Archive for June, 2013

systemExcerpt from Business Networking + Sex by Ivan Misner, Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker

Find out what the survey says here

He Says

Systems? We have systems for everything! Have you ever watched a man build a fire on the grill? It is a system of beauty.  First you clean the grill, then you neatly stack the charcoals into a pyramid, and with great care then douse the charcoal with a precise amount of lighter fluid. Light that charcoal, and, ahhhh, fire. There just something about fire! Once the fire is just right, as only a man can tell, it’s time to throw your dinosaur steaks on the coals and let them sizzle! You see? We know systems, and the fire-making one is an example of one we perfected thousands of years ago.

There are many systems in business and it is important that we use them to our advantage, much like the fire. Putting systems in place that allow us to follow up consistently and stay in touch sounds like it should be pretty easy; after all, we dominated fire. So why do more more not use systems to complement their business activities? I would venture to say that staying in touch feels just a little too relational.  After all, those business contacts already know us and we’ve already sold them something, so why do we need to stay in touch?

If I told you having a system would allow you to make more money, would you be willing to use one? Of course you would. More money equals more free time, and if systems are in place to help, then we save both time and effort.

How many times have you forgotten to follow up on a referral or a call in a timely manner? It probably wasn’t because you didn’t have every good intention of doing so, but sometimes we become so busy that we forget the little things. Yes, women are better natural multi taskers. We men have to put more systems into place to make sure that we don’t drop that very detailed ball. Every time we do, it costs money! By and large, implementing more systems around our work allows us to make more money so that we have the time to do the things we love, like building fires!

She Says

The fortune is in the follow-up. Recently I passed a referral to a gentleman. I told him it was a done deal. I never heard from him, so I passed it to a second man and told him the same thing. He also never called me. The follow-up was completely dropped, simply because neither of these gentlemen had a system for following up, or there was an issue with me being a woman. Either way there was opportunity lost. This rarely happens to me with women, who will call or email me right away after a referral is made.

I once gave a man a $30,000 project referral that he never followed up on. I even called him a second time to give him a second chance. I gave the same referral to a woman and she followed up within 24 hours. Maybe this is the reason women feel they’re getting more business from their networking activities than men. They are more consistent with follow- up.

Categories : Networking Systems
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linkedin

As LinkedIn quickly becomes the today’s preferred business networking tool, many people are totally unaware they are making a huge mistake with their LinkedIn use.

Your profile is the most important component of your LinkedIn activity. Yet many people miss three very important steps:

1. Include a professional photo. The biggest mistake is not including a photo at all, the next biggest is putting an inappropriate photo on your profile. This is your image, the professional image you want to show to your prospects; surely it’s worth investing in a professional photograph – not your wedding photo.

Personally I never connect with anyone who doesn’t have a photo on their profile. If they can’t be bothered including a photo, they really don’t understand LinkedIn as all. And if I know the person, I blast them for being so lazy.

2. Spend time on your description. Describing yourself as manager (with no company name) or a CEO (with no history at all) is a waste of time. If you don’t have time to complete full profile, then don’t set up a LinkedIn profile right now – wait until you have time (at least 15 minutes) to do it well. If you do multiple things, prioritise the things that you do. List your no. 1 priority work first, followed by your no. 2 priority etc.

On my profile, I list my description as Networking Strategist, Writing Mentor and Ghost Writer. Until recently this is the only location where I promoted ghost writing and I am able to track that 30% of my business, specifically ghost writing, comes directly from LinkedIn.

3. Invest time and effort into your profile. Many years ago I was employed in the sales industry and learned ‘the more you tell, the more you sell’. Couple this with my networking knowledge gained over the last twenty plus years and it is definitely worth spending time listing your current jobs, past jobs and previous experience. You are currently a combination of your current and past jobs, life experiences, wisdom, connections and special interests. Being able to include as many of these things on your LinkedIn profiles is important if you want to maximise your potential connections. Once you have spent 15-30 minutes compiling your LinkedIn profile, you will agree that it has been time well spent. The key is to continue to add to your profile until it is 100% complete (according to the LinkedIn system)

Finally, systems are the key to you building your profile, career and business opportunities and your connections. I do believe it is a case of “build it and they will come.” The more people you connect with the more opportunities you will create for yourself and for your networks. Consistently spending 15 minutes per day accepting and sending invitations, making a comment in your update, commenting or responding on others updates, reading the latest articles and forwarding those you think are worth reading to your network – these are the habits of LinkedIn members who generate business every week.

Article written by the “Australian Queen of Networking” Robyn Henderson

Global networking specialist, Robyn Henderson has authored and contributed to more than 30 books on networking, self promotion and self esteem building. She has spoken in 12 countries, presents over 150 times per year and has never advertised. All her work comes from networking, referrals, LinkedIn and her website www.networkingtowin.com.au

Categories : Online Networking
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Excerpt from Business Networking + Sex by Ivan Misner, Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walkersystem

The Survey Says… Using a System

Using a systematic approach to networking was the focus of several of the questions on the survey.  Results were revealing in a number of ways. When we asked the people in the survey if they had a systematic approach for staying in contact with the people they met through networking, 58 percent of the respondents said “No.” We had very similar results on at least one other related question.  The difference between men and women in these responses was negligible and not statistically significant.

What is significant, however, is the most people don’t have a solid system in place to guarantee that they stay in touch and ensure their connections are not dropped. This is a fatal flaw in relation to building a powerful personal network. We know this because our later survey results showed how influential the relationship between using systems and producing positive business results was, but we’ll get to that soon.  Notice in the quote below how the impersonal follow-up, or lack of quality system, turns off the recipient:

I once attended a networking evening at which I was “sold” to by the men there.  One of them was a car dealer. I was actually thinking of buying a new car at that time. I listened to his sale speech, told him I was very interested and gave him my card, asking that he call me.  Two days later I got an impersonal mass-market email from him that he circulated to everyone he’d met.  He never called me. What’s the point of going to these things if you are not going to listen to the people you meet or follow up a hot lead?

Those who do use good follow-up techniques show how powerful solid follow-up systems can be. This couple, for example, discovered how to leverage one another’s contacts:

My wife and I work together to bring referrals to each other. She is a banker and I am an online business consultant. Her keeping-in-contact system begins with asking her for their business cards. Then she asks them if they have a website, how they like it, and how they get business. She uses that opportunity to refer them to my web design, e-commerce and online marketing services. In turn, I ask my clients if they use online credit card payment services for their business and use that as a segue to introduce them to the services my wife provides as a personal banker.

This respondent also recognises the importance of having a systematic approach:

I have a very extensive (yet monitored) “drip system” that has paid back it’s cost many times over. This “drip system” includes recipe cards, a birthday club letter (prearranged for clients to pick up a cake at their local bakery), monthly newsletters, anniversary cards for the settlement of their homes, and invitations to an annual night at their local ball game.  Whether or not the client chooses to participate isn’t important. Keeping my name in the forefront of their minds after the first contact is established is what’s important. Later they’ll know where to turn when my services are needed.

As this respondent observes, keeping one’s eye on the purpose of business networking is a vital aspects of following up, too:

I’ve made several strong personal friendships with both men and women as a result of business networking. Like any relationships, they require work. It’s been my experience, regardless of gender, that you need to be mindful of that when you reach that level of trust where it turns into a friendship, because then you can forget all about the business aspect of the relationship. This is why I feel it is key to have a structure in place that continually brings you back to generating business and making money. Losing sight of that changes the nature of the relationship.

Stay tuned for next month to continuing reading He Say + She Says On Planned Systems Yield More Results

Categories : Networking Systems
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Jun
11

8 Powerful Ways For Follow Up

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powerfulfollowupA lot of networking isn’t in making new contacts but following them up and developing the relationship.

To reap the benefits of networking, you have to become a master of follow up.  Not everyone you meet will instantly want to refer you or do business with you. You have to stay top of mind (in front of them) with emails, phone calls and in-person meetings.

Follow up, and keep following up. How many times have you been along to a networking event and had some great conversations? You swapped business cards and promised to “stay in touch”. You get back to work the next day, get stuck into your work and those good connections you made the day before soon become forgotten about and just another business card buried under the paperwork on your desk. Sound familiar? Neglecting to follow up with new contacts is one of the biggest mistakes people make with their networking. Not following up turns all your hard effort during the networking event into a waste of time. And just sending one email after meeting someone for the first time is not going to produce a new client or a flow of good referrals.

Here are 8 powerful ways for you to follow up with your connections;

1. Follow up with new contacts by doing things that have immediate value. Most people aren’t good at following up new contacts. The best follow-up from an initial meeting is one that provides value to the recipient. Perhaps an idea to help them or a link to a useful resource. The more it’s clear that you have thought about them and how to help them, the more likely they are to classify you as “someone to trust”. Of course, in order to do this, you need to understand what might be useful to them. And that comes down to the questions you asked (and how well you were listening) during the initial conversation. Understanding their (business) issues, challenges and aspirations is essential to this.

2. Keep in contact with regular 121 meetings. This is the forgotten key to building relationships that will lead to ongoing business and referrals. It’s how you go from “contact” to “connection”, from “acquaintance” to “friendship”, from prospect to client, from customer to advocate. 121 interactions can occur over a cup of coffee, a bite to eat or a drink after work. You could call and ask a client or contact if you can take a tour of their business operations. Why not invite them to a coming event they might be interested in and schedule time afterwards to sit down and share what you thought of the event with each other. The point is you’ve got to take the time to build the relationship.

3. Try to find out what is really important to the other person. Then think about other things you can do for them. Maybe provide a testimonial. If you see an article or some information that might be interesting, send it to them. Invite them to events where you think they’ll get benefit and introduce them to other members of your network. If it’s appropriate, promote their business on your website or in a newsletter you send out. Make referrals for them every time you have the opportunity — this might mean actively looking for potential clients/customers for them. There will be times when it’s appropriate to provide support. It maybe that they organise events and it might be appropriate that you sponsor them and there maybe opportunities where you can actually collaborate or form a joint venture with the other person. It’s important that you invest in your business/networking relationships and the way you do that is by finding things you can do for the other person (without expecting anything in return). By doing that you move others to do things for you.

4. Make your 121 meetings really count. Don’t walk away from a single 121 meeting without agreeing to do something or having gained or shared some useful information/advice. Ask your networking associates about the groups and organisations they find most fruitful. Discuss cross-marketing opportunities. Ask for the introductions and referrals you need to build your business. Help each other with a problem. Learn how to refer someone in your network to your contact. Teach them how to refer someone in their network to you. Teach them how to talk about your business to their own network members and learn how to talk about their business to the people you know. Exchange promises to make helpful introductions. Create a commitment or obligation to do something together or for each other. Set a date for the next 121 meeting.

5. Have substantive/productive/results-oriented conversations, not marshmallow ones. Most networking conversations are “small talk” and don’t go anywhere. Be different and ask questions that foster engagement and open the door to a mutually beneficial relationship. Find out about your networking contacts—what they do, how they do it, who benefits from it and how they benefit. Find out what are they passionate about, what are they struggling with, what are they looking for and what are their ambitions and objectives for their business. And then let them find out these things about you. (When I’m in conversation with my clients and networking contacts, I like to focus on things like, family, interest, talents, challenges and contacts)

6. No time to foster relationships? Of course you do. Always have your list of contacts at hand and snatch 15 minutes every now and then to make calls and shoot off emails and text messages ― ”Just touching base to see how you’re travelling.” This is what the great business developers do to keep in touch with people who are important to them, despite their busy schedules. A friend of mine says that networking is like shaving…..if you miss two days in a row, you look like a bum. He makes networking (meeting new people and reaching out people he already knows) a part of his daily routine. If you have business development responsibilities, you should do the same and it will translate into more confidence, more sales, more referrals and more clients.

7. Schedule times in your diary to keep in touch with the people who are really important to you. When most people think about networking, they think about meeting new people/going to some kind of event. What they forget is that the real value gained, the big payoff from networking comes from deepening relationships with the people you already know. Unless you “click” immediately, these deepening relationships will only come from you spending time with people over time. Typically, you don’t go from “stranger to new client or referral source” with one conversation. It takes time.

8. Keep expanding who you know. Attend three or four networking events each month and follow up with the people you meet. Getting out to networking events will do more to build our business than making cold calls, doing mail-outs, advertising and spending money on a website or well-designed brochure. And nothing, absolutely nothing is likely to come of all your efforts to meet people if you don’t follow up. New contacts almost never become clients, customers or referral partners as a result of a one-time meeting. It’s not the initial contact that does the trick; the rewards come from following up, following up on your follow-up and staying in touch. The majority, more than 80 percent, of buying decisions and referrals are made after the 5th contact. You have to be meeting, calling and emailing people on a regular basis if you’re going to turn those initial contacts into business.

Happy networking. Maybe we will see each other at a networking event some day.

Referred to as “That Networking Guy” by many organizations, Ron Gibson provides in-depth networking training and coaching, focusing on business growth and development. Get Ron to speak at your next conference or sales meeting about how to bring in more business, more consistently and more often.  Ron can be reached on mobile 0413 420 538 and email gonetworking@iinet.net.au

Categories : Networking Systems
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Jun
06

Do You Feel Nervous?

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doyoufeelnervousDo you feel nervous, even anxious at the thought of attending yet another networking function?  Some people relish the opportunity to meet and greet a bunch of prospects that they have never met before, while others, pale at the thought.

Having a strategy about what to do when you go networking is essential.  If you follow this three step process it will surely help.

1. Meeting People for the First Time 

The first thing to do is be brave, say hello and greet people warmly.  Hold out your hand and be prepared to give a good handshake, not too firm, not too limp.  Most importantly…Smile!!  No need to rush this part, take your time and repeat the person’s name, so that you remember it.

Next move is to start a conversation.  The easy bit is the “What do you do question?”, it’s what comes next that a lot of people struggle with.

Here’s some suggestions on where to go next.  Ask:

  • Tell me about you’re your latest project
  • What is the best part about working in that field?
  • How did you come to work in that industry?
  • How did that idea emerge?

Once you have the conversation rolling, remember to use the other person’s name.  Hearing your name is music to your ears, make sure you use theirs and get it right!

Think about the audience who will be attending the function and prepare some questions beforehand, so that you aren’t stuck on the day for something to ask or say.

2. Keep That Conversation Rolling

The best thing you can do to keep a conversation rolling is to be a good listener.  Listen with your ears and your eyes, maintain eyes contact, show the other person that you are hanging on their every word.  The worst thing you can do whilst someone else is speaking is to be scanning the room to see who else is about that you may want to talk to.

It’s Ok to ask clarifying questions and  in fact the more questions you ask (within reason) the easier the conversation will flow between you and your new best friend.  Remember though not to dominate the conversation and don’t make your questioning appear like the Spanish Inquisition!

Remember to avoid controversial topics and above all respect other people’s opinions.  Personally I will never discuss sex, religion or politics in a public forum, it’s too dangerous and can lead to polarising opinion and souring of relationships.

3. Finishing the Conversation

Be careful to move about at a networking function, never stay talking with one person or group for more than 10 minutes.  Have a prepared conversation completer and then move on.  You could say

  • Lovely to talk with you, I think I will go and freshen up my coffee
  • Lovely to talk with you, I see someone I must speak to, please excuse me
  • Lovely to spend time with you, this is a networking function, I think I will go and do some more networking

Make the most of your networking opportunities.  Avoid hiding in the corner or propping yourself up against the bar or food table.  Move around, be brave and use the three step process.

© Lindsay Adams 2013.  All rights reserved.

Article written by the Lindsay Adams National Director of the Referral Institue

Lindsay Adams National Director, Referral Institute The Referral Institute is a training and consulting company that specializes in working with business owners and sales people to help them develop referral their marketing vision, plans and goals, before they go to BNI to take action.  Find out more at www.referralinstitute.com.au or email Lindsay directly at Lindsay.adams@referralinstitute.com.au 

Categories : Education
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AndrewMembers Details
Andrew Larcombe
Finance Strategist
Morbanx Pty Ltd
www.morbanx.com.au
BNI Business Developers Chapter in BNI Melbourne East Region

Tell us about your business:

Morbanx is a leading mortgage planner and finance broker, providing you with the financial keys to fulfill your dreams. After more than 30 years in the banking and financial services sector, we have the expertise and experience to help you find the best finance available for your circumstances.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

1. Listen
2. Ask questions
3. Make it about them, not you

What can’t you live without?

My ”Smart Pen”

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

The E-Myth by Michael Gerber is a book that taught me to concentrate my energies on what I am good at and get someone else (outsource) the stuff I’m not good at.

How Did Your Find Out About BNI & Why Did You Join?

I was invited to a visitors day.

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

Over 12 years

What Position/s On The Leadership Team Have You Held?

President, Treasurer, Membership Committee, Education, Events, Visitors Host

What value & benefit have you or your business gained by being a BNI Member?

I originally joined BNI to get practice speaking to groups as I had a real fear of public speaking. My confidence in that area has grown to a point where I now conduct regular seminars & workshops to groups of up to 40 people!

My business has grown with BNI making up a large percentage of my revenue streams.

There is also the huge benefit of having a network of like minded professionals that I can referr my clients to when a need arises. I strongly believe that a lot of people don’t understand how great that is until they have been a member for some time.

What Do You Wish Someone Had Told Your When You First Joined BNI? 

Get to know your fellow members ASAP; ”Dance Cards” or ”1 to 1 Meetings” are the key to success in BNI.

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

I have gained a lot of business and a lot of friendships over my years in BNI.

Once instead of doing a Dance Card over coffee I accompanied the Property Inspector whilst he did a property inspection. I even got under the floor with him. It was great to see him in action. It gave me a good understanding of what he actually did.

Your Dream Referral Is…

The owner of a chain (more than one) of Real Estate Agencies in the South, East or South East of Melbourne.

Categories : Featured Member
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