Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to Build a Strong Network



February 1 - 5 is International Networking Week.

They say that Millionaires have the largest Rolodex or in today’s terms, databases.

 

Would you agree that most of the time when you go to a networking event and/or meet someone new that you exchange business cards and exchange information about your respective businesses?

What happens next?

Afterwards do you sit around and wait for your phone to ring from someone who wants to do business with you?

Lets examine how to take those meetings and collected business cards build a Network so that the Phone will start ringing.

It’s all about building relationships.

Here some things that will help with building strong relationships.

If you are a member of BNI you know what VCP means.

Visibility + Credibility = Profitability

The philosophy of BNI is

“Givers Gain”

The 10 points below are based on these two key points.

The first five are about Visibility which all help to build your creditability

1. Be Visible - Show up – Now that seems kind of obvious, right? How many times have you heard someone say, “Well I went to that network meeting and handed out my cards and I didn’t get one single lead.”

Do you know it takes people seeing and hearing you 7 to 8 times before they remember you and what you do?

In Advertising and Marketing it’s called ‘Spaced Repetition Education.’ Why do you think they run the same ads over and over again on TV? Because most of us don’t remember them. The same applies with meeting new people.

Think about when you join a networking group. Most want you to commit to at least 90 days.

When you run an ad, they want you to commit to running that ad a minimum of 3 to 6 times. Why? People have to see you and hear you 7 to 8 times before they remember you, must less what you sell or the service you offer.

So Find the Networking groups that work for you and go on a regular and consistent basis.

2. Brand Yourself – By Name, By Business Name, Tag Line, or Appearance, etc. This will make you memorable.

Examples of branding - What companies do you think about when you see -


I meet people all the time. A lot of people know me as “The Painted Lady” even though they don’t know my name. Or when I give them my business card they will comment, 'Where have I seen that before?' So I know my branding works.


Part of branding yourself and your business is being consistent in all your marketing material. And have a memorable business card. Because when they look at those cards later, you want yours to stand out. If someone doesn’t comment on your business card after handing out about 5 to 10 times, you need to redesign and get new business cards.

3. Your Elevator speech – Be able to tell someone in 30 seconds what you do that peeks their interest and makes them ask questions and want to hear more.

Know your USP – Unique selling proposition. Be able to tell someone what makes you and your business unique. Different from everyone else’s. And don’t say “Because I give great customer service.” Everyone says that.

Example: I have a friend and business associate that is certified to sell luxury homes. I thought that was pretty unique.

Practice your 30 second infomercial until it feels natural and make sure it is in terms your audience will understand.

4. Volunteer – Give back. Going back to the BNI philosophy of “Givers Gain.”
a. Within your networking groups – Offer to help
b. Chamber – Be an ambassador
c. Community groups – Charities, whatever is your favorite cause.

One of the best positions to volunteer for is the sign in table for meetings and events and/or membership chair. These are two key positions that will get you visibility.

This is giving you Visibility and building your Credibility

5. Be Reliable – Say what you do and do what you say. Building a relationship is about building trust. Being a person that can be depended on and to get the job done. Also part of being reliable is showing up on time or better yet - show up early. By being early you are more visible and you have the opportunity to meet more people.

6. The Fortune’s in the Follow up - How many times have you heard that?

a. Follow up if at all possible within 24 to 48 hours. Strike while the iron is hot. While you are still memorable
b. And - Keep in touch with people – Phone call, Email, Drop by, Send a card with a personal note by Snail mail, Just Because, birthday, anniversary, Congratulations, etc. Why? Because that makes you different. It shows you do go the extra mile. It shows you want to build the relationship. Any good real estate agent is taught to ‘touch’ their warm market at least 10 times per year – why – because Everyone knows somebody that will be buying or selling real estate. This same principal can be applied to any business.
c. Also, follow up with the person who gave you the referral. Say thank you and let them know you followed through, because that person has put their trust in you and they are depending on you to follow through.

7. Take the Initiative Go beyond the follow up. Ask questions. Find out how you can help them be successful. Let them know you have an interest in them.

Call someone and invite them for coffee or lunch. One of the best ways to get someone to agree to meet you for coffee or lunch is to say “Gail, your business sounds fascinating. I would love to meet you for coffee and learn more so that I can be a good referral source for you.”

Now do you think Gail is going to turn me down.

An even better way to build that trust and relationship is to arrange an introduction. And all three of you meet. Now that shows trust and confidence.

Everyone has a Circle of Influence of about 250 to 300 people. You want to know who is in their circle of influence, but they have to trust you first to give out that information.

8. Be the ‘Go to Person’ - Be a referral source. We all know someone we trust and that knows everyone and when we need a product or service, we call that person. Be that person. Be a source for information.

Zip Ziglar says that if you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.

9. Offer something of Value – Do you have a website? A blog? Newsletter?
a. Offer tips, ideas, information, etc. Don't always be trying to make the sale.

I have a Facebook Group that is dedicated to “Networking Opportunities” in my local area. Why do you think I maintain this website? It offers people a source of information and something of value. I also help host an all women networking group. Again it’s a way to help others and especially women.

10. Say Thank You. “Silent Gratitude is of Little Value”
a. Honor and thank all those that lend a helping hand. Show your appreciation to your referral partners, clients, and anyone that has reached out and helped you in any small way. A simple Thank You card goes a long way

68% of clients go somewhere else due to perceived indifference.

In closing John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”

Let’s give that a new twist – “Ask not what your Network can do for you, but what you can do for your Network.”

Networking is the most effective form of marketing and the most cost effective. But in order for networking to work, you have to work it. And I believe that by working to build long term strong relationships you will be rewarded ten fold.

Happy Networking,
Annette
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"




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Monday, January 11, 2010

Good Home Training


Today, January 11, is International Thank You day. In my research of this wonderful day, I came across this great article by Michael de Jong. He consented to allowing me to post it here. One of the points in the article is to teach our children early the importance of sending thank you notes. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

"Thanks to the morning light, thanks to the foaming sea, to the uplands of New Hampshire, to the green-haired forest free." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

When receiving a gift, my bother John sometimes reacts with, "Well...Thanks a lot!" And when he says it in "just that way" you can bet that he's already mentally digging a hole way back behind his house for it to be buried. (He's got a heart of gold, but he can really be that transparent.)

Said with fussy embossed and engraved cards, a two-second email, a bouquet from the corner deli, or even a bottle of re-gifted Chablis -- the thank-you gesture and the words "merci," "gracias," "xie xie," or just plain old "thank you" can go a long way when you really mean it.

When I was about eight years old my mom's sister bought me a box of greeting cards, each with an image of Charlie Brown and Snoopy hugging on top of a doghouse. With mom's encouragement, I then scribbled a few thoughtful words to my aunt on my new stationery, stuck it into the envelope mom had addressed and stamped, sealed it shut with a swipe of my tongue and then ran and tossed into the corner mailbox. Easy lesson learned -- someone gives you a gift, you're happy; acknowledge that gift, they're happy. (Our dear friend, Clarence, calls this "Good home-training.") Our nieces and nephew, Lindsay, Hayley and Matt, are so good at it that often (so it seems) we get a thank-you card even before the arrival of presents...now that's good home-training.

I grew up in a home where the importance of "an attitude of gratitude" was stressed. We were taught to bring little gifts when we visited others (as a thank you for their hospitality), to write thank-you notes for everything we received, and, if the giver was in earshot, to say it out loud.

Understanding how to form those two golden words and knowing when to speak them greatly influenced the kind of person that I am today. Sure, just like the next person, I can be irritable, grouchy, unpleasant (and, even at times, a downright "B!+@#"), but I'm never ungrateful.

Therefore, when I'm expecting a "thank-you" and don't receive one in any of it's many potential incarnations, I'm usually thrown off course. I rationalize it as other people being too busy, or just forgetful, but deep down inside, it feels like my social order is out of balance.

Appreciations are those deep-seated, primal reactions, yet some people are either reluctant, too rude, or were just never "home-trained" to openly show theirs. But even the teeny-est of gestures can let others know just how appreciative we are. International Thank You Day (Yes, there is such a holiday!), which was January 11, is a wonderful opportunity to identify and reveal things for which you're grateful, and express them with simple acts of thanks.

Are you overdue in expressing thanks to your family (hmmm, when did I last thank my partner Richard, sister Mags and hubby Jim, brother John and wife Lori?...you get the idea), pets (in my case, our deaf dog 'Jack,' and four goldfish: Phil, Jill, Bill and Gill), friends, co-workers, neighbors, the mail carrier, or the Universe (God or whatever you like to call him or her)? If so, now's the perfect time to put that "thank you" out there.

Say it and show it again and again and again because practice makes perfect.

And in the event that someone, like my brother, should actually bury a gift? Remember the old adage "God made dirt and dirt don't hurt."

Michael de Jong is the author of a forthcoming series of books on clean, green living, the next of which is Clean Body. Future companion books will cover food, first aid and other topics. Michael's website is www.mykindofclean.com

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Social Media Etiquette


A while back I had an experience that prompted me to write a blog ‘How’s that working for you.’ I do a lot of networking both face to face and online and sometimes I am just amazed at the actions and tactics of some people. Recently I had an online experience that has prompted me to muse about Social Media Etiquette. If you are just getting started with using Social Media for your business, I encourage you to research and study the proper and effective ways to use it.

Social media is the online version of working the room, and basically, all the social graces and standards that you apply to your every day interactions in face-to-face situations apply online as well.

Social media is a great tool to use in marketing and good marketing can be done through social media sites when it is done correctly. This is a great marketplace full of ideas, random thoughts, fun links and a wealth of knowledge. You can make sure your business, brand name and website shows up in this marketplace but if you do it the wrong way, you could end up blacklisted. If you break certain rules of etiquette, it’s likely you will be labeled as a spammer or even blocked and rejected by users of the site.

Here are some basic rules to keep in mind:

• Be polite and respectful
• Don't swear or be rude
• Resist the temptation to argue
• Don't be confrontational
• Help others with advice and answers to their questions
• Say please and thank you
• Extend the courtesy of responding when someone writes on your wall, @s or DMs you, or messages you
• Don't blatantly push/sell your product or service
• Avoid blatant spam of your links or products to people who you haven’t had a conversation with or don’t even know
• Don’t spam your links or products to new friends who you haven’t even talked to yet
• Don’t fill up their inbox unless they have not expressed interest in your product or service. That's called 'spaming'
• Know that you don’t have to follow or add everyone who asks you to
• Don’t expect people to add you just because you add them or send them a request
• When sending a friend request, unless it’s obvious, state who you are and why you are wanting to make a connection
• Don’t put your product advertisement in your friend request.
• Don’t put your product advertisement on their personal page unless you have asked permission first.
• Don’t use your numbers as a status symbol or verification of worth (and especially don’t brag about it)

The professional goal of social media is to build relationships that may one day turn into business opportunities. You would never walk into a restaurant, interrupt everyone's dinner, pass out your business cards, then leave. So why would you think this is acceptable online?

People do business with people they like, and the way to earn respect is to be authentic and genuine in your interactions with social media friends and acquaintances. Treat people the way that you like to be treated, and always remember that once online, it's there for good. Draft, review, and reconsider before posting. Protect your reputation.

If you hire someone to manage your social media sites, you need to be sure you are working with an experienced professional that knows proper etiquette as well and will represent you properly.

Portions of the above were taken from ‘Grow Your Company” and ‘SEO Driven

Happy Networking Online,
Annette
Painted Lady Enterprises
“Helping You and Your Business Look Good”

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Monday, January 4, 2010

The Quick Connection – Effective Connecting for Effective Results

I was talking with a friend and business colleague last week. We were attending a networking meeting. She said that she had recently talked with someone who said that their business was so bad that they were now having to get out and network. We both agreed that if the person had been doing some effective networking all along, that their business would not be suffering.

One of the most effective networkers I know is Bonnie Ross-Parker, CEO and Founder of The Joy of Connecting. Here is a recent article she wrote on being an effective networker. She gives three strategies that will help to establish rapport and build a solid relationship.


The Quick Connection – Effective Connecting for Effective Results

By Bonnie Ross-Parker

Maybe you’re a veteran of the networking arena and agree you could be more effective. Or, perhaps, you’re just getting started and would like to better understand how to network productively. “The Quick Connection” is a reference tool to help you effectively impact others and increase your success.

Here’s the familiar scenario: Show up. Shake as many hands as possible. Give out and get as many business cards as you can. Tell everyone, “I’ll call you” or expect the people you meet to actually call you. Now, consider another approach that over time will get you better results.

“The Quick Connection” can be implemented any time and in any networking arena. The plan is based on three components: Differentiate, Be Memorable and Make A Difference. If you focus on attending any business environment with all three or any one of the strategies, your success will increase significantly.

Strategy # 1 – Differentiate. Being unique distinguishes you from others, especially those that are in the same industry. Remember when you were young and fitting in meant doing the same thing as everyone else in the crowd? Being the same was a way of establishing acceptance. In the business world, the opposite is true. You will have an advantage when you differentiate. For example, initiate conversations with people you don’t know. Ask how he/she got into the industry they are in, what trends they anticipate or what they did before their current career. Ask what they find to be their biggest challenge. If you’re wondering why this line of questioning, it’s because most business people are more eager to share what they do then to engage in building rapport with some one else. Find out what a good lead is for the individual you’d like to assist. If you want to get to know another business person, consider extending an invitation to an upcoming networking event as your guest. When you implement strategy #1, the emphasis is off of you and focused elsewhere. This is not typical in networking situations.

Strategy #2 – Be Memorable. There are two ways to be memorable – appearance and behavior. In one’s appearance consider branding yourself. For example, men can wear unusual ties, different lapel pins or colors unlike every other man. Women have an easier time? Jewelry can easily help a woman be memorable. Barbara Bush wears her infamous pearls and Larry King is known for his suspenders. They have branded themselves. I always wear cowboy boots. Every day – 365 days a year. While I may not be as well known as Barbara or Larry, having a unique style makes me memorable. People may not remember my name, however, they do remember the lady who always wears cowboy boots. Having a signature style has advantages – especially when you are recognizable!

The second way to be memorable is in your behavior. You must focus on being remembered for the right reason – generosity, punctuality, follow through, integrity and resourcefulness are examples. Being remembered means leaving positive imprints in everything you say and do. People are watching and will choose to do business with individuals that display consistency and integrity.

Strategy # 3 – Make A Difference. You never know who you will meet and the difference you can make in someone else’s life or the difference that encounter will make in your life. Replace a simple thank you with “I appreciate you”. Go out of your way to make a newcomer feel comfortable at a networking event. Over time, you’ll be amazed how differentiating yourself, being memorable and making a difference will impact your success. Like anything new, being conscientious and consistent will take time. Let’s face it, the marketplace is crowded. Everyone is scurrying for their share of business. Find out for yourself if the effort involved in applying strategies of “The Quick Connection” will be worth the results. Get Up! Get Out! and Get Going!

For more ideas on being an effective networker I recommend the book "42 Rules for Effective Connections." This book is by Bonnie Ross-Parker and Cindy Elsberry. The author provides a broad range of strategies that make the difference between networking that is ‘hit and miss’ versus networking that hits the bull’s eye.

Happy Networking,
Annette
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Everyday is A Celebration!

video

A new year and a new decade. What are you hoping and dreaming for, looking forward to? Each new day is a reason to be thankful and to celebrate. It is said that what we think about is what we bring about? What's on your mind today?

The Earth Calendar lists all the holidays from around the globe. Listed below are some for the US. The most notable one for me is January is the 8th, The King's birthday for more reasons than it's Elvis' birthday.

Also, check out the Wacky Holidays from WellCat and we have also added a list that was posted on the SOC corporate blog.

January-1

New Year's Day

January-4

Trivia Day

January-5

Twelfth Night

January-6

Epiphany

January-8

Jackson Day

January-8

The King's Birthday (ELVIS)

January-9

Balloon Ascension Day

January-12

National Pharmacist Day

January-12

Stephen Foster Memorial Day

January-14

Ratification Day

January-16

Prohibition Remembrance Day

January-16

Religious Freedom Day

January-18

Maintenance Day

January-20

Inauguration Day

January-27

National Activity Professionals Day



January Events
Unless otherwise stated, these are generally observed in the US only.

Month Observances
OccasionLink
March of Dimes Birth Defects Prevention MonthMarch of Dimes Birth Defects Council
National Glaucoma Awareness MonthPrevent Blindness America
Eye Care MonthOptic Foundation of America
Hot Tea MonthTea Council of the USA
Human Resource MonthPersonnel Journal of America
Oatmeal MonthQuaker Oats Company of America
Prune Breakfast MonthCalifornia Dried Plum Board
Retail Bakers MonthRetail Bakers of America
Soup MonthCampbell Soup Company of America
Thyroid Disease Awareness MonthAmerican Assoc. of Clinical Endocrinologists
Volunteer Blood Donor MonthAmerican Assoc. of Blood Banks
Tuberous Sclerosis Awareness MonthTuberous Sclerosis Alliance
National Radon Action MonthEnvironmental Protection Agency
Adopt a Rescued Bird MonthAmerican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Cervical Health MonthNational Cervical Cancer Coalition
National Physiotherapy MonthCanadian Physiotherapy Association
National Birth Defects Prevention MonthMarch of Dimes
Third Week
OccasionLink
International Printing WeekInternational Association of Printing House Craftsmen
World Kiwanis WeekKiwanis International
Fourth Week
OccasionLink
National Handwriting Analysis WeekAmerican Handwriting Analysis Foundation


The Wacky Holidays from WellCat

Jan 2 Happy Mew Year For Cats Day -- Felines, ever above mere humans in the great chain of being, have a day unto themselves to celebrate the “mewness” of a new time.
Jan 3 Memento Mori -- "Memento, mori, Latin for "Remember, you die," is also the title of a novel by Muriel Spark. We suggest posting the words at home and at work, not to be morbid, but to remind us to cherish all that we have today, for tomorrow may never arrive.
Jan 4 Dimpled Chad Day --This is a day to commemorate all the dimpled chads of the world, left over from various and sundry contested elections. Chads, roasted in garlic, make an excellent sprinkle topping for salads.
Jan 8 Show & Tell Day at Work -- Since students have show and tell at school, adults should get to do the same.
Jan 17 Judgment Day -- Now you don't have to die to see how you measure up to your deity's standards. Just look in the mirror, wait for the answer, and go out and give it another shot.
Jan 22 Answer Your Cat’s Question Day -- If you will stop what you are doing and take a look at your cat, you will observe that the cat is looking at you with a serious question. Meditate upon it, then answer the question!
Jan 23 Snow Plow Mailbox Hockey Day -- It's wintertime, and time for Snow Plow Drivers everywhere to see how many rural mailboxes they can knock over. Twenty extra points for boosting one into the next township.
Jan 25 A Room of One’s Own Day -- For anyone who knows or longs for the sheer bliss or rightness of having a private place, no matter how humble, to call one’s own.
Jan 30 National Inane Answering Message Day -- Annually, the day set aside to change, shorten, replace or delete those ridiculous and/or annoying answering machine messages that waste the time of anyone who must listen to them.


From SOC - I do not know their source for these, but they are some good ones ;)

1- Bonza Bottler Day
6- Sherlock Holmes' Birthday
8- Bubble Bath Day, Clean Off Your Desk Day
16- Psychiatric Technician's Day
17- Golf Day
18- Martin Luther Jr.'s Birthday- (observed the third Monday in
January, actually the fifteenth)
20- Penguin Awareness Day

21- National Hugging Day
23- Answer Your Cat's Questions Day, National Pie Day, Compliment Day
25- Fun at Work Day, Healthy Weight Day, Robert Burns Day, School Nurses Day
26- Australia Day, Spouse's Day
30- Inane Answering Machine Day


What ever day you choose to celebrate remember 'We Have a Card For That.'

Happy New Year!

Annette
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"

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