I hosted a workshop at a local community college last week and I started with what at first glance appeared to be a simple exercise but soon proved to be much more difficult. I handed each participant a blank index card and asked them to write down in one word what their company does.
My initial plan was to allow about 30 seconds for this exercise however, the pain and anguish on the faces of my group convinced me to give them more time.
Even with the additional 30 seconds many struggled to finish. The purpose of this exercise was really to break the ice before starting the workshop but what it revealed to me was that there is much more simplicity needed in our marketing messages.
After going around the room and allowing everyone to speak their one word I relieved them of their pain by telling them that we were all in the same one word business. [click to continue…]
You know networking effectively can help to grow your business exponentially yet the thought of doing so sends you into a full blown panic attack. In fact you would almost prefer closing your business down rather than chatting with strangers, listening to 30 second elevator pitches and navigating awkward follow-ups.
So the question then becomes how do the introverts (like myself), shy entrepreneurs and socially reserved business owners learn to network with purpose?
Instead of forcing yourself into networking situations that make you uncomfortable try these 5 networking tips for connecting with potential customers, partners, and industry influencers. [click to continue…]
Effective networking can lead to connections and opportunities that can help to catapult you and your business onto the next level of success. Yet so often entrepreneurs are unsure about how to network with purpose and how to build meaningful relationships with other business owners.
In order to help you navigate your next networking event here are 7 tips to help you become a networking rockstar:
- Drop the Judgments – not so much of other people but the judgments about yourself. I’m too shy, unsuccessful, unimportant, etc. Once you let go of all of your self-imposed limitations what you will find underneath is a confident, passionate business owner and people will be magnetically attracted to you. [click to continue…]
Last year I attended a networking event in my local community that left me feeling…. icky. You see I was detained by a couple of networking busybodies who were intent on making sure I knew every detail about their businesses although they never bothered to ask me about mine.
The purpose of attending a networking event is to meet potential customers, referrals and connections who can benefit your business and whose businesses you can help to benefit. However, in this case there just wasn’t a match.
Offender #1 – The talker who never listens
This lady was nice enough it’s just that her business served single women. Nothing wrong with that, except I’ve been happily married for nearly 9 years. I tried to tell her this but she was so wrapped up in her story, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
Remember when networking the goal is to make quality connections and to create win-win scenarios. Always ask qualifying questions to make sure the person you are introducing yourself to will be a good connection before giving them your business biography.
Offender #2 – The life storyteller
This gentlemen had me holed up in the corner for nearly 30 minutes during which time he told me every event in his life over the past 15 years that led to him starting his business. His auto business.
You should be very clear about 3 things before attending a networking event: 1) who your ideal customers are, 2) who would make a good joint venture partner, and 3) who would make a good referral partner (someone you could refer to your network and someone who you could refer you to theirs.
In order to make the most out of your next networking event it is important to have a plan in place. For every person you connect with consider the following:
- How can I help this person?
- Does this person fit the description of a potential client, a potential referral partner, or a potential strategic partner?
If the answer is yes, avoid becoming a networking offender by:
- Showing sincere interest in the other party.
- Seeking to understand before seeking to be understood.
- Asking thoughtful questions.
- Following up in a timely fashion.
So let’s hear from you, what tips can you share about effective networking?
Lately I’ve been encouraging my coaching clients to try new ways to market their businesses and when I say new, I mean scary. In fact the scarier the better.
You see I’ve come to learn that accomplishing those big goals and dreams we have for our lives requires us to first move outside of our comfort zones. Only no one really likes to go outside their comfort zone because we are completely scared of failure.
Or are we?
I would argue that we are not so much scared of failure as we are scared of what someone else will think of our failure.
So what is it that you want? To earn six figures? Win an award within your industry? Work with corporations?
Now ask yourself if the current methods you are using to market your business are likely to get you there. If they are not, let’s explore some ways to move you out of your marketing comfort zone. [click to continue…]