The More, the Merrier…Not!

May 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Posted in Networking | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

It seems that in the world of business networking, the more the merrier seems to be the mantra of the day.

Sure I get it but I don’t believe it. I know that the thinking is:

The more people at an event the more you are likely to meet someone that might be a good connection and vice versa.

But really, does that bear fruit? Think about it. Sure hanging out at a bar or restaurant drink in one hand, business cards in the other can make for a good time. And yes, you can certainly meet people. But unless there is substantive follow-up so that a relationship and trust can be built, nothing further will happen. And many people, even those that fancy themselves to be excellent networkers don’t really take the time to engage in the necessary follow-up and plant those relationship seeds that will, hopefully, bear some short or long-term, fruit.

But what about a smaller, more intimate networking gathering of 6,8 or even 10 people gathered for a meal, each given a few minutes to talk about their business, with ample time for questions and discussion.  All of a sudden the relationship building part of networking starts sooner, right there at the table, and hence the follow-up after the dinner can be much more substantive with a better shot at real networking ROI.

I think there’s a time and place for both types of networking but at this point in my networking, I’d much prefer smaller get-togethers to the ones that make you shout above the sounds of the crowd and the music that is often playing in the room.

What about you?

Advertisements

How a Busy Sales Trainer Can Also Be a First-rate People Connector

January 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Posted in Networking | 2 Comments
Tags: , ,

The other day I announced via social media that I had made a New Year’s commitment that called for me to make 10 (networking) introductions per day.

Yep, that’s right. 10.

I immediately received a barrage of emails from folks that were simply incredulous. “How in heaven’s name do you have the time to do that?”. “How in heaven’s name do you know that many people?” (Really, “heaven” was mentioned several times:) )

Simple I said and so in the hopes of shedding some light on my methodology (some might say madness) I decided to share my tips:

1.  I set a quantitative goal and like I said, my particular number is ten. But, that doesn’t have to be your goal, not at all. The important thing is to have a goal and to stick to it. No excuses, just do it. You know that you can. (Hint, like with all goals you should set one that is a wee bit of a stretch but can definitely be achieved if you work at it.)

2.  I’m incredibly proactive and by adopting that model, I am better able to make a higher volume of introductions.  I don’t wait for low hanging networking fruit (“Hey Adrian, do you know someone that can……”). Rather I look for connections that might have longer-term value and don’t necessarily equate to an immediate piece of business.

3.  I keep in mind that introductions to referral sources are as good as, and maybe even better than, introductions to a client. One good referral source can equate to many introductions which should (potentially) lead to business. A client is, well a client…a good thing for sure, but might not turn into many additional referrals over time. (We all know that some clients are truly raving fans and tell many others about our products/services. That’s terrific but there are just as many clients that are very closed-mouthed and don’t spread the word regardless of how pleased they are with our business.)

4.  I keep (mental) track of the folks to whom I make introductions. So, for instance, if you tell me that you network with and get lots of business from ____ firms, I do everything in my power to introduce you to as many ____ firms as I know.  So for example, if you’re on the receiving end of those introductions from me you should be thinking  like this:  Gee, since Adrian is introducing me to so many ____ firms, perhaps she’s like to know more of those types of companies too. Maybe I’ll introduce her to the ones that I know and that she doesn’t.   Makes sense doesn’t it?

5.  I try very hard to be creative when making introductions.  Let’s say that you know some of your contacts share a particular hobby. That might be enough to start to a terrific relationship that can potentially yield lots of business opportunities. How about introducing two of  your own business vendors to each other recognizing that since they are going after similar types of clients (i.e. owners of small business) and since they are not competitive they can probably help each other big-time.  How about 2 people that actually do the same thing but who specialize and work in different segments. They might be able to refer business to each other. You never know and if you don’t make introductions, the possibilities are crushed before they even start.

So there ya have it. Just a few ideas on how to be a more prolific networker.  Told you that it was simple.

How to Increase Your Networking Success Stories

November 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Networking | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

Networking works. Or should I say that networking CAN work. We all know that it’s time consuming, often expensive and occasionally, not at all productive.

Here are a few things that you should do in order to make your networking efforts more successful:

1)   Have a goal. How many times have you attended a networking event and wandered around the room only to engage in just a few conversations before heading out the door. Or attended an event only to wind up spending the entire time talking to people that you already knew and walking away with nary a new contact or connection.  How can you ensure that this doesn’t happen? Before going to any event or meeting, take the time to investigate the group and the (potential) attendees. Is this the right place for you to go?  Will it be worth your time?  How many people would you like to meet? Do you expect to meet potential clients or referral sources? The more time you take checking it out, the more beneficial your experience. And don’t forget, if it doesn’t seem like it is the right place for you to network, don’t go. There are many other places to network.

2)   You know this sorry story. You have scads of contacts, cards galore and all sorts of names in Outlook.  Now, what to with them? The truth is that if you don’t stay on the radar screen of your networking contacts you will soon become a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. Touch point management is the key to getting return on your networking time.  How to stay on the grid?  Why the 3 I’s of course! Value-added information and email (that means links to articles and web sites of interest), cyber-introductions to other people that your contact might find valuable, invitations to events and meetings, snail mail, newsletters and more.  The most important thing is to stay visible and relevant and that means being seen as a resource and not a stalker.

3)   Patience is a virtue. Isn’t that what our moms taught us and we learned in school. The fact is that in networking patience is the only card to play. Networking takes time. While doors can be opened at events and meetings, relationships must be built before business can be earned and relationship building takes time. Beware of the networker that wants to get your business before earning your respect and trust. Don’t get caught up in a matching contest. Sure, you might find yourself on the lead “giving” side more often than on the receiving end.  Give it time and you should see something coming back to you (Remember that old patience quote!) But don’t get me wrong. If after a reasonable amount of time there is nothing coming your way it is perfectly okay to reach out to your connections and in a more direct manner, ask for their help in making introductions for you. What goes around comes around. It just might take some time.

So there you have it. Three quick tips to make your networking time more productive.  Now go out there and open some doors.

WTF!!! Why Network If You’re Not Going to Play The Game?

November 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Posted in Networking | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Excuse me if I sound a bit exasperated but well, I am. Seems there’s quite a bit of NFT (no follow-through) going around these days and honestly, I can’t figure out why. Sure we’re all busy but that’s not a good, or even rational, reason.

The simple question:  Why bother going to networking breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings and NOT continue to network AFTER the event?

You know the deal. You attend a meeting or event and circulate around the room, making contacts, exchanging cards and doing what needs to be done to START the business ball rolling.

Yes, that’s right…START the business dance but certainly not finish it while at the event.

Business development takes nurturing, time and attention.  You need to establish mutual respect before any sort of introductions can be made and this respect can only be established in (ongoing) follow-up conversations and meetings.

The blatant truth:  if you don’t take the initiative to reach out proactively and/or respond to your networking contacts you are simply wasting your time going to these events in the first place.  You might as well stay home.

 

What to Do If and When Your Networking Contacts Don’t Reciprocate

August 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Networking | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , ,

Here’s the situation.

You’re a diligent and thoughtful networker, trying at all times to help your networking contacts with introductions and contacts. When you can do so, you make direct introductions to potential clients; at other times, you help people get connected to other influential connectors and referral sources.

You’re fairly diligent about it, and not a week goes by without some sort of introductions being made.

And…you don’t EXPECT anything in return. Well, not really.

So, does this describe you?

Okay, if so, then you know that at some point you might want/need to be so forthright as to ask some of your networking contacts for specific introductions for yourself, maybe not to a specific company but perhaps to a suitable category of business.

Okay then. You make your request in person or perhaps through email or the phone. And nothing happens. The request is either totally ignored or the person says that they’ll “get back to you with some names and introductions”.

And again, nothing happens. What’s a networker to do?

I get asked this question quite often and this same situation has even happened to me causing me to ponder…well…next steps.

Here they are:

1. Make certain that you have made your initial request loud, clear and unambiguous. This is not the time to be coy; make sure that your request for contacts leaves nothing to the imagination.
2. Be sure that you haven’t asked for introductions or connections to folks with whom your networking contact has absolutely no involvement. Be confident that the person that you are asking does, in fact, have the desired relationships.
3. Give the person a wee bit of time. While we live in an era of “Internet time” not everyone moves at the speed of light and your request might languish for a few days or weeks until such time as it rises to the top of the ” to do” list.
4. If you have done the above and are still not receiving the introductions that you feel “should” be coming your way, you can do the following:

A. Make your request again and ask the contact for the reason/s that the intros are not forthcoming. Do this gently as it might be uncomfortable and even if you believe this person has not risen to the networking “occasion” they are still in your networking circle of contacts and you want to maintain a positive relationship.

B. Move on and forget about it, realizing that not everyone is as receptive to the idea of making introductions for others.

C. Think about if there are any unspoken or underlying reasons why the introductions are not being made. Does this person have a better relationship with someone else that does exactly what you do? Have they ever been “burned” by an introduction and therefore are very loathe to feel that vulnerable again? Do they not respect the quality of your work? Be honest with yourself!

Most of all, don’t let the non-responsive folks “get you down” and cause you to lose your enthusiasm and interest in helping others with introductions and referrals. While it might not always come back to you (even when you ask!), it’s still the right thing to do.

Sales Reps: NY, NY—If You Can Make It Here You Can Make It Anywhere

June 2, 2011 at 7:44 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

I’ve lived in NY for most of my adult (working) life but have had the opportunity to do my “thing” (sales consulting and training) nationwide.

Here’s what I know: NY provides exceptional opportunities with a robust and vast business population across most every industry segment. NY also has some of the best and the brightest and a rigorous competitive environment, and the people with whom you are trying to connect are inundated by messages and outreach from these very same talented people.

What’s a sales rep to do?

Well, assuming that you don’t intend to pack your bags and move to a small town in the mid-west there’s some clear and simple steps that are mandatory to making it here in NY:

1) Make certain that you are visible and occupy a spot on the playing field. Don’t allow your competitors to take over. Utilize the tools available to you (social media, email marketing, telemarketing, direct mail, PR, advertising, trade shows, networking, etc.) and obtain / maintain mind share.

2) Become an exquisite networker. The more people with whom you connect and the more people that you connect to EACH OTHER, the more influential you’ll become. Having “great networker” as part of your personal brand will win you recognition and ultimately, new contacts and business opportunities.

3) Make time management your best friend. People work hard in NY and the hours are long. You know that if you make a prospecting call at 6 or 7PM you have a good chance of finding that person in their office. We start early, end late and you must figure out your own time management scheme or you run the very real risk of burn-out.

Now, for the refrain…if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

It Was Good For Me. Was It Good For You?

May 1, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Networking | 11 Comments

(Be forewarned, this may sound like some sort of venting but trust me, I am not alone in voicing this complaint.)

You’ve probably experienced something like this yourself. You’ve gotten together with a new networking contact and are reviewing possible introductions and connections that you can help them with. The introductions are with other “connectors” and referral sources and all of a sudden you hear “wow, they would be good for me.”

There’s a pause while you wait for them to elaborate and perhaps explain more, namely how they, in turn, can benefit the person to whom they would like an introduction. But nothing follows.

Seems simple right.

When I make an introduction (and believe me I do scads of them) I am always thinking about the reciprocity that can ensue and I don’t mean the reciprocity for me.

No, I’m more interested in how it’s going to work between the people that I introduce to each other. Will there be mutual benefits or will one of them simply see the other as a treasure trove of contacts without, in fact, returning the favor. It is after all, as the cliché goes, a 2-way street.

But many networkers don’t see it that way. They ask (sometimes even expect) introductions and they can’t seem to get beyond WIFM (what’s in it for me). Selfishness rules.

So I’ve gotten very wary and when people say that they’d like me to make some introductions for them I always ask “why” and when they explain that these intros would be “good” for them, I, in turn, ask if they would be good for the other person as well. Do they have introductions and contacts that can benefit these new connections because if they don’t, it may not be an introduction that is well received.

When I make introductions I always want them to be good for everyone so please be sure to tell me if it was good for you. The feedback will help and can only serve to make it better the next time.

3 Easy Tips to Jumpstart Your Business

April 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

We all know that business development is a process whereby you plant seeds and nurture them and, at some point, you will start to see something blossom and recognize ROI on your business development efforts.

Some strategies take a long time to execute; others can be done much faster, and so for the impatient among you, here are 3 things that you can start to do immediately:

1. Start to prospect now. Be proactive. Don’t depend on the phone ringing and don’t expect that referrals will keep your pipeline as full as it needs to be. (Another good reason to prospect is that it helps you to keep your sales skills fine-tuned and sharp. Sorry, but living on referrals tends to make you a somewhat lazy business developer.)

2. Get “seriously” involved with social media and develop a social media plan of attack. (I don’t mean updating your Facebook and Linkedin status once per day.) I do mean learning how to use these tools to their best advantage, initiate and engage in conversations, utilize the “search” capabilities, showcase your firm and it’s capabilities, etc.

3. Reconnect with dormant accounts, follow-up consistently on all proposals and quotes and reach out to small, marginal accounts to cross-tell your other products and services. Sounds like common sense, right? It is but the sad truth is that many companies do not mine the gold in their existing account base. This should be started immediately.

There you go. The good news is that if you don’t have the resources to execute any of these 3 efforts there are resources out there that can do them for you.

You don’t have any excuse. Just do it.

Help, My Networking Isn’t Working

April 5, 2011 at 10:03 am | Posted in Adrian's Network, Networking | 4 Comments

I believe that networking can play a critical role in most people’s business building efforts, so much so that I have even launched my own networking community

How to Go From Good to Great (as a Networker)

February 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

I’ve been doing this networking thing for a long time and I keep hearing about people that are “great” networkers. I am often introduced to these folks and I must admit that while sometimes I am in full agreement with the pronouncement of greatness, there are times, well, I am a little more than under-whelmed.

So how do you stack up? Are you a great networker? Ask yourself these 5 simple questions and arrive at the answer yourself.

• Are you truly proactive in your networking connections or do you tend to be reactive and wait until one of your contacts asks you if you happen to know a FILL IN THE BLANK before making an introduction (i.e. needs-based connecting)?

• Do you pre-qualify the folks with whom you have been introduced before having a phone or in-person conversation? Do you frequently make assumptions that someone might not be “good for you” because they are not “logical” connectors for your type of business, or do not seemingly have access to the types of contacts that you require?

• Do you go beyond the obvious and make connections based on more “sophisticated” indicators. For example, if you know people that get most of their business introductions from a specific type of referral source, do you introduce them to each other even if they would have no other way for them to do business or network together?

• Do you make connections on a regular basis, perhaps even establishing a quantitative goal for each week?

• Do you ask the people that make introductions for you if they would like to be kept in the loop or if it would be okay to follow-up without keeping them included in the email thread? Do you say thank you?

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.