Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jobs for Networking Events

Hey, I'm heading out to a networking event that the Certified Networker is hosting tonight to honor our newest grads. As an icebreaker, we're going to pull some questions from Scott Ginsberg's book, The Power of Approachability, to use as icebreakers. Now we're a real friendly group already, but this is an event where we invite guests. To help each and every person feel like they have a role in this event, each person will be instructed to ask the assigned question of one other person during the casual networking time. I'll let you know what the results are later!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Is Newer Always Better?

Yesterday I interviewed Arlene Gerig for a member spotlight in the CNP of Ohio newsletter. Arlene has been a RE/Max Preferred Realtor® for four or five years now and is very successful. Last year she sold enough to be in the 2.5 Million Dollar Club. Her goal this year is to hit the 3 million dollar mark, but with the slow start for the housing industry, she knows that she is going to really have to work hard to make it. One thing I found interesting was her comment about a tool that she uses on her website that seems to help sell the higher priced homes.

Most of us have heard of the virtual tour, that being the ability, via the Internet, to see a video of the inside of a home, without leaving ours. Arlene shared that those tend to have fishbowl type distortions. Recently she has been introduced to FloorPlan Online. Instead of the movie version, there is a measured sketch of the layout of the house showing room dimensions. Within this diagram are small camera icons. Clicking on one gives a snapshot of the room from that point in the room. Now you'd think that a still shot instead of a "moving scene" would be less desirable, and more dated technology. For whatever reason, Arlene says that this new offering is helping her to move toward her 3 million dollar goal. Sometimes old is just better than new.

What older version do you value over the newest most up-to-date offering?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Target Market Narrows the Focus And Widens the Opportunities

Probably the most jarring part of the Certified Networker training course is having to establish a target market. Most students just hate doing so. They feel that they are limiting their opportunities by narrowing their focus to one industry or one area. For me it is so interesting to watch the transformation that takes place when a business person, finally understands the benefit. When that lightbulb goes on during class (or months afterward!), I jokingly get out the tube of sunscreen, because the light is so bright that I need to protect my skin!

Greg Peters, Cyber Data Solutions, is focusing on the non-profit sector for the website development and maintenance he provides. He shared that usually at Chamber events he introduces himself by saying that he develops websites. No one has ever come up to him asking him how he might work with them. Recently his introduction included the part about focusing on non-profits. At that event three people came up and asked for help.

Dave Achen, Brennen Financial Group, looked at his client base and found that during his 33 years as a financial planner, he had become a "master of ones." He realized that in having such a scattered approach, he was not an expert in any area for his clients. Together we reviewed his customers. What he became aware of was that he had a large Service Master franchise as a client. Bingo! The sunburn light came on. Dave realized that as he becomes more connected to that client, he will know what the client needs. He'll also know what resources to bring to the table, and who else to introduce to this client. In knowing the needs of this client, Dave probably is getting an education of what other Service Master owners need. He is becoming the expert. Now his client is asking Dave for financial help without Dave having to even broach the subject. Targeting one very narrow market is helping Dave to be more successful, too.

If you were to choose a market to target, how would you describe it?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Interesting Folks

As I mentioned in a post just before vacation, we love the place we always stay because of the interesting visitors. Most come for just a few days, while we stay for over a week. Because of the luxury of the extra time we get a broad array of personalities to get to know.

This vacation was no different. There are always favorites each year and this year it was Jackie (or Jackson as she is professionally known) Hunsicker. Jackie is a television and movie writer, inventor, and two time cancer survivor. As a result of the last description, she is about to publish a book entitled Turning Heads: Portraits of Grace, Inspiration, and Possibilities (Paperback). It's already listed at, but won't be published till May. It can be pre-ordered now so you won't miss this inspiring book.

Jackie' s reason for publishing the book is to show the beauty of women who have lost their hair during cancer treatment. Jackie shared, "I'm sick of this inner beauty nonsense!" She shared that most women have the same immediate response when being hit with the cancer diagnosis; that thought of, "Oh no, I'm going to lose my hair." Jackie did not make this book coffee table sized, because she wants it to be easily passed on to those who need to know that they too can be beautiful as they are going through treatment. Hats (and scarves) off to Jackie!

With whom would you like to share a copy of this book?

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

I'll Be Thinking of You, Promise!

I won't be able to post for a while now because I'll be relaxing in a hammock or on the beach in Costa Rica. This country is the most beautiful place to visit. Last year one guest told us that he had lived in Hawaii during the '50s and that Costa Rica of today reminds him of Hawaii then. There are no high rises where we stay, just unspoiled beauty. I'll tell you all about the wonderful people we get to meet when we return. And by the way if you want to look at a map, Costa Rica is in Central America between Panama and Nicaragua. It has a coast on both the Pacific and the Carribbean. We stay at Drake Bay almost to Panama on the west coast.

Where is your ideal vacation. What makes it so?

Who Finds Business for You?

Last night as I was finishing a training that I gave to a group of BNI members from many chapters, I chatted with one participant, Chuck Kistner, owner of Allied Flooring Distributors. He related to me how excited he was about a prospect he been referred to by Monnie Holman, the owner of D.P. Design & Print, one of the BNI members in his chapter. She was able to refer a brand new restaurant to him, one that had come to her for marketing stuff. The restaurant obviously needs new carpeting, too.

What was so interesting about this conversation was that Chuck had been seated next to Dave Musteric during the training. Dave owns a franchise for Fish Window Cleaning. His best targets are restaurants because they want to get their windows cleaned regularly. Who would think that a window cleaner, a flooring person and the owner of a graphics & print house would be great referral sources for each other? But they are!

Who is an unlikely referral source for you?

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Now I'm Ready for Vacation For Sure!

It's a ritual. Getting a pedicure is always on the task list before vacation. Fitting this wonderful luxury into the schedule is sometimes a challenge, but I ALWAYS manage. Within the past year or so I've found the best person for pedicures. Dawn works at HMH Wellness Center, and while she does both toes and fingers, she says that she does get a lot of call for pretty toes. I always let Dawn pick the color for vacation and this year she chose You Rock-Apulco Red. My husband, Steve bought a kite to fly on the beach, but I think my pedicure is a much more practical approach to getting ready to leave!

What rituals do you have when you think about vacation?

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Organized Networking

Monday of this week, was the monthly, lunch-time networking meeting for the Women's Entrepreneurial Network A.K.A. WEN. I have been a member of WEN for over 12 years, but this meeting blew me away.

Let me set the scene. Over 100 people attended. The meeting starts at 11:30 and ends 90 miutes later. At the meeting there is a buffet lunch, a short educational presentation, casual networking and each person gets an opportunity to stand and give a 20 second introduction. Do the math. How in the world did we get done on time?

The two leaders of WEN, Linda Everhardt Kardux and Linda Lucas Fayerweather have all of us very well trained. Linda EK always announces that she needs to hear three things from each of us; 1) our name, 2) our company or who we represent and 3) how the rest of the group can help us. Focused, no fluff. Linda also rules with her trusty electronic timer. When we hear the beep-beep-beep, it is time to sit down and shut up! How can 20 seconds be productive? One reason is that members and guests take notes as each person is giving their commercial. At the end they can connect with those who were of interest.

At the conclusion of the formal meeting my guest, Penny Brubaker, who is a water treatment specialist for Culligan of Nothwest Ohio, had several people approach her wanting to meet her. They weren't selling to her, but trying to figure out how they each can help the other. That is the tone at a WEN meeting, and I'm darn proud of it. Networking can have such a negative reputation when it is confused with selling, but the WEN women (and men) know what it's all about.

What groups do you belong to that provide a platform for efficient networking?