybody’s using it all over the world, I officially give up and am going to go with it. The metaphor developed out of the hypothetical that you are literally in an elevator with one minute or less to say who you are and what you do. What would you say? I want you to keep in mind that this is not a sales pitch; it is a creative and succinct way to generate interest in the listener.

With that in mind, here are my seven rules for creating an engaging elevator pitch:

Don’t do your elevator pitch in an actual elevator.

An unsolicited pitch in an elevator is basically face-to-face cold calling. I’ve been a victim. Don’t be a perpetrator. Unless someone asks what you do, just say “good day” to them. The elevator pitch is meant to be taken out of the elevator and into the right environment.

Make it tight.  

It needs to be short. This is a quick pitch, not a reading from War and Peace. Your pitch should be more like a work of art than a science project. It should be succinct and expressive, something you practice carefully and present cohesively and professionally. You also need to be natural. You want to rehearse, but not sound rehearsed, and avoid sounding staged and canned.

K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple. Don’t try to explain everything you do in the short amount of time you have. It will either be too much information (breaking rule number two) or too vague to be of any value. By keeping your elevator pitch simple, you have more of a chance to catch the listener’s attention, engage them with your creativity and create interest in your product or service.

Don’t use jargon.

If at any point someone has to say, “What does that mean?” you have officially lost them. Push the button for the next floor and exit now. (I know, you’re not really on an elevator, but you have really lost them.)

Share your USP.

A USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. One example of how to craft a pithy USP is to alter a bland, general statement such as, “I’m a coach and consultant” to something like, “I help people work less, make more and create referrals for life” instead. This is short, powerful and informative, i.e. the perfect combination for part of an effective elevator pitch.

Consider starting out with precisely how your listener will benefit.

My friend, communications expert Andy Bounds, calls this “the afters.” For your elevator pitch, this could be something as simple as, “I help people increase their sales by 33 percent, improve their closing ratio to 80 percent or double the number of new clients they take on per month.” In other words, focus on the “after” effect of the product or service you provide.

Pass the eyebrow test.

Another good friend, Sam Horn, author of Someday is Not a Day of the Week, writes about the “eyebrow test.” If what you say in your elevator pitch causes the listener’s eyebrows to go up, you’ve got ’em! You’ve left the listener wanting more, and that’s precisely what you want to accomplish. On the other hand, if the listener’s eyebrows scrunch down, you’ve just confused them. Find a new pitch.

Keeping these seven rules in mind when you create an elevator pitch will set you apart from the crowd. Now it’s time to press “Open Door.”

additional ways others can promote

Additional Ways Others Can Promote You

Put your networking circle to work for you with these five additional suggestions you can use to promote others to generate new business for them. When other people offer to help you spread the word about your business, have these ideas ready to go. Here are the final five examples of additional ways others can promote you and your business from my book Networking Like a Pro.

Provide you with referrals.

The kind of support you’d most like to get from your sources is, of course, referrals–names and contact information for specific individuals who need your products and services. Sources can also help by giving prospects your name and number. As the number of referrals you receive increases, so does your potential for increasing the percentage of your business generated through referrals.

Introduce you to prospects.

Your source can help you build new relationships faster by introducing you in person. She can provide you with key information about the prospect. She can also tell the prospect a few things about you, your business, how the two of you met, some of the things you and the prospect have in common, and the value of your products and services.

Follow up with referrals they have given you.

Your sources can contact prospects they referred to you to see how things went after your first meeting, answer their questions or concerns, and reassure them that you can be trusted. They can also give you valuable feedback about yourself and your products or service, information that you might not have been able to get on your own.

Serve as a sponsor.

Some of your sources may be willing to fund or sponsor a program or event you are hosting. They might let you use a meeting room, lend you equipment, authorize you to use their organization’s name, or donate money or other resources.

Sell your products and services.

Of all the kinds of support that a source can offer, the one that has the greatest immediate impact on your bottom line is selling your product or service for you. Your network member could persuade a prospect to write a check for your product, then have you mail or deliver the product to your new customer. If you do so swiftly and cordially, you may gain a new lifelong customer.

Suppose a customer you know well tells you a friend of his wants to buy your product. How should you respond? While your interest is still hot, let your friend, the customer, take your product and sell it to his friend, the prospect (if he plans to see his friend in the near future, of course).

This set of five finishes the series of 15 ways others can promote you and your business. Last week I shared the second part of this series with, “Five More Ways Others Can Promote You”. Put your networking circle to work for you with these fifteen total ways others can promote you to generate new business.


Five More Ways Others Can Promote

Five More Ways Others Can Promote You

If you’re like most people, you aren’t prepared to accept help at the moment it’s offered. You let an opportunity slip by because you haven’t given enough thought to the kinds of help you need. When help is offered, it’s to your advantage to be prepared and to respond by stating a specific need. Don’t let the next opportunity for others to help slip through your fingers! Being prepared with some simple examples of five more ways others can promote you and your business from my book Networking Like a Pro that can make a real difference in the success of your business.

Make initial contact with prospects and referral sources.

Instead of just giving you the phone number and address of an important prospect, a network member can phone, email or meet the prospect first and tell them about you. When you make contact with the prospect, he will be expecting to hear from you and will know something about you. Better yet, your source can help you build new relationships faster through a personal introduction to that person. Ideally, they would pro­vide you with key information about the prospect while also telling the prospect a few things about you, your business and some of the things you and the prospect have in common.

Arrange a meeting on your behalf.

When one of your sources tells you about a person you should meet or someone you consider a key contact, they can help you immensely by coordinating a meeting. Ideally, they’ll not only call the contact and set a specific date, time and location for the meeting, but they’ll also attend the meeting with you.

Publish information for you.

Network members may be able to get information about you and your business printed in publications they subscribe to and in which they have some input or influence. For example, a referral source who belongs to an association that publishes a newsletter might help you get an article published or persuade the editor to run a story about you. Many companies showcase topic-specific experts in their newsletters; you could become the expert in your field for some of these.

Form strategic alliances with you.

Of all the kinds of support that a source can offer, this one has the greatest potential for long-term gain for both parties. When you engage in a strategic alliance, you’re developing a formal relationship with another business owner that says you’ll refer him busi­ness whenever possible and they’ll do the same. This works best in businesses that are complementary.

For example, a handyman would find advantages in forming an alliance with a real estate agent, because they continually encounter people who need home repair work done. Conversely, a handyman probably deals with homeowners who are considering selling their homes after the handyman is finished making repairs. Such strategic alliances can work with a number of other businesses (CPAs and financial advisors, mortgage brokers and real estate agents, hotel salespeople and event planners and so on). The key is to find the person with the right complementary busi­ness and then make it work for both of you.

Connect with you through online networks.

When people connect with you online, you can notify them about your events or projects and you can receive the same kind of information from them. They can see your business profile and biographical data and can refer you to people in their networks. Once con­nected, they can provide recommendations and testimonials for the rest of your network to view.

Last week I shared the first part of this series with, “Five Ways Others Can Promote You”. Put your networking circle to work for you with these additional ways others can promote you to generate new business. When other people offer to help you spread the word about your business, have these ten ideas ready to go. 

 

wheels

Dude, Where are My Wheels

I recently visited Los Angeles and drove through an area that I grew up around. I was regaling my wife with a personal story about a job I had in a pretty tough neighborhood when I was in college. It was about how having a strong network can always help you in difficult situations. At the end of the story, she said, “You have to write about this “Wheels” experience!” So, here it is.

Dude, Where are My Wheels

I grew up in a very working-class environment early in my life. It was roughly 1975, working on my bachelor’s degree while I was employed at a hardware store in South El Monte, California. Now, you have to understand that South El Monte was a pretty tough neighborhood. We had a fair number of gangs active in the area.

We closed the store one evening around 7:00 p.m. It took about 30 minutes to close all the registers and leave the store. In that 30-minute period, a lot could happen in that particular neighborhood. Around 7:30 p.m., we walked out of the store and found one of the employee’s cars sitting in the parking lot. It was literally propped up on blocks. Someone had stolen all four of my co-worker’s “awesome” wheels and left the car on four concrete blocks where it sat, waiting for him when he got off work. Clearly, he was apoplectic when we walked out. He went absolutely crazy!

What’s amazing to me was that one of the employees who lived locally said to the other employee, “Calm down, relax and give me a while. I’ll make a call and see what I can do. Go back into the store and wait. I’ll let you know when to come back out.”

Within an hour, he came in and said it was OK to come back out. We went back into the parking lot, and lo and behold, there was his car with the wheels. They were re-installed, bright shiny rims and all — good as new!

It turns out that the local employee had friends in the gang that was known for heisting awesome wheels off cars. He simply made a call to one of the members he knew well (to clarify, he wasn’t in the gang, but he “knew people” in the gang). All it took to have the wheels returned was one phone call to that one gang member he knew well. I was about 18 years old, and I think this was one of the first really powerful lessons I experienced about the value of  an important tenet in networking.

Knowing the right people

This unfortunate story in my youth taught me the importance of knowing the right people. It helped me to learn that it’s not what you know — or who you know, it’s how well you know each other that counts.

working in your flame

Working in Your Flame vs Your Wax

This is the second classic video in the “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com. I expand on common phrases I’ve used over the years. How can they apply to your business and referral networking style? Today I discuss the Ivanism, “Working in Your Flame vs Your Wax

In this classic video, I explain why I equate the phrase ‘working in your flame’ with being in business and loving what you’re doing, and the phrase ‘working in your wax’ with being in business and really not liking or enjoying what you’re doing.

Are you flame or wax happy? That sounds like a bizarre question–but it’s not.

When you’re working in your wax and when you’re working in your flame are two very different things, and can affect you in different ways. If you’re flame happy, you’re excited, motivated and ready to pursue your ambitions. But what happens when are wax happy, and simply complacent with working on things that you aren’t passionate about?

The video below talks about this idea and ways you can make sure you’re always flame happy.

Watch the video now to learn how to take small yet significant steps in your journey toward truly loving what you do for a living!  What does working in your flame mean for you?  What is it you do in your chosen profession that you truly love?  Likewise, what is it you do that causes you to work in your wax and how might you delegate those tasks to another employee who might actually enjoy those same tasks?  I’d love to get your feedback on this–thanks!

I’m “a Communist” . . . Really?

I wrote an article on Entrepreneur.com last week entitled “Why Everyone Should talk About Politics While Networking” and in my opening line I state, “Yes, I believe everyone should talk about politics (and religion) while networking . . . if they’d like their network to go up in flames, that is!”

Though I may have been very active in politics over the years and I do, indeed, have a definite religious/spiritual leaning, I have found that it is undoubtedly best not to mix my views/beliefs in these areas with my business networking activities because these topics can be VERY divisive.  Opening up a dialogue of a political or spiritual/religious nature with those in your network tends to be something that will more than likely invoke passionate, heated arguments which is NOT a good thing for a networking environment (take a look at the full article for my complete commentary and explanation). 

Soon after the Entrepreneur.com article came out, someone left a comment in the comment forum beneath the article that I found quite surprising.  The comment they posted says:

“This guy Ivan Misner sure sounds like a Communist to me.  If it walks like a duck . . .”

Really?  I’m “a Communist” because I said that people who want to be successful at networking should not talk about politics and religion in a business networking environment?  Okay, well, I guess I should really thank the person who posted the comment because they’re ultimately helping to make my point.  Discussions about politics and religion can make people say some crazy things.

By the way, here’s how I responded to the comment:

“Too funny.  You clearly don’t know me. Besides, a true Marxist-Leninist would be out leading the proletariat revolution of the capitalists and I’m too busy being a capitalist.”

Hey, I always had a hunch my Political Science degree would come in handy someday yet I never would’ve imagined it would be through someone calling me “a Communist,” that’s for sure. 😉

What’s your feeling on the appropriateness of discussing politics and/or religion in a business networking environment?  Have you tried it yourself, or maybe networked with someone who makes a habit of bringing up these subjects when you’re conversing while networking?  What has your experience been? . . . I highly encourage you to leave a comment; I’m very interested in hearing some different perspectives on this. Thanks!

Entrepreneur Magazine’s Winning Strategies for Business Conference

Entrepreneur magazine’s Winning Strategies for Business Conference is being held in Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 5. If it’s possible for you to attend, I highly recommend that you go. This event offers serious educational value, plenty of opportunities to network and, best of all, registration is FREE!

I’ll be giving the keynote presentation, “Networking Like a Pro,” during the morning session and I’ll be talking about how to create, maintain and serve a wide network and enjoy great business and personal rewards as a result.

If you can make it out to the conference, I’d love to have the opportunity to meet you, so please take a moment to introduce yourself during one of the networking sessions or after my presentation.

The focus of the Winning Strategies for Business Conference is to show you everything you need to know about how to go further and achieve more by teaching you proven tactics that will impact virtually every aspect of your business. Bruce Kimbrell of Disney Institute will be giving the afternoon keynote presentation, “Disney’s Approach to People Management,” and there will be a handful of other dynamic speakers presenting on topics such as SEO, social networking and PR, fundraising, launching a new business, brand building, driving sales and more.

There will also be a one-of-a-kind opportunity for you to pitch your business to Entrepreneur‘s editors for a chance to have your business featured in either Entrepreneur magazine or on Entrepreneur.com

(Now that is a great opportunity!)

Hope to see you at the event! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR FREE or to get more information on Winning Strategies for Business.

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