Posts Tagged ‘Giving’

Attend Events With a Friend

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

As you network more, you will often become the person people ask about where to network. Of course, you can and should give recommendations. But it can be even more effective to go together.

Obviously, it’s an opportunity to get some face time and deepen a relationship, but you don’t want to spend too much time together. Working a room is much easier as a team than alone. Unless an event is poorly attended, it’s difficult to talk to everyone. Going with a friend allows you to cover twice as much ground.

As with any other networking event, set some goals. The fun part is that you can set goals together. One of the easiest is that one of you might be interested in meeting with a particular person who often attends that event. If that person is present, one of you can make an introduction.

Perhaps your buddy wants to meet someone from a particular industry. You can work the room with that in mind. If you find someone appropriate, you can find (or make) an opportunity to introduce them.

Other than being able to cover twice as much ground, the biggest advantage to working a room together is that it’s easier to talk about someone else than yourself. When you meet that person who is just perfect for your buddy, you can say something like, “You know, I came to this event with someone you need to meet. She’s looking to network with people in your industry, and I’d really like to introduce you.”

Since most people come to an event with the goal of meeting new people, this approach usually works well. When you get the two of them together, you can say a few words about each to ease the introduction. Perhaps your buddy has had some real success in this particular area. You can tell her story, and it will be received better than if she told it yourself. Third party testimonials always have more credibility.

Your buddy, of course, can do the same for you. After the meeting, you can reconvene to compare notes. Did you both get a good vibe off a particular person? Perhaps you heard something in a conversation that your buddy didn’t. Did you both have a bad vibe off someone? Comparing notes can help you both focus on why you didn’t like the person.

Odds are you’ll both accomplish more than if you attended the event separately.

LinkedIn and One on One Meetings

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

I had a fantastic meeting this morning with someone who just might be a better networker than I am. And a joy that was to experience!

He taught me a use of LinkedIn that should have been obvious, but I just hadn’t thought of yet.

We had the usual “get to know each other” conversation and then got to the “how can we help each other” part. That’s when he pulled out a sheet of paper with several names on it. All of them are connected to me on LinkedIn, and we went through the list. There are three people I can definitely introduce him to.

Then we talked strategy. Interestingly, he doesn’t use the “Forward a Connection Request” feature of LinkedIn. He says it takes too long. Instead, he has a pre-written email he sends me. I just cut and paste it into my own email introduction, and he takes it from there. I will, of course, take it one level further and contact the people in advance and warm them up. But I can use the text from his email as a starting point for my conversation.

He says sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But networking and sales are a numbers game. If you know who you need to meet and you ask for enough introductions, some of them will come through.

Here’s what was interesting. Both of our methods worked. He brought the list. I told him the category of people I need to meet. He has two names in mind for me, and I have three for him. So we both have introductions to work on for each other.

But I can go look at his LinkedIn profile and see if I can pull up a few more names for him to work on for me. So I’m happy. My way generated a few names, and I have the potential for more.

I think both methods have value. Everyone I know isn’t connected to me on LinkedIn. So I need to know his criteria so I can mine my entire contact list for him. And he doesn’t know my LinkedIn connections as well as I do. I think there is a fourth on my list that he overlooked.

He now knows my criteria, which might shakes loose another name or two. So combining a list of names and specific triggers is more effective than either alone.

Try it the next time you meet with someone who is on LinkedIn. It’s certainly a very good way to be extremely specific, and I think you’ll walk out of the meeting with more introduction possibilities than if you hadn’t.

Top 10 Networking Mistakes

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I saw a couple of really good ones last week, and I decided it was time to do a Top 10 post on them. I’m sure there are ones I’ve missed, so please add yours in the comments.

10. Being inconsistent in image

This is a tricky one because it covers a couple of areas. One is being one person in one place or with certain people and presenting a drastically different image somewhere else.

The other way this manifests itself is in representing multiple businesses and not doing it well. In fact, doing it in a way that people think “Who are you today?”

There are effective ways to network multiple businesses, and I’ll cover them in an upcoming post.

9. Hanging with your friends

In large part, networking is about meeting new people. Yes, you need to deepen existing relationships, and reconnecting with people at networking events is a good way to do that. But spending an entire event talking to people you already know isn’t going to get you in front of new people.

8. Not describing yourself well

I did a post on this a while back. Not much more to say here except that if you can’t tell us who you are and what you’re looking for, we can’t be much help to you.

7. Too absorbed with food

Kind of like hanging with your friends. If your hands are full of food, it’s hard to be inviting. Greasy hands do not make fun shaking. And fumbling with food and business cards does not impress anyone. I suggest eating before the event and having only one hand full, preferably with a drink, not food.

6. Not evaluating your venue

Some events are good for you. Some aren’t. You need to evaluate your venues on a regular basis to be certain you are networking in the right places to meet your goals. Don’t just keep going to an event because you feel you “should.” Go because it works for you in some meaningful way. I think I can write a good post on that one too. Look for it soon.

5. Not having business cards

Last week at an event, I was introduced to someone who was supposed to be a fabulous networker. Naturally, I wanted to follow up with him so I asked for his business card. He “ran out at an event that morning.” I met him at 7:00 in the evening. No cards in his car? Really, no time to run back to the office to restock? I wasn’t impressed.

4. Being a networking horror

The networking horror is the person who makes you want to run away when he or she sees you across the room. I did a complete post on this syndrome last year. Read it for more details.

This is my favorite, and so I thought about making it number 1. But it isn’t, quite.

3. Not listening

Another big one and a good contender for number 1. If you don’t listen, you can’t learn about the other person, and you may seriously put your foot in your mouth. Remember the guy with no business cards? Well, he lectured me for several minutes on ways to grow my business. Most of them involved strategies I coach my clients in. He might not have lectured if he’d asked first what I did. Or asked if I wanted a lecture. Because I realized I could use him in a blog post, I was amused instead of offended. But what part of being a “great networker” involved not listening first?

2. Not giving

This one can be tough. It’s a fine line between good giving and giving away the farm. But we remember most the people who helped us. So develop a giving mentality. Bob Burg says it better than me in Go-Givers Sell More. Read the book if you haven’t yet.

So what’s number 1? Glad you asked.

1. No follow up

You can do all the other ones right and still shoot yourself in the foot by not following up. Meeting new people, listening and being willing to give do you no good if you don’t follow up on your commitments or stay in touch with the new people you’ve met. Persistence and good follow up strategies are the key to success for all salespeople, business owners and job seekers.

Remember the guy with no business cards? He took mine and promised to follow up with me for coffee. Guess what? I’m still waiting.

How To Engage In Social Media

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Yesterday I talked about why you need to engage in social media. Today I want to talk about how you can do without driving yourself crazy and taking too much time.

I highly recommend grouping, lists and filters to keep yourself from being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content out there. Are there particular people you want to build relationships with? Group them in Facebook or create a list in Twitter. Are there particular topics you want to keep up with? Create filters for your email lists. Only read those topics on the forums you follow. Set up Google Alerts for those topics.

When your time is limited, just pay attention to those people and topics that are most important to you. I do suggest wading into the wider information stream when you can. That’s how you find new people to follow and new information to track.

But beyond what to read and follow, what are effective ways to engage?

One of the key elements to success in social media is to share content your audience is interested in. So when your on-line forum links to a good article, post the link on your Facebook page. When you read an interesting tweet, retweet it to your contacts.

Sharing information promotes the source of the information and provides good content to your audience. It’s a way to give back and keep your name active in social media without just endlessly talking about yourself, your services and your specials.

Don’t forget to have conversations in social media. If someone linked to you on Facebook shares a triumph, offer congratulations. If a Twitter friend is having a bad day, offer condolences. Or a link to a funny cartoon to lift spirits. Ask and answer questions.

Does this take some time? Yes. But know that you’ll never keep up with everything. Dip in every day, even if only for a few minutes. Every time you touch social media, set a goal. Share one piece of content and respond to one person. Create and share one piece of your own content. That will give you a 3:1 ratio of engaging with others and promoting yourself.

If you do that every day, you’ll have a presence and be known as someone who gives back to others. And that will come back to you in return.

Engagement in Social Media

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

I’ve been frustrated with one of my clients recently. He wants to use social media to promote his business, but he doesn’t want to engage with his following. I’ve been having a tough time trying to help him understand that social media is not a broadcast media.

It’s an engagement media. Can businesses get clients by broadcasting their special offers? Sure. There are enough people with a coupon-clipping mentality that any company can get some business that way. But they are only scratching the surface of the potential of building relationships with their clients and prospects.

But engagement seems to be tough for some people to swallow. When I tell my client that he will attract more followers if he looks for people to follow back, he says “But all their useless tweets are wasting my time.”

Which seems to be a common concern for people just starting in social media.

Yesterday I posted about a business using Foursquare in an unusual way. What that business did very well is they looked to understand their clientele and what was important to them. And then they gave it to them, in a way that also brought in business. They couldn’t have done that without understanding and engaging with their clients.

So what is engagement in social media? It’s the same as engagement in any relationship. You do get to spend some time talking about yourself, but you also have to spend some time listening. So yes, you really do have to read some of the tweets from your followers. Or you need to read your friends’ Facebook updates or the messages from the forum you just joined.

Why do you have to listen? Simple. You joined social media to be listened to, right? Well so did everyone else. How long do you stay friends with someone who constantly talks about him or herself but never has time to listen to you? Not very long, I’m guessing.

The same holds true in social media. If you are only a talker and never take time to listen and engage people in conversation, your message will go unheard. Unless you are a celebrity. They can get away with talking and not listening. But the better ones both talk and listen.

Do you have to read everything? No, of course not. If your best friend babbles endlessly, do you listen attentively every minute? Probably not. By all means use lists, groups and filters to manage the conversation.

But do listen. And engage.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about some ways you can engage in social media without driving yourself crazy trying to keep up with everything that goes by.

Great Use of Foursquare

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

This post on Hubspot was brilliant for showing an out-of-the-box use of Foursquare by throwing a Swarm Badge party.

For those of you who aren’t yet riding the Foursquare wave, the Swarm badge is a big deal. It’s one of the hardest badges to get because 50 people all have to be checked in to the same location at the same time.

Joe, the restaurant owner written about in the post, clearly understands both social media and the right way to use it. He recognized something his clientele wanted, and he found a way to help them get it while also promoting his business.

That’s a clear example of Givers Gain! And it shows that social media is more than a time-wasting fad. People ask me all the time if you can really get business from social media. Joe certainly demonstrated that you can.

But, like with any other sound marketing technique, you have to understand it and how to work it. It’s not enough anymore to blast your brand. You have to engage your audience to understand what they want. Providing them with a “special offer” is good. But it’s not enough either.

Tomorrow I’m going to discuss why engaging with your market is so important. And, of course, I’ll provide some ways to engage.

Oh, and I really want a Swarm Badge too. Know any restaurants who need help with their social media strategy? Send ‘em my way, and I’ll help them get set up in social media so they can throw their own party. I’ll invite my Foursquare friends, and we can all get our badge.

The Networking Tool Kit

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Most professions have some basic tools they use to be successful. Networking may not be your profession, but if you are using it to grow your business, it’s certainly part of your job. Do you know your tools and how to use them?

1. Business cards

You do have them, right? I can’t tell you how many times I meet someone at an event and hear, “I don’t have any cards with me.” The reasons are myriad:

* I ran out
* I just changed jobs, and my new cards aren’t in yet
* I left them in my other jacket

And on and on. The reasons don’t matter. Cards aren’t that expensive or that big. Temporary cards at Kinkos are only a few dollars. I keep three in my wallet, just in case. They are also in my briefcase, in my car and stashed in an inside pocket of my winter coat. Unless I am tied up and stripped naked by muggers, you should never be able to catch me without one. (And if you should find me tied up in that state, I should hope asking me for my card won’t be your first question.)

There is no excuse. Networking is about meeting people, exchanging ideas and contacts and following up. Without cards, you are crippled.

2. A good elevator speech

I’m going to be writing a post soon on this topic, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But you need one. It needs to contain the following:

* Who you are
* What you do
* Who you are looking to meet
* Why we should care

And it needs to be brief and evocative. Even if you never have an opportunity to stand up and deliver your speech, going through the process of writing it will help you be more effective at talking about your business.

3. A good contact management system

Note that I said “good.” I didn’t say “fancy” or “expensive.” A paper address book works. Mobile and smart phones are good. Thousand dollar CRM systems will certainly do it. But the most important part of your system is that it be one you will use. The best system in the world that’s never updated is useless

Find one you like and that you will use. When you collect cards at events, enter the information promptly. It’s no use to know a lot of people if you can’t contact them or pass their info on to others.

4. Attitude

I have an “Attitude” pin on the lapel of one of my jackets. It is a conversation starter, but it’s also a tangible reminder of the only thing we have total control over. The right attitude in networking will take you a long way. The wrong attitude will leave you hanging.

What’s the right attitude? Easy. Be open and willing to help others. Be willing to ask for what you need. Be bold to take advantage of opportunities that come your way. Be flexible to shift in unexpected directions.

These are the basic tools of a good networker. Acquire them. Hone them. Use them well. They will keep you in business for a very long time.

Networking at a Funeral

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

You may have noticed that my blog has been quiet for almost a week. There’s a reason. Last weekend I was at a funeral and right after we got back from that, we had to put down my dog. It’s been a rough week.

But when I was out of town, I realized I had a good blog topic. I’ve always said you can network anywhere, even at a funeral, and last weekend I had an opportunity to prove it.

No, I didn’t network at the actual service, but there were lots of family gatherings that weekend, and I managed some good networking there.

One of the cousins needs to learn more about blogging and social media, and he wanted my website so he could start reading my blog.

One of the uncles just started a real estate business and had come back from a three-day workshop on branding and marketing. One of the topics had been social media, and he wanted to pick my brain. I gave him some ideas of social media outlets that hadn’t been covered at the workshop.

And finally, one of the aunts is looking for a job. She has an offer, but it’s not something she is passionate about. I asked her a couple of coaching-style questions and gave her some ideas of how to find her passion.

That’s networking! You’ll notice I didn’t “get” anything from the exchanges. But I certainly gave some things of value. And giving is the most important part of networking. I even had an opportunity to give out my card to the real estate agent. I wanted him to be able to easily contact me if he needed support or a sounding board.

As long as you remember to honor the occasion and focus on giving before receiving, you really can network anywhere. Even at a funeral!

Anyone else have any stories of oddball places you’ve successfully networked?

Interview With Bob Burg: Part Two

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Bob Burg Today we have Part Two of my interview with Bob Burg. Yesterday was the official launch day for Go-Givers Sell More, his new book. If you haven’t already bought it, go do so quickly. It’s that good.

And now back to Bob.

Q: How is this book an extension of The Go-Giver?

Bob: What we did is we took the 5 Laws from The Go-Giver and we applied them directly to the selling process. We used quotes from The Go-Giver and peppered them at the top of chapters. And we’ve gotten just terrific feedback on that. That was John’s idea, and I thought that was wonderful.

We also provide examples of people who do utilize the principles from the book and have used them to really build their business. Plus we’ve included example from people John and I have known who were doing this long before The Go-Giver was ever written.

Q: You describe 5 Laws in the book: Value, Compensation, Influence, Authenticity and Receptivity. Which one do you think gives people the most trouble?

Bob: Without question, the biggest one is the Law of Receptivity. People have said to John and to me, “Wow, the first four laws I could get my hands around like they were polished wood, but this one, the Law of Receptivity, just gave me splinters.” It’s probably the one we’ve been able to help people with the most because it’s their biggest challenge.

It’s very easy to grasp the Law of Value, and the Law of Compensation makes perfect sense, you know, increase the number of people you’re serving. The Law of Influence, that’s a matter of understanding that putting others people’s interests first is a key to success. With Law #4, Authenticity, most people want to be their best authentics, so not a problem. But the Law of Receptivity: breathing in as well as breathing out. Being able to receive in abundance. That can give people some challenges.

So that’s why we made a real point in both books to really work with people on that and really demonstrate it in a way that people could very easily embrace.

Q: Let’s say you were speaking to some people who are just starting out in sales. What one thing would you most want them to know?

Bob: The first thing I would do would be to ask them to read and study it as a profession. To understand that sales is a profession. Not only do they need to be proud of their profession but proud of their product or service and so forth. They need to absolutely understand the selling process. So they need to study the sales greats. They need to study the Brian Traceys and the Zigs, and they need to study the people out there. They also need to understand, and this is the biggest one, that in sales, it’s not about you. It’s not even about your product or service. It’s about the other person. If you can go in learning as much about selling, and being totally focused on adding value to the life of the other person, you’ve got to succeed in sales.

Q: You say that they need to study sales and the sales process, but in the beginning of the book, you take a contrarian view to the standard sales process taught by many.

Bob: No, the good ones teach it correctly. In the book it sounds like we are downplaying sales skills. We’re not. We’re saying that selling skills by themselves are not enough to make someone successful. It’s like a baseball player has to be able to throw, to hit and to run. But those in and of themselves aren’t going to make him a successful ball player. That’s just baseline. And in the same way, what we say is people have got to have belief in what they’re doing and in their product. They’ve got to have great product knowledge. They’ve got to have the sales skills, but those things are just what it takes to be invited into the game.

The superstar sales people are not superstars because they have belief, because they have product knowledge or because they have great selling skills. They have them all, but that’s not what separates them from the rest. What separates them from the rest is their total focus on the other person.

You take a look at referral-based salespeople, Juli, and what is it about them that’s so prominent? It’s that wherever they go, they spread this great good will. They tend to touch people’s lives. They make people better. They make people happier. You know? That’s the difference. And you do that by having the focus on the value you can provide to other people.

Q: And now you’re talking to some who’ve been in sales for several years. They have the passion, belief and basic sales skills. What would you say to help them take it to the next level?

Bob: I would say if they are not as successful as they believe they should be, then it’s probably the focus. And I would simple say, “Shift that focus. Make sure your focus is on the right place.”

You know, back when I was just starting to get good at sales and starting to produce, I met a salesperson who was getting ready to retire, and he gave me some words of wisdom I’ve never forgotten. He said, “Burg, if you want to make a lot of money in sales, don’t have making money as the target. The target is serving people. Now, when you hit your target, you’ll get a reward. That reward will be money. And you can do with that money whatever you want, but the money is not the target. It’s merely the reward for hitting the target. The target is serving others. Keep your priorities straight.”

Q: Good reminder on the priorities. Any final words?

Bob: Just to keep in mind the basic premise that in sales, it’s not about you, it’s about them. And if you can keep that at top of consciousness, you’re always heading in the right direction.

Thanks, Bob. I very much appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I hope all my readers enjoyed it as much as I did.

Network (and sell) well!

Interview with Bob Burg: Part One

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Bob Burg A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Go Givers Sell More. Last week, I emailed Bob and asked if he’d be willing to be interviewed for my blog. To my everlasting delight, he agreed. Cover of Go-Givers Sell More

As you can see from the picture, today is the launch day! If you use the link above, you’ll be able to buy the book and get some great free extras. Go ahead, you can buy the book and then come back for the interview. We’ll wait for you.

Back from buying the book? So here’s the first of what I plan to be a periodic series of interviews with influential people in networking, both in face to face and in social media.

Enjoy hearing and learning from a master of sales and networking!

Q: I see you’ve been a speaker and presenter for 20+ years. What did you do before? Why did you decide to begin speaking, and why on the topic of networking and referrals?

Bob: I began as a television broadcaster, wasn’t particularly good at that and realized it wasn’t going to be my career. I graduated into sales but very quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately I found a book called How To Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins, read that, and it immediately accelerated my sales. I then studied some books and tapes by Zig Ziglar, and I made a study of sales. Eventually I made my way up to sales manager of the company.

Q: Curious, what were you selling?

Bob: I started out by selling media time for radio and television commercials and then I sold solar energy hot water heating units to homeowners. That’s the one where I worked my way up to sales manager of that company. I found I really enjoyed that because I got to go out and sell, and I could lead a team of sales people. I enjoyed teaching sales. I enjoyed learning and then teaching what I had learned. Informally a couple of other companies asked me to come in and show their sales team what I was doing, and I thought wow, this is fun, and I think I could make a living at it. So I went into that business. And it’s been just about 20 years.

I found that the networking aspect was really my forte. Creating relationships with people that lead to a referral based business is certainly a lot more fun than gathering business in other ways. I found I was able to master the art of referral marketing, and then it was a matter of putting together a system for it that I had been using and being able to teach others how to do the same. And that’s where my first book, Endless Referrals, Networking Your Everyday Contacts into Sales came from. That’s been sort of mainstay book that’s been used by a lot of companies, and then with my excellent co-author, John David Mann, we came out a couple of years ago with The Go-Giver.

Q: You’ve shared the stage with many famous people, including former President Gerald Ford. What person were you most excited to be on stage with?

Bob: It’s tough because there have been so many: Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracey. All those guys were more exciting than the celebrities to me because these are the people who helped shape my career. So to actually be on stage with them was just a huge thrill for me.

Q: You say in the book, Go-Givers Sell More, that the ideas didn’t originate with you, and I agree. Much of what you say I’ve heard in other books or presentations. So why this book? And why now?

Bob: Well, first I am fairly certain, Juli, that I have never had an original thought in my life. There is so much great information out there, dating back from thousands of years to a hundred years to new books coming out all the time that I just find terrific and so helpful.

I think the key is not so much coming up with something new as either a new application of an idea or putting something together in way that is relatable and duplicatable. I have to totally credit my co-author John David Mann here. He is the writer. I’m a how-to guy, but John is a storyteller, and boy is he good. He can take an idea and just absolutely masterfully word it.

But we’re a little bit contrarian in Go-Givers Sell More. As you saw, we say most people look at sales backwards. Most people think it’s trying to get someone to buy something they don’t want to buy when sales is finding out what someone does want to buy and helping them get it.

The biggest misconception is that sales is a matter of getting from others. It’s not. Sales at its highest level, at its most profitable, at its best, is all about giving. And as you saw, the Old English root of the word “sell” is “sellan” which means “to give.” So when you sell, you are giving. You’re giving time. You’re giving attention. You’re giving counsel. You’re giving empathy. And most of all, you’re giving value.

We take some of those ideas and we turn them on their head a little. However, and this is important, these ideas are only contrarian to those who are the average producers. The superstar, mega-producers: it’s not contrarian to them. This is just how they’ve been doing business.

—————————————————–

Thanks for that, Bob. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the interview where Bob tells us a bit about the 5 Laws presented in the book, including which one is the hardest for people. He’ll also give us some words of wisdom for both new and established sales people.

Until then!