Archive for the 'networking' Category

Our review of #Blab

Are birds that social?

The Blab Bird

My lovely co-host of Business Growth Time, Janet E. Johnson and I do a quick 10 minute review of Blab. We hopped on the platform early last week and had a blast. We talk about some of the features, fun and functionality.

All in all, it’s a very cool platform that when used properly can aid your business. Like all social tools, you can get sucked down a rabbit hole instantly. Be careful blabbing 😉

You can check our show on Business Growth Time our review of Blab. If you like it, be sure to check out our Business Growth Time Facebook Group and our Facebook Business Blabbers group.

9 Ideas to Make Sure Your Elevator Pitch Sucks Less

As part of the “Sucking Less at Networking” Series, I’ve decided to take on one of the most annoying aspects of networking…the Elevator Pitch.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an investor looking to place your $$ with the right company or an avid networker who loves them some weekly meetings, we all have the same enemy…those ridiculously boring elevator pitches aka 30/60 second commercials. But Terry, you’re thinking, How can we make this exciting AND brand ourselves?

I’m so glad you thought to ASK (The ASK is my take on what Elevator Pitches could be. Feel free to download this 7 page whitepaper if you want a much deeper dive to taking this part of your game to the next level). Elevator pitches really shouldn’t be about branding. They should be an invite to get people to learn more about the possibilities you represent.

I’ve come up with 9, easy to follow ideas that you can implement easily. Please, feel free to start using them now. Your network and your wallet will thank you.

1. Make it short and sweet

PLEASE, stop making your 30 second commercial a 50 second commercial and your 60 second commercial a Chrysler Super Bowl Ad. We don’t need to know everything about you and your offering. You haven’t earned our attention… yet. If you feel like you’re monologueing, trust me. You are. Less is so much more. Get us to want to hear more, by telling us just the highlights.

Unlike Syndrome, Your Only Super Power is to Bore People. Don't USE IT!

Unlike Syndrome, Your Only Super Power is to Bore People. DON’T USE IT!

2. Talk about WHY and FOR WHOM more than WHAT

We spend sooo much time telling people what we do. That’s a waste of time. 90% of people do something that a LOT of other people do. You don’t need to explain the mortgage business to us. We get it. Tell us WHY you’re in the mortgage business. The WHY is where passion lives. And Passion is engaging. Also, be sure to tell us who you do your work for as that will help us help you.

3. Think about the pitch from the users perspective
So often we only speak of things from our point of view. When it comes to the elevator pitch you need to answer the ever popular question, What’s In It For Me? If you’re not painting a picture your audience can see themselves in, you need to work on your pitch.

4. Don’t Use Buzz Words or Acronyms

Buzz words and Acronyms may be great to impress your colleagues or show that you’re an expert in your field. HOWEVER, to the layman, they either sound like you’re trying to sound smart or worse, make us feel dumb. Neither scenario works in your favor.

5. Have a point

If you’re not going to take the time to read the info in the ASK (and I understand, you’re busy) make sure you get to your point. And so we’re clear, your point should be letting your audience know how they will recognize a good opportunity for you. Remember, short and sweet. Don’t take too long to get to it.

6. Know your audience

This is much easier to do when you meet with the same group every week or you’re going to a “pitch competition” where you can review the judges before hand. If you’re flying blind, do your best to let others speak first. The more you can tailor your message to your audience, the more likely they are to hear you. If you have no choice but to jump without a net, use your time talking about who you want to meet and why you wish to meet them.

7. Sound excited

Similarly to focusing more on the why than the what, sounding excited allows you to transfer that energy to your audience. Any good presentation, regardless of length, is a lot like a sales pitch. You need to get people emotionally involved. Sounding excited does that.

8. Understand your purpose

It’s to begin a conversation with the people who would be most interested in having it. It’s not your opportunity to explain everything. See point 1.

9. Be authentically you

This is last, but so far from least. The most authentic people are often the ones who enjoy life most. They put themselves out there fully and attract the people who are most likely to like them. They also repel the ones who won’t. Think how much energy they save not wasting time on the wrong folks. As an added bonus, it’s way more fun to Be Who You Are.

What would you add to this post?

What did you not like?

How can I be of service in supporting you and your network? Do let me know!

Why I Decided to Write a Book on Business Networking

 

Business Networking Book

cover of my book on networking

 

Few things are as important* AND misunderstood** in the world of business as Networking is. Even the name is confusing. Are we talking about stringing a bunch of computers together? No. We’re not. And while a bunch of computers strung together now support the largest social networks, it’s still really not the same thing. We are talking about Business Networking. Which I would prefer we re-named “Relationship Marketing” or even better, “magNETworking“, but that’s a different rant.

Networking offers businesses the ability to grow. Often times this can happen with little to no investment outside of time (it’s a trap…networking can take up sooooo much of your most valuable commodity if not done properly). And while a lot of people partake in this activity, it dawned on me that very few do it well. I mean really well. Like at the level EVERYONE would be happy to network with them. Why is that?

That’s because we weren’t taught how to network effectively. And more importantly, the skills that really excellent networkers use aren’t mainstream.  So I wrote a book. One that covers the things that anyone who will ever be networking will find of value. In fact it helps you network in situations that aren’t even about networking. Why? Because when done properly, networking can happen anywhere you are whenever you’re there. 

The book is broken down into 5 main sections:

  1. The reasons why networking works…consider this the Universe’s relationship to networking. Yeah, it’s a little LOA, but so is life.
  2. What you need to do before Networking. This really gives you the game plan that helps you spend your time wisely.
  3. What to do at an actual event. Let’s face it, there are a LOT of ways to screw this up. This book helps you not do that.
  4.  How to network online. It’s more about the how and why then what tools you use. The tools may change, the how and why won’t.
  5. What to do after the networking. This is really just about the importance of follow up. It gives plenty of suggestions for how to make sure you stay top of mind.

Each section has anywhere from 12-25 entries and the longest entry is about a page and a half. It’s a quick read and is jammed full of strategies that you can implement and master immediately.  This is also a great gift for anyone starting a business or entering the work force too.

You can pick up your copy of “Be Connected” here on Amazon. I also tend to have a few copies in my car. If we’re at an event together, ask me for one. I’d be happy to sign it for you 😉

On the off chance I need to defend the importance of networking*, here goes: Ask 10 business owners: “what’s the best form of advertising?” and they will ALL tell you “word of mouth”. Not to suggest networking is merely word of mouth, but that is certainly one very positive outcome of it. If I need to sell you on the idea that it’s misunderstood**, well, just go to your local chamber mixer or read through your Facebook timeline only focused on business development looking posts. Good. I feel like we got that out of the way.

 

 

 

10 New Rules for Sucking Less at Networking

Life becomes less hard when you suck less.

Life becomes less hard when you suck less.

I’ve been coaching/training people on being better at networking for almost 10 years. It dawned on me that perhaps I’ve been looking at it the wrong way. Maybe instead of  helping people be better, maybe I should suggest ways they can simply suck less. To that end, here you go…

1. Must be present to win- I’ve talked about the #1 rule of networking is you have to “show up”. You know what? It’s not enough to show up. You have to be present. And I mean fully present. Not thinking about what’s for lunch or what’s on TV tonight. Put your phone down and pay attention. Opportunities to be of service and to be referred happen quickly at networking events. If you’re not present, you will miss them.

2. Stop bringing “enough cards for everyone”- Look at your desk (or your nightstand or your old shoe box or wherever you stash these things) and count how many cards you haven’t done a thing with. Go ahead. I’ll wait. You done? Right…not even close BUB. Here’s the trick, you don’t need to give your card to everyone you meet. You know why? Because not everyone you meet wants it. And that’s okay. Cards should be passed out and collected sparingly. Speaking of cards…

3.  Ask people for their cards- No. Not everyone. Only the people with whom you want to build a relationship. Here’s the logic. When you pass them your card, you have to wait for them to call you. When you get their card, you can control the follow up.

4. Don’t just talk with people you already know- Networking is about meeting new people as much as it’s about reconnecting with folks you know. You have to have a balance. Make it a point to meet 3-5 new people at every event you attend. 3-5, not 30-50. It’s easier to meet new people at a networking event when you’re not worried about meeting everyone…trust me.

5. Introduce people- Since people are there to meet people, be of service and make some introductions. You don’t have to hold onto your contacts like they’re a Pete Rose rookie card. Share them. Every once in a while you’ll make a very valuable connection and these two people will both be on the lookout for ways to help you.

6. Stop selling us. Seriously. People go to networking events to network. This is very different than a sales meeting. You may get lucky and meet someone who has a need for your offering. Be cool. Setup a time to meet with them outside of the event. Who knows, the next person either of you meet may need those services too. Don’t miss that opportunity by staying in that conversation.

7. Talk less. Listen more. I’ve long said “I’ve never learned anything new with my mouth open”. You already know what you do and what good opportunities are for you. To be effective in networking, you need to learn how to help those in your network. You can’t do that if you’re too busy flapping your gums.

8. Spend more time on the WHY and less on the WHAT- Most people at a networking event knows what a loan officer does. Same is true for an accountant, an attorney and a financial planner. Spend 3 seconds telling us what you do and the rest of the time telling us why you do it. That’s where passion lives. And passion is what engages people. You should also tell us for whom you do it.

9. Have a purpose- Know why you’re going to these events in the first place. Make sure you’re consistent with it. Far too often people want to tell you about their business, their other business, the non-profit they support and sometimes just some silly stuff. Pick one thing and focus on it.

10. Follow up- This is more of an “after the event” thing, but it’s so important. If you tell someone you’re going to follow up with them, do it. Write this down somewhere: DWYSYWD- Do What You Said You Would Do. Be impeccable with your word. If you don’t intend to follow up with someone, don’t tell them you will. It’s that easy.

Follow these 10 rules and not only will you have a better networking experience, so will the people with whom you’re networking.

What ideas would you add to this list?

10 ways to add value to your network

One of the most valuable lessons I teach when it comes to networking is the idea of “staying visible to your network“. Why? Because if you’re not top of mind with them, when an opportunity comes up to refer you, that referral may go to the person who is.

But it’s not enough to just be visible. I mean, you could be doing bad stuff and still be visible, right? So let’s talk about some ways where you can add value to your network. This will give you the positive JUJU you need to get what you want!!

These are in no particular order and many of them can be as valuable to your spouse, business associates and children as they are to your network.

10. Share an Inspirational quotation- This has become so much easier with status updates on social networks and it’s still very powerful. Pick quotations that are business or personal development related and let ’em fly. Want to take it up a notch? Send them a link to a site full of them or even better, buy them a book.

9. Keep them up to date with events that may be of value- There are soooo many things going on every day that we each miss the stuff that may be important. If you see an event that your colleague is likely to enjoy, make sure to share it with them.

8. Give ’em a pat on the back- This sounds so easy and you know what? IT IS!! And that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen all the time. People LOVE to feel appreciated. The simple act of saying “I appreciate you” goes a long way.

7. Give the opportunity to help someone else- Sometimes someone in your network is going to need help. Perhaps you aren’t the best person to provide it. Maybe you know who is and maybe you don’t. In either scenario, do your best to give your network a chance to help others in your network. This could be as easy as a Facebook post.

6. Share your specific knowledge- You are an expert in what you do. Think about that. Not many people can claim expertise in what you do (at least not people in your network). Share your knowledge. Share it often. You’ll be amazed at how often you hear “Thanks. I was just thinking about that”.

5. Lend them an ear- Sometimes people just need to be heard. We are all so busy that we forget the importance of simply listening to another. Be there when someone in your network needs a friend.

4. Send a link to a relevant article- Like events, important articles are coming at us fast and furious. Make sure your network knows you’re thinking about them by sending them some relevant stuff. You can do this via social media, e-mail, text or you can kick it old school and actually mail them the physical article (I know, I’m crazy).

3. Introduce them to new people they need to know- The better you become at paying attention to the needs of your network, the more likely you are to find people who they need to meet. Don’t hesitate to make introductions that you know will add value to others.

2. Give what you have to give when asked- Many people are waking up to the idea of giving. As such, they are asking their network to give to what they believe in. They may be asking for time, money, connections or shares. Whatever the case, when your network asks for your assistance, give what you can.

1. A referral- Nothing says “I value you being in my network” quite like giving a referral. The more you can give, the more value you create for those around you.

What do you think of this list?
What would you add?

Thanks for taking a look at it.

Thoughts on remembering names

In my career I’ve done a LOT of networking. In fact, I started a group that has become one of the largest business networking groups in Michigan: Motor City Connect. This experience has led me to a career in speaking. As such I get to meet a lot of people.

It’s great. I love it. I’m always happy to meet new folks and find out how I can be of assistance. One of the things I’ve noticed along the way is just how much we all enjoy similar things. For example, most of us have the same favorite topic: ourselves and the same favorite sound: our name. 😉

We also seem to have the same challenge: Remembering people’s names. I hear it all the time. “I have trouble remembering people’s names”.  Or, “What’s a good tip to remember people’s names?”

Here’s the truth: you can’t remember something you never knew.

What I mean specifically is that most of us are so busy thinking about what we’re going to say to make a “great first impression” that we aren’t fully focused on the person we’re meeting.

Picture it, you’re being introduced to someone new. Your first thought is “how am I going to get this person to like me?” or “I have to get my point across”.  As those thoughts are spinning through your head, the person who is introducing you says their name and then says your name. The sound of your name snaps you back into the moment, but just a second too late.

You’re now faced with a dilemma…do you ask them to repeat their name or do you just carry on? (Pro-tip always ask them to repeat it). Most people are too embarrassed to ask. Believe me it’s a lot worse not to ask.

I have a client who can make sure your name is remembered every time. Want to know how? Get yourself a snazzy new name badge. It works like a charm and can extend your brand. Take a look at some of the work Stadium Trophy does with full color, metal and  Engraved Name Badges. Go to the site as there are more examples than this…

Image

Here’s another good idea for remembering names. Go check out my friend Michael Angelo Caruso’s blogpost on the topic.

WHAT you do isn’t nearly as engaging as WHY you do it.

If you’ve been to a networking event, high school reunion or just about any other type of gathering you’ve been asked the question: What do you do?

Here’s the trick… in most instances “what you do” isn’t really all that exciting. In fact, a lot of us have relatively boring jobs. And interestingly enough the longer we’ve been doing them, the less exciting we make them sound.

The next time someone asks you what you do give them a quick answer of your general business category. Then instead of talking at length about what that means…tell them why you’re excited to do it every day. Or tell them what got you into that line of work in the first place. Passion is engaging!

I created and run a large business networking group that meets online and face to face in and around the Detroit area. That’s one of the things I do. That answer isn’t nearly as exciting as I’m passionate about other’s success and I provide connections and opportunities for them to improve their personal and business lives.

How can you incorporate WHY you do something into the WHAT you do? Should you have a challenge answering this question, there are great coaches who can help you.  If you’re not passionate about what you do, it may be time to change what you do.

Do let me know how I can be of service to you.

BYBY (Be Your Best You)