Networking Aerobics: 4. Why Arriving Early is Vitally Important

Refuse to apologize or complain about things you have no control over, like weather; or things that you could reasonably plan for like traffic and directions.

Many people receive respect through time. If you make it clear at the first meeting that you are willing to use things that are known and predictable to give yourself an excuse, they are learning what it would be like if they chose to work with you, or refer you to a client.

Do you feel comfortable when you arrive to a networking event when it is half way through? I did not think so.

Wendy Kinney suggests you arrive 30 minutes early (in her book Networking Aerobics).

When the next person shows up, they have to talk to you because you are the only person there. And when the third person arrives, it is natural for you to say ‘Come join us’. Make sure that you are standing facing the door because you want to see that third person walk in.

When you see the fourth person come in, you leave the second and the third person talking and go greet that fourth person. When the fifth person arrives, you will motion to him to come join you and the fourth person.

You will leave the fifth and the fourth person to go greet the sixth person. If the seventh person comes in asking for the first person, you can walk them to the first person because you know them. Now if the eighth person comes in asking for you, any of the first seven people can introduce you, because they all know you.

This great experience happens due to you being 30 minutes early. If you are the third one to walk in, the first two people will not even notice you because they will be busy talking to one another.

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Networking Aerobics: 3. Things Not to Bring and Not to Do

The fortune is in the follow up. I am pretty sure you have heard that. May times.

Here is one really smart way Wendy Kinney uses (I will too, now that I see the brilliant logic of it) to create a follow up sequence.

Yes, this is about what to do and what not to do at a networking event.

Do not bring any stuff. Like brochures about your business and other expensive marketing materials.

You don’t want to see them in trash cans later, do you?

Unless people at the event have an easy way to carry your stuff around, that is exactly where your stuff is going to end up.

Or left on a table, or folded in a pocket.

Here is the catch – listen carefully – not bringing stuff gives you a reason to follow up. Instead of asking people to take flyers off your hands, offer to mail a flyer to them. The ones who are really interested will say yes.

When I saw this in ‘Networking Aerobics’ by Wendy Kinney (look for it in Books on the right, if you are curious), I remembered – that is exactly what happened to me last week at East Andrews MeetUp! I did not bring samples of my greeting cards with me, so I kept offering to mail a card to those I had conversations with – I got about 10 mailing addresses and I mailed them personalized ‘Nice to Meet You’ cards.

Now I can call and offer them to see how I did that. And that is exactly my goal in meeting those people – so I can get together with them and show them what I’ve got. Mission accomplished.

Another thing that you do not bring is your phone. When it rings you answer. The other person thinks about something else. You are busy talking on the phone. When you are done there is no time/topic to continue talking about, it was lost because of the call. Why exactly you are at a networking event? To meet new people and get them to know you and like you, right? Can you accomplish that if you are busy talking on the phone? Well, leave it in the vehicle.

The most important thing to understand and remember about attracting new business by referrals through networking is this: no one is going to buy anything from you at this networking event.

The reason for that is – for every 10 people you meet, 8 will need a minimum of five (5) contacts with you before they decide to buy from you or refer to you. When you meet people for the first time, it is just like cold calling – it works 1% of the time. 80% of the time people will need five or more contacts before they make a decision to buy from you.

The good news is that 48% of your competition will never make a second contact. 25% of your competitors will reach out for a second touch. So if you reach out three times you’ve reduced your competition by 73%. Seventeen percent of people in your industry will follow up three times and then quit because they don’t want to seem too pushy. 80% of all sales happen after the  5th contact.

48+25+17=90

When you contact them a 4th time you leave 90% of your competitors behind. If 80% of your prospects buy after five contacts, 90% of your competitors stop at three, the fortune is definitely in the follow up. All you have to do is stay in touch and you’ll get the business. Do you get now why you should leave your phone in the car?

Because networking event is just the first contact. You are there to meet people; they are not going to buy from you anyway. You want to get their card (with mailing address in my case – they’ve got to see my greeting cards in their mailboxes!) and follow up.

You want them to remember you and know that you like them.

Networking Aerobics: 2. (e. f.) Comfortable, Confident, and Pleasure to be Around

e. Are you so uncomfortable at networking events that your hands get sweaty?

You don’t want to shake someone’s sweaty hands, do you? Of course not.

Wendy Kinney has a trick for this one too!

When you arrive there, go to the bathroom and wash your hands with very hot water and a lot of soap.

Your hands will stay warm and dry for 90 minutes.

f. Next one is your breath. You come to talk to people, face to face right?

And you want them to be comfortable with you, get to know and trust you. Yes, that is the purpose of coming to the networking event.

Find a way to keep your mouth smelling clean and fresh without resorting to methods considered rude when used in public, like chewing gum.

Little toothbrushes Wisp or mint flavored dental floss are good choices. I absolutely loved this paragraph from Wendy Kinney’s book (‘Networking Aerobics’):

“What do I do if the person I’m speaking with has flame-thrower breath? Take out your pack of mints, hold it out and say ‘Would you like a mint?’ And if they say no? Smile, lean forward a bit, and say conspiratorially, ‘Are you sure?’ while you nod. They’ll get the hint.”

They will be embarrassed, but more comfortable after a mint.

Be helpful in general – if it is something that they can fix, let them know – like a tie over the shoulder. If it is an ink stain on their shirt, let it go.

They will like you and trust you.

Networking Aerobics: 2. (c. d.) System for Business Cards and Name Badges

c. Juggling business cards in your hands when you are at a networking event is not fun.

Come up with some system so you don’t make people watch you fish for your own cards in the stack of cards you collect. Those definitely need to be separated – either in different pants pockets (for men), or in different pockets in a business card pouch (for women).

A stash of blank note cards in case you need to write a note, or people’s contact info if they are out of cards, is a great idea too. Seems to be a little thing, yet a system of your own will allow you to feel much more confident and be perceived as such by people you meet at networking events.

d. Do you have your own name badge?

I do – have ordered me one after my first networking event because I want people who are talking to me be comfortable with me. Networking is all about making multiple contacts with people and getting them to know and like you.

They don’t want to feel embarrassed that they don’t remember your name. So be helpful, have a name badge on. They will not hesitate to come up to you and talk. That is exactly what you want them to do right? Make your name appears big so they can see it from across the room, your name badge is a great conversation starter.

Another small, but yet important thing is where you place your name badge – on the right shoulder or on the left? Considering that majority of people are right-handed, it is comfortable for you, as a right-handed person to stick your name badge on your left shoulder.

But this is all about making it comfortable for people you meet with, correct? So, remember, it is more comfortable for them to sneak a peek at your name badge while they shake hands with you if you place your name badge on your right shoulder.

These helpful tid bits came from reading Wendy Kinney’s book ‘Networking Aerobics’.

Networking Aerobics: 2. (a. b.) Be Memorable by Being Prepared

a. Make a reservation for your networking event.

The organizer needs to know the head count for many reasons, besides your unconscious mind will see it as a commitment.  To yourself.

If you make a reservation/prepay, you are more likely to attend instead of bailing at the last moment.

There is no excuse for not being there. If you die, go the event first, and then go to your funeral.

Keep this appointment, it is part of marketing your business so it is profitable. You need it to be otherwise you will not be able to pay your mortgage and will live on the street with a bag of books and your cat.

This is the beginning of your business credibility – you will do what you said you would. If you make a reservation put it on your calendar and attend. If people see your name badge unused they will think that you’ll ignore their clients if they refer them to you.

Making a reservation and showing up is a big deal.

b. Have lots of business cards. Keep a stash in your car.

Your business card represents you.

Are you impressed when someone digs through a bulging wallet to hand you a card that is dirty and wrinkled and looks a little most with smudges and curled corners? You would not give such a card as a referral to your clients, would you?

Electronic cards, or scanned cards fail to serve the purpose of reminding you what to do next – following up that is, because you do not have them in your hand. If you do run out of cards, remember this trick taught by Wendy Kinney – ask them for their card with mailing address with the promise to mail them yours. Then do it – when you keep your word, they start to trust and like you.

And they get the benefit of touch – something that is covered in depth in another book Gil and I are leaning from ‘Why We Buy’ by Paco Underhill (look on the right in Books if you are curious). Don’t focus on efficiency for your time and task load, focus on building your credibility and impression for a longer term business benefit.

Networking Aerobics: 1. Get There

Why should you go to networking events?

I agree, just like a lot of other people, I don’t like them. I am a serious case of an introvert. I am comfortable that way.

Everybody there wants to sell something. Just like I do. But I keep hearing from the top earner of SendOutCards that he networks like crazy and he gets a lot of business out of it.

In her book Networking Aerobics (that Gil and I are learning from), Wendy Kinney gives a very interesting analogy.

She compares regular networking to working out at the gym. Here’s what she writes:

“Working out, this sweaty thing, this time consuming thing makes you more productive.

All the discipline involved, gym membership cost, personal trainer (may be), special shoes and clothes – it is all a part of what it takes to get results you want.

Networking is all that for your business. Networking takes time, and there are some costs. At the same time it brings focus, energy and new ideas.

Most important, when done properly it gives you the result you want: a presence in the business community, a steady stream of new clients, and referrals, so you have a business.

And, like exercise, networking can be uncomfortable, and when done wrong it can cause an injury.”

That’s why it is important to be prepared. Well, this will be covered tomorrow.

How to Do Networking Aerobics

I knew there was a method to this madness called ‘networking’!

Last Thursday Gil and I decided to go to two different networking events – divide and conquer so to speak.

This was really about knowing your options, and doubling the effort.

My previous post was about my experience at the event I went to.

This is about who Gil met and what we are learning as the result.

Like I said – I knew there was a method to this madness!

At his event Gil met the founder of PowerCore. Purchased her book, too. That is what he read out loud tonight.

(I love listening to him read. This is off topic, but he did the out loud reading back when we were dating – the first book was ‘For Women Only’ by Shaunti Feldhahn and that was absolutely lovely. Look in ‘Books’ on the right, if you are curious.)

Here is the short list of things to remember about how to actually do networking:

1. Get over yourself and actually show up.

2. Be prepared.

3. Things not to bring and not to do.

4. Arrive early.

5. Follow up.

I thought you would love to know what book I am talking about. It is ‘Networking Aerobics’ by Wendy Kinney.

Look in ‘Books’ on the right, if you are curious.

How to Find Good Business Minded People

People. Where does one find good, open, business minded people in need of what you’ve got?

I do not know if it will work for you, but it did work for me.

Once I actually heard what I was listening to since January 2011 (training calls with the top leader in SendOutCards that is).

It took me so long, because of the fog created by other things I heard on those calls, that did not apply to my situation – like ‘I hate my job’, ‘I look forward to Friday to get out of my cubicle/office’.

The interesting thing though, it is still true, I live at my job 8 hours a day, which means I cannot go to BNI nor PowerCore, nor any other meetings that take place in early mornings all around Atlanta area. Spending my evenings at YMCA (as much as I enjoy the pool there) was not moving me anywhere.

So, I got out and went to ‘after work mixers’. It took a couple of them to find a really good one.

At the end of July I got myself to a MeetUp Networking Mixer at East Andrews (Buckhead).

Good people. Right there. Ready to do business. Honest when there is no match with what I’ve got. Willing to give referrals.

Denise Renee Phinn, the organizer of the mixer is extremely competent and helpful. If you did not have a chance to talk to everybody (78 people attended last night’s mixer!), don’t worry, because she will send out a list with contact info of everybody who was there.

Perfect. Works for me. Try it, you will love it. Stay in touch with great people.

Being grateful …

Being grateful for people in our lives…

We just lost a 34 yo friend to cancer – her funeral is today.

It is 4th funeral we went to in 2012.

Many good words and funny, touching stories were told in remembrance of all 4 dear people who are no longer.

Do all of us still living, let those around us know how much we are grateful for them? Do we do it often enough?

No matter what your answer is, take the Gratitude challenge, use SendOutCards to stay in touch with those you love many times a year.

You and they will be glad you did, because the joy it will bring into your life is much greater than the investment.

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Non Profits Are Dealt a Winning Hand With SendOutCards

Let me give you a short recap of important points when it comes to building your non profit relationship with its sponsors all year round.

Cards themselves are an investment. They do bring more donations, which no doubt cover the cost.

There is even better news – when you choose SendOutCards service for your card sending needs, not only your greeting cards will be highly personalized, they will cost about 1/3 of store-bought cards, the company will stuff the envelopes, stamp them and put them in the mail for you.
This is just the beginning of benefits your non profit can reap from using SendOutCards.

When your non profit upgrades their SendOutCards account to distributor, and volunteers start signing up customers for the service, your non profit’s cards will be free, and commission will start generating more funds for your non profit.

This is truly a win-win, or, a winning hand in other words.

Click here to open a SendOutCards account for your non profit today.