Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Saturday, August 31, 2013

5 Ways to Ask for Referrals at Just the Right Time

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , , ,

Andy Lopata, Guest Author

If you have built a strong network then you should be able to ask for the introductions that will make a difference to you.

referralsLike anything though, timing is everything. And too often traditional sales training teaches us to ask at the wrong time, such as straight after a sales meeting or when someone has just said “thank you.”

Here are five ways to get the timing right:

ONE: When the relationship, and their trust in you, is at the right level ~ Don’t rush towards asking for referrals straight away, just because someone has the right contacts for you. Build the relationship first and ask when you know it will be a pleasure for the other person to refer, rather than a chore.

Focus on the other person first. Look to develop the relationship by helping them. Make the right connections, offer your support or just show a genuine interest in them.

TWO: When it’s a two way process ~ If your relationship with someone else is deep enough and you are in a position to refer each other you can be far more transactional in the way you ask.

Why not ‘buddy up’ and refer each other as a matter of course? I have a number of clients who meet with referral partners on a regular basis, open up their address books and swap introductions.

This approach works best once you have a very strong level of mutual trust and confidence in each other.

THREE: When you’re catching up ~ If you haven’t seen someone for a while arrange to meet them for a catch up over coffee or lunch. As you talk about what each of you is doing at the moment, opportunities for introductions will probably crop up and referrals become a natural part of the conversation.

Value-of-ReferralsHelp such opportunities arise by preparing before you meet and considering which introductions your Champion is likely to be in a position to make.

FOUR: When your Champion is going to be meeting your prospect ~ Your task when asking for referrals is to make it as easy as possible for your network to make the introductions for you. And, depending on the nature of their meeting, there are few times when it is easier for them to do so than when they are in front of the person you want to meet.

If you know your Champion is meeting with someone you’d like to be introduced to, help them understand exactly why that person would want to meet you and how to introduce you into the conversation, so that they are comfortable raising the topic.

FIVE: When you have something specific to ask for ~ The number one way to make it easy for people to refer you is to ask for something specific. You are far more likely to be successful if you ask ‘can you introduce me to xxx’ than ‘if there’s anyone you know who…’.

By being specific you are giving your Champion a focused task rather than a vague objective. So develop the relationship and wait to ask until you know it’s the right time for a specific introduction.

andy

Copyright © 2013 – Andy Lopata. Reprinted with permission. Labeled “Mr Network” by The Sun, Andy Lopata was called “one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists” by the Financial Times. The co-author of two books on networking, Andy is a featured columnist the US magazine “The National Networker,” as well as being regularly quoted in the national press. Previously, Andy was Managing Director of UK network Business Referral Exchange. Andy has since worked with companies from one-man bands to organisations such as NatWest Bank, Merrill Lynch and Mastercard to help them realise the full potential from their networking. He is a former vice-president of the Professional Speakers Association. Visit Andy’s Website and BLOG.

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netHQLarry 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.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Making the Networking Follow-Up Call

Filed under: Follow Up,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

Rob Brown, Guest Author

Profitable business networking is not a one-night stand. It’s a long term relationship. It is a shame, a waste and even a crime to commit that precious time to networking, only to never do anything else to follow it up. Trouble is, most people struggle to make the most of the contacts they meet. Let’s explore why.

The Problem

So you spend time going out there networking, meeting people, making connections and swapping cards. But honestly, how often do you spend valuable time doing the business networking, only to return to the office, put the collected business cards on your desk, turn to your inbox and say, “Right, where was I?” Probably a lot of us, if we’re honest. The hard work is done in carving out the opportunity and positioning yourself well to start a business relationship. The problem arises when you consider how rare it is that any strangers you meet networking have an exact need for exactly what you offer at that exact time. It rarely happens, and without that tangible opportunity to do immediate business, very few professionals are motivated to do the networking follow up.

Seeds need to be sown for long term relationships, because the need will arise months and perhaps years down the line. Your prospect will probably have existing advisers/providers in place, and you need to be in prime position when their needs change or that particular relationship falters. I call it being the ‘spare wheel’! The skills of profitable business networking and doing the networking follow-up are like ‘brother and sister,’ yet many people commit the networking crime and fail to make that important call which gives the relationship the best chance of leading to something meaningful. So what stops you from picking up that phone, following up those contacts and taking your networking to the next level? There are generally three areas for concern:

3concerns1. Knowing what to say (knowledge)
2. Knowing how to say it (skill)
3. Actually being motivated to take action (behaviour).

More specifically, reasons for not calling people after networking might include: being unaware of how to prepare; scared of using scripts (which are vital to success); unsure of how people will respond; scared of rejection or sounding desperate; unable to handle objections; uncertain how to take things to the next level. Most commonly, people are too busy and do not have the time. But you should see that the phone is an excellent tool for building relationships. It should not be the only tool, and I have yet to find anyone who can build a better relationship over the phone than I can face to face. Still, it has many advantages, including being quick and convenient, with shorter and more direct, focused conversations. On average, 90% of professionals spend two hours a day on the phone. 40% spend over three hours a day.

Of course, there are a few disadvantages. It can often be impersonal and so difficult to build rapport. There is an increased chance of both parties being interrupted or distracted, and crucial body language signals can be missed. Most obviously, it is less easy to gain commitment on the phone. Still, beyond networking, it is one of the best tools you have in your toolbox to turn your relationships into profits. So what does it take to be good on the phone?

The Solution

Research has highlighted the skills and qualities shown by professionals who are excellent on the phone. They are confident, with a self-belief in what they say and deliver. Their voice is clear, low pitched and not rushed, and professional without being pushy. They are good at reading people’s reactions and responses on the other end. For instance, can you tell when someone is busy on the other end, even if they don’t say so? Strong phone users are also disciplined and very well organised with their diaries and systems. Above all they are persistent. Generally, nearly half of us stop after the second call, and most give up after the third. People who use the phone as a tool to build long term relationships know that there is a very high success rate on the fourth call. You only need to be weak in one or two of these areas to undermine your performance and stop it working for you.

pickupthephoneThe best way to motivate yourself to follow up on those contacts you’ve made is to consider why you need to make that call. We are all charged with a business development remit these days. It doesn’t do your career or your pay packet any harm at all to win more business for the firm. The follow-up call keeps you in touch with possible future clients ‘outside the transaction’, which is vital to build the trust that will lead them to buy you and your services. Although they may not need you now, when they do, you want to be in pole position. Remember also that you are in a brutally competitive market, and if you do not make the call, other professionals will. Also you must know that circumstances change in business. People retire, die, move up or move on. Budgets and strategies change. You must keep yourself ‘front of mind’ to be considered when that change happens.

You can also ‘negatively’ motivate yourself to call by bringing to mind a few serious penalties of not calling. You could lose trust with your prospect, you could damage your reputation, you could give the impression you are unreliable, and you could actually lose out on potential business. When you consider the lifetime value of your potential client, plus all the referrals they might bring in, the loss could be substantial. If you think back to when you were networking with them, you will also recall that you developed good rapport with them and you liked each other. Why should that stop just because it’s a phone call a few days later?

Reputation-Book

Click cover for info

Finally, they probably revealed an interest in your services and a potential need for your solutions. So you should feel confident in making the call and asking for a meeting to find out more about their business, their situation and their challenges. The follow up call is a key part of the networking process. If you don’t follow up, it’s just like you never went networking in the first place. Can you afford to waste all that precious time? For a complimentary copy of my “Networking Checklist: 45 Great Networking Follow Up Tips,” click here.

BONUS Articles: What to Talk About at the Follow-Up
8 Steps To Build Relationships After A Networking Event
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!

RobBrownCopyright 2013 – Rob Brown. According to LinkedIn, Rob Brown is the most recommended person in the world on business networking. He is Head of the Global Networking Council which comprises the world’s top 200 thinkers and writers on topics such as networking, referrals, trust, relationships and communication. Author of the bestseller, “How to Build Your Reputation,” Rob speaks and coaches internationally on building and leveraging powerful networks, which covers the areas of career acceleration, corporate executive presence, generating referrals and building relationship capital. For a complimentary copy of his Special Report: “57 Great Ways to Build Your Reputation” (value $47) go to www.therobbrown.com

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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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Friday, August 23, 2013

Successful Networkers vs. Unsuccessful Networkers

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

Ran across this InfoGraphic on Facebook. Check it out and decide which category you fall under.

By the way, this is not about women vs. men (regarding the images of a women and a man), it’s about women AND men. Please look past the image of the man and woman and focus on the things that you might do better (from the successful side, obviously ;-)) to help your networking efforts work better for you!

If you are a networker who can’t seem to make networking work, you may want to also consider the things that you know you STOP doing; the things that keep your feet nailed to the floor… not moving forward!

NETWinnersLosers

BONUS Article: Networking: A Woman’s Contact Sport

Larry’s NOTE: Sorry, but I don’t know who to credit for this InfoGraphic. If you know, please let me know. Thanks.

netHQ

Check out Larry’s latest networking 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!”

Invite Larry James to speak to your networking group or at your networking event! He is also available for a two hour networking seminar.

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

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/

Monday, August 19, 2013

It’s the “A” Word… Accountability!

Filed under: Accountability,Mentoring,Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

Some of you networkers will not like this article. Why? Because I’m going to ask you to move out of your comfort zone.

For many, networking is not something that they are comfortable with. For others, networking is just not working!

ANPWhy is that?

There are as many reasons as there are networkers, however I’m discovering that most networkers have had no formal training about “how to” network. They attend weekly meeting or large events, collect a bunch of business cards that collect dust on their desk. After that… they’re lost. They haven’t a clue what to do next. They focus their efforts on selling their services primarily to the members of the group. BIG mistake! They can’t answer these questions: “What does a good networker do?” or “How does he/she act?” or “What is his or her basic attitude?”

Networking is much more than just getting out and meeting people. The best way to succeed at networking is to make a plan, commit to it, learn all the networking skills you can and execute your plan.

“Accountability breeds response-ability!” ~ Steven Covey

Here is an idea that has worked well for the many networkers that have requested coaching.

Find an “accountability networking partner!” So, what’s that? An accountability networking partner is someone that is similar to a mentor. It’s someone who you already have a relationship with; someone you trust. You must be authentic to each other. You agree to meet at least once a week to have lunch and review your networking progress; you brain-storm new ideas that work all designed to increase your networking performance. You agree to hold each other accountable for learning more about networking. It’s someone who will nudge… make that “push” you out of your comfort zone; someone who will hold you accountable to do what you know you must do to stay out in front of your competition and be more successful at business networking.

When you decide to have an ANP (accountability networking partner) you must first keep your word to each other. Be at the weekly meet-up (no excuses) and come prepared to review your past weeks successes and failures while networking. Consider this a long term project – at least six months, perhaps longer. You must become strategic partners. Create and discuss some new networking goals. It’s important to focus; begin developing relationships now with the people whose help you will need in the future. Volunteer for positions in your group.

Discuss how many times did you offer, ideas, tips, business leads, etc., to others in and out of your network of support. You may want to visit other networking groups together. You will be encouraged to focus on giving to others first and receiving from others second. In other words, don’t become known as a “taker.” You will drop the “what is in it for me?” attitude and focus on others. Always prioritise helping and giving to others ahead of taking and receiving for yourself.

accountability“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

The more you put into your ANP meeting, the more you will get out of it. It is truly a winning formula. Why? Because you both will benefit from this strategic alliance. Business networking is productive and fun, and that is why it will always be the right road to business success.

BONUS Articles in the Networking Article Index. Click here and begin your new networking education.

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – 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!”

Invite Larry James to speak to your networking group or at your networking event! He is also available for a two hour networking seminar.

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

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, August 15, 2013

Pay Attention to What Doesn’t Work!

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , ,

I’m sure you’ve been to networking meetings and events and have walked away totally disappointed with the outcome, right? Me too!

pay-attentionWhen that happens, I usually spend some quiet time replaying the event in my mind to see if I could have done anything differently. Sometimes, yes… sometimes, no. Sometimes you have to accept that not all networkers will respond favorably to you. I accept that. Next, I look at my approach. What did I do right and what could I have done better. I’ll flip through the business cards I received, look at the note I made on the back of the card and either make a choice to follow-up or not.

“When you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore; it’s a decision!” ~ Paulo Coelho

Thomas Edison once said that he never failed, he just discovered what didn’t work. Perhaps if we treated “every” outcome as a discovery, we might find it easier to be grateful for it.

When I do networking coaching one-on-one, I have discovered that about 9 out of 10 networkers approach networking as an opportunity to get, rather than give. Once that mindset is changed, results are almost guaranteed. Whatever your strengths or weaknesses are, you can always improve your networking skills, however, you have to especially pay attention to what doesn’t work.

“Your role is to grow your network so that you can be a great resource for others and to always be on the lookout for opportunities to be of support, i.e., pass along a comment, suggestions, recommendation, word of encouragement, etc. Keep the networking flow going by giving, asking, offering and thanking people.” ~ Donna Fisher

Networking-for-Dummies

Click cover for info

Real relationships, real friendships, real connections are based on exchanging value with each other. Without the exchange of value, there is no real connection. Who are the networkers that offer great suggestions when you need them and are always there to point you in the right direction? Those are the people that add value to your network – and they’re the ones you’ll be glad to help out if they need a hand.

So… New Rule: Never pursue a contact unless you know you can contribute something of value to their situation. Always be “giving!” That is important and is something I discovered in my quiet time replay many years ago.

Strong bonds are made when there is a mutual benefit for both. That’s when you can measure your ROI (return on investment). When you are part of a network, it’s a two way street, you contribute to others and others contribute to you.

Pay attention to what doesn’t work when you network and don’t do that anymore. It’s that simple!

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – 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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

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, August 11, 2013

Top 10 Tips to Make a Stellar First Impression

Kari @ WeddingWire.com, Guest Author

First impressions matter! In the wedding and event business, creating a lasting and positive first impression can make or break landing your next big booking, and can also determine how you are perceived in the industry.

FirstImpressionsOften, a new contact forms an opinion about you within the first few minutes of interaction, so knowing how to make strong first impression can be very impactful for expanding your business.

First impressions are comprised of two elements: your message and your body language.

While what you say is important, your business expertise and service offering are not the only elements of a successful first meeting. Body language is a key in any interpersonal interaction, and plays a large role in how you present yourself and your business to clients, other Pros and your colleagues!

In fact, research has indicated that body language can impact your first impression by up to 80 percent, so it is very important to not only focus on what you are saying, but also what your body may be conveying!

Top 10 tips for establishing favorable first impression:

1. Stand or sit up straight, keep your head raised and make eye contact while introducing yourself to a new contact. This portrays confidence and makes them take notice!

2. A full, firm handshake is not to be underestimated! Remember to introduce yourself to all new people you meet, and say your name and business with assurance.

3. A sincere smile breaks the ice and expresses a likable, relaxed demeanor.

4. Start a conversation with a simple question to get the conversation started. Asking questions gives the other person an opportunity to contribute his or her thoughts. When in doubt, ask about them! People are comfortable talking about themselves, and this shows you are invested in getting to know them better.

5. Always be ready with a relevant “elevator speech” for the meeting. A less than 30 second concise, but well articulated introduction for yourself, your company, or your experience sets the tone for a positive interaction. Be sure to end with a pause and a smile to allow the other person to ask any follow up questions or move on to asking them a bit about themselves.

badfirstimpressions6. Leaning slightly toward the speaker is inviting and shows that you are involved in the conversation. It also gives the indication you are a good listener – which is very important in this business!

7. When they are speaking, nod your head slightly on occasion to show understanding while the other person is speaking. This shows that you are listening, and are interested what they are saying. It also coveys an agreeable nature.

8. Stay positive and interested! A good attitude is important to be likable at a party, at a job interview or working an event. People gravitate to those who are happy, flexible and personable.

9. Address all those present with respect. Any time a new contact joins a conversation, be sure to introduce yourself, welcome them to the conversation and make eye contact with all those there (even if they are not the focus of your meeting). You never want to isolate anyone, or appear insincere.

10. Use your hands confidently. A little hand motion helps to describe something or add weight to a point you are trying to make, but overuse can become distracting so try to only use occasionally.

Review these tips to evaluate your first impression, and find areas of potential improvement! At your next meeting, make a conscious effort to address any areas you can work on. With a little awareness about your first impression and some practice, be prepared to wow at your next business meeting, industry event or client booking!

Copyright 2013 – Kari @ WeddingWire.com.

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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/

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What to Talk About at the Follow-Up

Filed under: Follow Up,Networking Tip,Video — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

In my many meetings with individuals and groups as a networking coach, it has been my experience that those who complain most that networking doesn’t work are those people who fail to follow-up. They get excited at the event, collect a handful of business cards that end up in a stack on their desk. None of it means anything unless you follow-up. Many have a love/hate relationship with networking. No follow-up is the number one mistake made by most networking underachievers. These people often give up on networking without ever investing enough time to make it pay off.

FollowUPI say, why bother going to a networking event, if you’re not going to follow up? It’s the follow-up after the event that can really pay dividends.

The lifeblood of a profitable business is strong, healthy, and mutually beneficial relationships. Following up with new contacts within 24 to 48 hours after a networking event will make you standout among the majority of networkers and keep the momentum going. Why? Because most networkers don’t do it effectively. The longer you wait, the less interested you will appear to them.

When I meet someone at a networking event who sparks my interest and I would like to know better, I immediately write the date, name of the event and something to help me remember them on the back of their business card. I also carry small, white labels to stick on the back if the card is too slick on which to write. Follow-up starts when the conversation starts. I do my best to set the foundation for follow up when we first meet, provided I think this is someone that might be a good contact, then I initiate the follow-up.

When you follow-up promptly you enhance your personal brand; demonstrate your competency, and you cause them to remember you favorably above others.

Before you follow-up, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the follow-up; to know what you should talk about once you have the opportunity to sit down with someone face-to-face. The goal in networking follow-up is to discover how you can work together to the benefit of both! Profitable relationships, formed between like-minded visionaries, are built on trust, and developed over time.

This first meeting is never about you! Never! This is the exploration stage. Never ever make it about selling your product or service. I usually try to visit their office rather than have a lunch or dinner. I make it very clear that I want to see their business and learn as much as I can about them and what they do. You must build a relationship with your new contact before you ever start talking about doing business together or exchanging business leads. I’ve heard some people describe these first follow-up meetings as informational interviews.

I will often skip an e-mail follow-up and pick up the phone to arrange a time to get together. I suggest you do the same. Often trying to come up with a subject line in an e-mail will not get their attention. Following-up with a personal connection helps you differentiate and solidify the relationship. I’ll use e-mail to follow-up after the first meeting when we have something to talk about.

BrianTracyQUOTETo refresh their memory of me, I will:

• Mention the meeting where we met and the conversation.
• Refer to something specific that came up in the conversation, especially a mutual interest.
• Suggest a visit to their office to determine how we might work together and to continue the conversation.

I want them to know that I want to get to know them on a personal level, then business with each other may come from that or not. The quickest way to turn off someone that you just met is to view them as a prospect. Be aware that not everyone is a match nor will everyone be receptive to you no matter what you do or say. If not, just move on. Let it go and don’t take it personally. If that happens to me, I will send them a nice handwritten note with my business card wishing them well and a suggestion of staying in touch.

Another great way to stand out from the crowd is to ask the “right” questions about them and their business because most people like to talk about themselves. Remember to “listen” to their answers. Listen more than you talk. I ask open-ended questions designed to avoid a yes or no answer. It’s important to be sincere and truly interested in them and what they do. My purpose is to leverage the relationship to something more than networking. If we click and are like-minded, I want them to be a friend first. The possibility of a referral partnership comes later.

That kind of attitude, the right posture, and an engaging smile usually goes a long way in attracting an ideal contact. I want to know their business, and listen for ways we can effectively work together. I offer my assistance. I have yet to find anyone who does not appreciate an attitude of sharing. You will be appreciated for generously sharing what you know and what you do, giving others just one more reason to recommend you to those who are in need of the service your business provides.

Establishing long-term relationships by following-up will allow your new contacts to know, like and trust you. That makes you someone that people will love doing business with. Schedule time to stay in touch with your new contacts by commenting on their social media status; sending them articles or information that might be useful to their business; sending them holiday, birthday and anniversary cards; or getting together again.

Watch what my friend, Kathy McAfee, has to say about follow-up:

BONUS articles: Are You Fouling Up in Your Follow Up?
Seven Steps To Building Your New Relationships Through Follow-Up
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!
5 Ways to Use Follow Up to Achieve Results

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Copyright © 2013 – 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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

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
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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Networking How-to: Mix Business With Pleasure

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Mix & Mingle,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags:

Kathy McAfee, Guest Author

It’s summer and that means BBQ’s, get togethers with friends, parties, celebrations and vacations!

NetPartyYou are probably looking forward to a little down time and the last thing you want to bring along is your business card. After all, who wants to talk business on your holiday? I do.

Social events don’t preclude networking

This past weekend, I attended my neighbor’s outdoor party. It was her father’s 85 birthday and their 17th wedding anniversary. They invited close to 75 people, rented a large white tent, had it catered with fabulous Polish food, and even hired a musician with an Accordion for live entertainment. They are originally from Poland and have built up an enormous support network across the area.

The heat index this past weekend was wicked and we all dressed as nicely as we could, while wearing light weight fabrics. Since I live nearby and was walking to the party from my house. I considered leaving my purse behind. But I knew that I would want access to my business cards, just in case. My business card philosophy is “never leave home without them.”

Sure enough, an opportunity presented itself. I was getting to know one guest who told me that her job included developing and managing the special education curriculum for a near-by school system. It made me think of a networking conversation that I had with a friend just the other day regarding a job opening in his department. He was searching for someone to help him develop new courses for an online university and asked if I knew anyone who would be interested. I told him that I would keep my eyes and ears open.

Standing before me at this weekend party was someone that might be a good fit. So I shared what I knew about the job opening with her and asked her if she might be interested in it. She then mentioned a good friend of hers who might be perfect for the position. I offered my business card (thankfully I had one with me) and asked her to email me after the party, so we could connect her friend with my friend.

It may be a long shot, but it felt good that she and I were helping other people (and potentially reducing the unemployment rate!). Having my business card with me helped to create a bridge for follow up. Without it, neither of us might have remembered our conversation or had the contact information easily available for follow up.

Bringing your business cards with you to social events allows you act on spontaneous opportunities, helping others, even on ‘down time.”

Being tactful is important when you mix business with pleasure. Your spouse or date may not appreciate your habit of mixing business with pleasure. Your timing, approach and intention are important factors in helping people feel more comfortable and open to combining business discussions with social activities.

What happens if you cross the line?

Mix these past networking tips at your next summer social

Three steps to trim your social media contacts down to a more manageable size –
http://networkingahead.com/networking-how-to-cull-your-contacts/

Why you should make a daily practice of picking up the telephone to speak to your clients –
http://networkingahead.com/networking-how-to-dial-for-dollars/

Increase your productivity with these savvy tips from productivity expert, Neen James –
http://networkingahead.com/networking-how-to-employ-the-15-minute-rule-of-productivity/

How raising your hand for opportunity can change the trajectory of your career. Read Deirdre Quinn’s story –
http://networkingahead.com/networking-how-to-carpe-diem/

If you are introvert, you must read this -it will change your life –
http://networkingahead.com/networking-how-to-embrace-your-inner-introvert/

kathynetHQCopyright 2013 – Kathy McAfee. Kathy McAfee is America’s Marketing Motivator and author of the book, “Networking Ahead for Business.” In her role as an Executive Presentation Coach and Motivational Speaker, Kathy helps her clients become the recognized leaders in their field by mastering the arts of high engagement presentations and more effective networking. Learn more at her Website: MarketingMotivator.net and NetworkingAhead.com.

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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/

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