Thursday, October 30, 2008

What is Networking?

Gosh, sometimes I feel like I just hammer away at the same message. Or maybe I drill away at it, but my drill bit is dull.

The message is:

Networking is not sales!

Simple message, but I guess not easy to understand or implement.

In the last couple weeks, I actually used that message during a presentation. My contact for this group later told me that the most important information she got from the talk was, "Networking is not sales." I asked her if that was a new concept. She replied that she was sure she sort of understood it, but until I said it, she had never really thought about it.

One other person I met with said that he was so happy with our meeting because it seemed like I was interested in him as a person, as opposed to a warm body to sell to.

As I said before, "Networking is not sales."

So, taking the bull by the horns, I am having buttons made that say just that. I hope that a few other people might want to wear them too.

Keep posted!

When I get them, I will share them with all of you through this blog.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ahead of the Curve

Today, I'm having an office day.

Had to complete my newsletter on others' deadlines -- mine was last Friday at 5 PM, but some did not agree with the deadline!

So anyway, I'm sittin' here in the office -- or the cave!

Glanced over at my shelves to the left and noticed the framed photo of my paternal grandmother, Hannie Dickinson. It's a sepia-toned photo of her holding my (baby) son, Andy, who is now 39 years old.

Anyway you get the picture.

My grandmother knew how to network. She connected with people around the word before computers, by writing letters to people every Sunday. Some she had met in person, but some were people she had read about.

My grandmother was a farm wife. Her beautiful New England home burned to the ground one cold winter day. But she kept on. She collected information, like any good networker would, to make sound financial investments with her hard-earned money. This was during the late '40's and early '50's when women baked bread and did not balance the checkbook. One financial goal was to build a proper parlor onto the revamped farm shed that became her home after the fire.

Grandma didn't call it networking. That's our word for it today. But she connected like no tomorrow.

Don't you wonder what your grand kids will say about you? Will they admire you because you were ahead of the curve?

Friday, October 17, 2008

One for You and One for Me

In word-of-mouth marketing, we try to reinforce the concept of reciprocal relationships, where both partners receive benefit. That might mean that for every referral I give to you that you give me one in return.

Well, yeah, that is the ideal world.

So now let's get real.

Mutually beneficial relationships can take on various shades of reciprocity.

Kendra Saldana, owner of Smart Sites by Kendra, is a great example of how she helps her referral partners. One of them, a radio station, has a popular advertising package that requires their client to have a website. No website, means they can't have this package. This is where Kendra comes in. The radio station refers the prospect to Kendra, she develops a website. Sometimes it is just a very simple one page deal, other times it is more complex. Once done, she steers them back to the station, so they can now get the advertising package.

In this situation everyone wins. Kendra gets a new client. The radio station gets a new client and the business gets the advertising they want.

Kendra has not had much opportunity to send a client to the radio station directily from her own sales efforts but the radio station still feels like they are getting what they need because Kendra is solidifying the possibility for them to get a client when she builds the website. Mutually beneficial.

Do you have some examples of recipricol referral relationships?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Can Hear the Fear!


It can keep us from doing oh so many things.

"What if they say no?" "What if they don't want to work with me?" If they say no, does that mean they don't like me?"

The above chatter runs through our heads constantly. (Or maybe I should say, my head!)

Networking Fear keeps us from going to the event.

Networking Fear keeps us from talking to someone we don't know.

Networking Fear keeps us from asking for help.

Networking Fear keeps us from introducing ourselves to someone.

Networking Fear keeps us eating and drinking.

Networking Fear keeps us from getting what is right for us.

Networking Fear keeps us from speaking up.

Networking Fear keeps us from asking someone about their business.

Networking Fear keeps us from ........

How would you fill in the blank?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another Networking Tool

When I think of networking tools, the first thoughts that come to mind are business cards and calendar. What else could you possibly need?

Well, I've just come up with a new one.

In the last couple weeks, I ended up at networking events and committee meetings seated next to people with major colds. Now I am not germaphobic in any way, but I just knew that the cold bug was going to get me. I tend to easily get colds and they are not mild. Some stay around for weeks on end.

Sure enough on Monday of this past week, I had that awful funny feeling in my nose when I got up. Great, not a good start to the week. I stopped at Rite-aid that day and perused the aisles for some over-the-counter good stuff. One box caught my eye with it's creative brand name.

No Time for Colds

And that's just the way I felt. I had tried cold remedies before that claimed to shorten the length of a cold if caught early. But they had never worked for me so I was very suspicious -- suspicious but somewhat desperate.

It worked!

By Thursday of that week, I was feeling almost as if I didn't have a cold. WOW! I'm a believer.

So along with business cards and calendar, No Time For Colds is a good networking tool to have on hand.

What's your favorite cold remedy?

Monday, October 13, 2008

"This is For Your Own Good"

Recently I was the receiver of some unasked for advice. The generator of this advice felt they had a mission. While I really didn't appreciate being attacked with this advice, I realized that this person had my best interests in mind.

Yea, well sort of.

I'll keep this short, but just a couple days ago I found out that the advice deliverer had talked about this incident to someone that we know in common. This conversation was also in front of another person that knows me. That person called me very upset at what had transpired.

This is where I am not so pleased.

As I said, as for the original advice giving, I was giving the benefit of the doubt that this person only meant well. But now that I know this person is "spreading the word" I am not so sure anymore. I am beginning to think that this person is not a very nice person. In fact, I'm beginning to think this person is a very devious person.

So here are a few rules for giving advice:

1. Don't give it unless it is asked for.

2. If you give advice, don't tell anyone else about it. Treat it as most confidential.

Do you think I am over reacting in this situation?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Just a Few of My Favorite Things

This morning I am heading out to Findlay (Ohio) to attend GreaterFindlayInc's morning meeting they have named Fresh Brewed. I always look forward to this monthly event.

Here are my reasons:


In just a little over an hour the program is set so that I get a little tidbit about what's happening in all parts of the community. It's kind of fun to continue to be educated and now that a little over a year has gone by since I began attending these meetings, I am beginning to feel like I'm a little in the know. (I have a long ways to go still!)

Crowd Attitude

Maybe it's just the AM crowd, but everyone is friendly and happy to be there. There nothing better than getting a lot of positive energy first thing in the morning!

Interesting People

While there is a core group that attends, (just like with any group) there are always new faces. That adds to the diversity of my education.

No Wasted Time

The meeting has a strict structure so no time is wasted and even though different faces take on different jobs each time, the meeting follows that agenda to a "T."

It's About the Members

The GFI (A.K.A. chamber) staff go out of their way to have the meeting be about members. They realize that they are not the organization, but that they help to make the organization for the members. Bravo goes to Dionne, Jeremiah, Diannna and Alissa.

What do you like about a group you attend?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Does My 1 = Your 1?

The hallmark of a "good" referral relationship is one that has both parties feeling as if they are getting benefits.

Traditionally, that might mean that if you and I are in a committed referral relationship, then for every referral you send my way, I'd certainly send one back to you.

But this is where the real world clashes with the ideal world.
First of all, not all referrals are equal. The ten referrals I send your way, could be far outweighed by just one referral you send to me. Unit measurement is probably not the best way to quantify the results of such a referral arrangement. Measuring referrals exchanged by two people is probably better achieved by noting dollars realized.

Additionally, in strongly committed relationships, what one individual wants, may have nothing to do with a referral. This person may want a speaking engagement, an invitation to an event or even just your time. They may give business referrals in return. So the relationship is satisfying the needs of both, but the referrals are not equal.

What this all boils down to is that both parties have to talk with each other openly and honestly. Then and only then will the relationship thrive.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Winning Smiles

Lot of stuff goin' on.

Last week my friend Dave Bodner was one of twenty community leaders chosen for the 20 Under 40 Award. As a matter of fact, two other friends made it a trio. Angie Weid, see her Organized Solutions blog and Michael Temple were honored too. I felt like a proud mother hen, because all three are Certified Networker grads. That meant we (they) cornered 15% of the award territory that night.

Just so you know, my goal for next year is to increase that by 5% and have four people from our CN grad community win the award. Dave, Angie and Michael all certainly deserved the recognition. They do many things in the community to set themselves apart from the mainstream. Along with their high caliber comes the fact that they were nominated.

In the CN course we encourage nominations. It is a no-brainer in the way that it helps to develop the relationship between two people, when one person has to sit down and ask the other to divulge all the good things that have not been mentioned in polite (after all, mom said to never brag about yourself.) conversation. It certainly cements the friendship.

So a HUGE congratulation to Dave, Angie and Michael and also to the people who took the time to write and submit the nomination.

Now, what's next?