Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tales from the Networking Word

Not knowing how to network the right way can damage your credibility in the business world.  One aspect that some sales people break ALL the time is not knowing that networking and sales are two different animals.  Each event should be evaluated first to determine the correct behavior.

Several months ago Connext Nation was hosting an early morning event.  We had a huge contingent of grads of our course and they all know how to network the right way.  Then we also had some guests, one who seemed to have a memorized script in his head that came out of his mouth when he opened it! I actually tried to engage him three different times during the time we were together.  He could just not carry on a conversation that took him away from his prepared sales talk.  His last act before he left was to go around to each person and pass out his card (without asking for anyone's in return.)  But that's a whole other topic!

So to make sure that we're all on the same page, at a networking event, the best thing to do is to ask questions to engage other people and begin a friendly relationship that can be elevated in the future.  At a sales type event (like a trade show where you are the exhibitor), again asking questions will give you a lot more information than if you just spout off!  But you can of course talk about what you do for a living in this situation!

Networking 101 is a new course we are offering and it will address topics just like the one above!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Are You Coming from Scarcity?

Many years ago now, I asked one of my fellow BNI members to attend some Connext Nation event.  I don’t remember what it was, but it was probably free.  He launched into a verbal attack saying that all I wanted was money from him.  This diatribe went on for what seemed liked eternity, but probably only lasted a few long seconds.  I was so puzzled, because I am not the take it all, leave nothing behind type of sales person.

I mentioned this unfortunate incident to a friend who is much smarter than I and she said, “Debby, he is coming from scarcity.”  I had not heard this terminology before and asked for more explanation from her.  She explained that when people feel that they are not getting enough that fear takes over.  They will lash out inappropriately when pushed beyond a certain line that has been drawn in the sand by their mind.  Hence the attack that seemed to come from nowhere had been brewing for awhile and I was the unknowing trigger.  To say the least I kept my distance from this man at all times in the future.

Scarcity makes us all act in ways that we probably are not proud.  Beyond the lashing out mentioned above, we also tend to hoard or hold on tightly to anything we perceive as our own.  We don’t easily collaborate or give freely of ourselves. Recognizing these actions is important because most of us don’t want to push others out of our lives permanently.  Our emotions want more, but our actions are gaining less.

Years ago, the late Thomas Leonard, was an expert at sharing online coaching and marketing concepts.  He was way ahead of his time when he founded in 1998 and had 100 TeleClasses being delivered in any one week.  I listened to many of his classes and was fortunate enough to even be on some with Thomas “live.”  A participant asked one time, “Aren’t you afraid that people are going to steal your ideas?”  I’ll never forget his reply.  He said, “I hope they do so, because I think you should give away 60% of what you have and know, but charge dearly for the remaining 40%.”  That phrase has been running through my life ever since then.

Scarcity behavior has a way of driving people and money away from you.  Is that the vibe you are putting out and if so, is it what you really want?

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Getting Traction

Don Kardux is back with his most recent highlighted book.  Always fruit for thought, I hope you enjoy the read.

Don shares: 
Michael Matheson some nineteen years ago signed a Letter of Agreement with Business Navigators and now this spring he has asked us to work with his company again.

It is gratifying when clients who have graduated want to come back.

Michael is no longer the General Manage and son of the owner. He is now the President and owner of Matheson Heating , Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical.
His company is over four times the size it was in 1997.
Michael and his leadership team have studied many of the books I have recommended and so, of course, it is time for him to recommend a book to me.

Gino Wickman is the Author of 'Traction' and the creator and head of a group called EOS which stands for 'The Entrepreneurial Operating System'.  This very practical book clarifies the six key components of EOS.
Practical?  Read what Gino writes in the introduction. 

"This book is not another silver bullet management book or flavor-of-the-month strategy. It contains no theory. It's based on real-world experience, practical wisdom, and timeless truths. More importantly, it works. Through hands-on experience, I have developed a practical but thorough method to help strengthen and re-energize your business."

The six key components are:
1.       Vision
2.       People
3.       Data
4.       Issues
5.       Process
6.       Traction

Each of the component chapters is filled with useful tools. For example I really liked  ' The Vision / Traction Organizer (V/TO) which simplifies strategic planning.
This metaphor is  illustrative of the clever wisdom found throughout the book and the difficulty of letting go of behavior which isn't working.

"An entrepreneur slips and falls off the edge of a cliff. On his way down, he manages to grab onto the end of a vine. He's hanging there, a thousand feet from the top and a thousand feet from the bottom. His situation seems hopeless, so he looks up to the clouds, and decides for the first time to pray. 'Is anybody up there?' he asks. After a long silence, a deep voice bellows down from the clouds: 'Do you believe?' 'Yes,' replies the entrepreneur. 'Then, then let go of the vine,' says the voice. The entrepreneur pauses for a second, looks up again, and finally responds, 'Is there anybody else up there?'"

You can also go to the EOS web site and sign up for weekly tips.
You receive some really good observations.
The Dutchman, in me, really likes that it is free.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Summer Book Read About Leadership

Don Kardux doesn't disappoint us this month with his choice of book to share with us.

 Don begins, "I've probably read over two hundred management and leadership books in the past thirty years.
Too many were overblown and overly complex. Or as Bill Treasurer, (who is - a real Treasure) says, "The complexification of leadership."'

By the way, don't look for the correct spelling. I think Bill coined the word.

So when Bill stated in the book’s preface, "I resign from the legion of Leadership Complexifiers," I was encouraged. 

He did not disappoint. 

This book, 'Leaders Open Doors' has a clearly stated premise with two parts, nine chapters, a conclusion and all within a relatively short one hundred and ten pages.

On the last page of the preface Bill writes, "The approach to leadership described in this book is based on the simple and well-tested idea that leaders help people and organizations grow when they focus on creating opportunities for others. But just because the idea is simple doesn't mean it is easy. Open-door leadership takes work. So let's get started. How do you start opening doors for people, and what's in it for you if you do?"
In the preface he outlines each chapter with a matrix which includes three columns. Chapter/ You'll Learn / Key takeaways.

What a wonderful contribution to clarity

For example:
·         Chapter 3- Purposeful Discomfort
·         Why is making people uncomfortable - in a way they can absorb- is every leader's primary job
·         Create discomfort for both yourself and others to inspire them to grow.
I particularly liked 'Ways to increase accountability' pg. 84, chapter 9, The Door to Personal Transformation.

As with many good leadership books, Open-door Leadership is chock full of wonderful examples of people and situations which clearly illustrate the point in focus.

It's worth the read and I'd like to thank my client and good friend Roy Hauser for literally putting this book in my hands.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Just Be Nice Please

I am often asked to speak....for free.  Unlike my son, Greg Peters, The Reluctant Networker, I do agree to these requests.  Greg's speaking career is much more advanced than mine and he deserves to be paid.  But back to me!

Groups that ask me to donate money.....after all, my time is money when I'm giving my expertise.  I hope they'd realize that they need and should want to give something in return.  I know, I know, I get my meal paid for and sometimes I get a nice pen or plaque.  But beyond that, they need to make a big deal over this person.

A member of the group should be assigned as my go-to person.  That someone is my contact person both before the talk and then also actually at the event to welcome me!  This ambassador should take the time to find out something about me (either by calling in advance or Googling me) so that when making an introduction to another member, they can give a little synopsis. 

I can't tell how many times I have NOT received the above.  A couple times I've arrived at an event and the few people in attendance asked me who I was and why I  was there.Suspiciously!  

One time I was told to sit at the head table and no one sat with me at the long expanse.  Talk about feeling a little weird.  Funny thing, for that talk, I was asked to speak about how a group could be more welcoming! Obviously they needed to hear my message.

So I don't ask for much, just a friendly face and perhaps an introduction that could lead to business for me.

What's your take on this?

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Push-back, Big-time!

 A friend of mine was recently rebuffed in her networking attempts.  You see, she had met a fellow business owner at a networking event where they shared a table. (Let's call him Joe)  She wanted to reach out to Joe just to further the connection.  The appointment was held, but constantly through the appointment, Joe kept saying, "I just don't know why you're here.  I don't need what you offer.  Why are we spending this time together?"

Of course, my friend was frustrated.  She was NOT selling her services and truly just wanted to get to know Joe.  But it didn't happen.  Because the walls were up. (In Joe's defense, probably he had been sold to in such an appointment previously.)

What did Joe miss by being so afraid?
  • He missed the opportunity to meet a really neat woman who is fun, compassionate, interesting AND connected.
  • Joe missed an opportunity to add to the resources available for his future needs or even his clients needs.
  • Joe missed an opportunity to tell someone else a bit about himself in order to find a connection and perhaps a new friend. 
  • Joe missed an opportunity to link to someone who could be a future customer/client.  And there is considerable competition in his business segment. 
How would you have handled this situation if you were in my friend's shoes?

Friday, April 29, 2016

May Book report

Don Kardux took a leave of absence from book reporting last month, but he is back stronger than ever with this book about customer service, something that we can all relate to.

To misquote Portia, "The quality of customer service, in American Business, is strained" so much so that when we get mediocre service we are grateful.

Can you imagine if your business provided superb customer service what would happen?

Well, Scott Brown's book "Who Cares?” highlights  his 'Six essentials of service' that when you understand and implement all of them your customers will cry out, "Mercy! Mercy! I will go nowhere else!"

As Scott says in his first chapter "The Foundations of Customer Service" "Customer Service is Caring about the people you do business with...caring is the key."

His emphasis is that you must implement all six. Picking only some of them just won't work.

  1. Essential # 1: Vision, he lists seven elements of vision but, my favorite is the                               second, "Ten things that people who care about you will do"                                        because those ten are transferable to business. 
  2. Essential # 2: Hiring, he quotes Walt Disney, "You can dream, create, design and                                  build the most wonderful place in the world...But it requires people                                     to make the dream a reality."  And Brown offers practical insight into                          the hiring process. 
  3. Essential # 3: Training, he lists ten elements of training that are critical to                                                 creating, 'Service with a purpose'. 
  4. Essential # 4: Communication, seven elements of communication and my favorite                   is the second, "Cherish your Complaints". 
  5. Essential # 5: Recognition, five elements and  of course, I like the second,                                              'It's Okay To Have Fun!' 
  6. Essential # 6: Revision, follows Deming's 'Continuous Quality Improvement' or                          my, 'Got to keep the plate spinning philosophy'.

I like this book because after thirty years of working with small to medium businesses I am convinced that Scott Brown is right "Caring about your customer (inside and out) is the key!"