Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What Do You Get When You Cross a Letter with Email?

Followup is so important to the networking process.

If you meet a new contact and never communicate with that person again, the networking you are doing is a waste of time. It it so wonderful to receive a note from someone I've just met, and I know the benefit of sending thank you notes and follow- up missives. My challenge up to this point has been finding the time to write those important notes, find the stamps and remember to take the letters to the post office.

Now I am using Sendoutcards.com. It is so great! It automates as much as possible this task without taking the me part out of it. This web-based service allows me to choose a card from over a 1000 designs. I can type a message to be printed inside the card. Because I can choose font color and design, my blue ink message looks very much like I actually wrote it myself (and will even more after I get my own custom font back.) After entering in the contact information of the person I am sending it to, I hit the send button and Sendoutcards.com takes over. The next morning my printed card is sent out via the US Mail, with a real stamp on the envelope. It's so easy that it is almost sinful! A card including postage can be sent for $1.01. Now that's the best and most economical use of marketing dollars available!

Ivan Misner, Chairman of BNI, realized the value of this service and has named Sendoutcards.com a strategic partner of BNI. That's quite an accolade as Misner doesn't partner with just anyone.

Just so you know, Julie Higby (organized@buckeye-express.com) is my representative for Sendoutcards.com. She has put up with all my questions and late evening phone calls when I can't figure something out. I am not so talented in this technology stuff, so probably I have more challenges than others!

Who do you need to send a note to and what do you need to say?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When is Networking Not?

Today at the invitation of Barb McCoy (The Real McCoy), I spoke to the Monroe, Michigan Kiwanis Club that meets at the 1st Presbyterian Church at noon. Barb is Ass't VP at Monroe Bank and Trust and also the VP of this club. I knew that I would only have 10 minutes so I wanted to be sure to deliver a powerful, memorable message about networking. This group seems to have a lot of fun together and already have connections within the club membership.

I talked about two topics that are related within the networking realm. Concept one was the time it takes to develop trust with others and concept two was how to go about developing that trust.

After delivering my part, they had questions. One member was put up to asking the question by the other guys at his table. They wanted to know what I thought about networking when they meet with someone and that someone talks incessantly only about themselves. I explained that the scenario could be confused with networking but what was happening was that really the talker was selling, not developing trust.

They understood the answer, but didn't know what to do when they get caught in such a situation. I gave my answer, but I'm asking all you to suggest a way to quiet the talker.

What would you do?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Aerial Dog Fight

This morning I had the luxury of being in my office which doesn't often happen. My office window looks out over our front porch. The geraniums and red salvia are really in their splendor right now. The hummingbirds have been visiting like crazy, sticking their needle sharp beaks into the throats of the flowers.

This morning there were two little dynamos vying for territory. They spent more time (and probably more energy) trying to get rid of the other one than they did sipping the nectar. They were comical in their fierceness.

As I was watching them, they made me think of how human competitors sometimes act in the very same manner. Instead of seeing how to help each other be more successful, they work very diligently to discredit the other. The energy used for such endeavors is not productive and certainly takes valuable time away from being successful.

When have you seen hummingbird-like behavior from your competitors?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Social Network Connection

About a week ago, I was downloading email and I noticed a message from Classmates.com. Normally I would just delete the message, but it said something about my 40th class reunion. This caught my eye because our class had such a reunion this summer, but I was not able to attend. The thought I had was that perhaps there were pictures. Somehow whatever I clicked connected me to the Classmates.com message board. There was nothing really new about my class reunion but to my surprise, there was a message posted last January for a camp reunion. I emailed the contact listed and then she sent me to the official website for Tally Ho Music Camp at MyFamily.com.

I attended Tally Ho Music Camp south of Rochester, NY, in the summers of my 7th, 8th and 9th grades. That is a long time ago! I have not talked with most of those former campers since 1963, the last time I attended camp. But what fun! Of course it is great seeing all the names of people, and even better seeing the pictures, both vintage and new. It is amazing to me how old everyone else is now! Again, I missed the reunion, but it looks like they had so much fun that they are going to do it again, and I want to be there. In this old picture, I am 6th from the left in the front row.

Without the social networks, such as Classmates.com and MyFamily.com that have spread throughtout the Internet, groups such as Tally Ho Campers could never find each other. Isn't it amazing that people can now re-connect for fun and many times for serious stuff.

What reunion would you like to find out about?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

One to One?

Just the other day in a networking meeting, a novice to the whole networking scene asked, "What is a one on one and what do you do when you have one?"

Great question. A one on one is when you make time to meet with another person.

When you plan to meet with that someone else, the idea should be to find out how you can help that person.

Some people are really, really good at this. Some people are really, really bad. Those people think it is an opportunity to sell and boy do they go about it full force ahead.

In the Northwest Ohio area, there are now over 300 people who have completed the Certiifed Newworker course. While it may not be 100%, most will ask, "How can I help you?" as the first or second question. I am proud of them. They are changing the voice of the business world. They are more about serving others rather than selfishing serving themselves.

What experience have you had when you've met one to one with another business person?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Serendipity Networking

A couple weeks ago I participated in the Dragon Boats races on the Maumee River in downtown Toledo. It was a day of fun, being outside, talking with the other 19 crew members, and being competitive.

Our boat lost in our championship flight after our steersman fell into the river having lost his balance. Good thing we had practiced that emergency "thing" in our Thursday night practice.

A good steersman is hard to find. Last year the organizers supplied that position for many crews, but the race is getting more and more popular so that there were double the teams this year from last. We were told that we needed to find our own steersman.

Inexperience means for interesting happenings, hence the drenching of ours.

Fast forward. Last night I served on a one time advisory board for a local business and there were several others doing the same. Guess what? I found a steersman! This guy sounds experienced. He participated last year, but didn't this year because his team did not race. But he loves the races and wants to be involved next year. Who would think that being willing to volunteer a couple hours could end being so valuable? Serendipity.

When have you done something that turned out even better than you ever imagined?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Prime Question

Last week I was invited to speak to a group in Bowling Green, Ohio about Marketing Yourself. Now I laughingly told the group that we needed to change the title because it might make them think that I was going to talk about PR and all that printed stuff that goes along with marketing a business. In those areas I am not an expert!

New title was Marketing Yourself With Networking. I started by asking the audience what one question they thought was most important for them to ask when networking. After a few attempts they got the prime query of, "What can I do to help you be more successful?" We then went on to talk about several different ways that you could help someone besides just sending them more business. This talk was only allotted 10 minutes, so that was about it.

Later that day I received an email from a young photographer, Michelle Roehl, who had just moved her business, Positive Images, into a new studio and is wanting very much to grow her business. She said, "after WEN I went to my son's hockey camp. This is the 3rd day and I sat with a Mom I have met several times before and have been sitting with to watch our sons the last 2 nights. She recently told me she had gone back to work as a hair stylist. So tonight when I got there, I asked her what I could do to help her business. Her response was that "actually now that you bring it up, I want to get my styles into beauty magazines and catalogs. I was recently discussing this with the salon owner and we were missing a photographer to photograph my clients.""

This all happened because Michelle didn't sell her own services, but allowed the person next to her to tell Michelle what she needed.

What's the most interesting request you've ever received when you asked that question?

Friday, August 04, 2006

How to Not Get People to Buy

The names have been change to protect the guilty here!

My weekly BNI meeting had just completed. I introduced myself to a visitor to ask for her card. I figured that she might be a good resource for another business friend.

I was wrong.

Here's why.

As soon as she handed me her card, she launched into a directive saying that she had products that could help me. After all, I had a cute haircut and presented myself well, but oh, I just needed help with the skin. Now I must admit that I had a big zit on my cheek, and I do have some wrinkles, but for an old broad closin' in on 60, I don't think I'm doing too badly. It was quite obvious that she had a different opinion.

I will never in a million years purchase products from her and also I will never refer her to my friend.

We have a saying in the networking class that I teach that says, "Move along the relationship scale as quickly and as APPROPRIATELY as possible." This women jumped to where my closest friends might tread lightly. She was inappropriate. She also didn't realize that she was infringing on the territory of a BNI member who does sell skin care products. But you know what? My feeling is that even if she did know it, she wouldn't have cared.

Where do you weigh in on this topic. Did she have the right. Am I being too critical? Have you ever been in the same situation where "for your own good" someone has proceeded to insult you?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Allowing People to Buy

Well, I had an entirely different idea to write about today, but it won't go bad, so I'll hold it for another day. Why? Scott Ginsberg did me a favor. He's that guy that wears the nametag 24/7; the 26 year old who just published his third book.

Now I ask you, What 26 year do you know who has accomplished this much??????

But on to the reason for this post. Scott's blog article today is entitled Don't Sell, Enable People to Buy. It is a chapter from his new book. If you visit Scott's blog, each day he is allowing people to read a few chapters from this book, How to Be That Guy. Scott's philosophy is so in line with the philosophy of the Certified Networker training course, that in Toledo we have made his second book, The Power of Approachability, one of three textbooks for the class series.

We begin our class series by telling our students that if they have come for sales training they can leave, because that's not what they are going to receive. There are a few puzzled looks but we enlighten them with the idea of taking the themselves out of the middle of the sale and letting others sell for them. Doing so means that by the time the prospect gets to the sales person, the prospect is ready to buy, because a third party has done all the advance work. Because the third party has nothing to gain, it is easier for them to sell someone else's products or services. Being willing to give up control means that you enable people to buy!

When was the last time you let someone else, who didn't work directly for you, sell your product or service?