Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Networking GOALS!

Filed under: Networking Goals,Networking Video — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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My friend, Larry Winget, knows about setting goals. Enjoy.

http://smartercomics.com/ShutUp

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – Larry Winget. Larry Winget, also known as The Pitbull of Personal Development®, is a five-time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a member of the International Speaker Hall of Fame. He has starred in his own television series and appeared in national TV commercials. Winget is a regular contributor on many news shows on the topics of money, personal success, and business. Confrontational in his style, direct in his approach, and irritating in his manner, he nonetheless generates laughter while bringing home his powerful points. Love him or hate him, you’ll find his way of looking at things a catalyst for change in your life. Visit Larry’s Website!.

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stay in Touch? Duh!!

Many times I find that people get excited about networking, collect a lot of business cards from new people they meet and once they get back to their office the cards gather on their desk and they just don’t follow up.

Most of us are guilty in one way or the other for not keeping in better touch with our professional contacts and personal networks because we have busy lives, or simply think we don’t have the time. Too busy to stay in touch? Then you must “make time” to do it. It is a necessary part of successful business networking.

It’s a lot easier to stay in touch with the networking friends that you already have then to make new friends. Not that you should do that, but are you keeping in touch with the friends you have? Regardless of the type of relationship with your clients, regular contact is good.

NET-StayInTouchI’ve been networking for many years but began to really get involved in networking in 1983. Believe me, it is a lot easier to stay in touch now then it was then. We didn’t have social networks online and very few had e-mail back then. No texting. No instant messaging. Following your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is one way to stay in touch. Today 3 of the most popular social network sites are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are many others but these seem to be the sites that are getting the most attention and work best for me.

The idea is to stay connected with your contacts and what’s going on in their lives and business. Look at the “Birthdays” reminder of Facebook to see if there’s anyone you should send a birthday greeting to. I still like the idea of sending a birthday card by snail-mail to special friends.

Another tactic is to hit the “like” button if they post something produced by their company on a Facebook profile, or retweet a Twitter update for a big project of theirs. They will appreciate the support, and you will achieve your goal of staying connected and on their radar.

“The more you exercise your networking muscles, the stronger they get – and the easier networking becomes.” ~ Harvey MacKay

There is a better way. Face-to-face contact!

Take good care of your database. It’s smart to review your database for past customers at least every six months. Delete the contacts that no longer apply and do something to stay in touch with the ones that count. Check in by phone or e-mail with folks you are curious about or who you want to let know you are thinking about them. Take time to “make time” to get together for breakfast or lunch or a quick “just stopped by to say hello” visit. There are lots of opportunities to get together; breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner, drinks – and these are often things you’re going to do anyway, so why not invite a friend, colleague, or co-worker to join you? Invite them to networking events. Watch for important community events and invite them to tag along. Suggest ways you can assist each other.

Be sure that you make it easy to keep in touch with you and that they are aware of any changes in your business that might interest them. Share information, ideas, tips, common interests, business referrals and anything that has worked for you in your business. Send out an eZINE at least once a month. No sales pitches, just helpful business information. Send them a sample by e-mail and ask them to subscribe. My “LoveNotes for Lovers” (relationship) eZINE has over 8,700 subscribers who have asked to be on my list to keep up with what I am up to. It is a once monthly communication from me that is meaningful and relevant to my “relationship” network.

Keeping in touch with your contacts is not just about reaching out to them when you need something from them. Send articles, links, or helpful ideas to your customers. Recommend books or articles that you think they might find interesting. This re-connection from you to them is often enough of a touch to keep your customers thinking about you when they need your services or products.

kristilee

An example of a Send Out Card designed by Kristi Lee to be sent to my wedding clients.

Assume responsibility for making contact. Don’t wait for them to contact you. Take the initiative. Stay connected. Be creative. Be generous with your contacts. Networking is also about giving. A handwritten note can be a really nice touch as a follow up to an informational interview as a thank you, or to a recently made acquaintance to suggest staying in touch.

Holiday cards and birthday cards are great ways to keep in touch with people in your network. Send them to past clients, past vendors, a friend of a friend, business owners you you’ve been out of touch with. Although I prefer to send a quick handwritten note rather than a preprinted card, if your contact list is big, you can use a service like “Send Out Cards.” (Note: Kristi Lee @ Send Out Cards is a terrific networker).

Make it a point to attend weddings, funerals, confirmations, graduations, school plays, bar and bat mitzvahs, recitals or the big award. People always remember who was there and who wasn’t.

Networking is about learning from and potentially helping people – not setting up sales appointments or creating an opportunity to sell a product or service. What’s the best way to follow up and stay in touch? Sometimes is best to ask. After meeting someone and having a good conversation, simply ask if you can follow up and set up a meeting to learn more about how you might both be a business resource to one another.

Something awful will happen if you are out of touch with the people who count. . . NOTHING!

Networking is about developing long-lasting, business relationships. You can’t get referrals unless you have relationships, and you can’t have relationships unless you stay in touch and up to date with the contacts you’ve already made. Create a system for staying in touch on a regular basis that is easy, repeatable and practical. The idea is to keep your name and business anywhere and everywhere it is likely to be seen. Develop a reputation as a connector and resource for others which will put you in a powerful networking position.

BONUS Article:Stay Connected

netHQCopyright © 2010 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Kevin Spacey on Success!

Filed under: Networking Video — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Wise words from a Star!

“We tend to minimize what we can accomplish, the goals we can reach, and for some equally strange reason, we believe others can reach heights which we cannot! We tend to overlook the fact that there is enormous undeveloped potential within each of us, a great reserve of talent and ability which we habitually fail to use.” ~ Earl Nightingale

Anyone who wants to achieve success in business networking or anything at all, should hear this.

“Pay it forward. . .” to your friends who may be struggling with their career!

netHQLarry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Monday, November 15, 2010

Do you Quack or Soar? – Be a “Wally!”

Filed under: Customer Service,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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No one can make you serve customers well. . . that’s because great service is a choice. Harvey Mackay tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.

Harvey Mackay, Guest Author

Harvey was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey.

He handed Harvey a laminated card and said: “I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.”

Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said: Wally’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside – spotlessly clean! As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, “Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.” Harvey said jokingly, “No, I’d prefer a soft drink.” Wally smiled and said, “No problem I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.” Almost stuttering, Harvey said, “I’ll take a Diet Coke.”

digyourwellHanding him his drink, Wally said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.”

As they were pulling away, Wally handed Harvey another laminated card, “These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.”

And as if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.

“Tell me, Wally,” Harvey asked the driver, “have you always served customers like this?”

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror, “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day. He had just written a book called “You’ll See It When You Believe It.” Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself (you sure will have a bad day.) He said, “Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.”

“That hit me right between the eyes,” said Wally. “Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.”

“I take it that has paid off for you,” Harvey said.

“It sure has,” Wally replied. “My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don’t sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can’t pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.”

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. This story was told to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and gave all the reasons they couldn’t do any of what was suggested.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

How about us? Smile, and the whole world smiles with you… The ball is in our hands! A man reaps what he sows. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up… let us do good to all people.

Ducks Quack. Eagles Soar.

Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.

Larry’s Note: As someone who networks. . . you have an obligation to offer exceptional service to your customers. Be a “Wally!” Give more than is expected. Lagniappe ((pronounced /ˈlænjæp/ LAN-yap) is a Cajun word meaning “and then some.” In other words, give always give exceptional service “and then some.” Giving beyond what the customer expects will always create the kind of buzz that makes for great word-of-mouth referrals!

Copyright © 2010 – Harvey Mackay. Reprinted with permission. Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times #1 bestsellers Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need. Both books are among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. In total, Harvey’s books have sold 10 million copies worldwide, been translated into 37 languages and sold in 80 countries. Visit Harvey’s Website!

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

“Scorched-Earth” Networking Doesn’t Work!

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Networking Article — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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Ivan Misner, Guest Author

Delusion No. 2: To maximize your chances of getting good referrals, it’s best to move from one networking group to another at regular intervals.

This is called “scorched-earth” networking, and it’s about as friendly as it sounds. The scorched-earth networker burns and pillages for new business. He’s a hunter at business meetings, more interested in bagging the big sale than in building relationships and helping others. He does everything we say not to do if you want to build your business through referrals. He represents the absolute worst in networking.

The scorched-earth networker is constantly dissatisfied with the quantity and quality of the referrals he’s getting, so he moves on. He flits from one networking group to another, doesn’t establish any roots or relationships, networks relentlessly with everyone he meets (often inappropriately), believes that being highly visible is the key to referral success, and expects referrals from others even though he has done nothing that would make anyone else want to help him.

Serious networkers understand that, in order to build mature, healthy and mutually profitable relationships, they must devote a lot of time and effort to growing those relationships.

Have you heard the old saying, “Time equals money?” This is never truer than when it comes to membership in a referral-networking group. The longer you are committed to building the relationships, the greater the results you will experience.

Scorched Earth word-of-mouth marketing does not work, because building your business through word-of-mouth is about cultivating relationships with people who get to know you and trust you. People do business with people they have confidence in. One of the most important things I’ve learned in the past two decades is this: It’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s how well you know them that counts. If you go into this process understanding this one key point, you will have a better opportunity to build your business through word-of-mouth.

Avoid this pitfall if you want to create meaningful relationsips.

“Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. The cost of acquiring a new customer is almost always more than up selling an existing one, or getting their repeat business.” ~ Natalie Sisson, Founder of “The Ultimate Resource for Female Entrepreneurs

“It’s the oldest, corniest piece of advice in the world but it still works. The strongest networks are built on friendship. Be a friend not only to the people in your network, but to the people who matter the most to the people in your network.” ~ Harvey Mackay

ivanmisnerNOTE: To order a copy of Ivan’s newest book, “Network Like a Pro” click here!

netHQ

Copyright © 2010 – Ivan Misner. Reprinted with permission. Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths.

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Have a Plan for Every Networking Encounter

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Networking Article — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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Greg Peters, Guest Author

One of the basic rules of networking at an event is to have a goal when you walk in. Having one helps focus your efforts. It tell you what you will accomplish so that showing up isn’t wasting your time. It also tells you when you are done networking and can go home (or head over to the buffet line to fill your plate). Having plans and goals isn’t just for events. Almost every aspect of your networking practice can benefit from applying these techniques.

Let’s take a look at a few:

Daily goals. How much networking are you going to do each day? Are you going to call three people whom you know and like for a chat? Are you sending four email messages to people in you network? Are you having two one-to-one meetings with new contacts from the last event? Just as with your goals at the event, having daily goals will tell you when you are done. After all, despite how much fun it is, we can’t spend all our time networking.

netgoalsScorecard goals. Did you have a good week of networking? How do you know? Keeping a networking scorecard and tracking the points over the course of the week will tell you exactly what you did. You can also use the points to give yourself something to target. Maybe your goal is to make fifty points per week. If Thursday rolls around and you only have twenty-five, you’d better step it up a notch in order to make your goal.

Technique/Behavior goals. Maybe you’d like to practice using the INFER questions in your one-to-one meetings. Perhaps you want to get into the “Gratitude Note” habit. Maybe you just want to get into the practice of leaving your telephone number at the beginning and end of a voicemail message. Whatever it is, track set a measurable goal to help you track how well you are doing at that particular behavior.

One-to-one meetings. So you’re meeting with a new person. Probably your goal is to find out more about them. Could you be more specific? What about them would you like to learn? Maybe you want to learn about their hobbies or where they are planning on traveling next. Maybe you just want to learn more about their business and how they got into it.

Try to pick a few areas to learn more about so you don’t spend the entire conversation talking about the weather. If the person has been in your network for a while, maybe your goal is to ask them for some help on an area in your life. Whatever it is, you need to have it in mind so you don’t look back with regret at having wasted any opportunities.

Group goals. You are probably the member of a number of networking groups. So what would you have to achieve as a result of being a member in order to make it worthwhile for you to remain a part of the organization? Is it the number of one-to-one meetings that result from the events? Is it the number of referrals? If you are shooting for a goal, what are you going to have to do differently as a member of the group that will change the results you are getting?

The more you can set measurable targets for each aspect of your networking practice, the more likely you will be to achieve success in those areas. The challenge is that it’s easy just to float along and hope that things will turn out the way you want. The best networkers, though, make it a point be as systematic and goal-oriented as possible.

That’s why they succeed for themselves and the network that looks to them.

“When you fail to hit the target, it is never the target’s fault! ~ Larry Winget, The Pitbull of Personal Development, author of “It’s Called Work for a Reason: Your Success Is Your Own Damn Fault

gregpeters

Copyright © 2010 – Greg Peters. Reprinted with permission. Greg Peters built a thriving Web development business over the last fifteen years using only the networking skills he developed during that time. A computer programmer by training, he was the original reluctant networker. Through study, practice, and lots of trial and error, however, he has been able to transform himself into a networking superhero — a transformation he would like to help all entrepreneurs make.

Greg now has a coaching practice helping people develop their skills to build better connections and stronger networks. In addition to his blog, “The Reluctant Networker“, he also speaks to groups regularly on the topic of good networking practice

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If Your Organization Doesn’t Increase Membership After Reading This Article, You Have My Permission to Beat Me With a Ball Peen Hammer

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Networking Article — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Scott Ginsburg, Guest Author

You can’t force people to join your organization.

joinusNot legally, that is.

Don’t get any ideas.

What you can do is increase the probability that people will join – simply by making yourself, your people and your organization more joinable.

That means new approaches are required. And if you want to reach the people who matter, consider this counterintuitive suggestion:

Instead of getting people to join you – try joining them first.

Earlier this year I wrote about How to Make Your Organization More Joinable than a Megan Fox Fan Club. Today we’re going to explore six ways to join people first:

1. Figure out why people are. It doesn’t matter what people do for a living – it only matters why they do it. That’s what defines people. That’s what drives them to contribute.

And if you want to join people first, I suggest you touch the center of their why. Even if it’s as simple as asking them, “Why do you do what you do?”

You’d be amazed how telling this question is. And the cool part is, once you have their answer, you can connect their why to the organization you represent.

For example, my friend Doug lives and breathes technology. In fact, few people I know are more resourceful when it comes to leveraging technology to make group communication clearer, faster and more relaxing.

But, I only know this because I inquired about Doug’s why. Because I actively petitioned to get know him at his core. And as a result, I was able to find the perfect spot for him on our board of directors. Our organization would never be the same without him. Are you getting in people’s heads or trying on people’s hearts?

2. Involvement isn’t something you can force upon people. People always make time for what’s important to them. Which means, if they aren’t joining your organization, it might not be your fault. It might have nothing to do with you.

Maybe Saturday morning is a terrible time for them to attend chapter functions because their kids have soccer practice.

Or, maybe they’re just out of college and can’t commit to weekly board meetings because they’d rather go to happy hour with their friends.

It doesn’t mean they don’t like you – it just means they have different priorities. In the book Brains on Fire, my friend Robbin Phillips writes about this very idea, “It’s not about how customers fit into your marketing plan – but rather about how you fit into their lives.”

Try this: Instead of assuming people are apathetic, uncommitted heathens, ask them how your organization might become a part of their schedule.

Then, once you’ve gathered consensus, consider alternating your organization’s activity schedule to accommodate a diverse group of member priorities. Are you starting with the customer in mind or just starting with the customer?

3. Hang on their home turf. As the president of my professional association, my recruiting efforts usually include breaking bread with potential members. I’d take that over a phone call any day. I guess I’m just not a hard sell kind of guy.

I’d rather meet people for lunch at their office or in their neighborhood. In my experience, that’s a better window into their world. That’s a smoother transition from “How are you?” to “Who are you?”

Occasionally, I might even have dinner at a prospective joiner’s home. That’s the big win: When I meet their families. Eat their food. Hang on their turf. And we might talk about joining – we might not.

The point is to meet people where they are. Literally. Sure beats sitting on your ass with crossed fingers and high hopes. Whose home turf could you visit this week?

4. Learn people’s learning styles. Not everyone needs to come to the Sunday service. Maybe they’re Wednesday night small group discussion people. Maybe they’re homebodies who’d rather listen to the audio recording of the sermon online while drinking coffee in their bed with their dogs.

Doesn’t make them any less of a member. It just means they process information differently. And only when you understand these preferences can you tailor your messages (and the media through which they’re delivered) accordingly.

Naturally, I’m not just talking about congregations. These principles apply to all member-based organizations. Take my professional association. Last year they started publishing their monthly audio newsletter as a podcast on iTunes.

Finally. Good Lord. If I had to open another stupid compact disc shrink wrapped to my magazine, I was going to kill somebody.

The cool part is, because of the increasing population of members under forty, my organization significantly increased their listenership. How many potential members are you alienating because your message isn’t tuned into their frequency?

5. Less outreach, more inbreak. In the pivotal book Jim and Casper Go to Church, I learned the difference between “outreaching,” which is inviting people to join your group, and “inbreaking,” which is joining an existing community action.

According to my friend and occasional mentor Jim Henderson:

“We can find out what groups in our community are already doing to make life better for people and join them. Rather than start groups, we could join their groups. Rather than join groups to convert people, we could join them to connect with and serve people.”

Try this: Consider the types of members you hope to attract. What groups are they already a part of? What role in the community do they currently occupy? Create a gameplan to take a more active role in those spaces. People will notice.

Remember: Your members shouldn’t have to adjust to you. You need to adapt for them. Whose life are you willing to become a part of?

6. Discover their desired way to contribute. Instead of laying a guilt trip on potential members for not devoting every waking moment of their life to your organization, try asking them how they’d like to contribute.

After all, that’s why people join: To give back. To add value to others, to the organization and to the world.

The trick is, not everyone contributes the same way. Personally, I despise meetings. They are the bane of my existence. And I refuse to waste my valuable (and billable) time sitting around a table with seven people trying to figure out whose house the Christmas party is going to be held at this year.

Fortunately, the groups I’m a board member of are smart enough not to ask me to attend meetings.

On the other, I love to write. Actually, that’s an understatement: Writing isn’t just my occupation – it’s my religion. And any time I’ve taken a volunteer position, I’ve always offering my pen as the principle instrument of my contribution.

Need a newsletter article? Need a blog post? Need a welcome letter to new members? No problem. I’m your man.

Your challenge is to dive into the lives of the people around. To join them by discovering and honoring their desired way to contribute. Do so, and you’ll be surprised what they’re willing to give to your organization. How are you helping people help you?

7. Find out what joining looks like to them. Everybody joins differently. A single guy in his thirties approaches joining a group differently than retired widower in her sixties. And if you’ve read Bowling Alone, you know that some people aren’t even joiners at all.

Therefore: If your organization seeks to reach a diverse group of new members, you have to go out of your way to find out how people prefer to join. Without this information, your outreach efforts fall on deaf ears.

I don’t care if have the greatest organization in the world. If you’re leaving voicemail messages on a college student’s land line, odds are she will never, ever call you back. You may as well be winking in the dark.

The reality is, some people just want to pay their dues, show up to five meetings a year and get on with their lives.

They’re never going to volunteer.
They’re never going win member of the year.
They’re never going to spearhead the party planning committee.

No matter how many board members nominate them.

As a leader, you need to be okay with this reality. Stop compartmentalizing people into convenient little personality boxes and just let them join as they see fit. Are you preaching to the atheists?

REMEMBER: There are people out there just dying to join you.

And they will.

scottginsburg2As long as you’re willing to join them first.

LET ME ASK YA THIS. . . Whom did you join last week?

Copyright © 2010 – Scott Ginsberg. Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, “the world’s foremost field expert on nametags” and the author of “HELLO my name is Scott” and “The Power of Approachability.” He speaks to companies and associations who want to become UNFORGETTABLE communicators – one conversation at a time. He’s “That Guy with the Name Tag.” Visit his BLOG.

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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