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.

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.

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.

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.

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.