Networking Meetings

This is the forth and final post in the series looking at Networking and Referrals. The series is based on a presentation by Ron Gibson of Go Networking that I recently attended.

This post is looks at how to get the most out of networking meetings. In particular it gives you 12 questions that you can ask of someone you have just met for the first time. Now you should not be asking all 12 questions when you meet someone, the idea is that they give you a starting point to build rapport with the person you have just met.

  1. What is your connection with this group?
  2. What brings you here today? These first two are nice easy ice breakers
  3. What would make this event valuable for you? This provides an opportunity for you to provide a service.
  4. Who would you most like to meet while you are here today? This gives you the opportunity to introduce them if you know the person they want to meet.
  5. How do you spend most of the time? This gives the person you are talking to the opportunity to decide what they want to talk about it could be work related, family or a charity. Regardless it gives you an oportunity to understand them a little better.
  6. What is going well for you? Again another oportunity to the person you are talking with to decide what they want to talk about.
  7. What is the biggest thing you are working on now? Are you seeing the pattern here, these are all open questions which provide the person an opportunity to talk.
  8. Tell me about the kind of challenges you face in your business? This provide you an opportunity to see where you can potentially help.
  9. Where did you grow up? Always a good fallback questions if you are struggling to find common ground to talk about.
  10. Are you on linkedin/facebook/twitter? Choose the social media platform that you use as a primary method of communication. Follow this up with a request to connect with them.
  11. Who can I help you? This question and question 12 you have to earn the right to ask. If you have not built up some rapport the answer will be no and any opportunities lost.
  12. Will I every see you again? This is the big question, everything is building up so you can ask this. But you can only ask it if you have built up some rapport.
      • How do you feel about getting together for coffee next week?
      • to share ideas or
      • To learn more about each others businesses.

The final question Will I ever see you again is the next step in building the relationship and should be your goal with anyone you meet. Networking is all about building relationships, and as with any relationship this takes time, it could take 3 or 4 meetings at the coffee shop before you see any results, or it could take 6 months of regular catchups.

 

Reconnection Process

This is the third post in the series of four looking at Networking and Referrals. The series is based on a presentation by Ron Gibson of Go Networking that I recently attended.

Today’s post will look at a simple but effective method of reconnecting with old clients, past friends or anyone who you have had a relationship with in the past.

Simple send a message via text / sms / or any instant messenger service (facebook messenger, direct message in twitter or through linkedin). The message should look like the following:

Hello Joe,

How are you? I hope things are going okay for you.

Just touching base to see if you would like a cup of coffee and to swap updates on what we are doing.

Let me know if you are keen?

Best Regards

John Smith

Just replace Joe with the name of the person you are trying to reconnect with and John Smith with your name and you are set to go.

While quite simple and straight forward, you will find this is a very effective way to reconnect with old contacts and you may be surprised how quickly the process works.

Developing a Referral Strategy

This is the second post in the series looking at Networking and Referrals. The series is based on presentation by Ron Gibson of Go Networking that I recently attended.

This post is going to look at a series of questions to ask yourself when you are developing your networking and referral strategy.

  1. Who am I having an early morning cup of coffee with? Hint everyday of the week
  2. Who am I having lunch with? Hint at least once per week
  3. Who am I having breakfast with? Hint at least twice per week
  4. Who am I having a beer with?
  5. Where am I doing your networking before 9am and after 5pm?
  6. What am I going to do this afternoon to earn the next referral?
  7. Who would it be enjoyable and helpful for my business to re-establish contact with? The worse thing to do is to loose contact with a client. The next post will provide a simple but powerful method of reconnecting with old contacts.
  8. Who am I going to give a referral to tomorrow?
  9. Who am I going to write a recommendation about on Linked-in or Facebook? Write genuine testimonials and recommendations.
  10. Who is on my conversation list? Talk to 1 person each day off your conversation list.
  11. What two speaking engagements am I going to talk at in the next 60 days?
  12. Who am I going to write an article/blog post for?
  13. Who am I going to ask for feedback from on my service?
  14. What two organisations am I going to investigate and get involved with?

Conversation List

Your conversation list should include a minimum of 30 people that you know. The list will provide you with focus, direction as to who you should be talking to on a daily basis. Who should you include on your coversation list?

  • People who in the past have provided referrals
  • Past clients/customers
  • Friends and colleagues
  • People of influence with your target market

These people will provide you with the majority of your referrals, but what should the list look like?

The list could be a page in your diary, an a4 sheet of paper or a spreadsheet. Whatever your preferred format is, the list should have 4 columns;

  1. First and Last name
  2. Telephone number / email address
  3. Something personal. Childrens birthdays, favourite sports team, favourite pastimes etc
  4. Frequency to reach out.

Don’t waste peoples time – this is why 3) is so important. When you call someone on your conversation list, you will have a starting point for your conversation which is relevant to the person you all calling.

The next post will look at a very simple but very effect re-connection process.

Networking and Referrals

Networking and Referrals

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing Ron Gibson of Go Networking talk about networking and generating referrals for your business. Ron is a leading professional expert in business relationships, networking and word of mouth referrals, and the presentation he gave provided some answers to those questions that have been holding me back in my networking and business development.

Today post will be the first of four blog posts based on Ron’s presentation. If you are a small business owner or just someone who is looking to develop your business networks and referrals, I hope that you find these posts of use.

Referrals

Ron started his presentation with two questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is my strategy for referrals?
  2. What am I doing to earn my next referral?

Ron made the following points about referrals

  • The easiest lead to close is often the hardest lead to get.
  • To get more referrals you have got to deliver more than you promised.
  • You have to get more personal and get to know your leads better.
  • You must bring ongoing value after the deal is done.

Principles

  • If there is no talk about how you can help each other;
  • If there is no sharing of information; or
  • If there is no follow up to carry the association deeper.

Then you are socialising not networking.

With practice you will get better at it.


The three following posts will look at questions to develop your networking/referral strategy, a simple strategy to reconnect with old contacts and to finish with will be a series of questions to use at networking events to maximise the benefits for yourself.

We are talking about your future

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Better Business Summit in Brisbane.  This was a one day event aimed at helping small business owners develop their businesses.  Their was a number of speakers talking on topics ranging from motivation, social media, networking and future proofing your business.  Over the next couple of weeks I will write about some of my key learnings from the summit.

The final session of the summit was about future proofing your business.  It was given by Matt Church founder of Thought Leaders Global; a couple of quotes of Matt’s which I found particularly interesting were:

We are talking about your FUTURE

The amount of information is doubling every 2 years!

One of the main themes of Matt’s presentation was about Investing in Yourself.  Matt recognised that most of us are time poor these days and that we struggle to find the time to invest in ourselves.  In particular most of us find it difficult to put the time aside to read a non-fiction book on a regular basis.  Matt proposed the following system which required a smaller investment of time, but potentially would allow us to have at least a rudimentary understanding of 52 new books each year.

The system Matt proposed was:

  1. Join an book abstract service (key is to let them choose the abstracts)
  2. Coffee appointment with yourself each week.  Set aside 15 minutes to read this weeks abstract
  3. At the end of each month choose one of the four abstracts and get it as an audiobook.
  4. Listen to the audiobook over the course of the next month
  5. Every second month choose one of the two audiobooks and get it in hard copy and put it on the shelf.

For a small investment of time, you end up with a high level understanding of 40 books, read 12 and put the most relevant 6 for you on your bookshelf for future reference.  It is easy to see that by following this system, you (I) could become more knowledgable over a wider range of topics than if we just went out and bought the books which took our fancy.  By the very nature of the process (by letting the abstract service choose the abstracts) you are presented with new topics to read that you may not have considered in the past.

There are a number of book abstract services available these days.  Generally they operate off as a subscription service and each abstract is approximately 8 pages long.  The services that I found in my research included

I personally elected to go with Blinklist, their service offering aligned best with my needs.  The link for Blinklist will give you a two week trial of their services if you are interested.

For the audio books, I went with Audible.com.  I already had a subscription so that aspect of the plan was already in place. For the final step purchasing a hard copy of the book, I am going to use my local bookstore, given both of the other services are based overseas, I am looking to support at least one business in my local community.

While I have only implemented this system in the last week, I am excited to see what new books and topics that I end up reading overtime. Oh well, I guess it is time to read the next abstract in my queue.