Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

5 Ways to Contribute to Your Network…

Filed under: Contribution,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 8:00 am

There are many ways to contribute to the people in your network. The goal of networking should be to help other people – to provide value to them – not asking them to help you. It is important to understand their wants and needs. Never ask for favors, for promotion, for advice, or even to meet up for lunch or coffee until you have established a meaningful relationship.

Helping hand shakes another in an agreementEveryone can use help. There are many challenges that we all face as we work to build a successful business. When having a conversation with someone from your networking group, ask open-ended questions instead of questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” A great question is, “Who is your ideal customer and how will I know if someone fits the bill?” This will help to get to the things you can help them with quicker and keeps the conversation flowing. It also demonstrates a genuine interest in them.

Here are the 5 ways that make the most sense:

1. Find out the biggest challenge in their business and discuss ways you might be able to assist them
2. Offer to introduce them to people you have met at the networking event
3. Offer to refer them to people outside of your network who may be able to assist them
4. Offer to send them an article or link to a Website or Blog post that might be of interest
5. Find out what is important to those in your network and do everything you can to fulfill that need

So many people who network are mostly interested in doing their best to get you interested in what they do. This is a major distraction. It usually turns people off and can alienate the people you meet in a hurry.

The key to building great relationships is to give more than you take. Master networkers look for ways to benefit members of their network. Always network with the intention of helping other people, not yourself. Helping others positions yourself as a powerful resource. The people you help will appreciate your efforts and hopefully return the favor.

The best way to participate in networking is to contribute!

BONUS Article: “How Can I Help You?”

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. 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/

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Referral Chains Create a Stronger Business Network

Filed under: Networking,Referrals/Leads — Larry James @ 8:00 am

Most successful networkers know hundreds of people who are in some way connected to hundreds of other people. Tap into that very special network and you can expect wonderful things to happen.

referralchains“A referral chain is created by simply asking someone you know to introduce you to someone else for a specific purpose, then repeating the process over time. When it happens naturally, it’s serendipity. By cultivating more of these relationships, you can skyrocket your business growth.” – Bill Ringle

I’ve often said that you can find out anything you want within 5 contacts in your own personal network. In other words, everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone, etc. Never be afraid to utilize the connections you and others have to build your referral chain to its greatest advantage.

If you take into account people with whom you’ve done business or supported, such as vendors, past clients, and associations, the speed in jump starting a business relationship adds up very quickly. Once you really decide to grow your business and can see the way that referral chains work, you’re much more committed to developing them ever more deliberately and skillfully.

referralsReferral chains are comprised of individuals who have banded together to help each other by building on each others experience and reputations. When someone offers you a referral or resource, obviously your first step is to say, “Thank you.” Recognizing and reinforcing their positive behavior among your friends encourages them to repeat that behavior. Call the person who referred you and tell them how their positive behavior is helping the people they introduced to you. It takes a little time to do this, but it is well worth it.

I would encourage you to not just thank people who give you referrals, but to link your referral chain with e-mail, telephone calls going back as far as the chain reaches, whether it’s one, two, five links, or even more.

For a better understanding of “referral chains,” read an article by Bill Ringle, “Secret Advantage: Referral Chains – Create a Stronger Business.”

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. 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/

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No One Ever Bought Anything in an Elevator!

Filed under: 30 Second Connection/Elevator Speech,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 8:30 am

Seth Godin, Guest Author

The purpose of an elevator pitch isn’t to close the sale.

The goal isn’t even to give a short, accurate, Wikipedia-standard description of you or your project.

And the idea of using vacuous, vague words to craft a bland mission statement is dumb.

No, the purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.

BONUS Articles: Elevator Speech – Your Branding Statement
No One REALLY Cares What You Do!
Do You Have an Effective “30 Second Connection?”

Copyright © 2011. Seth Godin. Seth Godin has written thirteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. Seth is the founder of The Domino Project. Check Seth’s 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!”

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.

letsbefriends2

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/

Friday, December 16, 2011

You Can’t Network If You Are Invisible…

Filed under: Networking,Show Up! — Larry James @ 9:00 am

“Eighty percent of success is showing up!” ~ Woody Allen

invisiblemanIf networking is going to work for you, you must aspire to be places that count. Did you know that you can learn to show up in the right place at the right time? It takes some effort. Anything that pays off with great rewards usually isn’t effortless.

Decide what places are important to you, find out who else will be there and show up. Go where opportunity is knocking. Where do the people who are making it hang out? What meetings do they attend? Learn to show up to schmooze.

To achieve maximum benefits while attending any function where the opportunity for networking exists, it is important to have a clear understanding of networking. You will notice that my definition of networking has two parts. #1 – Helping others, and #2 – Helping yourself. In that order.

To use networking as an effective business tool; to use it to help you make productive business links, you must first grasp the concept and engage in it relentlessly. Networking is a universal principle of giving and receiving – a lifestyle rather than a technique. It’s about turning the contacts you make into the connections you need and who need you. It’s about giving and not keeping score.

The first place you must show up is where you work. Be committed to be the best you can be at what you do. Show up early and stay late. Do whatever needs to be done. Then do some more. Let your boss see you doing more than he or she expected. What do you get for doing this? First, you get to keep your job. Second, the possibilities for additional income and position advancement increase. The more you do for others, the more you get for yourself. Give more than is expected and you will get more than you expected.

If you are one of those people who are just “putting your time in” until retirement, get off your butt. If you think you have reached a dead end, it could be that you are sitting on it. Get excited about what you do or decide to do something different. “How do I get excited about something I don’t like?” Why would you stay in a position that you don’t like? Weariness follows routine. Being some place you don’t want to be will drain your energy. You will almost always go home tired. When you are excited about what you do, your body floods you with energy. Excitement releases previously dormant energy. You need less sleep. You become more conscious about taking care of yourself. When you are excited about what you do, you do much better work and you are in a much better position to be an effective networker.

Attend workshops and seminars. These events are a great way to learn about a special subject or improve on some of your skills. Not only will you educate yourself but also you will meet professionals in a unique learning environment. Take this opportunity to network with the speaker or company producing the workshop. Many workshops designate time for networking either before or after the educational segment. Stand out in the crowd. Take this time to work the room.

Many workshops cater to a particular individual or industry so you will have a good idea of the kinds of people you are meeting. You will meet a variety of individuals such as executives, entrepreneurs and service providers. People of many different skill levels attend.

Attend cultural events. Many of the museums and art galleries regularly put on wine and cheese parties to show off their exhibits. These parties are a great chance to meet some of the cultured professionals in your area. They are often fund-raisers and are very social and fun.

Attend trade shows. A trade show is an easy way to meet people with similar interests. Exhibitor or not, trade shows are a great place to meet other people in your industry. Take advantage of some of the educational seminars because you will be able to network with some of the attendees before and after the presentation. stand-out-in-the-crowdTalk with some of the exhibitors about their companies and what they have to offer. Only take business cards from people who interest you or might have an interest in your product or services.

Here are a few other groups to consider.

Business meetings
Professional meetings
Chamber of Commerce “After Hours”
Civic clubs
Community service clubs
Conventions
Association meetings
Fraternal organizations
Political organizations
Church or Synagogue

Opportunity is everywhere! Be visible at a variety of places.

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. 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/

Monday, December 12, 2011

Networking is NOT About You!

Filed under: Network Training,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 8:00 am

Effective networking – and I stress the word “effective” – is about helping others!

Stop!Networking is. . . using your creative talents to “help others” achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return! ~ Larry James

One of the biggest mistakes people make when networking, according to most experts, is to think that networking is about them.

No one gets further behind in their pursuit of success than someone who is only and always in it for themselves. That is not a winning strategy. Networking is about building relationships. That takes time. People who are only in it for themselves seldom get the opportunity to develop close business relationships because they are too busy turning off the very people who they need in their own network.

Networking is about helping people in your network of support connect for future mutual benefits. It’s about finding out what someone else needs and assisting them in any way you can to help them get it.

Before you attend a networking event or group, prepare a few questions and conduct mini-interviews with people you meet to find out what their needs are and whom they are connected to. Pay attention and really listen to how you can help them. At the end of the conversation, ask for their business card, and if they are genuinely someone you would like to add to your network, follow up the next day with a personal phone call to set up a time to get together.

Networking is about building relationships, not collecting business cards and collecting contacts and certainly not about you. Focus on the bigger picture. Beneath every success story is how other people helped them to get where they are. When you give generously without worrying about what you might get in return, you attract attention to you as someone who truly understand the purpose and benefits of business networking. You must earn their trust before the relationship becomes sound enough for each of you to benefit mutually.

Remember: It’s not about you. It’s not about your own personal fulfillment, your goals or your achievements. Boastfulness doesn’t work when networking. Nor is it about the title that comes after your name, the big corner office you sit in or the big shiny car you drive to that office.

Always put the other person and their interests first!

BONUS Article: They Don’t Care About You…
“How Can I Help You?”

netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. 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.

letsbefriends2

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, December 8, 2011

The Real Value of a Referral

Filed under: Networking Tip,Referrals/Leads — Larry James @ 9:00 am

Referrals are much easier to close and more profitable than leads from most other sources. From my personal experience, I have a very successful wedding business where I perform “the most ‘romantic’ wedding ceremony you will ever find anywhere.” When someone calls and says that so-and-so said great things about me or that a previous client who is a friend of theirs asked them to call me, the closing rate is about 9 out of 10. The closing rate of random Internet searches for a wedding officiant are usually about 7 out of 10. By some standards that too, may be high, however I like pre-qualified referrals best.

referrals“We all know that word of mouth is the best marketing tool there is. Why? Because when someone tells a friend, family member, neighbor, or colleague how good you are, you’ve already overcome the biggest hurdle to making a sale – trust.” ~ Carolyn Higgins

Let’s face it, people trust and work with people they know and like. However, not all past customers are sources of good referrals. Someone who badgered you into discounting your price, for example, may give referrals to others who are looking for someone with whom they can bargain (another good reason to stick to rarely reduce your price or fee).

The true value of any business can be measured by how often its clients will refer your business to new potential customers. Nothing is more credible than a word-of-mouth referral from a satisfied client.

Referrals from your friends or others in your networking group are made because the referring party wants to help a client, wants to do something for the recipient of the referral, or wants to build a relationship where they will see reciprocity. There are specific benefits to the referrer and to their clients when the process produces results. Usually their concern is the risk to their reputations as the client will look back at them if it does not work out. For that reason the referrals that I give are people I have learned that I can trust to follow through, who are honest, who keep their word, are dependable and who I either have used or would use on my own.

According to networking strategist Andy Lopata, customers who come through referral spend more with a business and produce higher margins than those recruited through any other means. In his book, Lopata suggests that referrals are distinct from and far more valuable than tips, leads and recommendations. And that real referrals are the best form of business information you can receive. There are three elements to real referrals:

1. The person referring you identifies someone who has a problem you may be able to solve
2. They talk to the prospect and establish that they are interested in speaking with you
3. They provide you with the key contact details such that the prospect is expecting your call

To be referred you must demonstrate competence, high ethics, loyalty and credibility in the work you do. Instead of putting the focus on what others can do for you, turn it around and ask, “How can I help the members of my network?” People work with others they know, trust and respect – they must feel comfortable with you and the manner in which you talk about your product or service. It’s all about bringing value to the members of your network BEFORE expecting to receive referrals. Relationship building is important key to the success of your business. You must continue to educate and tell their network what good prospects look like so they can better help you. Making real contact starts with focusing on the other person and building relationships. This means NO SELLING. The best sales strategies focus on opening the door before closing the sale.

gettingtoknowUThe more visible you are a networking events and the more known you become as someone who is not just after the sale, but demonstrates a genuine interest in helping others, the more you will be referred. Until people in your network of support know this about you to complain that you never get referrals is pointless because the building of relationships does not happen on the first meeting, they take time.

What about referrals from people you don’t know – online? You can generate infinite LinkedIn connections and five thousand Facebook “friends,” but are they really friends who you can expect to receive referrals from? My guess is that people connect with you just to increase their list of followers. But who are they? Connecting with someone on Facebook or LinkedIn without talking to them and getting to know them is akin to throwing a business card at someone as you walk past them.

The connections you build in person are much stronger resources for referrals. When you evaluate the time and effort it takes to connect with people online that you may never meet, you may want to attend more networking events where you can make eye-to-eye connections and determine whether they are someone you may want to develop a long-term relationship with. You may not need to reach the masses online. You need to get to know one another — not just in terms of business, but personally. I choose to focus on and pay more attention to those I meet one-on-one. You may not have a direct business connection with someone, but you could very well gain indirect business through that connection.

Stop worrying about “qualifying prospects” and instead, get to know people on a personal basis. That’s how relationships are formed. The people referring business to you have a lot to do with the value of referrals because of the way they talk about you to the person they are referring. That is why the time you devote to building relationships with those who refer you helps to build the real value of a referral.

BONUS Article: “Qualified” Referrals – The Currency of Successful Connections!
Plant Some Networking Seeds!
Sell Yourself. . . NOT Your Services!

I-Love-Referrals
netHQ

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. 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.

letsbefriends2

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, December 4, 2011

Networkers That Prey Together. . .

Filed under: Network Training,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 8:00 am

Networkers that prey together. . . DO stand out in the crowd but in a most disturbing way!

Prey: noun – to be harmed or affected in a bad way by (someone or something). Stalking might be a better term.

Stalk: to follow, watch, and bother (someone) constantly in a way that is frightening, annoying, etc.

The single biggest mistake made in networking: ??? People who attend networking events, meetings, etc., and don’t have a clue that their actions are turning off more people than on. When they first meet you, they begin trying to sell you their product or service. They usually are carrying a handful of business cards, shove one of them into your hand without caring whether you want it of not and ramble on about themselves and their business.

What kind of approach is that? Perhaps we should start a “Networking Idiots Hall of Shame” and post everyone who networks this way on the wall. NOT! That would be a real time-waster for those of us who have a genuine interest in building close business relationships and who are committed to teaching others the networking strategies that have worked successfully for us.

You know who you are. You may have been networking for awhile but not gaining any serious results from your efforts.

It’s time to change your ways! Instead of continuing to irritate others in your community, it’s time to learn how to talk business without turning people off. Your networking strategy will fail before it begins if no one enjoys talking with you. Learn to ask leading questions, listen intently to answers and add your own personal stories to the mix. Initiate interesting conversations with people. Every word you speak does not have to be about your business. If you learn how to do this one thing you will certainly begin to notice a difference of how people react to you when you first meet.

NOsellingThe second thing you must learn is to avoid becoming that person at an event who won’t stop trying to sell his or her company at every moment. Doing this only annoys the very people you may need to meet. Learn to schmooze. Focus. Show a genuine interest in others as you introduce yourself. Be interested and interesting!

Dig deep. Do your best to determine how you might be able to help them. You may not be able to be in a position to assist them but you should at least ask. After talking with them for a while, you may think of someone that they should know. Make the introduction.

And finally, if during your conversation with them you think they might be someone you might like to get to know better, exchange business cards and follow-up to make arrangements to get together outside of the networking event.

Remember, if you always network the way you’ve always networked, you will continue to walk away from networking events with a fistful of business card but with no new friends.

BONUS Articles: Click here for more articles about things you can learn to network better!

netHQCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! 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.

letsbefriends2

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/

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