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.

 

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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.

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.

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.

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 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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