Dashing for the 2012 Finish Line

by Sabrina Risley

By the time December rolls around, most are ready to put their businesses on hold to enjoy the season of sugar cookies, sleigh bells and reindeer. But what if you took a different approach from everyone else this month?

Instead of losing momentum in your business and struggling right out of the 2013 gate, use your time in December to gear up while everyone else is winding down.  This does not mean you have to make 30 cold calls a day. You don’t need to push your services or products for last minute sales. You don’t need to work overtime.

But here is what it can mean.success 4

Revisit, Reassess, and Recreate your Goals. December is a great time to review where you are in your business, look at what you want to do differently, and create a few key tangible goals and actions steps to be carried out in 2013. Many people wait until January to go through this process. But spending some quality time on this in December will allow you to get a head start as 2012 draws to a close.

Celebrate Successes. The mere act of identifying and celebrating your successes from the past year will be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, not to mention the boost of motivation you’ll receive from the exercise to make 2013 even better. Don’t slide into the New Year without celebrating and acknowledging what went well in 2012.

Organize, Systematize, and Monetize. As part of your end of year plan, take a look at what you can do to increase your efficiency by getting organized now. Use the space in your December calendar to create systems so you can delegate more, get organized so you can spend less time searching for lost information, and monetize any part of your business for next year.

Finish projects. Sometimes we get so busy, we leave important projects on the back burner throughout the year. If you find that December is slower than other months in your business, go through your open projects to see what you can actually finish. Review your project list and decide first if any of the projects can be dumped, and if so, let them go. If not, do what you can to wrap up the year with a clean project list.

Creating Space. Clear up the negative “junk” in your life, you will make space for more positive to appear.  How does this relate to your business? Consider what is weighing on you. Now is a great time to go through your computer and clean up old files, backup all your documents, get ready for your year-end taxes and reports, clean your office to shift the energy and welcome something more powerful in the New Year. It’s also a great time to review your client list. Are there any clients that are not ideal? Consider whether an exit from working with them will allow space for you to work with more ideal clients.

Be grateful. Lastly, take some time to be grateful. Send your clients a thank you card or gift, call the people who have influenced and inspired you this year to let them know how they have done that, recognize people for the role they have played in your life and business, and acknowledge all you can be grateful for—including the simple things like the clothes on your back and the food in your pantry.

Overall, December and the holiday season do not need to kill your business. In fact, using this time strategically allows you to set yourself up for a sprint out of the 2013 gate while still enjoying all the holiday season has to offer.

Happy holidays and all the best to you in the New Year.

(c) 2012 CERTUS Professional Network. All Rights Reserved.

See related posts:

Sprinting for the 2010 Finish Line

Racing for the 2011 Finish Line

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded CERTUS Professional Network™  (formerly Behind The Moon, Inc.®) in 2003, a Colorado-based professional community and networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” CERTUS offers several monthly networking events along Colorado’s Front Range, attracting professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. To receiving Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success , please visit http://budurl.com/BTMtips.

3 Ways to Earn More Cash from Your Competition

by Sabrina Risley

Who is your competition?  Have you ever thought about it and identified who they are?  For some, thinking about their competition brings up a surge of negative energy. Some feel threatened to be at the same networking event with their competition. Some don’t want to see the social media posts of their competition. Where do you stand and how does it make you feel to interact with your competition?

Well many have heard me shout out “Collaboration over Competition!”  While there are companies offering similar products and services to our own, no two companies are quite the same in their delivery of said similar products/services. We all bring different passions, energy, and even skills to our work. Though there may companies competing for business in our same industry, these so-called “competitors” can often be a source of our biggest leads, referrals and partnerships.

Let’s investigate how we can shift our perspective from competition to collaboration. Check out these points and let me know how you feel.

1.  What would our world look like if we only had one vendor in every industry? It would be a monopoly and against the “American Way.” Having the ability to choose who we work with, hire or give our business to is a huge advantage for the buyer and the seller. While you may be up against five other organizations for the same piece of business, when your company receives the business, you know you were ultimately chosen because you were liked, trusted and believed in. Perhaps you ended up losing the gig to your competition and instead of fretting, take it as an opportunity to assess what you can do better, how you can improve, and what you need to do, if anything, to win the business in the future (if you event want it). You may not have won the business but this can still be a win!

2.  Your biggest “competitor” may very well be your greatest asset. The companies at the top don’t see others in their industry as a threat because they have established themselves and have a solid base of clients. So how can you utilize their strengths? Have you considered being a support- and outsource-partner for them? Good employees are hard to find. As long as you have established a good relationship with them, with mutual respect, you have proven you have similar service levels, skills and abilities, you may very well be a suitable contract or out-source worker for them. Establish an agreement in which you are able to assist them with “overflow” work. Or perhaps you have work you can outsource to them.  It’s a win-win!

3.  Find competitors with whom you can establish a referral partnership to share leads and give referrals. You can’t be all things to all people or you’ll be no one to everyone. It’s crucial to find a niche that you enjoy and at which you can excel. Find professionals within your industry who specialize in a particular product or service offering that you do not or cannot offer or that you don’t wish to be your focus. You can easily partner with them to provide a turnkey solution for your clients. You may not offer a product or service to your client or prospect but they will be grateful for the recommendation of someone who can help them. In this instance, you are actually assisting both the party to whom you are referring the business as well as your clients or prospect being referred. Another win-win!

I challenge you to shift your perspective on competitors in your industry. When utilized effectively, you can easily turn “competitive” relationships into relationships of collaboration which can result in increased revenue for your own business.

(c) 2012 CERTUS Professional Network. All Rights Reserved.

See related posts:

Shifting Perspective: When You Don’t Receive the Business

Collabora-Prenuership May be Your Next Step

Becoming a Referral Superstar: Asking for Referrals so You Actually Receive Them – Part 1 and Part 2

Tips for a Successful Joint Venture

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded CERTUS Professional Network™  (formerly Behind The Moon, Inc.®) in 2003, a Colorado-based professional community and networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” CERTUS offers several monthly networking events along Colorado’s Front Range, attracting professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. To receiving Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success , please visit http://budurl.com/BTMtips.

Does Your 30-Second Introduction Get You “In” or Show You The Way “Out”?

by Sabrina Risley

Creating the perfect “elevator pitch” is something that many business owners and professionals fret over. If you’re stuck in elevator pitch rut, here are a few things to consider to craft a message that will produce results.

First things first, always abide by the allotted time given to each participant to share your intro. When you go significantly over the allowed “pitch” time, others will take notice and not necessarily in a good way. In fact, I would go so far as to say it can be distracting and your audience will stop listening to your message. Thirty seconds goes by very quickly so be mindful of the clock. To get a feel for the pace and how long your introduction is, practice and time yourself.

Second, what’s the goal of your intro? Are you looking to land a new power partner, make a contact at a specific company, or simply share about your business in an engaging way? When you know what it is you want to create, you can begin to craft the best message that will produce the biggest results.

Third, keep it simple. The more specific you are about what you are looking for or what it is you do, the more likely people will recognize that you are or could be a good match for them or someone in their network. If you have multiple services, products or businesses, it’s best to focus on just one to share about. You can always tailor your introduction depending on what audience you are addressing at the moment.

Fourth, focus on the benefits of your service instead of the features. A benefit is a specific result you provide or help your customers achieve. Your delivery can be a client story or testimonial that lets your captive audience know what you really do for people. Stories capture attention and help explain what you do without rattling off a boring list (yes, doing this is boring) of all the product/service you offer.

Next, if at all possible, try closing with a catchy tagline or slogan that is easily remembered. You will want to use it as often as possible and in all your marketing materials. If people can recite your catchy slogan or tagline, you know you have done a great job and will be remembered.

Finally, know that your 30-second introduction will morph and change over time.  If you find that no one is approaching you after a networking event, either you are in front of the wrong audience or you need to tweak your introduction slightly to be sure people are hearing what you intend. Consider testing your 30-second introduction on a trusted friend or advisor to get honest feedback.  You might also want to make adjustments to your introduction based on produce/service specials. What is it that you want to communicate this month? Since I have suggested you talk about only one product or service at a time, rotate your 30-second introduction to feature a new product offering each month, for example.

Now, you don’t need to memorize your introduction, but you want to know it such that you are comfortable in front of peers and can express your point without missing important information.  The best part of having a simple, attention-getting introduction is that, when in conversation with other professionals, it is a great answer to the question “So what do you do?”  Pow!  See… more uses than just a commercial at a networking event.  Now get crafting your effective pitch so you can get “in” to where you need rather than shown the way out.

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Related article: Elements of an Effective 30-Second Introduction

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several monthly networking events across Colorado’s Front Range, attracting professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. To receiving Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success , please visit http://budurl.com/BTMtips.

Shifting Perspective: When You Don’t Receive the Business

by Sabrina Risley

You have nurtured a prospect for weeks, perhaps months or even years, you have handled any objections or reasons they say they cannot or will not buy from you, but then it happens. They make a decision and choose to hire “someone else.”

Many of us have been there. Perhaps you have too.

It leaves us questioning what went wrong. Did it come down to our price? Was it personality? Did the other company offer something you did not?

Here’s what you can do when you don’t get the business, but you still want to save the relationship.

  1. Let your contact know that you understand that they need to make decisions that are in the best interest of their company. Ensure they know you are still there for them, to support them should they need anything or have any questions.
  2. Continue to check-in and follow up with your contact so they know it’s “okay” they did not choose you.  Believe it or not, people feel badly, and perhaps even guilty, about not choosing you, especially if they like you personally.
  3. As you relieve the tension, it opens the opportunity to ask a question such as, “I’m just curious, what was the deciding factor in going with XYZ Company?”  Coming from a place of curiosity allows people to share freely. As they share with you, you can then ask if there is anything you could have done differently to have received the business. You’ll want to find out if it was cost, service, timing, trust or another factor.
  4. Continue to add value.  They will appreciate and remember you should they have the opportunity to refer business to you.  Additionally, they may become unhappy with the provider they chose and when the opportunity arises, perhaps they will hire you the next time around.   If you have continued to build the relationship, they will more likely feel comfortable and confident giving you a call to make a change.

In the end, if you do not get the business, evaluate and learn from the experience and be sure not to “write people off” when they choose another option.  Over time, if the relationship does not grow into one that is mutually beneficial, you can decide whether or not to continue nurturing it.  But by all means, “no” is never a good reason to stop cultivating a connection.  Just imagine how continuing to serve sets you apart from other companies in your industry!

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several monthly networking events across Colorado’s Front Range, attracting professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. To receiving Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success , please visit http://budurl.com/BTMtips.

The Softer Side of Networking: Authenticity

by Sabrina Risley

You walk into a room full of business professionals. Your mind starts churning. “What if I don’t know anybody? What if I’m not dressed appropriately?  What if I don’t get a new client? What if I mess up my 30-second introduction?”

As your head spins with all the ‘what ifs’ and possibilities of the upcoming event, you hardly ever hear it say, “Just be yourself!”  However, what if being authentic was the only ‘what if’ you needed to entertain?  International best-selling author, Bob Burg writes about The Law of Authenticity in detail in Go-Giver’s Sell More as well as his blog articles.  This topic is probably something we want to take to heart🙂

When you first meet someone, you have mere seconds to make a first impression.  During those first few seconds, most of us are so worried about being strategic and thinking about what to say, that we lose the opportunity to be ourselves. When we aren’t ourselves, we say the strangest things, sometimes regrettable things that aren’t representative of who we actually are. We leave a conversation beating ourselves up, wondering “Why did I say that? I never say stuff like that!”  We’ve all been there. And the reason is that we are likely separated from our authentic self during the conversation.

If we can just stop, take a breath and quiet our minds, we can more easily focus on the person with whom we are interacting.  Our head chatter is typically not the ‘real us,’ yet if we listen to it and interact with the chatter in the driver’s seat, it becomes what others observe and understand us to be. Pausing momentarily and being truly present with others allows us to quiet our mind, listen fully and contribute authentically to the conversation, without concern for booking an appointment or making a sale.

Many shy away from the idea of being “authentic.”  Authenticity isn’t about airing dirty laundry. Rather it’s about breaking down facades, being ‘real’ and allowing people to get to know your personal side. If you like cats and you’re in a conversation with a bunch dog-lovers, by all means take a stand for the cat (they get the short end of the stick as it is)!  While this example may seem silly, it can be compared to our business conversations about the best online shopping cart or which contact management system we prefer.

Think about what you remember most about conversations you have with people. You will likely find that you recall the personal stories more easily than the business small talk. Your authentic side is what connects you to others and allows your networking to become more natural and real.

Remember, people love to support, help and refer business to their friends. When you bring authenticity into your networking, allows you create the space for deeper and more meaningful connections, similar to that of a friendship.  Bill Gates said it best… “Referrals come through who you are, not what you sell.” Not only will you get to know people far more easily and quickly, but more importantly, they will get to know the genuine and bona fide YOU.   So I challenge you to defy what you were taught about being on your best behavior all the time.  Instead just be your best authentic self.  After all, “The most valuable give you have to offer is yourself.”  Bob Burg’s Law of Authenticity.

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Related article: Five Keys To Authentic Marketing

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range that attract professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. Sign up for Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success 

The Softer Side of Networking: Heart

By Sabrina Risley

Push. Shove. Convince. Sell. I don’t know about you, but none of these words resonate with me. Likely, they don’t resonate with you either. Yet, most people embody this type of energy when networking to grow their business, even if they say they don’t like being “sold to,” “convinced,” or “pushed” into a buying decision.

These habits stem from repeating what we’ve seen others do, instead of following our own guidance on what feels right and natural: connecting and building relationships.

And as you’ve probably noticed, those old ways of being have started to crumble and are no longer working for professionals.  This energy just causes walls to go up, making it hard to connect with people.

Let’s look at how to build your business differently, using your heart at the start. When you take a heart-centered approach to networking, it doesn’t mean swapping tears, woes, and tales. It’s simply a matter of taking a people-first approach.

Heart-centered networking essentially means connecting with people on a deeper level. It’s having a conversation with someone you meet, without having an agenda or an intention to ‘go in for the close.’  It’s means allowing yourself to open up to someone, to see and hear what they really need, to welcome the opportunity to share referrals, relationships, power partners, and not feel threatened by competition or spending dollars.  It’s looking for opportunities to serve and contribute.  It’s understanding the passion behind someone’s work and the results they produce so you can become one of their cheerleaders or raving fans.

Heart-centered networking is also an energy. It’s a way to “be” with people. When you are in a place of being heart-centered, you aren’t zooming around the room in attempt to collect as many business cards as possible. Instead, you are taking the time to get to know each person you meet and looking for a connection.

When you are in a space of practicing heart-centered networking, you…

  • —  SLOW DOWN and ENJOY, CONNECT & BE with people!
  • —  Get INVOLVED in their story
  • —  Project GOODWILL upon them
  • —  Show EMOTION when appropriate
  • —  CARE deeply for them
  • —  Open your HEART to them
  • —  SHARE yourself with them

 It also means there is…

  • —  No Selling
  • —  No Neediness
  • —  No Me-Focused Actions 

Heart-centered networking is a co-creative experience between two professionals. When you use your heart in professional networking, you allow others the chance to make a connection with you in a deeper and more meaningful way. They’ll never forget you for that. And without even needing to explain what you do for work, they will be drawn to your energy, will become a fan of yours, singing your praises just because they see your real character.  All of this because you are a professional with whom they have a connection, they can trust and can pass business to with confidence.  Why wouldn’t they want to do business with you and recommend you to others? I know I would.

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range that attract professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. Sign up for Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success at http://www.behindthemooninc.com/index.php/free-report.

The Softer Side of Networking: Intuition

by Sabrina Risley

Often when we think of networking, we use a more logical, rational, and analytical mindset. We consider who we want to meet, the benefits we can reap in meeting them, and how we can strategically build our business. This is typical for entrepreneurs and business owners. It’s also the norm in what is taught and modeled by professionals. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, in fact, it is very necessary and can have a significant benefit to your bottom line.

Yet, I’ve had some very transformative experiences in recent months which have inspired me to explore more about the “softer side of networking” with others.  This side is less overt, rarely talked about, and even questioned by the rational side of our brain.

The softer side of networking shows up in a variety of ways, such as at a networking meeting when you are scanning the room looking for strategic partners to connect with.  Then, suddenly, someone whom you don’t know piques your interest. It’s almost a gut reaction. This person could now seem familiar, like you’ve met them before, even when you haven’t. You can tell there’s something about them. You can’t place it, but you just feel it. Perhaps it’s in what they are wearing, how they are holding themselves, or even their energy.

At times we dismiss these “gut” feelings and instincts and continue to scan the room and look for the most strategic person to meet. Or perhaps, we shy away from walking up to this person and making an introduction, for we are unsure of what to say or how to approach them. If you’ve ever felt this way about someone you’ve seen or met at a networking event, you’ve tapped into the softer side of networking.

This side of networking is about using your gut feelings, intuition, and maybe even your heart, to seek out new connections that really matter. These connections are ones that can’t initially be explained, but can lead to partnerships, friendships, and opportunity, if given the chance.

We can be surprised by what we find when we seek out new ways to meet people, follow our gut, and act on “that feeling.”  What we’ve uncovered to be true within our networking organization is that when people follow this style of networking and meeting with new people, they really begin to cultivate connections that count.

Many times these relationships go beyond the typical business interaction and move into friendship.  These business associates, now turned friends, end up becoming a rich source of referrals.  Think about it, the more you authentically befriend someone, the more you want to support them.  When you meet a person within a business setting, you both come to the relationship with the understanding that your business is a priority and you can talk openly about your desire to find new clients and get referrals.  Unlike your every day friends, perhaps it’s easier to ask a business-colleague-turned-friend to support you in your work, than it is to ask a friend you’ve known for 20 years whom you don’t want to “bother.”

The thing to remember is that friendships and connections take time.  Sometimes instant friendships and partnerships are born, but most likely the relationship will need cultivating.

You can easily create connections that count using the softer side of networking by following your gut, listening to your intuition, and seeking out deeper, more meaningful relationships within your network.  The next time you see someone who sparks your interest, even for reasons unseen, seize the opportunity to make the connection.  You’ve got nothing to lose and perhaps so much to gain.

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range that attract professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. Sign up for Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success at http://www.behindthemooninc.com/index.php/free-report.

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