Archive for Networking

In this fourth and final instalment of the “Why People Resist Networking” Video Series, Dr. Ivan Misner® discusses a fourth reason why people likely shy away from networking–Lack of Understanding.

Unfortunately, many people simply don’t understand what networking is and, in addition, they don’t understand the benefits of networking. In this video, Dr. Misner puts some common misconceptions to rest about what networking is and explains why, no matter what business you’re in, it’s best to “take off your bib and put on your apron” if you want networking to work for you.

Categories : Networking
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In this third instalment of the “Why People Resist Networking” Video Series, Dr. Ivan Misner® discusses a popular theme surrounding why people tend to resist networking–impatience. If new networkers don’t see immediate payoff from their efforts, they become impatient, inevitably resulting in failure early on in the networking process.

Watch the video now to find out why you owe it to yourself (not to mention the business you’ve put so much hard work into) to adopt a systematic and patient approach to networking. Remember, when you approach networking like a long distance marathon runner, you will reap sweet rewards; if you approach it like a sprinter, simply trying to reach the end as quickly as possible, chances are you’ll end up breaking your ankle (so to speak) and you will have failed before you ever have a chance to even reach the finish line–needless to say, there’s no prize in that.

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nowMany BNI members complain about never having time to network outside of their BNI meetings. What they don’t realise is that networking is not a chore – it can be one of the best and least expensive business building tool on offer today.

One thing is for sure, if you start allocating 15 minutes per day on specific networking activity – within 6-8 weeks you will start to see results.

Here are 5 things you can do within that 15 minute time frame that will get you fast results.

  1. Pick up the phone. Yes text messages are useful and emails are convenient, but nothing beats a conversation. Call a couple of lapsed clients for a “how’s things?” phone call. “I was thinking of you yesterday and thought I would give you a call and just see how you are going and what you are up to.” Then listen, don’t interrupt, don’t try to sell anything, just listen. You might even take notes.
  2. Send a thank you note. Who has done something for you in the last week? Who has gone out of their way to help you? Who has given you a referral recently? Why not send them a thank you note? It will probably take you longer to address the envelope than it will to write the note. Developing a habit of sending at least one thank you card a week is a great networking activity to practice.
  3. Recycle something you no longer need. In this age of high consumption, you may find that giving is almost as good as receiving. Whether you are recycling magazines, books, CDs (yes some people still use them), electrical equipment or furniture. If you no longer need something, why not give it away? You have enjoyed its use for long enough, why not pass it on? Of course the local charity shop or community centre will welcome all donations and you may find that some of your friends are happy to pass receive your unwanted possessions. Particularly if they have ageing parents and are often looking for different things to keep them entertained.
  4. Spend your entire 15 minute slot on LinkedIn and spend the time going through your connections and send recommendations to your preferred suppliers. Avoid writing exactly the same testimonial for everyone as they will show up in a cluster and people may notice your lack of originality. However testimonials need not be lengthy, 2-3 lines is sufficient. Don’t be surprised if you receive some recommendations in response. Remember what you give out comes back tenfold.
  5. Give a referral to someone in your BNI network. You probably don’t need a reminder with this, but there are BNI members unfortunately week after week who don’t give referrals. They are great at excuses, but lazy when it comes to giving referrals. The key is to make sure it is a referral – the name of the person expecting your call, a brief summary of what they want and contact details. A tip is a piece of information e.g. one of the hotels on the waterfront is doing a makeover. A lead is a little more information but still not quite enough e.g. the Star hotel on the waterfront is doing a makeover in the next 6 months. A referral e.g. The Star Hotel on the waterfront is doing a makeover in June. They have a tight budget but I told them you are in the makeover business and have a reputation for coming in on budget. John Seville is expecting your call, here is his number. Now that is a referral and John Seville will certainly welcome your call.

If you want referrals, start giving away referrals.

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

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businesscards

I am a frequent flyer and traveller around Australia and Asia, speaking at conferences and seminars, teaching business owners and sales people about building their business by referral.  There are four ways to build your business, advertising, marketing, cold calling and referral marketing.

Most business owners and sales people I know don’t have the advertising budget of Coles or Woolworth’s to promote their business, nor do they have the where with all to engage in sophisticated marketing campaigns to promote their business.   Most of them rely on good old cold calling or referral marketing to achieve sales.

Here is an amazing fact, cold calling works, for every one hundred people you call three of them will do business with you. The problem that goes with that is how well you handle rejection.  For those three clients you will have to negotiate ninety seven rejections.  I’m not sure how well you handle rejection, however I can think of easier ways to do business.  That is, by referral.

I have successfully used referral marketing to build three businesses over the past thirteen years and consider myself an expert in the technology and processes of referral marketing.

I was booked to speak at an event in Singapore about the “Three Massive Mistakes Business Owners Make that Stop Them Getting Referred”.  I had everything I needed, clothes, computer, complete with PowerPoint presentation, handouts, my passport, hotel booking and even my power adapter, which I’ve left behind more than once before.

I had everything I needed, except…Business Cards!

I searched through my briefcase and suit coat pockets and found about a dozen cards, not nearly enough for the five hundred people expected in the audience at the conference I was speaking at.

In my presentation I talk about the power of creating visibility through exchanging business cards, before you move on to credibility and profitability.  So what do you do when you are don’t have enough or any business cards?  Here’s what I did.  During the many conversations I had I spoke I said something like “I would love to stay in touch with you, I’m sorry I’ve run out of business cards, how about you give me your card and I will email you tomorrow with my details”.

Alternately I asked the person I was speaking to for two of their cards and wrote my contact details on the back of one of their cards and gave it back to them explaining that I had run out of cards.  It wasn’t a complete disaster, even if it was a tad embarrassing.

The next day I made sure I was out of bed early and sent an email to all of the people I had spoken to that day with my details and a short note saying how much I enjoyed meeting them.

It may not have been the best way to connect with people, however it was sure memorable!

© 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 

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In this second instalment of the “Why People Resist Networking” Video Series, Dr. Ivan Misner® discusses the second idea behind why people most likely resist networking–they claim they are much too busy to network.

According to Dr. Misner, the bottom line is that though people may feel they don’t have the time or that they’re too busy to network, in reality they’re simply not making the effort to take the time because they don’t realize two extremely important facts about the benefits of networking and the power it has to significantly build their business.

Watch the video now to learn why the “I’m too busy to network” mentality is something you definitely need to overcome if your goal is to grow your business as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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In this first video in the “Why People Resist Networking Series,” Dr. Ivan Misner® lists 4 ideas about why people most likely resist networking and goes into detail about the very first idea–Lack of Confidence.

He offers insight into three different reasons why people lack confidence when it comes to networking and then gives explanations & solutions to combat this reasoning which too often prevents people from reaping the benefits of networking for their business.

Rather than making assumptions, ask more questions.  This was a piece of sage advice that has been given to me both my spiritual mentor, and my sales coach!  No, they are not one in the same, but both have expressed the importance of asking more questions, as well as asking better questions.  Over the years as I have developed my networking skills I have come to learn the importance of not only asking questions but ask good questions.

I often teach people how to network effectively, to get beyond face to face cold calling, to do quality networking that allows you to build relationships with people whom you want to refer business to and who may want to refer business to you.  One of the most popular questions I get from my students is; “How do you start a good conversation with someone I meet at a networking event?”  My response is always the same, “Ask Questions”

People love to  talk about themselves, their businesses, what they are doing that is important to them, and what is going on in their world.  If you are shy, or timid, asking questions will allow you to interact and find common ground with people.  It will take you out of your shell by allowing you to focus on something other than your own fear.

Here are a few tips for asking questions:

Never ask yes or no questions, otherwise you just get yes and no answers and there is no conversation started.  Make sure your questions are open ended.

Ask thoughtful questions that you would really like to know the answer to.  People respond better when they know you are genuinely interested.  We are accustomed to hearing questions like, “How are you?”  “How’s business?”  “What brought you here?”  “What do you do?”  The truth of those questions is that no one really wants to know the answer, they are just being polite.

After you ask a question, listen to the answer.  It may lead you down the path of the next question or you may learn that the person you are speaking to would be a great connection for someone else you know if the room.

Don’t be a Drill Sargent and pummel the person with questions, it is far better to have 2-3 well thought out questions that draw the person into conversation with you, than it is to have a barrage of pointless questions.

One of the finale questions I will often ask people is this, “As I continue to network and meet people here is there anyone you would like to know or anything I can do to help you?”  In fact I almost always finish any conversation that I have with this question,  “Is there anything at all that I can do to help you going forward?”  If there is, I make a note of it, if there is not, I let them know that I am an email away if they can think of anything I can do for them, just drop me a note.

Often I can go to an event and say very little, but I learn a lot. It is said, that a wise man listens and questions, a fool rambles on and on.

hazelGuest Post Written by Hazel Walker: A passion for learning, personal growth, and relationship-building has been invaluable to Hazels evolution as a woman, a mother and an entrepreneur. Find out more at http://hazelmwalker.com/

TRUTH

Again, in this case, it’s possible to attend too many networking groups, and it’s possible to attend too few.  The key is to attend a number of different types of groups, and not so many that you have to neglect any of them.  Each type is useful in a different way.

If you want something more definitive, we would say that three is the magic number. It can be more or less than three, depending on your abilities and needs, but there is a pretty good target for an effective referral network.  You can select from a menu of seven different types.

Strong Contact Networks (referral networking groups such as BNI) are structured explicitly to pass business referrals among members; they allow only one member per profession.  Strong-contact networks are particularly good for developing in-depth relationships because you see the same members week after week and pass referrals as part of each meeting.

Casual Contact Networks (chambers of commerce, for example) bring business people together in a less structured context than strong contact networks, but for many they are a primary source of referrals; membership is not limited by profession.  These groups are good for developing breadth in your network, but deep, long lasting relationships can be formed as well.

Service Organisations (Rotary, Lions etc) are associations that exist to provide and support humanitarian efforts and good works in the community and larger venues.  They also bring people together in settings that facilitate referrals and knowledge networking.  Like casual contact groups, they help you add breadth and diversity to your network.

Professional Associations or knowledge networks are established to exchange information and ideas among those in a given industry, as well as to promote and support that industry.  These networks often include direct competitors, but they also provide contacts in related but non-competing businesses as well.

Social/Business Organisations such as Jaycees (insert link) or business singles clubs, combine social activities with business networking and can provide a variety of networking opportunities; unfortunately, many tend to resemble singles bars.

Women’s Networking Groups are still important networking organisations but are slowly disappearing as women enter the business mainstream, especially as professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. In mixed strong contact groups such as BNI, about 40% or more of the members are women.

Online Networks  are a new phenomenon covering a wide range of interests. Many such as www.ecademy.com, offer business-networking opportunities.  Just as with more traditional networking groups, you need to develop relationships of trust with online networks as well.  Other ways to network online include starting your own blog and emailing your company newsletters.

Not only do we recommend being active in three groups, but we would also suggest that they be three different types of groups.  For referral networking, we would suggest that a strong contact network is particularly important, along with two other groups of different types. If you go to weekly meetings of three groups, you will be spending somewhere between five and six hours per week in meetings, not counting contacts you make outside the meetings in order to follow up on referrals and attend to other group-oriented activities.  That’s a pretty good investment of time, and if you make full use of your networking groups and develop a fair number of relationships, you will probably have as much business as you can handle.

Taken from Truth or Delusion? Page 97 – 99  Online Networks would now be considered LinkedIn.

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Jul
10

The Top Ten Networking Skills

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networkingskills

In today’s financial climate, building and sustaining revenue is critical for the success of both small and large business.  Finding new clients is a pointless and expensive exercise smart business people work their networks to mine the rich relationships they already have in business.

Research at the US Shyness Institute reveals that around 60% of people in business have difficulty introducing themselves and engaging in meaningful conversation with other people at business functions.  As BNI members we know that networking skills can be learned and utilised to make this easier.  Interestingly a recent Harvard Business Review study concluded that networking skills will help organisations large and small find and capitalise on business opportunities.

So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and network!

Hang on before you go, perhaps you should read what the Top Ten networking Skills are and make sure you have them all before you set out.

The Top Ten Networking Skills

  1. Have a Plan:  Great connections don’t just fall in your lap, you have to plan activities and use your time wisely to access the best networking opportunities.
  2. Get Strategic: Not all networking events are worth attending, make sure you get strategic about how and where you spend your time.
  3. Understand Your Personal Style:  Networking is easier for some people than others, make sure you know your behavioural style and how to relate to others who aren’t like you.
  4. Engage In Meaningful Conversation:  Having cheap surface level conversations will never lead you to business like a real and meaningful conversation can.  Take your time, talk and listen carefully to those around you.
  5. Develop Deeper Relationships:  Once you identify a worthy business prospect take the time to build a deeper relationship before you even begin to think about asking for a sale.
  6. Assess opportunities:  Cut short your conversation if you assess that the person you are talking to is not in your target market.  It’s OK to be mercenary when you are networking, remember you are doing this for you, not them!
  7. Showcase Your Expertise:  Make sure you take the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise, without appearing to be a “boorish know it all”.  There is a fine line between information and skiting.
  8. Create Value:  Create value for the people you meet and find a reason to help them.  Remember the best way to get a referral is to give one first.
  9. Follow Up:  After you have left the function, remember to follow up, send the article you promised, connect that person with your friend or whatever.  Maybe just send a hand written note saying, it was nice to meet and spend some time with you.
  10. Thank People:  Finally, take the time to thank those people that help you.  Often people are happy to take and forget the most important part giving thanks.

These Top Ten Skills will help you achieve better outcomes at your next networking event.  Take the time to lean them and put them into practice and then reap the rewards.

© 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 : Networking
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A lot of networking isn’t in making new contacts but following them up and developing the relationship.

Are you getting results from the time you spend networking? Wish your networking brought you more business, more referrals?

No doubt about it. Networking is the most effective way to generate new business. But unless it’s done properly it can be a waste of time and even counterproductive.  In this article we will cover the final 5 real-world tips to help you turn your networking efforts into bottom-line results.

1. When someone introduces themselves to you, repeat their name immediately. This will help you to remember names easily. Continue to use first names as often as realistically possible. not only when you’re speaking with people in person, but also when communicating with them via email or on social media sites. No doubt about it. Using people’s names helps you build rapport them.

2. Those who drive sales/business growth frequently want to know how to close the deal faster and more often. They often overlook the reality that “prospects/buyers” need to close themselves on the “seller” first before they will buy from you. That means, before YOU can close the deal, your prospect first needs to be sold on the following steps:

  • Do I like you ?
  • Do I trust you?
  • Do I believe that you/your product can do the job for me?
  • Do I believe you understand my business/situation/issues/concerns?
  • Do I have a need for your product/service/expertise?
  • Do I want your product/service/expertise?

handshake3. Don’t lose contact with people who are important to you. Send an e-mail or a text saying something like, “Wondering how you are travelling”….”I was thinking about you today and wondering how you are”….”where does the time go?”…. “It’s been too long since we last caught up for a chat”. “Love to catch up. Are you up for a cup of coffee anytime soon?”…. “I just wanted to touch base to see if you’d like to catch up for a cup of coffee and swap updates on what we’re both doing. Let me know if you’re keen.”…. “We haven’t talked in a while?….I thought it was about time I gave you a call…..It’s been a while between drinks. Just wondering how you’re doing/what you’ve been up to since we last talked? I’d love to/Be good to hear from you when you have the time.”…. “Just a quick update. I/We had a win today (briefly explain). Any good news at your end?”…. “Just rang to see how things are going for you”…. “Just saw your name in my contacts folder and thought to myself it was high time I touched base to say hello. It’s been too long between drinks (person’s name). How’s life treating you? Keeping well, I hope. How about we catch up for a coffee/beer sometime to swap updates on what’s going on in our worlds? Let’s know if you’re keen.”……..”How are you? I feel terrible that I have left it so long. Fancy catching up next week?”…….”This is just a catch-up call. I hope you’re well and busy plenty of business/work coming in for you. If you feel like a chat/If you’d like to have a chat, give me a call”…..”It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other and I thought it would be good to catch up for a coffee and chat. Are you free on (date) at say, (time) in (suburb)? If not, please suggest a couple of alternative times and I’ll try to be as flexible as possible.”  

Allocate time for this important activity. Make it part of your regular routine.  

Now here’s a task for you. Go through your contact list and find 4 people you haven’t been in touch with for a while and send them an email or text inviting them for lunch or coffee. Think of something to say that personalises your message and use the same or similar language above to tee-up a 121 in-person meeting. Commit to sending messages like this to your key contacts on a regular basis. You’ll be glad you did.

4. Don’t hand out/collect hundreds of business cards. We have all been at events and meetings where someone rushes up and thrusts a card at you. They barely caught your name or introduced themselves when they start waving a card. Whatever you do, avoid this kind of behaviour. Collecting masses of cards from people you can barely remember is not effective/productive use of your time. Take the time to connect with each person you meet. Ask genuine questions about them and their background. Spend 20 minutes or more with someone you really enjoy and, in the end, a true connection will be established. Suggest there and then that the two of you meet for coffee or breakfast to learn more about each other. After that meeting send an email saying that you enjoyed catching up with them and invite them to meet again to establish a pathway for building a relationship. Remember it’s quality, not quantity that makes your networking work for you.

5. Don’t call someone after you just met them to ask for a favour. Successful networking is about helping others first. It’s about relating and working with others that you share a mutual interest. Don’t squander the connection. Rather, foster it by inviting him or her for coffee, lunch or a drink after work and get better acquainted. Find some way to connect on a personal level. Don’t sell. Or at least don’t sell hard. Pay the bill, thank the person for coming and stay in touch. Build the relationship and let it develop over time. (What’s the best way to build a relationship? Help the person.) Look to do some kind of favour for your contact first before you call on them to help you. Nothing is a bigger turn-off than the person who calls you after you just met them and wants to pitch something to you. Typically, the receiver of the pitch wants to hang up or run away and usually stops returning messages.

Looking for more networking tips? Read part one here

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

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