Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Questions You Haven’t Been Asking Your Network

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

Lily Herman, Guest Author

1. “Can You Introduce Me to [Person Your Contact Knows]?”

Is there a professional you don’t know but really want to get in touch with? If someone in your network knows that person, it’s a lot easier to break the ice. Just hop on over to this template, which makes it ridiculously easy to email a contact asking for an introduction.

NETquestions2. “Is There Anyone in Your Network You Think I Should Talk To?”

If you don’t have any particular person you’d like to meet in mind, it can still be helpful to see if your professional contacts have ideas for others with whom you should connect. Tell them the types of people you’re hoping to meet, and there’s a solid chance they know at least one person who would be interesting for you to chat with.

3. “Do You Know Anyone at Company X?”

Whether you’re applying to new jobs or just exploring new possibilities, picking your contacts’ brains about what they know about the industry is always a good idea. For example, is there a certain company in your industry that is doing well but has a reputation for being a terrible place to work? These are things to have on your radar.

5. “Can We Have an Informational, Get Acquainted Interview?”

While it may be too much to ask someone for a job, asking someone for an informational interview is way less intimidating (and could also give you some leads for where to look!). If you’re not sure how to initiate the process of landing and going to an informational interview, these steps from career expert Ashley Stahl will make you seem like a pro.

WE SAVED the best question for last…

6. “How Can I Help You?”

While your professional contacts can be incredible career resources, remember that networking should never be a one-way street. So, when you’re asking your contacts for something — and even when you’re not! — always look for ways that you can help them, too. Regularly giving to others will ensure that they’re always happy to return the favor.

BONUS Articles: “How Can I Help You?”
“I Can’t Help You, But I Know Someone Who Can!”

LilyHermanCopyright © 2015 – Lily Herman. Adapted from the article, “21 Questions You Haven’t Been Asking Your Network (But Really Should),” Lily is a writer, editor, and social media manager, as well as co-founder of The Prospect, the world’s largest student-run college access organization. She is one of Glamour’s 2015 Top 10 College Women. Follow Liiy on Twitter.

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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!”

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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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Saturday, April 13, 2013

3 Easy Networking Questions to Stand Out from the Crowd ~ Part Two

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Qualifying Questions — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags:

Brian Hillard, Guest Author

Part 2 of 2 ~ Before you read Part 2, you may want to read Part 1.

Question #2: “What do you like best about what you do?”

This next one is actually a follow up to the old “What do you do?” question that I’ve personally been asked 1.5 million times. (Slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.)

NetQUESTIONIf you’ve been out networking before you already know that “What do you do?” is one of the first questions people ask you. Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it just doesn’t leave you too much room to maneuver after you’ve both answered the question.

In other words, after I tell you what I do, and you tell me what you do, the conversation can sometimes feel like it’s coming to a stop as both of you rack your brains to figure out what to say next.

But with this next question I’m going to share with you, you don’t have to worry about that.

If someone tells you they own a local area print shop, you can follow up by saying,

“Hmmmm, that’s interesting. What do you like best about owning your own shop?”

Or if they told you they were a salesperson, you could ask, “What do you like best about being in sales?”

You see how this gets the conversation going in a direction that’s a lot more interesting than:

“So what do you do?”

“I’m a salesperson.”

“Oh, I own a print shop.”

[Pause, for what seems like forever but is actually a good 4 seconds.]

Now you’re talking about what they enjoy most about their busines… whatever that may be. And you notice how you’re still talking about them and what they do.

You’re just approaching it from an angle that no one else in the room has done. (There are very few things in life you can guarantee, but take my word on this one.) And when you talk about making a connection and standing out from the crowd, this question is a homerun.

One caveat though: About half the time I ask this question, people turn it right around and ask me the same thing. So if you find yourself in a similar situation, make sure you’re prepared with a good response.

Just as an example, let’s say you were a Public Relations Consultant. If someone asked what you liked best about being in PR you might say,

“Well to be honest with you, I really enjoy helping clients get the word out about their business in ways they might not have previously thought about. A lot of times when people think ‘public relations’ their first thought is of a big time Madison Avenue office and the exorbitant retainer fees that come with it.

“But for me, that’s not how we operate. We help entrepreneurs get more business through print and radio media – without them spending an arm and a leg while doing it. And I can’t tell you how satisfying that is.”

You see how I raised some issues, answered his question, and explained how I was different than others in the industry? And if that person was thinking about using a PR firm, or knew someone else who might want to, then you’ve gone a long way towards setting the stage for a possible referral.

Question #3: “I know you mentioned earlier that you were in [industry]. What got you started in that direction?”

This is a great question that I use towards the end of the conversation, and of the three questions we’ve talked about, this usually elicits the longest response. Why?

Because you’re asking about their reasons, their passion, their motivation for being in this business in the first place. I’ve had people tell me all sorts of things when I’ve asked this question. One guy told me that he was laid off from a big company, started his own consulting business out of the spare bedroom and never looked back. You just never know what you might hear.

Remember, everyone has a story. You just want to know what it is.

The Bottom Line

Asking the right questions is about earning trust and gaining rapport with your new contact. It’s about them feeling comfortable telling you about their business, without competing with you for “airtime”.

But most of all, asking the right questions is about developing a relationship with a future Referral Partner, so they’ll be more than happy to give you any referral which might come their way.

Click here for Part 1.

brianhillardCopyright © 2013 – Brian Hillard – Reprinted with permission. Brian Hilliard is a motivational speaker, consultant, and author of the book “Networking Like a Pro!” As founder of Atlanta based Agito Consulting, Brian specializes in providing individuals with actionable techniques they can use right away. Brian has also published a CD entitled, “How to Talk So Others Will Listen,” and he’s best known for delivering dynamic, thought-provoking sessions that keep people coming back. To learn more, please visit our website at www.AgitoConsulting.com.

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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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

3 Easy Networking Questions to Stand Out from the Crowd ~ Part One

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Qualifying Questions — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags:

Brian Hillard, Guest Author

Part 1 of 2 ~ Part 2 of this article will be available on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

Question for you: When networking with entrepreneurs, what do most of them like to talk about, their business or yours?

Generally speaking, I’d say theirs.

And assuming that’s the case, is it fair to say that by asking the right questions and allowing your new contact to talk about their business you’ll be more or less likely to stand out from the crowd?

questionsAgain, based on my experience, more likely.

You see, if you’ve ever been to a networking event, you already know that it can be quite the spectacle when it comes to meeting new people. Everyone can be so busy “selling themselves”, that no one seems interested in what anyone else is saying.

Which can create an environment where people are competing for “airtime” to talk about their business and all the great things they can do for you.

But imagine if we turned that around.

Instead of competing with that person in talking about your respective businesses, you asked questions that encouraged them to freely share that information. Now instead of them talking and you interrupting, (or vice versa), you create an environment in which they talk, you listen, and everyone feels “heard.”

You think that would help you stand out from the crowd while networking? You bet. And you’ll get a ton of referrals while you do it.

People refer business to other people they like and respect. So when you give someone time to “tell their story” about their business, then that automatically increases your stock in their eyes.

And throw in the fact that you’ve got a top-flight product or serviceand you can see how it’s a lot easier than many people think to create a solid Referral Partner.

But it all started with the conversation you both had while networking. If you talked about yourself and your business all the time, you blended right in with everyone else. You do something a little different, and voila, everyone remembers who you are.

Which is why asking the right questions is so important. It cultivates an attitude of trust and rapport by showing a genuine interest about their business ultimately setting the stage for a referral.

A lot of times you’ll run into people who are so busy talking about themselves, their products and all the great things they can do for you, that they never take a breath to learn more about who you are and what you’re all about. (People who do that often tell me that networking “doesn’t work” for them.)

But when you’re asking the right questions, you take the focus off yourself, and put it right where it belongs on the person you’re trying to get to know better. And don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to talk about yourself, but only after this person feels “heard” about their business. Which goes a long way towards helping you stand out from the crowd.

Oh, and one more thing. When asking the right questions, you’re in no way trying to “qualify” the prospect, or determine if they’ll do business with you right now. As a matter of fact, that’s the exact opposite of what we’re talking about and I’d recommend steering clear of those types of questions.

So with that said, what are some good questions you can use while networking? I thought you’d never ask.

Question #1: “Where else do you normally network?”

Amy Windham, a colleague of mine here in Atlanta, first brought this one to my attention and it’s an absolute gem. Not only does it help break the ice during that sometimes awkward period just after you’ve introduced yourself, but it also gives you a chance to talk about something you both know a little bit about.

Another reason I like this question is because it gives you the opportunity to make an “instant connection” with that person.

How? By providing valuable information on a relevant topic that they didn’t have. And as we all know, a great towards creating a solid Referral Partner is to first make a connection with that person.

As an example, I was at a networking event one morning when I asked the gentleman where else he normally networked. (I like to practice what I preach, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for this question.) He replied that he didn’t know of any other networking events around town, since he just moved to Atlanta fairly recently.

Well, as a person who likes to consider himself a connoisseur of local networking events, that was like music to my ears. So I followed up with a question about the type of prospects he was trying to meet large corporations, small businesses, or something in between?

I wanted to get a feel as to the types of events that might work based on his prospect.

He went on to say that his business focused on the technology sector and that he would love to meet anyone in that field. No problem, I said, and immediately gave him the names of a couple of groups I’d thought could help.

Well let me tell you something, you could almost see the relief in his eyes. He was genuinely grateful that someone was willing to help him out with some business generating information.

And that’s why I say that asking the right questions is so important for standing out from the crowd. It started with, “Where else to you normally network?” and that dovetailed into extensive conversation about his business.

And guess what? When it was all said and done, he was listening with intent interest on what it is I did and thinking of ways he could help me. Which is all you can ask when meeting someone for the first time.

Larry’s NOTE: Part 2 of this article will be available on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

brianhillardCopyright © 2013 – Brian Hillard – Reprinted with permission. Brian Hilliard is a motivational speaker, consultant, and author of the book “Networking Like a Pro!” As founder of Atlanta based Agito Consulting, Brian specializes in providing individuals with actionable techniques they can use right away. Brian has also published a CD entitled, “How to Talk So Others Will Listen,” and he’s best known for delivering dynamic, thought-provoking sessions that keep people coming back. To learn more, please visit our website at www.AgitoConsulting.com.

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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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Are You Asking the Right Questions to Get the Results You Desire?

Filed under: Ask Better Questions,Networking,Qualifying Questions — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags: ,

Bob Burg, Guest Author

Develop profitable, win/win relationships with practically every new person you meet – whether one-on-one or in a social or networking setting.

How?

Good-QuestionsAsk questions. Specifically, “feel-good” questions. These are questions designed to put your conversation partner at ease, and begin the rapport-building process. These are not intrusive, invasive, or in anyway resembling those of the stereotypical salesperson. Feel-good questions are simply questions that make your new prospect/potential referral-source feel good; about themselves, about the conversation, and about you. Vital, because “all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” Asking feel-good questions is the first step to accomplishing that goal.

“How did you get started in the ‘widget’ business?” ~ I call this the “Movie-of-the-Week” question because most people love the opportunity to “tell their story” to someone. This, in a world where most people don’t care enough to want to know their story.

“What do you enjoy most about what you do?” ~ Again, you are giving them something very positive to associate with you and your conversation. You are making them feel special, important.

You’ve begun to establish a nice rapport with your new prospect. You are focusing on him or her, as opposed to you and your awesome product, as most salespeople do. He or she is starting to feel good about you and has enjoyed answering your first two “Feel-good” questions.

“Pat, how can I know if someone I speaking with would be a good prospect for you?” ~ This is the “One key question.”

Here, you’ve continued to establish yourself as being different from all others they meet who are in business, who only seem to want to know, “How can you help me.” Also, since you are asking for help in identifying their prospects, she will gladly supply you with an answer. And the fact is, nothing builds trust and credibility with a prospect than actually referring business to them whenever possible.

GivingBIZcardYour conversation has ended and you never even mentioned your products or services. Good, since your relationship with this new prospect may not be far enough along for him or her to be receptive to this. (At other times it’s very advisable to bring it up.) That’s fine. Hopefully, you’ve gotten your prospect’s business card. Now you are in the position to follow up correctly and systematically in order to nurture this new relationship.

Whenever meeting new people, the above questions will help you to very quickly build your prospect list with high-quality people. And, in a manner that is fun and without stress. You’ll never again feel the “discomfort” in the pit of your stomach, knowing that you have to nervously and clumsily approach someone you don’t want to approach, and whom you can just sense, does not want to be approached.

Know this: the typical person knows about 250 people. Thus, every time you meet one new person, and develop a relationship based on the fact that he or she now feels as though they “know you, like you and trust you” you’ve actually just increased your personal prospect list a potential 250 people, every single time. Do this often enough and before long, you’ll cultivate a network of endless referrals.

BONUS Article: NEVER Start a Networking Conversation With, “What do you do?”
Are You Asking the “Right” Questions?

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Copyright © 2013 – Bob Burg. Bob Burg is author of “Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales” and “Winning Without Intimidation: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion,” both with over 100,000 copies sold. His newest booklet is “The Successs Formula.” He also publishes a free weekly eZINE newsletter. Visit Bob’s BLOG.

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netHQLarry 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
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

No Pressure Networking

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Qualifying Questions — Larry James @ 9:00 am
Tags:

Mindy Selinger, Guest Author

When you take the pressure of selling out of the networking equation you will notice that conversations will flow easier.

NoSellingRelax. Networking is about meeting new people and learning what is unique about them in a business sense. Stay on topic! Much of the fear about attending events comes from the unknown… not knowing what to talk about. No more random conversations for you!

The Four Pre-Qualifying Questions!

1. This is a no-brainer, admittedly, but it starts you on your path of discovery:

• “What does your company do?” or
• “What line of work are you in?”

These questions can take various forms when you take a clue from their name tag,

• “What type of company is Jones & Associates?”

Many times the answer to this question will give you a clue to additional partnership possibilities. Example: If the answer to this question is, “My company provides IT support for small to medium-sized businesses”, you know that they interface with many different industries, some of them may be the demographic you want to meet. If you also work with small to medium-sized businesses, you have a similar client base.

2. The second piece of information you need to know is where they fit in the company, so you ask;

• “What is your position with the company?”, or
• “Is this your own business?”

businessnetThese questions continues the process of discovering the ultimate business contact, a PowerPartner. You need to know if you are talking to a Sales Person, or the HR Director. The Owner or the IT specialist. Managing Partner or the CFO. Know beforehand who is a good PowerPartner Potential for you… but there’s more.

3. You are in the middle of a great conversation, but most importantly, you know exactly where you’re going with your questions, and the next one is the most important one:

• “What is your target market?” or…
• “What type of clients do you work with?”

Hopefully, the clients they describe are your clients too! However, their answer may be a bit unclear; not because they don’t know, but because most people generalize or try to cast too wide of a net. A Realtor® could say, “Anybody buying or selling a house?” Your job is to get them to narrow down their ideal client profile. Possible niche markets could be seniors, empty-nesters, condos, horse properties, fist-time buyers, short sales, etc. Now you have a target to aim for.

4. This question continues to zero in on the perfect PowerPartner:

• “How long have you been with your company?”

If the answer to this question is, “I just started with them last week”, that person may have little clout, and few contacts. But not so fast… It could be they’re very well connected, having moved to their present job after a long association elsewhere. They may still be a good PowerPartner. The point is: Do not jump to conclusions, keep digging. Here are some possible secondary questions depending upon your circumstances:

• “How long has your company been in business?”
• “How many employees are at your company?”
• “Is your company regional or national?” (good to know if your business is national or you like to travel)
• “What is your territory?”

Seek out the person standing alone and strike up a conversation. Be the rescuer of forlorn networkers. You know their pain. You may find a gem of a connection you would have never met because they were not in the middle of the action.

Selinger

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Copyright © 2011 – Mindy Selinger. Reprinted with Permission. Mindy Selinger is a Networking Strategist. She is the author of the “Face-To-Face Networking Book.” She has been actively involved in business networking on many levels since starting her first business in 1991. Mindy is the founder of a national resource for the professional business networking industry, NetworkingEventFinders.com, which publishes a local Networking Guide & Event Calendars across the country. She lives in San Diego, California.

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe 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

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” 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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