Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why Not What

Last week I was honored to present at the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio (CCEO) Winter Conference in Columbus, OH. My friend, Dan Yahaus, Executive Director of the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce, was the chair of the conference and last summer he had asked me if I would be willing to be the morning keynote presenter.

Talk about pressure
. Dan had been in a session where we had talked about how the answer to "Why I do what I do" is a very important marketing piece. Now I love working with people in SMALL groups to help them to figure out the answer to that question, but I didn't know how it would translate to a presentation to a very LARGE group.

Well, from feedback that I received, it worked. Not everyone got the chance to talk with me one-to-one, but I demonstrated it in front of the group with just one person, Doug Johnson, the Executive Director of the Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce. If you want to hear his "why" statement, you should use this link at the chamber to get his email address. (Doug is on the left)

At lunch I was standing in line with Mike McNeil, owner of Hampton Publishing. (Mike is on the right.) Like most people I talk with on this subject, Mike wanted to tell me WHAT he does, rather that WHY he does it. As we stood there chatting, he told me that he really wants to provide the best of the best for his clients. I asked him, "Mike, when did you start to always want the best." He shared that he always had felt that way, in fact as a teenager, he wanted quality (expensive) clothes, because of the confidence and successful feeling they lent to him. He asked me, "Do you remember the Gant (brand name) shirts?" I certainly did! Mike had this major light bulb moment. He now knows that he wants to provide the best for his clients to give them the confidence and feeling of success, just like the Gant shirt did for him.

Neat, huh?

Why do you do what you do?

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Definition, Please

Recently I have been asked to speak to several organizations about how they can be more friendly to their members and visitors.

I have come to realize that there are two terms that should be used with this concept. Each might mistakenly be used interchangeably, but they really don't mean the same thing.

The words are:

Friendly vs. Welcoming

From my point of view, friendly means that you smile at me when we meet. You probably also say hello.

Welcoming means that a connection is made. The person welcoming others to the meeting is friendly AND she acts like a host.

As the host, she welcomes members and asks about their day. She shows interest. As for visitors, she asks about them so that she can then introduce them to others. She might even have some official helpers that take on the duties of helping the visitor to feel even more welcome. It could mean that the visitor is introduced to other interested members or this assistant could ask the visitor if she would like to sit with her during the meeting.

It doesn't take much, but the difference is tremendous. It probably says a lot about how some organizations continue to be successful year after year, while others struggle for membership and participation.

What's your take on this?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Give First

I am reading Lance Armstrong's book, "Every Second Counts." This is his account of his life after cancer, particularly as he participates in the Tour de France races. He shares how he is able to win only because of the combined efforts of his teammates. They work together to help him win.

One comment stood out for me. Lance said that he cannot expect the team members to give before he gives first. In other races, he helps his team mates to win so that they can gain more credibility in the racing world. And he makes it plenty clear that they are very talented riders, as talented at he is, but at the Tour de France they work for his win. He cannot achieve without them.

What would happen in the business world, if everyone helped the other person's success. It would be one big circle spanning the globe.

And perhaps greed would be a thing of the past.

So today I help you. Tomorrow you help someone else and fourteen helps down the line it comes back to you and then me. And in the meantime, you or I have started the cycle another ten or twenty times. Helping first is the butterfly affect. It makes a difference.

It is networking at its best.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hard Sell

I am not a very happy camper.

Last month I took a young business friend to a networking meeting with the idea that she might like to check out the group for membership. At this meeting business cards are exchanged with the idea of two parties meeting later to get to know each other better.

I didn't see which cards my friend received and she happily scheduled two networking appointments. She said, "This is great!"

I saw her just the other day. She has decided not to join the group right now. Seems like the dreaded multi-level marketing husband and wife team were one appointment and the other appointment kept her waiting for 45 minutes. The MLM people kept trying to get her to buy for two hours until she finally said she had to go. All during this time she kept telling them that she was not interested. But they kept bangin' away at her. Both appointments had nothing really directly to do with the group, but they did reflect back on the group. Badly.

I don't know what I am going to do about the MLM people. The other person had already demonstrated to me his loser mentality, so as far as I was concerned he was a non-entity. But I will tell you that from now on, any of my guests will be shielded from the MLM team. They will not get a chance to ruin the opportunity of a new member just because of their selfish ways.

Why don't the old fashioned MLMers get it? We don't like their hard-sell pitch.

Monday, February 02, 2009

You Don't Say!

Way back before I went on vacation, I held a preview for our upcoming classes that will start very soon.

There were two women from the same company who had attended together. In fact, Rebecca brought Kathy with her. Because our course tuition offers a very generous discount to those in the non-profit world, both women expressed interest. It seems that each is a board member of a charity.

Out of curiosity, I asked Rebbecca to tell me about the charity she was involved with. It happens to be the Aurora Gonzalez Community Center. I shared with her that last year Certified Networker shared profits from an event with the Center and also collected over 300 children's' books for them. Kathy perked up and looked at Rebecca and said, "The non-profit I am connected with raises money for those situations and we're looking for a charity to give to."

Now these two women sit by each other in the office each day and even share client opportunities. Yet it took an outsider (me) to be the catalyst to them figuring out how they could help each other.

Kathy laughed and said, "Yeah, we each know that we leave the office to go to these board meetings, but we had never asked anything else!"

Networking is about finding out about each other. Not just the surface stuff, but the next level and the next.

What are you in the dark about with your best friend?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Vacation Musings

Okay, I'm back from vacation.

Not to Costa Rica this year, darn, but to share a little over a week with my friend Marcia Housel. She is my friend who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer this summer. I am so pleased to tell you that as of right now, her tests say that she is cancer-free!

She received a certificate for completing her chemo and posted it on the door just like she does when her grandchildren bring her things that they've been recognized for. I thought I'd take a picture of her with the cert.

Also, in my email queue when I arrived home was an email from a friend who also has a friend with stage 4 cancer. This friend wanted to write a children's book as one of her "bucket" items. The link to the book is here. It is a true story about hair loss and the woman's pet cat. If you have someone in your life who is going through chemo, she might appreciate this book for the people in her life.

I think Marcia looks marvey without her hair and believe me, each day when I got up to my "hair all over the head" look, I was somewhat jealous. What Marcia has decided is that when her hair comes back in, her hairstyle will be a pixie type do instead of the old style that she had to tame each day. She has beautiful white hair, so it will look great.

And by the way, this is the view out their back window at dusk. I vacationed for years at this lake when my kids were little and this is the first time I saw it clothed in snow. Beautiful!