Thursday, July 24, 2008

Take More Time

This morning I attended my BNI meeting. As part of the meeting we give a short, timed infomercial about our business. To be successful it needs to be within the time limit and it also needs to contain a little bit about what we do and also, specifically what we need.

Last week out of about 25 members, there were 9 specific requests.

Of those nine, I was able to react to 6.

Of those six, one was a "no" answer, two are in progress and the rest were referrals.

This week I am frustrated. Of all the commercials, there were only two specific requests and mine was one of those two. I have fifteen minutes before I have to go to an appointment. If there had been other specific requests I might have been able to be making calls on member's behalf right now. But my co-members wasted their commercial time this morning by not completing their requests. And I don't really have time to do their research, because I have to spend time doing my own. It would be like buying a spot for a TV commercial and then not producing anything to fit that time. Wasted time.

Please, if you want your friends and business associates to help you, you have to know what you want. Do your homework. Figure out who would be a good customer for you. If you don't know, I don't know either.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Speed Networking

Last week I went to my first ever business speed matching. Or as a friend of mine put it, speed dating for business!

I have always avoided this type of marketing because it didn't seem to fit my way of marketing which is to develop relationships.

It worked like this: There were twenty participants. At the start, people are sitting facing one another. At the signal, we had five minutes to talk with the person we were facing. At the next signal we all moved to the right, having a new person to communicate with for five minutes.

I had no goals set going in to this event, other than to experience this type of marketing.

I found it a frustrating experience for me, but I told Jeremiah Gracia, VP of Business Development for GreaterFindlayInc that I will try it again. Here are a couple of my frustrations.

1. Each person handed me their business card, whether I wanted it or not. I do not hand out business cards unless someone asks for it. I gave out two. Is "dealing the deck" better in this situation?

2. My style is to ask questions when I meet someone for the first time, to find out more about that person. Consequently, most of the 19 conversations I had were focused on the other person -- not a bad thing, but I would guess that for most of the participants, they don't know what I do. Is there a format to follow as a participant of one of these events?

3. One participant gave everyone a fairly large gift of a beautifully wrapped dish of taffy candies. They were lovely and they were also cumbersome. I met with this person fairly early so I had that, plus my portfolio, my purse, my coffee, etc. to move each time. I felt like the one-handed paper-hanger. Should gift items be given at the end of the event?

4. Five minutes went quickly. There was no midpoint signal to suggest the conversation focus move to the other person. Or should there be a smaller group, so that there are two rounds with the first round focusing on one person, and the second round on the other?

Now, even with the frustrations, I did accomplish two future appointments and have since scheduled a third. I must tell you that the third was sort of reluctant to schedule when I emailed. I was thinking, "why bother go to these events if you're only going to skim the surface?"

So what do I think of this type of networking? The jury is out. As with anything new, there is a learning curve. I will register for the next event to see if this is an option for me.

What advice do you have for me?


(Okay, Since I wrote the above post I've done some additional research looking for actual hints on what to do at a speed networking event. While there is not a lot of info out there that specifically addresses that topic, one article did give me a lightbulb moment. The article was giving the benefits of speed networking with one being "Professional Development." Specifically it explained that a speed networker will "learn to perfect their 30 second elevator pitch" That's when I realized my frustration. The elevator pitch signifies selling for me and that is NOT networking. I was trying to network when most everyone else was selling. Just having that realization helps me to realize that I'm not crazy!)

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Gable is still alive and last night I enticed him to eat with his most favorite thing in the world -- carrots. (I have no carrots left in the garden because Gable and the devil Springers dug them all up.) Then I gave him a plate of a scrambled egg and leftover green beans from the night before. All slurped eagerly. So I feel a little more positive about him this morning. He even ate a little dog kibble when we went out to the barn to let the other two devils out.

I am going to take him to the vet, just to make sure that there is no blockage in his stomach that may be creating all this. I caught him with garbage on Sunday evening and I took the foil wrapped morsel away from him, but who knows if he hadn't already swallowed some of it.

I'll keep ya' posted.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Not Long, Now

We've had a good dog in our family for fourteen years now. Gable is our noble yellow Lab. He has always been above it all. Especially those two stupid Springers that also live here. He is also a wonderful friend, rubbing his head against my leg.

I know that his time is near. He has been losing weight for several months now and I must admit that he looks quite skeletal now. I made Steve take him to the vet yesterday, because as of Tuesday night, he had stopped eating. I even tried to give him ice cream last night.

We love our vet, because they are what I call country vets. They will do everything possible to save an animal, but they don't treat it like a human. That is our philosophy, too.

Yesterday the verdict was, "He's fourteen years old. We could put him through blood work and X-rays, but we'll find nothing good." Of course then Steve got called out of town on an emergency for one of his clients. So I'm dealing with the failing dog all by myself.

It breaks my heart.

Even the two Springers know that something is wrong. They are not barking at him trying to take over as top dog.

I will keep you posted.

But now I have to go put on a happy face and do a session for 18 folks that want to know how to network better.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is it a One or a One 2 One?

This week I was asked to give a short presentation to the WEN West group and they asked me to speak about one to one etiquette. (A one to one is a meeting with two people finding out about each other.)

I shared the story about a friend of mine having a "one" recently, where the person she was meeting with did ALL the talking for 90 minutes.

So I gave some rules for one to ones.

1) While the conversation does not need to be 50/50 exactly, there should be some information shared about each person. I explained that some good sales people like to control the conversation by asking questions and that being in a one to one with that type of person might mean that you're talking 90% of the time. But in that instance, it is because that person continues to ask you questions.

2) Take notes. If you're making commitments of introductions you will make or information you will share later, not doing so affects your credibility.

3) Do be thinking about who you can introduce the person to while you're getting to know them. Being a connector is a good thing!

It was rather funny after this short presentation. Several people came up to me and said, "Whew! That was really good. It felt like you might be talking about me." or "Thank you so much, I was in one of those conversations just the other day."

What's the best one to one you've ever had with someone and why?

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Reason to Celebrate

Last week Davis College celebrated their 150th anniversary with a day long festival in their parking lot. Davis always brings a lot of creativity to whatever they do -- they are longtime "FISH" devotees.

To everyone's surprise, many of the faculty (at left is Diane Brunner, president of Davis College) were dressed in the fashion from 1858. It was a hot day and I felt so badly for them. Their red faces told the story of how hot those costumes were. I can't imagine living in those days and having to wear ALL those clothes ALL the time!

Additionally, Davis is donating $1858.00 each month to various charities. The charities for July will be announced from the voting boxes that were set up at the festival. There were five charities to choose from, I voted for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The ballot boxes were wooden affairs, probably much like the ones use 150 years ago for elections.

Davis College is a huge supporter of the Certified Networker program both by providing a classroom for the "public" class and also adding it as course in their curriculum for their registered students.

Davis is a small college, only about 450 students, but they are big on delivery. I bought a royal blue sweatshirt at the festival to wear later this fall. I will be proud to let the world know that I am involved with such an innovative institution.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another Deep Mystery

People who don't call back drive me crazy.

Now I'm not talkin' about the people who get a cold call. First of all I don't make cold calls. And when I get them I don't call those people back either. (Most of them don't feel rejected because it is just a recording.)

What I'm talking about is when I meet someone; we chat; agree that we want to meet later. More times than not, they don't have their calendar with them. We agree that I will call them later. They give me their card to do so.

I call them to initiate the setting of the "chat" appointment. Usually I have to leave a message. Or I email them. Or I do both.


Heck, if they don't want to meet, it's OK with me.

Please, just call me back and tell me to get lost.

I'll even give them a line to use. "I'm really busy right now, why don't I call you back at the end of the month?"

Why is this so hard?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What Makes a Culture

I have been thinking a lot about culture lately. It comes some from the type of reading I've been doing but also the experiences I've had recently.
I've come to the realization that standards of a culture are what is accepted by a majority of the people as business or life as usual.
Whether it be a location, a group of people, a time in history or an industry.

I had this aha when I was helping out at the Women's Council of Realtor's golf outing. I am an affiliate member of this group.

The culture of this industry is that a cell phone attached to the ear is status quo for most -- the majority. Now I certainly realize that Realtors or their vendors need to be closely connected to their clients, but personally, I think the culture has taken it too far. I know that I am in the minority!

I was paired with another person at the betting hole. That person spent most of the time on not one, but two phones. Not all of it was business. So this person let the opportunity to get to know me better (I guess that tells me where I stand with this person) go by all the while keeping the phones humming. Conversely, it kept me from getting to know her better, too. As foursomes drove up to our hole, it was not unusual to the three or four of the people on their phones. That is the accepted culture.

What are you accepting that you might want to change in your life.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Business Card Shove

At a networking event this week, after the formal part was done, I was chatting with the woman I had sat next to. While our conversation was not earth-shaking, we were square-on facing each other. All of a sudden another networker interrupted us to give us his card.

Now I tell ya'.

That doesn't get you anywhere with me.

The message this person delivered, was, "I am so important that what you're saying to each other absolutely is beneath me."

Listen up.

People who obnoxiously shove their business cards under my nose are wasting those cards. If they go home at all, they are tossed into the trash.

I know, I know! Someone is going to get on my case about this and say that I should be more gracious.

Maybe so.

Maybe not.

So there.