Old School Idea, New Internet-Driven Term

Before attempting to show up with a blog, I had to read and learn a lot. About blogging. About content. About giving my reader what they like (or desperately need) so they would come for more of it.

It is interesting to see how marketing whatever it is that you want your customers to buy from you on the internet is based on the same old school good business practices, and how taking care of your customers is still an extremely important part of any business. Online or offline.

What is even more fascinating is those people who know you, like you, appreciate you very much, but yet would not buy from you. What they do for you however is support your reputation. No, they are a huge part of creating your reputation. They tell people they know about what you’ve got, once they hear that those people have a need (or want) that you can meet.

Back a year ago when I was just learning about blogs, successful blogs that is, and what it takes to have one, I spent a lot of time reading articles by Sonia Simone on Copyblogger and Remarkable Communication. Opened up a Twitter account, and started ‘following’ her tweets from Copyblogger there. Well once I made a decision that a blog is something I can take on (after I totally failed with it a year ago), I resurrected my twitter account to find a twit to a great article about second customer by Sonia Simone. Old school idea, new internet-driven term. Who is second customer? I will tie it up, don’t worry.

Just the other day I finished my summaries of great ideas Wendy Kinney is sharing with the world in Networking Aerobics (look for it on the right in books, if you are curious). And here it is – networking is not handing out business cards; networking is introductions; networking is learning about people and introducing them to other people; their gratitude to you is repaid in connections and referrals. Yes, that is the word I was looking for – referrals.

Last May I was on one of weekly calls with the top earner in the company I do. He had a guest speaker, who at the time did not do this company. She is a generic trainer for network marketing companies. Her website was mentioned on the call, and of course being as curious as I and willing to learn (I love the word ‘coachable’) I went looking for what’s on there.

Yes, I ended up buying her orange book (look for it on the right – ‘If My Product Is So Great…’), and found out that when you speak language that a 13 year old can understand, people hear you actually, your words are actually penetrating their skull rather than bouncing off of it. Here is the phrase that is a back-bone of your closing statement ‘Do you know anyone who might like to know about a product like that?’ What you are essentially asking them is to give them referrals, not to buy from them. That is brilliant! I love that a lot.

So, second customer is your ally, the one who will talk about you online and offline. They will spread the word and bring you ready customers – or was it traffic? Both actually, when what you’ve got is really someone’s need or want, you want both people from a nearby small town and people from across the world. Just let them both of your customers know how much you appreciate them as persons and how much their business and loyalty means to you.

The company I do helps me do both in the way that is memorable to both of my customers – first and second. Thank you for your referrals – online and offline my dear friends.

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How to Have a Little Conversation (Tool to Use for Profit)

Conversation is a layer that will make the other person want to know you. Their interest in you will make you comfortable.

You went to the networking event to meet people and get business and you think business is what you should be talking to people right off the bat. Wrong. Do not do it. The number one reason people do not get business at networking events is because they hand over a business card and talk about what they do before they have a conversation.

The more I read Wendy Kinney’s book (‘Networking Aerobics’), the more I am blown away by how much little things, that many of us do backwards at networking mixers matter.

Listen to this: just like it is important for romantically involved couple to have their first fight and recover from it before they have sex (in that particular order – first fight-recovery-sex, reversing it dooms the relationship), the same way when you first meet people it’s essential to show them, you are interested in them personally as a person, not a prospective paying client, before you give them a card or talk about business.

People do business with people. If you don’t find out what you have in common before you talk about business it dooms the relationship. You will miss a lot of business if you don’t find out what you have in common with the person in front of you first.

Don’t ask questions that are way too personal – even if you think that what you’ve got will help them with whatever issue you think they might have. Stick to ‘have you been to this mixer before?’, ‘are you new in town?’, ‘where are you originally from?’, ask them if they have children and ask questions about children. Ask them about their vacation plans. It is much easier to follow up when you know what you have in common – many times it creates a reason for follow up.

Once you find out at a big sales meeting or a convention for instance (because this technique works everywhere) that your grandparents and the other person’s grandparents where from the same little town, it will be much easier for you to invite them for lunch and start building that relationship even further, wouldn’t it?

If the person you are having a conversation with keeps talking about themselves (way beyond 6 minute max you planned to have per conversation) or if they have nothing to say, stick your hand out, say ‘Nice to meet you’ and go find someone else.

Network. The purpose of a conversation is to find a credible reason to make a second contact. Go for business now and it’s all over. Make a personal connection and you can make money.

It is profitable for you now to ask what they do.

How to Say Your Name (Tool to Use For Profit)

Yes, you read it right – saying your name is a tool to use for your profit. When done properly that is. Everything should work together to ensure that people you meet get to know and like you. When they do, they become open to doing business with you.

Say Your Name.

You can talk while shaking hands with people. The thing to say is your name. Even if you think they know you, say your name. Even if you are wearing a name badge with your first name big, say your name. Most people aren’t good at remembering names, so give them a break. Say your name.

We all have tendency to say our name too quickly. Hearing a name for the first time in a noisy room, one has to make an effort to actually hear it. Make it a memorable introduction. Wendy Kinney in her book Networking Aerobics, talks about a popular way to say a name in the movies – I absolutely loved it – yes, she is referring to James Bond!

I can see myself saying ‘Nichols. Larissa Nichols’. I like that a lot. That is helpful and memorable. Actually, I have been called by my last name before in e-mail follow-ups after networking events. Makes sense now – people simply do not expect to hear a name right away, so when they see my mouth moving, they are a little behind, and hear Nichols only. Not Larissa Nichols. Well, not any more!

Offer words that rhyme with your last name, shortly explain how to spell your name properly. In the choice who should feel uncomfortable, always choose yourself. Make the other person comfortable. People do want to say your name correctly. It’s arrogant to make them think that they should know how without any instruction.

You are at a networking event to meet people who will do business with you, and refer business to you; it’s important for them to know your name. If you hear an unusual name, ask them to tell you the story behind it. It will help you remember that name. The more you know about someone, the easier it is for you to remember their name.

If someone you met before obviously recognizes you but does not remember your name, say it, and remind them where you met. Sales people have to make prospects comfortable, not embarrassed.

Don’t ever walk up to people, hand them your business card and walk away. Walk up to a person, extend your hand, say ‘Hi’ and say your name. The reason you have been hesitant in the past to just walk up and say hi is because you did not know what to do after the hi. Now you do. Say your name, they will feel comfortable around you.

How to Shake Hands (Tool to Use for Profit)

So, we are still talking about Newtworking Aerobics, in terms of how (in what manner that is) we actually need to be doing things we need to be doing at networking events. To have people know and like you by making them comfortable around you.

Handshakes.

There is unwritten rule about handshakes: if you shaking, you are standing. At a sit-down event the standing rule applies. If a person approaching you while you are sitting does not want to shake, there is no need to stand up.

Important handshake rule one: palm flat. All business handshakes use flat palm technique. No exceptions.

Important handshake rule two: thumbs web-to web. That means do not do dead fish (only fingers extended), nor limp wrist (handshake partner stops at their knuckles).

Important handshake rule three: you have to participate. Shaking hands is not a spectator sport. That means your fingers curl.

Your confident professional handshake will make an instant difference in how people will bring you into their conversations, because your handshake tells them about you.

A flat-palm, fingers-curled, three-shakes handshake is one of the tools you can use to remember other people’s names and help them remember yours.

Do not place any emphasis on how you think your hand feels to them – hot, cold, etc. Instead of apologizing for something you have little control over, place you attention on where you have total control: on what you say. You want this brand new acquaintance to remember your name, not your excuse.

Wendy Kinney talks in much more detail on handshakes in her book Networking Aerobics.

Say Your Name is the next tool for tomorrow.

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.

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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