Posts Tagged 'business development'

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?

Networking Your Way Through The Holiday Season


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

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.

Bob Burg will Present “Endless Referrals The Go-Giver Way” near Detroit 6/26

Whether you’re just getting into networking or have been doing it longer than I have (18 years and counting) Bob Burg is bound to teach you some new techniques. I am extremely excited to be bringing this gem of a man back to the Detroit area again for a morning presentation on June 26.

You can learn more about this event by clicking HERE.

Want to buy tickets, click HERE.

Bob Burg Talks Price vs. Value- Promo for Detroit trip 6/26

Another sample of what Bob Burg will be discussing when he visits the Detroit area on 6/26. The presentation will be in the morning and tickets go on sale Monday, May 20th. Very special pricing will be available until Wednesday May 22nd. Details posted soon.

Be sure to check the next post on this site for more specifics on the event.

Want more details on the event? Click HERE.

You can buy tickets directly by clicking HERE.

The 3 R’s have changed for business today

When I was in school we learned about the 3 R’: Reading

These R’s were considered the core skills students would learn. They were easy to remember, and the values in the skills were easily understood. In retrospect they could’ve been better understood had they all actually begun with the letter R but this isn’t a spelling test, or a history lesson. This is a lesson in the R’s of modern day business.

While I’m certain reading and writing are still important (my jury has always been out on arithmetic) there are new R’s which require our immediate attention.

These three elements are the core skills, and matters of practice for modern day businesses.

The first R is a driving factor in the happiness of our lives Relationships. Relationships have always been a staple for people, and come in many different types:
Business partners
Spiritual connections
Most importantly, the one we have with our self.

Aside from keeping us happy, relationships are the life streams of our business communities, costumers’ connections, and a constant reinforce for our personal brand. We must take great care not only to connect but to also relate to the people around us.

Relationships do not thrive without some neutering and commitment. You must maintain a balance of all aspects of give and take in order for an authentic relationship to be maintained.

Which is why the second R is Recommendations. We’ve always collected letters from satisfied clients, and now more than ever word of mouth is making or breaking brand images. Capitalizing on modern social networking tools allows for constant rapport care, but also an opportunity to mutually recommend peers, professionals, staff, and the like.

Linkedin uses the term up upfront, but don’t count out other venues such as facebook or twitter. A quick positive status update on facebook, or brief thank you tweet on twitter is another trick to represent those who you would recommend.

The third R is brand spanking new: Real-time search. The SEO/SEM strategists have been extolling the virtues of search for a couple of years now, and this business has evolved. It is no longer enough to own page 1 on Google. You need to make your presence known on page one on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites.

Real-Time Search

The modern R’s of business take old school classic spin on the new school technologies. And when you use these 3 R’s well, you get the most important R there is in business:


HMMM, Is it more important to ASK great questions or LISTEN to the answers?

Honestly, I have no idea, but I can tell you that both are far more important than focusing only on what you want to tell people.

I posted these today in response to Dan Mulhern’s note on how important Listening is to leadership. I couldn’t agree more.

The following is two sections that appear back to back in my new book “The Universal Guide to Business Networking“. Take a quick read and see how you can apply these concepts in your daily AND business life.

It Starts With Asking Great Questions

You will be perceived as a better conversationalist once
you master the art of questioning.

Questions keep the conversations moving. Insightful
questions help you learn a lot about the topic. It’s
important to use your questions wisely as they are the
green lights for others to feel good about you.

You can use questions to turn the conversation in any
direction you choose. You want to know about the past,
ask where they went to high school. You want to know
about what kind of friends someone has, ask them about
the last house party they hosted/attended. Want to know
about their work, ask how they spent their Tuesday.

Open-ended questions yield more results. Questions that
can be answered with a yes or no are considered closeended
questions. Open-ended questions draw longer
responses out of people.

I have a rule. I can ask anyone any question I choose. It is
up to them to decide whether or not they want to answer.
When I am about to ask a tough or personal question, I
share this philosophy to soften it a little.

Ever notice what type of people use questions effectively
to succeed in their career? Doctors, lawyers, psychologists,
interviewers, and business coaches have to ask great
questions. Do you think this is a coincidence? Me neither.

Once they ask the right questions, there is another step
they have to take.

Listen Actively

Worried about what you’re going to say next? Don’t be.
Afraid you only have 30 seconds to make a great first
impression? While I am not sure of the exact amount of
time, I know it’s short.

Want to know the best way to impress the person with whom you are speaking? Honor them. And you do that simply by actively listening to

The best active listeners take what you say, put it in their
own words, and confirm mutual understanding. How
often do we say things that seem clear to both parties but
end up as a miscommunication? Both parties lose out.

Gary Evans, a college professor of mine, always said
“Words don’t mean, people mean.” This means that if you
don’t fully understand the intent behind the words I use,
you don’t really understand what I said. We have to dig in
a little bit to what was said.

Active listening creates a higher level of understanding.
Understanding a person’s needs and what you can do for
them is the first thing you should focus on when
networking. It is also the catalyst for people being
interested in you.