Posts Tagged 'biz dev'

How the 5 W’s and 1 H Can Be Used for a Great Networking Introduction

ImageEveryone is always worried about making that good first impression. And while I will always suggest that letting the other person speak first is the best way to do so, it will become your time to speak…hopefully. (Note even though this post focuses more on “getting from your network”, giving to your network is where the endless supply of opportunities lie).

The key takeaway you’ll want to assure all of your networking partners understand is how to recognize a potential client or business partner for you. Using the journalistic method will help you paint a specific picture that your partner can use to match against their mental Rolodex. Regardless of the picture, be sure to take the order and suggested timing into consideration especially if you’re using the introduction with a group who meets frequently.

1. Why- We start with “WHY” because this is where passion lives. It’s hard not to sound fired up about WHAT you do when you’re talking about WHY you do it. Being on fire for what you do is what attracts other people like a moth to a flame. You need to ALWAYS kick off your introduction with passion, baby! Oh, and if you don’t have passion for WHY you do WHAT you do…it may be time to find something else to do.

2. Who- The WHO is just one of the ways you can separate yourself form other folks at the event. Giving people a specific description of WHO you’re looking to meet gets you that much closer to actually meeting them. Here’s a tip: you don’t really provide services for ANYONE or EVERYBODY. Even if you really, honestly believe that to be true, find a niche and use that. The moment people hear anyone or everybody they tune out. And we networkers don’t have time to be tuned out!

3. What- As counter-intuitive as this may seem, you would be wise to spend FAR less time on the WHAT than you think you should. This is especially true if you are ever at an event where there are people with a similar occupation (mortgage person, financial planner, attorney, accountant…you get the picture). You spend less time here because people already assume they know what you’re going to say about your work. So throw them a curve ball and tell them things they couldn’t possibly know…like WHY or for WHOM and HOW. (<<<IMPORTANT:>>> If yours is the only business that does what you do, you will need to spend time talking about the what. If  you’re having trouble growing your unique business, we should chat about your messaging).

4. How- Next to WHY, HOW is the most important thing on this list. You can use HOW to establish credibility, further separate yourself from the competition and give people a sense of what is expected when working with you. This section should be twice as long as anything else…meaning it actually gets a full sentence MAYBE two, if you’ve got extra time 😉

5. Where- WHERE is quick. Are you city wide, regional, state-wide, multi-state, national or international? The geography is important, especially when it’s local, because that gives the listener another “keyword” to search in their mental Rolodex.

6. When- This is almost a trick W. 9 times out of 10 the answer is going to be “Whenever they’re ready”. And that is the key to success in business. You have to be ready when they are. Much to every salesperson and sales manager’s chagrin, it rarely works the other way.

The number one rule is BE CONCISE. Don’t make this a 60 second commercial. Heck, don’t even make it a 30 second commercial if you can avoid it. When it comes to introductions, people wanting to learn more about you is better than telling them everything there is to know.

AN EXAMPLE

I’m fortunate that I get to do what I love, helping small business owners and people responsible for business development, achieve success in my roles as a speaker and coachsultant (see how I combined my WHY WHO and WHAT in that first sentence). After nearly 20 years of running large business networks and meeting with countless professionals, I’ve observed more good, bad and ugly practices than I can count.  My goal is to bring my knowledge and experience to people you feel are the next generation of business superstars.

This gives you what I do, who I do it for and how I do it. It also includes the audience and narrows that search for them one more time in the last sentence. We all know a lot of folks in business…certainly not all of them are in Next Generation Superstars, right? Oh, and that word “Coachsultant”. Think people may hear that and think “hmmm, what is that?”. or “I could use that”. Let’s hope. BTW, take out your stop watch and read that paragraph (minus the editorial). It’s under 25 seconds. When I read it, it’s 20.  So it’s clear, concise and perhaps it will get me connected with my next client.

Now, how can I help you??

Networking Your Way Through The Holiday Season

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I have come up with a quick list of thoughts pertaining to networking and partying during the holiday season. Consider this a “do or do not” kind of list. Just always remember, “There is no Try” (Benji bet me a dollar I couldn’t get the word Yoda into a post).

So here’s the list:

10. Host your own network gathering- Bring your network to your office, house or favorite joint and introduce them to one another. It’s a great way to help many at once.

9. Learn other culture’s holiday greetings- I speak to a lot of people who miss saying “Merry Christmas”. So say it, but also be able to wish others a “festive holiday” of their choosing too.

8. Setup weekly 4 tops for lunch between now and holidays- This is a great way to bring your network closer together. Look for the synergies and let them happen at the table in front of you.

7. Instead of sending clients cards and gifts, send them referrals…now that’s the gift that keeps on giving.

6. Get the attendee list in advance- You will be able to make the most of your networking time by having this information. Hopefully that adds to your cheer.

5. Use your holiday networking time to help get a jump start on your new year- Start filling up your January calendar with the folks you are meeting now.

4. Don’t be that GUY* at the  party…you know the one who either is throwing their card in everyone’s face or falls down because they drank too much.

3. Know what your follow up plan looks like before needing it- If you know your target client and target business partners, you will know who the people you need to follow up with immediately.

2. Help others connect by introducing them to the people you know they need to meet- Listen. Understand how you can help and make the appropriate connections.  Both parties will appreciate it.

1.5 Ask the host “who are the three people here that I must meet”?- They know everyone so they are in the right space to play matchmaker.

And # 1 on the Networking Your Way Through The Silly Season

…Don’t Network in the Punchbowl!- It’s just bad form

*GUY is an acronym for Gender Undetermined Yet

Digital New You #DNY- The Art of the Routine

Do this twice daily and call me in the morning

Do this twice daily and call me in the morning

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act, it’s a habit.” -Aristotle

Read that again. That quotation came from a dude who died 2335 years ago. It’s so apt that it has stood the test of that much time. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

A week ago I decided to develop a new routine. The routine was based on writing more consistently. I wanted to develop a writing habit. While it’s probably a little early to write about my new habit after only 10 new posts, the idea of routine is  important enough to share now.

Websters defines the word routine as:  a customary or regular course of procedure.

To me, that sounds boring. I don’t ever want to feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over. Most of the entrepreneurs I know feel the same way. Here’s the deal…to succeed in business (or in most any area of your life) you HAVE to do many of the same things over and over. In sports it’s called practice. In business, it’s called perfecting your craft. I don’t really care what you call it, if you want people to call you back again and again, you’d better do it!

Here is a list of some of the routines you’re going to want to get into:

  • Make the calls- When you start in any new endeavor you’re going to have to reach out to people long before they will be reaching out to you. The calls are not going to make themselves. You have to make them.
  • Do the follow up- In my experience, this is the number one area where people blow it. Don’t make people chase you. Go after them.
  • Deliver excellence- Doing what you agreed to do is the bare minimum. Go above and beyond and you and your clients will both be satisfied with what happens next.
  • Be great at the basics- JW Marriott, founder of Marriott Hotels said it best: “Be brilliant at the basics and customers will tolerate everything else.”
  • Do the social thing- It’s a brave new world and social media is a big part of it. Get in the routine of sharing things yours clients, prospects and network will find of value.

What routines have you established that have helped you succeed in business?

What routines are you looking to establish?

Who holds you accountable to what you need to do?

Are you finding the right strategic partners for your business?

Target markets: partners
One of the best ways to gain faster entry into your target markets is through strategic referral partners. Having the right partners – the connected ones who service their clients well – will yield big dividends for you. Here is a quick list for you to understand who are the partners you seek:

Are they selling to your same decision maker?
This one is both obvious and often overlooked. Let’s look at the IT space. Most companies sell to the CIO but also require buy-in from the CFO. If your company sells network security and my company sells data storage, we could meet and talk about the customers we have and the prospects we hope to land. Invariably, we will run into opportunities to help each other – if we are both open to it.

Quick case study from networking events:
I can’t tell you how many people I hear who want to partner with Certified Public Accountants. It happens at least twice in every meeting I attend. What I rarely ever hear is someone saying “I have some good relationships there, let’s compare notes.” Wouldn’t that be easier? Why should two people be looking to forge relationships with new prospects when they could just share their existing ones, in effect doubling what they have?

What about partnering with companies that can make your offering more robust? This is kind of the peanut butter and chocolate approach. There are lots of companies that sell office cleaning services just like there are companies that sell office supplies. Both of these companies benefit from knowing property managers, commercial realtors, interior designers, office furniture companies – I could go on and on. The key is that their services are necessary and have the slightest overlap.

If a customer needs someone else’s product in order to maximize return on investment when buying yours, you had better be able to make some referrals. Real estate is a great example. There just aren’t a lot of cash buyers these days. If I were selling houses, you can bet that I would have at least three different mortgage lenders to whom I would feed leads. Why? Because having only one is very limiting to my customers AND to my referral stream!

1. Identify the decision makers to whom you frequently sell. Make a list of five of them.

2. Who do you know who is selling to these same people? (Do not name people in your office.)

3. Are you looking to meet CPAs? Of course you are. You know lots of other people who are too. Partner with them.

4. What other products or services do your customers need to make yours work better? Have people in mind to refer.

5. Compile a list of at least five people in each category as a partner. If you don’t know five, call me. I will help.