Keep The Score: Know Your Numbers (Tool To Use For Profit)

 

How often do you go to networking events? In all honesty you don’t expect one networking event to build your whole business, do you? Three events a month is a maintenance mode.

Let’s run some numbers here. 20% of your time should be spent on marketing your business. Let’s say your work 10 hour days 5 days a week. That means you book 10 hours a week for networking and follow up. Unless you have all the clients you want you can’t give me an argument that you don’t have time for that.

Accept invitations, attend events, meet people, develop business. Schedule time for 3 events a month. That’s maintenance. If you need to build your business up, attend more than 3 events a month. This is time spent to get work, don’t think about it as wasted time. Make time to find new clients.

When you are at full capacity (you have all clients that you can handle, or in my case, all team members that need coaching, 70% of your time is spent doing the work; 10% of your time is managing the business; 20% of your time is marketing the business. We are talking traditional business model here. For me personally looking for new people, making connections and doing demos IS the work. The rest is maintenance.

If your full capacity is 10 clients (in the traditional business model), and you have 5, they should take only 35% of your time. If they are high maintenance, deal with it, establish boundaries, put in place rules for yourself, change your scheduling habits, get accountability partner, and recognize that the time difference between full capacity and current client load (number of team members needing coaching in my case) gets added to the marketing time budget.

If out of 10 clients full capacity you have only 2 clients, they get 20% of your total client time. The other 80% of available clients time gets moved to marketing. By the time you are full, with 10 active clients, you’ll only spend 20% of your time marketing, at 3 events a month. Getting the work is the essential activity of a business.

So develop checklists and see how much time you currently spend on different parts of your business. If it is out of balance, make adjustments. Remember, getting the work is the work.

 

How To Exit. Graciously. Follow up. (Tools To Use For Profit)

After you have introduced your conversation partner Jane to Mary who was wrapping it up with Kim, you are about to leave Jane and Mary to meet someone new. Wait a minute, it is even easier than that – someone new is right in front of you – it is Kim, Mary’s conversation partner who is also available to talk with someone new now!

There could be another scenario – Jane and Mary could include Kim into their conversation. Just tell Jane that you will call her, smile and walk away. You have done your job as an introducer, you let Mary know why you wanted her to meet Jane – your explanation made everyone comfortable.

Networking is not handing out business cards. Networking is introductions. Networking is learning about people and introducing them to other people. You are the link, that is the work. Without you they won’t know each other. Their gratitude to you is repaid in connections and referrals.

One way you get business out of all of this is you tell them Problem-Action-Results story and they might relate to it and say ‘I need that now’. Listen to them and smile. When they finish ask them if next morning would be good time to call for an appointment. It is easy when they are magnetically attracted. They will choose you instead of you prospecting them.

Another way you get business is – they will remember your Problem-Action-Results story and when they have a client with the same problem they will say ‘I know exactly who you need to talk to…’ And because you kept in touch they will bring that ready client right to you. Wendy Kinney calls this ‘happy, happy, joy, joy networking. It’s a waste of time with a glass of wine.

When you are back home take those business cards with your notes on them and do exactly what you told those people you would do. You have to follow up so they remember you and know that they can rely on you when they refer a client. It is much easier to just put business cards into to-do pile and start checking e-mail and voice mail.

Not following up is often the only reason networking is not profitable. It is essential when you plan to go to a networking event to block time the next day to follow up. That is how you know to offer a call for an appointment next morning. The next thing you do is schedule your next networking event. That is right – rinse and repeat!

How to Do The Introduction (Tool to Use For Profit)

I did tell you in one of earlier posts that the more comfortable people are around you at a networking event, the more they like you, right? That is exactly what you want them to do, so they are much more inclined to refer business to you.

That is why when you have spent 6 to 10 minutes talking to them and are ready to part ways, it will be profitable to you to release the conversation by introducing them to someone else. Less than 10 minutes and they will not remember the conversation when you follow up, more than 10 minutes and it will cost you an opportunity to meet someone else. By this time you should have thought about someone you want to introduce them to.

While talking with your conversation partner you have learned that their daughter is in the marching band. You know that Jane Doe also has a child in the marching band. So tell them, that you want to introduce them to Jane Doe because she is going to want to hear about their daughter’s experience in the band.

Now turn away and look around the room until you spot Jane. Then say ‘she is over here’ and start walking toward her with your conversation partner. Are you concerned that it would be rude to interrupt someone’s conversation? Remember that everybody there to meet new people. Jane is here to make connections, you will be doing her a favor by introducing your conversation partner to her.

Of course that does not change the fact that interrupting is rude, so while you are walking toward her  1. make eye contact with her and 2. smile really wide, showing teeth. She will know that you are walking toward her and will bring her conversation to the place where she can bring you in. She will create a moment to reach out her hand and greet you. Shake hands with her and then say ‘Jane I would like to introduce you to Mary, her daughter is in the marching band’. As you are saying this they will be shaking hands, then start talking and you will be out of it.

If Jane did not see you coming, there is a way to know if it is OK to interrupt a conversation. If two people are standing kneecap to kneecap, do not interrupt, it is a private conversation. If people are standing in an open triangle, they are inviting people to join their conversation. If you see Jane standing kneecap to kneecap with someone, you could tell Mary that you will bring Jane over later and introduce her to someone else.

You will make each of them so comfortable, that beginning a conversation will be easy for them. They will each think of you as a ‘great networker’. They will both like you. Mission accomplished, you are building good relationships with people.

I will go practice what I learn from Wendy Kinney’s book ‘Networking Aerobics’ at 3 different events in the next 2 weeks, as I am looking for business partners to join my team.

5 Steps to Make Their Business Card Work for You (Tool to Use For Profit)

You are a happy owner of your conversation partner’s business card now. Not only that, you also know how you are going to make next contact, because you just told them that when you asked for their card.

Do you get it that it is not important if you talk about your business or not. You are in control. You are going to make another contact anyway. You have not lost anything because they were never going to write you a check on the spot anyway. They will have referrals for you if you stay in touch.

The tips below will help you remember the person who gave you the card and how to follow up.

1. Make a note on the back of their card to tell you what your next action is going to be. Like ‘set up lunch with a friend’, ‘send an article on soccer’. Write the note right there, let them see you documenting the conversation. They were so good, you are not leaving it to a chance. Your credibility will instantly grow, and they will like you.

2. Use a personal shorthand. An L with a circle around it, and a word ‘friend’ should be enough to let you know it is a 3-way Lunch. An A with a circle and ‘soccer’ could be another reminder. An I with a circle and the name of the business association you plan to invite them to will also do the job.

3. Be prepared to not follow through. Yes, you will meet people whose values don’t match yours. It if OK to let them go. In her book ‘Networking Aerobics’ Wendy Kinney is sharing her silent shorthand for that – she bends top right hand corner of the card like a bookmark. When back in your office, you can just throw these kind of cards away. In the unlikely event that they ask what bent corner means, just tell them it is a shorthand.

4. Some people will not appreciate you writing on the front of their cards. If you can make them feel good by writing on the back, not the front of the card, that will show that you are paying attention to them as a person. Absolutely do just that. Write on the back of their card. They will not feel like you are defacing their card, they will like you for that.

5. If their card is glossy, use that stash of 3×5 cards for notes. You can wrap a note card around their business card. Wendy Kinney uses different color ink for different events she attends. Do the same, especially during holiday season, when you go to networking events they call parties – and do everything exactly the same way as I describe in this series of posts. I, of course make sure I get their mailing address, because of the type of business that I do do.

Next post will cover what you need to do to get rid of this person somehow, once you have their card. Sorry, I did not mean it like that. (I could not help it, this joke is directly from Wendy Kinney’s book.

Should You Give Your Business Card? (Tool to Use For Profit)

Now after you had a little conversation with someone, asked them what they do and told them a story about your customer’s results you have a reason to ask them for their business card. You simply ask ‘May I have your card?’

Do not offer your card before they ask for it. If you were taught that the more business cards you hand out, the more business you will get – don’t believe it, it’s a lie. The only one who will be making any money is your printer. If you hand out cards without people asking for them, what makes you think you will get business that way?

Remember the last networking event you went to? How many cards did you collect? Aren’t they wrapped by a rubber band and collecting dust in your desk drawer, making no money for those people? What benefit did those people get from giving you their card? There is absolutely no value in giving your business card to someone who did not ask for it. They don’t have place to put it, so it will end up in the their upper left drawer in the dark.

Wendy Kinney has a suggestion, of course. Her book ‘Networking Aerobics’ has much more detail on a lot of things, but here are a couple of tips from her:

After you found out what you have in common, and how you can bring benefit to each other you ask for their card. First you are going to tell them what you will do with it, otherwise they will think that you just want to add them to your Newsletter mailing list. You can say something to the effect of ‘I will set up lunch with a friend of mine, you will enjoy her’, or ‘I will forward the next announcement and we can go together’, or ‘I’d like to stay in touch’.

When you tell them what you are going to do with the card, they will be eager to give it to you and will look forward to the next contact with you. Once you have their card, take it in two hands and make a comment about it. Complement their logo, or tag line, take a look at their name, ask how long they have been with the company. People will start modelling what you do and everyone will be more comfortable because of you.

Of course, because of what I do has to do with snail mail, I always make sure I have people’s mailing address, so I can mail them ‘Nice to Meet You’ card. May be with a coffee shop gift card.

I want them to remember me, like me and call me back.

These Are Tools. Use Them to Your Profit.

Methods to the Madness – Networking Aerobics continued.

Today was Labor Day. My additional day off, and Gilbert and I made it a true day off. We decided to go to Helen, GA because it is one of the places we visited together when we just started dating. Back in spring (it was an early one this year and it because hot quick) we decided to go tubing down Chattahoochee river up in Helen. Now the summer is gone and we still did not do it. So, tubing it is!

We called to find out if they still run the tubing this late in season, packed our stuff and off we went. Took 3 tubes (one of the staff thought that one will not be enough for Gil) and went to the launching site. This was my first time tubing, I cannot say that I was watching people to see how they actually got into tubes. I simply put my tube into the water, turned my back to it and fell into my tube butt first. It worked perfect.

Gil fastened two of his tubes together, held on to the handle of one of them and from what it looked like, wanted to put his knee into the tube. I suggested he goes butt first. He did not. The next thing I know Gil is falling into the water back first, his legs are up in the air, his head submerged in the water. ‘I am OK’ was the first thing he said once his head appeared out of the water. ‘Butt first. Got it.’ was the second thing he said. He got up, turned his back to his tube, and went down butt first. It worked perfect.

The same way, there are little tricks to how to do what you know you should do when you are meeting people at a networking mixer. The way you do those things has to make people like you. People like you, when you make them comfortable around you. That is your ticket to developing relationship with them and receiving referrals from them. Wendy Kinney’s book Networking Aerobics is a treasure box full of great tips on that.

Showing Confidence.

No matter what the etiquette tells us, at a networking event the person with the most confidence extends their hand first.

Showing confidence is one of the criteria for success.

Not being confident mind you, just showing confidence for 2 hours. You can do it.

Confident is: eye contact+straight shoulders+a smile. Confident = an answer to a question+a question back.

Confidence makes you appear comfortable. When you are comfortable people around you will relax. Just confidently walk up and offer a handshake.

Below is the rest of the topics I will expand on later:

Handshakes.

Say Your Name.

A Little Conversation.

What Do You Do?

May I Have Your Card?

Future Planning.

The Introduction.

The Exit.

Follow Up.

Rinse and Repeat.

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.