Quit fooling around with your business networking!

‘Twas the night before…business?

My LinkedIN account all snug and tucked into bed.

Facebook just connected with some guy named, Fred.

Twitter was glowing by the followers it had, Pinterest great pictures, no need to be sad.

Google Plus was no fuss since +1 (plus one), I just can’t stop reading and get some work done! Bloggers were here, helpful tips there, Oh my, I just want be everywhere!

But reading I do, on through the night. My brain cells are running just a little bit tight. My tablet stays on, almost till dawn; I try to stay up with technology just begun. It’s new, it’s new, and it’s the greatest next thing! I can’t pull my eyes away, tho they’re starting to sting!

On to the tips, that will be a great hit. Please share if you care with those so remiss.

3 Tips – Don’t let your profiles slip:

 1) Make a list and check it twice, for all your social and business networking sites.

  • Sometimes the most obscure site has the worst information, and could cost you a client or potential retention.
  • Where do you blog, post or interact? Make sure all of them have the straight fact.
  • Don’t confuse your next great client by having 10 sites with different slogans, photos, and profile. Let them know what to expect everywhere you are.

2) Is your message congruent with what you are fluent?

  • Have you read your website recently? Seriously! Do you still do what it says?
  • Do all your sites have a similar message?
  • Do your links all still work…Have you checked?
  • Is the phone number correct? (Silly thing, but it happens!)

3) Is your photo relatively recent or just caught in the current?

  • Ever see a “glamour shot” photo, only to meet the person and you didn’t recognize them? That’s pretty harsh. One photo, wow! The next photo, kapow!  (This happened to me meeting a Realtor one day. I saw the woman and said, “You’re who?” I know that it’s true. Just don’t be the one to let it happen to you.)
  • Men: If your profile photo shows you with a full head of hair or a bread, and you’re now bald and shaved; or if your hair used to be brown and grey now shines through, please update your photo, and make it really you.
  • Is your current photo the same on all your sites? Without a common thread, it would be like having three logos for the same company.

With that, I say, among all this chatter, Happy New Year to all, and profiles do matter!

Advertisements

What is the deal with all the LinkedIN SPAM?

I get it. You want recommendations for your profiles. I GET IT!

However, just because you’ve signed up for a new business card online (or 17 other profiles), doesn’t mean I want to recommend you! No matter how much you’re begging me to. Sometimes, I don’t know you well enough.

When sending “requests” for your recommendations, here a couple of suggestions:

  1. Make it personal. You’ve all got them in your email: “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” Instead, what about, “Hey Todd! I’d like to know (or learn) more about you and your company. I’d really appreciate being connected to you.”
  2. Don’t send invites or connection requests in BULK. Along the lines of making it personal, anytime an email starts, “Gosh I’m sorry for the mass email…” I’m already turned off! Those requests are playing the pure numbers game, get as many as you can to “look good.” Those folks don’t really care about their intended targets.
  3. Say something interesting! Perhaps, “I read your profile, and think we may have some mutual interests, such as having a passion for business networking.”
  4. If you get a connection, send them a note. Thank them for accepting your request.
  5. Be respectful. No matter what.

Until I get your next request, best of success!

Attention OKC and Surrounding areas: Looking to promote your business?

Gold Star Referral Clubs just announced the formation of a New Referral Club in Moore – this Thursday, June 14th!

When: Thursday June 14th (11:45-1:00pm) Arrive early to get some food.
Where: Western Sizzlin’, 1317 N. Moore Ave., in Moore, OK
Cost: Lunch runs around $6-$12 for the buffet
What to bring: Plenty of business cards and invite a friend or two to join you. If they need to promote their business, they should be here, too!

For more details check out the website!
http://www.goldstarclubs.com

Thanks!

Answer: When you’re told to do something you already, deep in your heart, know you should do without being told to.

Well, I’m a coach of sorts. I can tell you how to get more business by referrals. I can explain how it all works. I can tell you story after story about how, through business networking, business people were able to get on track to bust old sales records. Not by a little, by a LOT!

In many case by thousands of dollars, right to their bottom line! Sometimes 10%, sometimes 30%, and yes, I’ve heard of even more huge increases  – in the 60-7-% range(!) – that would not have happened without working with a referral group and building those relationships.

Business people ask me all the time, “How can I get more business?”

The answer: Get out and meet more people that can be referral sources for you. More often than not, they’ll be in a referral group, just waiting to be introduced to you.

“Are referral groups the only way?”

The answer: Not at all! However, it is one of if not the fastest ways to get more business for your business right now.

So get out there!

The Networking Fool
Todd Davis
National Director & Co-Founder
Gold Star Referral Clubs

I’m sure you’ve heard it: “That referral didn’t pan out.”

Interesting that the term, “pan out” was the expression used in the “old days” when panning for gold.

When “gold fever” struck, folks would rush off to a likely spot somewhere in the country, stick their pan into a stream, slosh the dirt and water around and hope (pray) they’d find a few specks of the precious metal. Slosh around some more water, a little more hope, maybe a lot more prayer, and maybe a little gold shows itself.  If so, it would be a successful day.

Getting quality referrals isn’t that much different. Recently I was visiting with a local business owner. He told me that he had been all over town attending networking events, chamber meetings and functions, even was a member in an exclusive industry group and had determined that business networking didn’t work.

When I questioned if they had received referrals, the response surprised me, “Oh, yes!”  They said, “I got quite a few. But they didn’t pan out.” Let’s talk about this.

How to “pan out” more referrals!

1) You won’t get them all! Some clients are just not ready, now. Having spent most of my adult life in sales, I know you simple can’t close them all. Try? You bet! Miss a few? Yes, sir. Even though “the deal” didn’t come together right now, remember, at any time that “lost sale” or “missed client” could come back and be viable. I closed a lot of those “lost sales” months and sometimes years down the road.

2) Ask for what you want! Be  specific about what you want. For example: Does the mortgage broker want to be referred to a client in the middle of a home loan, or one just starting the process? If you want to be referred to someone in the very beginning of the sales process, ask for it. If you want someone who already owns a similar product and might be looking for a change, ask for that.

3) Any opportunity to present your business is still a good opportunity! Let’s say you asked for the specific client you wanted, and after you meet them, they aren’t qualified to purchase, have no credit, or other issues that negates your product or service for them, right now. <b>Don’t miss the referral moment</b>. Ask them who they know that might be interested.

A dear old preacher I knew, Kenneth Hagin, once said: “You won’t get good at your preaching until you’ve given the same sermon 50 times.” Take each opportunity as practice. Get good at it, and it will pay you handsomely.

4) Evaluate the referral! If you get a referral, learn from it. Where did it come from? Was it a good one? Why did it or didn’t it, “pan out?” Was there something that should have been said to the prospect to clarify being a viable customer upfront by the person giving the referral?

If you consistently get referrals that don’t pan out, consider asking a trusted friend or business colleague to listen to what you’re asking for, you just might be getting it.

Need a great referral club? Visit www.goldstarclubs.com. If you’re looking to start a Club, check out www.goldstarbusiness.com, you can get compensated and get referrals!

If you don’t fish, let me explain. Whether you fish from land or from a boat, here’s how it works: You get to water. Next, get to your fishing spot. The “old guys” would call it, your “honey hole.” Then, put bait, any bait, on your hook and toss it in. A moment or two later, you get a bite. Moments pass, and you pull in a huge fish that happened to be hungry, and gobbled your bait right up! That’s all there is to it. Right?

Well, not exactly.

ImageFishing take patience and skill. For example, you must know the “right” bait to use for the fish you want to catch. You must know where the fish are, just in case that “honey hole” of your’s doesn’t pay off. You’ve got to know the right times when to go fishing. Is it morning, mid-day, or possibly late evening. You never quite know when you’ll get a bite or if you’ll miss the fish completely. Most people think that if you don’t catch anything it was a waste of time. No fish, bad day.

Networking is a lot like that. Business people attend networking meetings all over town, week after week, pitching themselves, their products or services, expecting business to fall into their laps. However, they rarely get anything out of it, so they decide that business networking, dare I say, “Professional networking” doesn’t work To those that miss the networking “honey hole,” I’d like to offer a few fishing…er…networking tips.

  1. Don’t rush the process. Take time to get to know, actually know some of the other networkers, by name, what they do, and maybe even how you can help them get more business.
  2. Be clear on why you’re attending. If all you want is business for you, like, “gimme gimme,” then stay home. Never a good business plan, you’ll be known as a “taker.”
  3. Give more than you get. Many referral groups preach giving before receiving. They’re right!
  4. Select a few good groups, and make it a point to be at those meetings every time they meet.
  5. Go with a heart to help.

My wife and I (as my partner) fished in a tournament one time…at night(!). The temperature was a mild 105 (daytime) in mid-July here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The evening forecast was for high 80’s, or low 90’s. We started at 7:00pm for a conclusion at 7:00am. I was sure the temperature actually rose that evening, ’cause it was HOT! We slapped the water with every bait known to man, and still no bites. This lake was dark! I mean no lights on the lake, no houses with lights remotely near the water. Couldn’t see anything! Every time we turned a light on…bugs! Seemed those little buggers would dive right at us since we had lit ourselves, as targets! Right around 11:30pm, drenched in sweat, bug bitten, fish-less, we headed back to the dock to call it a night.

Sometimes the groups and meetings you visit, aren’t the best “honey holes” for you. If not, find another, or simply call it a night.

If you want to check out a good referral club, visit: www.goldstarclubs.com for details and locations. If there isn’t one where you are, please visit: www.goldstarbusiness.com to find about starting your own Gold Star Club!

Google+ and Beyond

Getting involved with any social media takes a commitment. First, pick what platform or platforms your going to use, and then do it.   Do it consistently!

If you’re in business, you’ve probably adapted some type of online presence like Twitter; possibly a Facebook page either personally or for your business; LinkedIn account; and by now, you’re probably hearing the Buzz about Google+ (pronounced Google Plus).  Google+ is “the” way to really step up your social media presence and interaction.

More on that in a  moment. Why do those TV and radio commercials hammer us so hard over and over again…? Name and brand recognition. And before you ask: NO! I an not remotely suggesting that your social media campaign be set up for a “take no prisoners” type of approach. That simply won’t work, and in fact, the opposite will happen. People will stop listening to you. They’ll get tired of the same old-same old and may un-follow you to avoid the drivel you’re spewing forth.

You want to get your name and your brand out there. Respectfully. Professionally. Consistently. You’ve got to have worthy, interesting content.

Google+ has made some remarkable steps in changing the way we all use social media. If you aren’t on Google+ yet, you can watch an overview with instructions on how to join, by clicking here: http://www.goldstarclubs.com.

Google+ will allow you to not only share your regular posts, much like Facebook and Twitter, but so much more!

However, the real reason to explore and use Google+ is simple: Google Searches Find You!

Google is the number one search engine. Google “tends” to find information faster about you and your business by what is being talked about on Google+. And if your readers click the “+1” on any of your posts, anything you’re talking about, links you’re sharing, or comments made on a current news item, will all  be found faster, and ranked higher by the Google search engine, almost immediately.

Fairly recent statistics (08/2010) show:

Google Yahoo! Bing Ask  AOL Search Total
  71.59%       14.28%    9.87%    2.28% 1.21%     99.23%

Google Plus Hangouts

  • Free video conference – live chat with up to 10 people on web cams, private or public.
  • Imagine sharing a video from YouTube with your kids/grand kids, or of your kids with the grand parents.
  • Free Screen Sharing with up to 10 people
  • Imagine the product presentations you can make across the country
  • Answer questions about your product or service by live video!
Circles of Friends
  • Your friends, business associates, family, and even prospective clients can be easily added to your “circles.” Google+’s name for a group or list
  • Follow anyone one you want
  • Follow back anyone you want…or not, your choice
Suggestions to Follow
  • Google+ makes them depending on what you have added in your profile
  • It further suggests you to people that seem similar or similar interests
  • In your profile its very important to be clear about what you do, who you want to meet, and maybe what a good referral is for you
Lastly, I know what you’re thinking… How could this be applied to a business working group? We’ll, it won’t replace face to face business networking or referral marketing. But consider this, a cold winter’s morning, ice over everything, and instead of that face to face meeting, you jumped on Google+ for a Hangout?
Personally, I can’t wait to try it!
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