No Parking

As I have mentioned previously (difficulty with new habbits) I have changed my daily routine, my goal is to go to the gym 5 mornings a week. While I have not been hitting the 5 morning mark, I have been getting there 4 mornings, which I think is a great result. My usual routine now is to wake around 5am and hit the gym by 5:30am for 30 to 60 minutes each morning.

There have been a varaity of reasons why I have not made the fifth day, pouring rain, late night the night before. Excuses yes, but I am happy with what I am achieving (espeically considering that I was not getting this exercise in at any other time during the day).

Getting around to the point of this post, I didnt make it to the gym this morning. It wasn’t because of lack of motivation, I was up and dressed ready to go. It wasn’t due to the weather, it was a little foggy but nothing to stop me. I didn’t make it to the gym this morning because I could not get my car out of the garage.

We live in a complex of townhouses, with two block’s of 3 townhouses facing each other. The area has been designed such that there is just enough room between the two blocks of house for you to get a large car out of the garage (yes, I agree not a very good design).

This morning as I went to get the car out of the garage, what do I find, but the neighbours car parked right in front of the garage. Given where the car was parked, there was no possibility of getting our car from the garage. To say I was a little frustrated is an understatement.

While the neighbour has only recently moved in, this is not the first time that he had parked block our garage. The previous time, I gave the horn a toot and he came out and moved the car. I didn’t think this was an option at 5:30am in the morning, it would not be fair on our other neighbours just because this guy didn’t think.

What frustrates me most is that he didn’t consider the consequences of his actions. The visitor car park for the complex is only 30 metres from our townhouses, and even if it was full there are other places he could park which would not stop anyone else from getting out.

Ironically directly under where he parked was a “No Parking” sign painted on the driveway.

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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.

Saturday Morning Ritual

A while ago I wrote about our families Sunday afternoon ritual, our other main ritual most weekends is to visit the Brisbane Markets at Rocklea to get our fresh fruit and vegetable for the week. There is something special with buying your fruit and vege at the markets, it is not just that the produce is fresher, it is the atmosphere, the energy of the place.

After a short while you start to get to know some of the stall holders and before you know it they start to become friends that you look forward to seeing each week.

In a short space of time you start to find which stalls have the produce that you want and like. You may buy your potato from one stall and your greens from another, and yet another is where you go for your fruit.

There is one particular stall which specialises in Asian vegetables which we frequent each week, the produce is always fresh, and we know that it will usually keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, meaning that there is rarely any spoilage or wastage.

One of my highlights is catching up with either Paul or Liam from Saintsational Sausages. They have gluten, preservative & MSG free gourmet sausages, and some of the flavours that Paul has come up with, hmmm delicious. If you are in the Rocklea area, I high recommend getting a pack from them, you will not be disappointed. (also check out their facebook page for other markets that they are at around Brisbane and the Sunshine coast)

Finally if you have bought all this wonderful produce and your wondering what to do with it all, check out Geoff’s Kitchen for some wonderful ideas. (Disclaimer Geoff happens to be my little brother, but even with that handicap the food he produces is wonderful)

The burger pictured above is the “Saintsational” Gourmet Lamb Rissole, Fresh Basil, Tomato, Sautéed Mushroom, Cheddar, Cos, Hot Sauce, Toasted Brioche and is not for the faint hearted. For some wonderful gormet reciepes, explained in easy to follow steps go check out Geoff’s Kitchen.

I can hear the family stirring, so it is time to get ready and head off to the markets. Hope you have a wonderful day, because I know my day is going to start off with some wonderful fresh produce and an enjoyable stroll through the markets. Have a great weekend.

All of the photos used in this post where sourced from the respective facebook pages of the Brisbane Markets, Saintsational Saugages or Geoff’s Kitchen.