Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Making the Call

I track my networking efforts each week with a tool from the Certified Networker training program. It gives points for certain task that I do.

Now, believe me, in the past when I ran into one of those old-fashioned, sales point systems, I RAN!

They never seemed to take into account the personality or the abilities of the individual.

Instead the sales manager would say, "Okay, from this point on we're all going to accumulate 50 points per week and of those 10 will come from cold calling, 10 from phone calling, 20 from appointments and 10 from mailers."

I hate authority that is mindless. The above system would have me rebelling in three seconds. But that's a whole 'nuther story!

Back to the points I track. I like this system, because no one tells me what to do. I choose where I get my points and how I accumulate them. I also choose how many points I need to accumulate.

The most challenging area for me to gain points should be the easiest. Calling someone in my network of friends and acquaintances is where I always fall short. I have tried to analyze my reticence and think I have picked up on a few answers.

It takes time to have a conversation. But then I love meeting with people in person.

It's more impersonal. But phone conversations can be more confidential than those in person.

I think I'm bothering people. But they wouldn't answer their phone if they didn't want to be bothered.

They'll think I'm calling to sell to them. But I don't do that in person.

What is it?????? Why do I have this block??????


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Red-Headed Snackers

My hubby Steve put a couple of those suet wire cages out for the birds this winter. I had a ball watching all the birds, but I especially enjoyed the woodpeckers. The feeder that I can watch from my office window stayed filled till about two weeks ago. The big, red-headed woodpeckers (my friend, Deanna Tucci Schmitt would tell you the actual name of the bird.) were there a lot.

Once they licked (do birds lick?) the containers clean, they no longer appeared at my porch.

This weekend I put some more stuff in the cages.

But the woodpeckers must have moved on or found some other more desirable feeder.

Hmmm, it made me wonder if I'm paying attention my referral sources and feeding them well. Or am I allowing them to move on the more favorable relationships?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Round Table Networking

In my previous post today, I talked about people sitting next to each other at networking events.

Now I want to focus on a group that has it figured out.

WEN - The Women's Entrepreneurial Network to be exact.

This 360+ member organization in NW Ohio offers five networking opportunities per month and the lunchtime session in Toledo had reached such success that a problem was created.

You see, somewhere between 70-100 people are showing up. You question, "So what?"

The so what factor is that in the past, everyone got an opportunity to have 20 seconds to introduce themselves, their company name and one thing they needed from the audience. With people passing the microphone, and getting ready to speak, figure only two people per minute made intros. For those of you math whizzes out there, that's somewhere around 35-50 minutes of individual intros. Introductions generally began at shortly after noon, leaving little time for other WEN announcements at the end at 1 PM.

The two Co-directors, Linda Everhardt Kardux and Linda Fayerweather, put their heads together and came up with a solution.

Now, we all get to say just our name and company name. (Figure 5 to 6 people per minute.) Then, at each round table, each person gets two minutes to talk about what they do just to the people at the table.

Obviously, it makes sense to sit at a table where you don't know anyone, or at least some of the people. Or your in-depth commercial falls on ears that already know you.


Without saying so, the Linda's figured out a way to get people to sit with those they don't know.

Chances of Meeting

If I were to tell you that I was going to take away a 50% chance of you meeting someone that could help you be more successful, what would you say to that?

This past week, I attended a networking event, where there was a lunch. People sat at round tables.
I said "hello" to two people I had met when I was asked to speak to their sales meeting several weeks ago.

They sat next to each other.

They cut in half their opportunity to meet someone who might help further their success.

It always blows my mind when I see this happen.

Why don't they just stay in the office to develop that relationship further and save the cost of the lunch?

Yes, I know, there was an opportunity to either side of each of the offenders.

But what if that one person was not helpful? There was no fallback. They were done.

Tell me. Why don't networkers get it. Sitting next to people you know is limiting, unless that person is someone who can help you be more successful in the future.

And believe me, if your table mate is your office mate doing the same thing you do, you're really dumb.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Seth's Words in Ann Arbor

Today I heard Seth speak in Ann Arbor and answer questions from the audience. He did not use the words target market, but alluded to them so many times.

This post is such a laugh because the ad tells us that whatever this company does, it probably won't be done well.

Doing everything for everyone satisfies no one.

Most people are afraid to limit the audience they sell to, but the ones who figure it out, are the ones the push through "the dip." Thanks, Seth. I'm glad it's not about quitting!


I had the weirdest dream early this morning.

I dreamt that my hubby, Steve, and I were in Hawaii????? (Not even a priority on my places to visit.) We were coming back to our car from some tour, and he told me to "quick, get in the car, as an avalanche was coming." Now, it was a sunny day, but seconds after I got to the car he was gunning the engine to outrun the river of snow and ice.

I know that ALL kinds of explanations can be drawn from that.

But here's what I think my mind was doing.

Steve had told me over the weekend how glad he was that he'd hired several interns for the summer and was also in the hiring process for several other positions. One of his guys asked him how he knew to make those hiring decisions when at the time, there really wasn't enough work to warrant it. (avalance of business?)

Could it be 30 years of experience?

I think meeting new people can be as intuitive as the above story. Something either tells me "RUN!" or stay around awhile to get to know this new person.

Probably the same 30 years of experience.

What are you intuitive about?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bicycling Business Terms

Last week I met Suzan Maxey at the monthly Monroe (MI) networking meeting. This was the first time Suzan attended the event. She came as a guest of Sue Waterhouse. Suzan is a graphic designer and printer.

Being a good networker she sent me a follow up note. Suzan asked a good question in her card. She wanted to know the difference between a business consultant, a business coach, a marketer and a networker. My answers are below, but of course they are only my opinions. Also, I am adding information to my definitions based on a presentation by Lolita Amos that I heard a couple years ago at a BNI conference.

So here goes:

A business consultant is someone who analyzes the situation and makes recommendations.

Lolita used an analogy of learning to ride a bike. The consultant will help you to determine the type of bike you should buy and perhaps recommend who should help you to learn to ride it.

A business coach is someone who instructs from the sideline.

Lolita says that a coach is someone who runs alongside you as you are learning to ride yelling, "turn right, turn left, slow down, you can do it again."

A b
usiness mentor is someone who shares his/her experiences and contacts.

Lolita says that a mentor rides his bike slightly in front of you so you can see what he is doing.

Lolita didn't weigh in on marketers or networkers, but I have my thoughts.

Debby says

a marketer uses all the tools available to gain visibility and credibility about the product or service he is trying to sell.

A Networker
develops relationships with those who can buy or refer business in the future.

What are you thoughts?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Networking = Friends

Last night our phone rang multiple times in the middle of night. Actually three different times.

A friend of the family needed some help with a family situation.

When I think about networking, developing friendships, is a huge part of networking.

A friend is someone who will:

Answer your call, without question, in the middle of the night;

Tell you when you did well, and when you did not so well;

Support you in front of people who are being not so supportive;

Offer you the last piece of pizza, even when they are still hungry;

Refrain from laughing when you have two different earrings on (or toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe);

Point out the truth nicely, when you are ignoring it;

Invite you to the lake for a whole week;

Be there no matter what.

That's what networking can deliver. A friend for life!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Unlikely Partners

Today, I visited with the Bowling Green, Ohio, Silver Dollar BNI chapter for a visitor day.

There are several reasons to have a visitor day; new members and new opportunities.

But who would think that a Heating and Cooling guy and a woman that sells Shaklee would have anything in common.

This is what I love about networking. It is so unpredictable.

Today the visitor, the HVAC guy, talked about being new to town and that they are focusing on those types of issues that are more "green" like geo-thermal and wind turbines. In fact the company name is Green by Design.

The member, Kaylene Smith, asked for people who want to live "green" lives as her referral request. Shaklee's products support that lifestyle. Now, I don't know what is going to happen with these two, but it sure would stand to reason that they might have customers in common and would be able to refer to each other.

Who'da thunk it?????

What's the most unlikely referral pairing that you have run into?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sticking Together

Today was the monthly lunch for our Certified Networker community. It is almost always limited to those who have graduated or are currently in the class.

A little over 30 people made me proud.

They wanted to know about each other.

They asked how they could help.

They were asked today to name a grad that they will personally invite to next month's lunch.

Wow! Can you imagine what can happen if 60 of us are all in one room.

It's almost scary!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lynda's Ladies

Saturday, I walked with a group of women, Tracee, Nicole, Amanda, Kelly, Pam, Kelly and Tina. We were were honoring our friend, Lynda Goodremont ("Good Copiers, Good People") Kelly Elton, who works for Goodremont's organized the team. She set a goal of $500 for the team and thanks to a late donation from Dave Musteric of FISH Window Cleaning we surpassed the goal.

This was the first time for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and for once it was fairly easy for me, being only five minutes from my house.

I walked a fair share of the ten laps with Tracee Swank, a new business friend. Within the last several months Tracee has decided to open an independent insurance agency and also add business coaching to her repertoire. It was invigorating to hear all her creative ideas. It helped the pain of the walking on the hard surface be manageable.

At about four laps, I was bored and ready to quit, when I thought about our friend, Lynda, who kept living life to the fullest to the very end of her life. I realized that the little bit of discomfort I was feeling in my hips was nothing.

So I have to thank both Lynda and Tracee for helping me to honor my commitment.

Do you have an accountability partner for your various activities or one for everything?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Networking with Virginia

Long before the word networking was ever bandied about, my mother, Virginia Dickinson, set the tone for how I would run my life.

When she and my dad married, she had not traveled far from her birth home of Newark, Ohio. My dad, Connecticut born, was at Ohio State University getting his PhD. I don't know why my mom was in Columbus, but I think she was working there. Little did she know that her small world would soon change.

She and my dad moved 11 times in 17 years.

Or was it 17 times in 11 eleven years. (And they were not in the military.)

After all, more than ten, who's counting! At their heyday, she and my dad sent out close to 700 Christmas cards all with a personal note from one or both of them.

How could this SHY woman; the ninth child in a family of ten; who as a child never got a word in edgewise; have so many friends?

She made a decision after a couple moves. I heard her explain herself many times. If the day she moved to the new place, she didn't start making friends that very day, six months later she would leave town without friends. And so she made friends immediately!

Talk about pushing out of a comfort zone.

But she looked at the end result and realized that a little discomfort along the way, would be far outweighed by those wonderful new friends.

Talk about a positive networking attitude.

She set the tone.

Did your parents help you to understand the value of networking?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Being Memorable

Did you go to a networking meeting today?

If so, which person do you remember most?

What makes them so memorable?

Fred Schmits, is the owner and founder of Mobil Lube, a "come to you" oil change business in Findlay, Ohio. He is also a member of the Findlay BNI chapter. Several weeks ago they had a visitor day, where the goal was to invite lots of guests to attend.

The picture shows how memorable Fred made himself that day.

After all when you hear the words "oil change tech" what do you envision?

Certainly not the tuxedoed butler, complete with blue rubber gloves.

I'm guessin' that both visitors and member still have a picture of Fred in their head as he was dressed that day. It probably just won't go away.

What are some vivid examples of marketing that you have cemented in your brain?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Handshake

In my mind the handshake signals everything in networking. It tells me if that person is confident, or if they are a little out of their element.

Or that is my perception.

Friday, I was in Wilmington Ohio, where I presented to a chapter of the Association for YMCA Professionals. This group is from West Virginia and areas in southern Ohio all the way to the Indiana state line.

I met Angela Wakefield, Senior Program Director at the Huber Heights YMCA, a branch of the Greater Dayton "Y."

Right away she impressed me with her firm handshake.

I asked her who taught her to shake hands. She shared that her father a military man did the job, along with teaching her to look people in the eye and drive stick shift.

I laughed as it reminded me of my friend Leasa Maxx, whose dad also taught her the intricacies of shaking hands and "driving a stick."

One of my goals in life is to encourage everyone woman to teach a younger woman the proper way to shake hands.

What lessons would you like to pass on to the younger generation?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Breaking News!

Scott Ginberg, the name tag guy's newest book, hot off the presses, is available. He'll even give it to you for FREE. Go here to find out how.

Actually, I have a copy. Not only is it chock full of good stuff, but it looks pretty impressive, too.

Shiny Cover

Shiny Pages

Scott, you may only be 27, but you know how to lead even us old(er) folk with your amazing ideas.

Get the book, read a couple pages and tell me what you think.