Quit fooling around with your business networking!

Posts tagged ‘business networking’

It’s the right thing to do…Is it Effective?

You know you should, but do you? You know you can, so… why won’t you?

Listen Up: Business doesn’t stop when you’re ready to relax. Sometimes, you’ve got to keep on, keeping on, getting your business done.

Of course, you’ve got to have balance with your family, spouse, kids, grand kids, fishing, life and work! Sometimes, you’ve just got to let the pendulum swing in your favor.

Remember the old saying, “Strike while the iron is hot!” From the website www.Phrases.org:

THE Meaning:

Image

Act decisively and take your opportunities when they arise.

This old proverb clearly alludes to the imagery of the blacksmith or farrier at his forge. If he delays in shaping the iron when it is hot a pliable the metal soon cools and hardens and the opportunity is lost.

Sometimes, an “After Hours” type of event or other networking event simply must be attended. Sometimes the connections you meet could (hopefully) develop into deep strategic alliances to bring even more business to you and your company.

Here is the pitfall: You make those networking events, even those which aren’t producing results, the mainstay and primary focus of your personal efforts to grow your business.

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it. “I go to 4 to 7 networking meetings every week! Man! I’m doing it!” If you asked if all that networking works, you might be surprised with an honest answer!

I know one guy that prides himself in the fact he attends 3-4 “business networking” meetings every day! Every day. He’s divorced, late 50’s – early 60’s, and broke most of the time. Seems that for him, business is never “good enough.

Do what works, and do it effectively.

If you could replace almost all of your “events” with one single networking group that actually wanted to give you referrals – qualified, ready to do business referrals – would you be interested? You’d be silly not to at least investigate!

Look around for exclusive industry groups, chapters or Clubs that have your industry’s slot open. Gold Star Clubs offer them. So do BNI, LeTip, some Chamber groups, etc. If there isn’t one available, you might need to consider starting your own. Again, Gold Star Clubs can help there, too.

Get more information here: http://bit.ly/1klBGoB

Do business networking groups still work?

ABSOLUTELY! Especially now with the economy, it is an excellent time to be in a good referral group!

Ask the plumber in New Hampshire about increasing his business 500% because of a referral. Or the hotel marketing representative in Indiana that landed a $200K contract for the year because she was introduced to the right person by another member. Or the Chiropractor who tells that 60% of the business is made up of club referrals and the referrals of those referrals!

No matter how many connections you’ve made on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you’ll get better quality business referrals by networking face to face, and a good group or club will tend to be more effective because of the consistent interaction, if you do it right.

There is no doubt, what you give is what you’ll receive. If you haven’t received referrals from your group, consider what you’ve given. When was the last time you gave a “quality referral” to another member (that wasn’t for you, personally)? A quality referral is someone that is in the market for the other person’s product or service; is willing to talk with them since you’ve made the recommendation; and is actually expecting their call.

If you don’t get referrals from your group…or community, ask yourself: Do they know you, like you, and trust you? That takes some serious soul searching. If you come late to the meetings, dress inappropriately, miss appointments, pull the “no-show, gosh I forgot” card, it could be that your “trust” factor is in the toilet. People may know you and maybe not like you very much, but will still do business with you if they trust you. Lose the trust, lose credibility, lose business. You’ve heard it: “They don’t care what you know, until they know that you care!”

When joining any networking group or club, you’ve got to also have the right attitude. It is not all about you and getting referrals. Others will pick up on that. Your heart for other members should be, “How can I help you get more business?” When they know you care about them, they will repay you many times over with quality referrals.

Groups and clubs work and take work. The rewards can be fantastic! Need help finding a group? I can help, or help you start your own! Please follow this link: http://bit.ly/gsreferrals for more details and information.

Have an excellent week!

http://www.welcometogoldstar.com

#goldstarclubs

3 Tips for a Prosperous Social Media New Year!

‘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!

Top 5 “To Do” list for recommendations!

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!

Aside

Business Networking is a lot like fishing?

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!

Wallflower Networker

Ask the Fool

Question: “I attend all my Club’s meetings and I’m getting a referral now and then. The problem is I’m rather introverted. What can I do?” Ms. Wallflower

The Fool: We all have personal natures that we have to “deal with” daily, in business. Not knowing what you do, let me give you a couple of hints to help.

  • Setup 121s with the members. Probably the most important way to get involved. Members are there to help get you more business, and you to help them back. (Give and Receive) Getting to know them will help. It will be a different experience walking into a room of strangers, or a room of friends. Make some new friends.
  • Become a greeter. Not necessarily by “assignment” or by “request” from the leaders, but by a choice. Stand at the door, shake hands, help welcome the members, and escort the visitors to the Table Host to get signed in.
  • Ask the Table Host if you can help. When the Table Host gets busy, volunteer to collect visitor cards and put them in the Visitor’s Book; offer to help with name tags; offer to put out the Referral Slips; ask where you can help.
  • Ask the Business Coach if you can help. Ask if you can help hand out the weekly Tip Sheets.
  • Come early, leave late. The goal here is to be seen in a positive way, by helping the Club, building relationships further because you’re there and have the time to visit other early birds. Be early and welcome others. Hang around after the meeting; help collect slips; pick up trash; collect Club materials; etc.
  • Wish everyone a successful week. Shake hands with those leaving. Thank the visitors for attending, possibly invite them back or encourage them to return the following week. “Hey Bill, it was good to meet you! Hope to see you next week!”
  • Answer questions. Be the person to ask! When you make yourself available, by default, you will be in a position to be asked questions. Even if you don’t know the answer, you can guide them to who could. “Sally, great question! John, our Director (or Club Leader), could probably answer that, with more detail. Come with me, he’s right over there!” Escort them to the appropriate person. It’s important to get their questions answer right now, than having to wait for a phone call.

I hope that helps. Extroverts, don’t get left out! You can help your Club, too.

Have a question for The Fool? Email askthefool@goldstarclubs.com

%d bloggers like this: