I am the owner and Director of Training for Connext Nation. I love to help people "connect to their next referral. I have been known as the expert in networking, but really prefer the nickname of "Networking Guru." Get your passport out for entry into Connext Nation!
Today, before leaving to visit my friend, Deanna Tucci Schmitt, (She's the BNI Executive Director for Western PA.)
I decided to pick the first crop of green beans and also pick another quart of red raspberries. Steve will be home while I'm gone, but I know that he might forget to pick.
I had mentioned to a friend while at my BNI meeting early this morning, that I was going to do that task. She said, "I would offer to pick, but when we were out at your house the other night for the 5th Birthday Party for Certified Networker, Greg (our son) told me that you have snakes." I assured her that was history, that I had not seen any snakes this year.
Forward to the raspberry patch. I was trying to pick as quickly as possible so that I could get on the road. At one point I pulled a raspbery stalk aside and there curled around the top of the short wire fence was a snake. At first I thought it was a bungie cord and couldn't figure out why Steve had put one there. But I soon realized that I was seeing just the middle of the snake.
So I guess there goes my line about no snakes!
Don't know what that has to do with networking. Maybe we can turn that into, "expect the unexpected; it will probably show up at networking events."
A couple days ago I had a conversation with a business person wanting to make connections in a specific market. I asked if she had joined the association of this industry segment. The answer was yes, but she had not yet become active.
My thought was, "Well, I guess you didn't put much thought into this membership."
In order to get anything from being a member, first you have to be active. Then you have to give to the group.
So if there was a plan, it might have looked sort of like this.
Goals of Joining (set before joining!)
Attend 10 out of 12 meetings annually.
Note those meeting dates on my calendar.
Meet with executive director to find out what role I can play.
Assume the duties and responsibilities of that role.
Make a list of members I want to meet one to one.
Set a goal of how many member to meet with monthly.
Invite prospective members to meetings as my guest.
Of course, your goals might be slightly different. But it doesn't matter. What does matter, is having a plan of action before you join so that you hit the ground running. You don't want to waste several months of membership time trying to decide what to do.
What goals do you have in place for the associations you belong to?
I was talking with a friend the other day about the networking event we are going to have in the fall for the launch of the new book Masters of Sales. I am a contributing author to this book. Page 250, just in case you wanted to know!
This friend is also a published author. In my opinion her book is great because it makes me laugh out loud. She is self-published, but she paid the extra money to have a cover designed and also had some stiff editing done to make it read better. I have purchased several copies of the book to give to friends.
So there you have the background.
In this conversation she mentioned that she still had several hundred books in her garage.
I shared that at our event, we were thinking of asking other local authors to be in attendance. We want to support their efforts, too.
She said that she didn't think that it would be good for other local authors. It is her experience that BOOK FAIRS don't work. She explained that people only bring a certain amount of money and she didn't think people would budget for other books besides ours. Now, she has probably done a lot more work of promoting that book of hers than I will ever personally think of doing for Masters of Sales. After all, we have the whole BNI network behind us. But why would she kick a gift horse in the mouth?
If you were an author and had some books you needed to sell, would you want to be a part of this networking event which is not a book fair?
Tom Fishburne creates some pretty funny cartoon panels about marketing and advertising. His most recent post in his new blog is along the lines with what Seth said today about the ROI on adverting. I first read his material when he drew a cartoon about word of mouth marketing. That one is right here.
Last week I met with a Josie Meredith, who is opening a hair boutique near Davis College where we teach the Certified Networker course. I met her at a WEN meeting and decided that since I have that connection with Davis, that I should help her to connect at the college, too. But of course I wanted to get to know her first.
Josie was a delight. She told me all about the new store and what she's going to offer when it opens in just a little while. But the best part of the conversation was what I learned about hair braiding. Josie is an African American. The little bit I knew about hair braiding was that it is an integral part of the black culture. But I just thought that there were either regular stick out from the head kind of braids or corn rows.
My education helped me to understand that hair braiding is an art. Josie told me that sometimes the hair is braided in a line across the head to provide a foundation for a wig. I almost didn't recognize Josie when she met me at Panera, because her hair was a different color and definitely a different style from when I first met her. Of course, she was wearing a very handsome wig. What was so very interesting to me, was that when I originally met her I was so attracted to her hair style and color. I assumed that it was all her own, but found out that was not the case. It was also a very nice wig.
Continuing my education, Josie told me that sometimes the hair is braided in tiny little braids just at the roots and then the hair is left loose otherwise. This gives body to the style.
Josie also said that it is usual to weave pieces of real hair into the braids to make them stand up just right. She said that Caucasians can have braids, but that she does have to use the extra hair braiding technique for them. One other point, those with straight hair have to have a small rubber band at the end of the braid to keep it from unraveling while those with very curly hair don't need that extra help.
How does all this help me???? Well, You just never know when I will need to refer someone who can do braiding. I can't say that I have already been asked for this, but I do want to be ready!
Additionally, It was so evident that Josie knows what she's doing so that when the wig store opens, I am going to be introducing her to my friend, Robin Isenberg, Executive Director at the Victory Center. They provide free services to cancer patients. I know that Josie will be a resource for Robin's clients when they need wigs.
Thanks, Josie, for taking the time to fill me in about your culture.
What's the most interesting one to one meeting you've had recently?
Seth Godin posted about The Gap having to close stores. I can remember when I lived in Royal Oak, MI (the coolest place to live in my book) that the Birmingham store was the place to shop. Right on the corner of Woodward and Maple, it drew a crowd? Why? Because it was different than any other store around. Now there is a Gap for everyone. Along with regular people there are separate stores for babies, kids and preggers. There is even a gapbody, whatever that means. Hey, Gap, you lost your niche. In your rush to blanket the world with your overpriced clothing, you became a blur. You are just like J.C. Penney and the hip (does that word date me?) don't want to be seen there.
That's a lesson for all of us.
What makes you unique? Know and exploit that for all its worth.
This week, I put four people together in a meeting. They all have the same target market. Two of them had just met last week, but for the most part they were not acquainted with each other.
It was really neat to see them begin to share. They told about industry journals they read, people in the industry they'd already met, information they gleaned, conferences to attend and just a general atmosphere of open sharing. It was too early to share clients, but they did talk about some of their clients and even named a few. What will happen next? They have another meeting scheduled in about a month. Hopefully they will understand the synergy they can generate for each other. I have to let them take it from here.
Mary, Angie, Darlene and Karen you made my day! Thanks!
Okay, I must admit my addiction. I love reading. For the past several years, I have been very strict with reading habits, allowing only that reading associated with business. While I do like to devour those books, I had eliminated some of the fun.
I have given in to the craving!
I am reading fiction and I'm not on vacation. I am remembering the wonderful pleasure of losing myself in a book, letting the hours just slip by.
Recently, I was asked to speak to a group about networking. Not new news, huh?
The talk I was planning to give is a general all-around presentation that I have entitled Planning for Purposeful Networking.
I can change the talk according to the needs of the crowd.
Just before I started, the person who had asked me to speak said, "Now be sure to talk about giving out two business cards to everyone they meet."
Because I didn't want to insult the person who had asked me to speak, I took advantage of the speech's flexibility and eliminated the part about business cards from this talk.
You see, I don't think you should ever give out more than one business card, unless the person specifically asks for more.
Typically, if you think about it, the most likely time to exchange business cards is when you are meeting someone for the first time. If you shove two business cards at this person ("one for you and one to give to someone else"), you are asking them to be a referral source without even taking the time to develop the relationship. It makes my skin crawl to even think about it.
There, now I have to climb down from my soapbox before I fall and crack my head open!
Just read a neat post about buzz -- the kind that we all want. Tom talked about an 8th graduation he attended where the audience sang to the grads, etc. It made me think seriously how to change the graduation process that we have for our adult students of the Certified Networker training. I think I will ask seasoned grads (those who has previously completed the course) in the audience to volunteer to give the new grads advice. While it's not singing, it is involvement. And it would be spontaneous. It's my sense that it will get people talking. Thanks, Tom for your ideas.
David Lorms, an association consultant, commented in my post about loneliness and joining groups. He said that he felt that associations also had to be held accountable for the way in which they support each member's successful membership. So here are:
10 Rules for Associations (or Groups) to Connect With Members
1. Above all, have a process to welcome visitors or guests to meetings and events. Make them feel like they've done you a huge favor by attending. (They have!)
2. Give membership information to guests, but just don't hand them a packet and expect them to read it. Set aside time and assign a person to go through the material. That person can also encourage the guest to apply.
3. When a new person actually joins, have a system for welcoming them. The best way is a phone call, and next best is an email.
4. Assign a buddy or mentor to help the new member get to know the ins and outs of the group.
5. The director or another "official" person should meet with the new member to find out the what the new member wants to accomplish as a result of her membership.
6. The new member should be asked what she would like to contribute to the group. Harvest their newbie energy early.
7. If there is an official orientation or educational offering, help the new member to schedule for those events. Send a seasoned member with the newbie to these events.
8. Determine which of the seasoned members should be introduced to the newer member. Linking them will help them to be more successful, which in turn will help the group to be more successful. 9. If the group has a newsletter, list new members with their contact information. We all like to see our name up in lights!
10. Ask the new members what, if anything, you could have done better or more of to make their transition from newbie to seasoned as seamless as possible.
Two organizations I belong to, BNI and WEN both do all or most of the above rules. They are both thriving. One group I am a member of, does not adhere to many of the above. They are not so successful. Hmmm, I wonder if there is any connection?
David, if you are reading this, what rules would you add?
Getting to know someone better is what it's all about! One of the best ways to do that is by meeting with another person one to one. Usually we think about doing this at a meal, or maybe at a coffee shop.
Megan Coyle Stamos, a Pre-arrangment Planner, for the family-owned Coyle Funeral Home in Toledo, OH, put a little twist on it. She called and asked me if I'd like to meet her at the "Let's Dish" business where we would combine the prepared ingredients for meals. I am a customer of "Let's Dish" so I know how much fun it would be.
Megan had registered in advance and had chosen the four entrees we would put together. With two people it goes like clockwork, with one person adding one line of the recipe and the second person adding the next. Megan laughed at me because she said that I was all business. I had to admit that when I have a task at hand, I am very much a "what's next" type of person.
In less than an hour, we had the four entrees, assembled, packaged and ready to go. Let's Dish has a side area where people can go and chit-chat between entrees if they need to res AND if they are less driven than I am. So after we got the job done, Megan and I sat, had some lemonade and talked for about a half hour.
The conversation had no huge aha's, but we did talk sales techniques and that was where I admitted that I probably lived a previous life as Rosie the Riveter where I was the star of the assembly line! So instead of getting together and eating, we conversed while we created food. A nice twist on the one to one.
What's the best one to one setting you've had with someone besides a restaurant?
I hate cleaning the refrigerator. But ever so often I just can't stand it another minute.
The need to clean is combined with the fact that our expensive Sub-Zero refrigerator, gets an ice dam in the bottom of it. Yes, it is 15 years old, but this has been an on-going problem right from the start. We never know that the ice-age is creeping in there unless melt water, that should be going down the frozen drain hole, suddenly is puddled in front of the refrig on the kitchen floor.
That's what happened this morning.
Doing both jobs is even more hateful. Using the hair dryer to melt the ice is a messy, time-consuming task.
So Steve and I teamed for this project. He took care of the glacier melt, and I cleared the science projects from the interior and then washed the shelves.
It didn't seem to take half the time it usually does. Working together made it bearable.
It's sort of an example of what two people can do when they work on prospecting together. Combining the effort makes more happen in a shorter time. Two people can thaw a chilly target more easily than each working separately.
I have been speaking for many years. I have also been a Toastmaster for over a decade. But Guy Kawasaki's posttoday is enlightening. His friend, Doug Lawrence, wrote fifteen absolute necessities for speaking. Number 4 is amazing. I can't wait to try it.
Doug says to bite your tongue if your mouth gets dry.
As I get older, I do tend to get dry mouth when speaking. I'm sure others get it from nervousness. I cannot wait to try this technique. Just sitting here typing I tried it and it does seem that my mouth got more moisture as I gently bit my tongue.
Yesterday afternoon, I gave my friend Cheryl a mini lesson in blogging.
Cheryl is a great friend, and she also takes care of my water garden, so that I can enjoy it when I sit out on the front porch.
Cheryl has also launched a new business, Adventures for Women at the Water's Edge. She will help women get out there kayaking, hiking, biking, swimming and just communing with nature.
One of Cheryl's favorite pursuits is kayaking. Her own first experience left something to be desired. Her teachers were men. They fitted her incorrectly for the kayak "skirt" which meant when she rolled over and was upside down in the water, she was not able to easily escape. She doesn't want that to happen for other women.
She has three trips planned for this year. If you are a women who wants to be guided by someone who cares about your outdoor experience contact Cheryl. She doesn't have a website just yet, so the best way is to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
kayaking....try it now!
What unfortunate experience have you had because "experts" gave you bad advice?
Who would think that today I can communicate with someone in Australia, asking for their help, and expect to receive a reply within a couple hours or at the most a day.
Here's why I sent that email out. One of my BNI friends and also Certified Networker student is an Arbonne International representative. She is heading to Australia at the end of this month to help launch Arbonne in that country. She would like to connect with BNI members in Australia to develop relationships for two reasons.
Of course, the first reason is that she would love to receive referrals of people who might be interested in this new business opportunity.
But even more important, she wants to have connections with BNI members, so she can refer her new Australian business partners to BNI. She knows the value of structured, word-of-mouth marketing.
In the Certified Networker program, one small piece of information that we talk about is the referral food chain. Those people who get business when your business gets busier know that if they get out in front of you, "feeding" you new business, that in the end they will win more business too.
That's exactly what Kim is proposing to do. As she gets Arbonne representatives, BNI Australia will get more members. With BNI members helping Kim to meet people, that's what will happen.
This morning hubby, Steve, was leaving the house before me. Of course, the dogs went out the back door with him. Seconds later he was shouting, "Debby, quick, look out the window at the deer."
The dogs were at the invisible fence line, barking up a storm at the four deer that had been right at our property line. Now, I have to tell you that of the three dogs, two are really not very smart.
Our dogs are hunting dog breeds, Springer Spanielsand a Yellow Lab. They are not the best hunters, though, as they are frightened of guns. Makes me laugh.
This morning they probably just wanted to play with the BIG DOGS.
Of course by the time I looked, the deer were farther north, figuring the better part of valor was not to stick around for the dogs.
But it made me think about how sales people scare away prospects, going after the prospect in full force, instead of being quiet and letting the prospect lead the way. It is especially so at networking events, where sales people mistakenly think that it is the time to sell.
Where and when have you seen prospects scared away by networking dogs?
This week I'm heading out for the annual national BNI conference. I'm flying east to Bethesda, so at least I don't have the time change to deal with!
The flight is only two hours, so I need to decide which book to take that will keep me busy for those two hours.
I am not a bad plane traveler, but I am antsy. If I can loose myself in a book, my seatmates will be happier. Should I take Seth Godin's "The Dip" which I am about halfway through? But that book takes some thought. I probably won't get "lost reading it.
Should I take Scott Ginsberg's newest book, "Make a Name for Yourself?" Again I am halfway through and I have to stop and think as I read.
Should I take something else??????
I am in the middle of some dumb mind candy book -- fiction. Six women -- been together since college -- basically a soap opera. But would I be embarrassed to be seen reading this book????
Should I take "The Glass Castle." I got tired of being on the waiting list at the library and bought a copy at K-Mart yesterday. But that would mean that I am reading four books at one time.