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 Two Faces of Networking

At Behind The Moon, we encourage and place an emphasis on relationship-building and wanted to share the following article with you, written by our friend and BTM fan in Ohio, Keith Luscher, speaker, author and creator of www.WedgePower.com.

THE TWO FACES OF NETWORKING by Keith Luscher

While networking, you will find that some people are more trusting than others. The fact is, not everyone you meet will feel comfortable putting you in touch with everyone they know. In such cases, there is something missing… an element of trust… a relationship.  Building relationships is the much deeper side to networking, and it is a little more challenging. It is also better and more powerful.

People know you as a person, not a name.

Through ongoing interaction and involvement, people begin to know and understand you. They are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. They understand what’s important to you, not from what you communicate through your words, but through your actions. They have an understanding of the depth of your character.

When you are seeking opportunities, people with whom you have built strong relationships can give you as good a reference as your mother would, without the obvious bias. This takes time to develop. Further, it stresses quality over quantity. You can’t possibly chum up to every person you encounter. It is neither practical nor sincere.

Contacts and Relationships: The Fundamental Differences

Let’s quickly review the main differences between building contacts and building relationships.

Building contacts is a short-term process.  It usually focuses on trying to meet as many people in the shortest amount of time. If a person you meet does not have an immediate need for your services, nor can they lead you to anyone else, there is little foundation for a long-term relationship.

Building contacts emphasizes quantity. Again, you are trying to collect as many names of people as possible. The more you collect, the deeper your network of contacts becomes.

Building contacts is based upon the age-old premise of “It’s not what you know but who you know (and who they know!).” It is strictly a numbers game.

On the other hand, building relationships is long term in nature. When starting your career, you are taking active steps to prepare for the future. The people you meet and develop bonds with will hopefully be with you for the rest of your life.

Building relationships emphasizes quality. You can’t form deep relationships with every person with whom you come in contact. That should
be, however, an underlying goal. Keeping this in mind will help you notice opportunities to nurture those relationships that are influential to your
success.

Building relationships puts the “who you know” attitude into perspective. In reality, it is not just “who you know.” It often comes from three elements:

1. It is who you are (your integrity).

2. It is what you know and can do (your qualifications).

3. It is how well another individual knows you (your relationships).

So, it is who you know…but it is also who knows you! On that note, ask yourself, who among my “list” of contacts would I like to know me better?

Make a list of five people you know, and contact them today. Begin moving beyond being a connection and begin to build a relationship.  

Thank you Keith Luscher, for this well-written, succinct article.  We appreciate your contribution to our Blog this month.  Learn more about Keith Luscher & subscribe to his blog.

Reduce the Sales Cycle Through Sensational Service!

By Sabrina Risley

Here’s the scene: You are at a networking event, excited at the thought of meeting new prospects.  You connect with another professional who could possibly introduce you to a plethora of qualified leads.  You shake hands.  Exchange business cards.  Promise to call.  You breathe in a sigh of relief and think, “My work here is done… this is exactly what I came here for!”   As the event goes on, you meet a few more like-minded folks.  You can’t wait to get back to the office to schedule appointments with them.

However the scene is anything but peaceful and serene when you return to your office.  There are voicemails to return, emails to answer, a proposal to complete, paperwork to file, and oh yeah – when was the last time you posted on Facebook?   Before you know it, a few hours go by and the day is done.  Two days are done, and then three days, and four.  Pretty soon, you  can barely remember who you wanted to follow up with and why, let alone find where you put their business card!

And just like that, it happens… time passes and urgency diminishes, you lose the excitement as well as a golden opportunity for creating a collaborative partnership with a new connection.  You’ve lost the opportunity to capitalize on a meaningful encounter and actually building your business through referrals.

You’ve likely heard it mentioned, “The fortune is in the follow up.”  Follow up and follow through is a necessity!  It’s like wanting to pitch a baseball but dropping the ball during the windup.  Following through with new connections is critical if you want to pitch within the strike zone.  It’s an absolute necessity to build real and genuine connections that flourish into mutually beneficial  relationships where referrals and contacts are safely shared between both parties.  It takes trust which you can build and earn through consistent and regular follow-up.

But who has time to follow up?  About 1% of the population actually makes it a priority to follow up with a new connection within 48 hours.  For the remaining 99% of the population, we have every intention of following up but don’t make the time to do so or don’t have a good follow up system.

To be successful at following up, you need a plan, you need a system and you need to follow it!

Good follow up includes consistent and meaningful encounters.  It means people see you, hear from you and have the opportunity to talk to you on a regular basis.  The more often you have meaningful encounters with your contacts, the greater the opportunity to build trusting relationships.  Meaningful encounters can include an emailed or mailed newsletter, mailing or emailing a link to an article they might find interesting, acknowledging birthdays and special occasions with a phone call, card or social media post, remembering and asking about previous conversations you’ve had with them, initiating introductions so they can meet needed resources, sending referrals and leads, inviting them to an event they might like to attend with you, and the list can go on.

Now, let me clarify – I’m not suggesting you “stalk” your contacts.  I’m simply recommending you follow up with and take the time to get to know new contacts, enabling you the ability to really add value, serve and give in a way that is meaningful to them.  Regardless of how detailed and sensational your follow up plan is, be forewarned that relationship building doesn’t happen overnight.

Just remember… it’s a little give, and it’s a little take and it’s a whole lot of follow through that leads to success in the end.

For guidelines, tools and ideas to create and implement a simple follow up plan that you can maintain on a consistent basis, check out BTM’s SERVICE TO SENSATIONAL.  SAVE $40 if you order by September 30, 2011.

(c) 2011 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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

If You Want To Be A BIG Business, Start Acting Like One

By Sabrina Risley

As a business owner, you are intimately aware of the hard work that goes into growing, building and expanding a business… month after month, year after year.  What do you see when you look back on the previous year and compare it to where you are now.  If you’d like to see expansive growth over the coming year, it might be time to switch things up.  After all, you cannot continue doing what you are currently doing and expect to see different results, one year from now. 

If you want to be a BIG business, you have to start acting like one.  Below are a few strategies you might consider to step up your game.  After reading, I’d love your feedback and any ideas you have.

Public Relations – Raise community awareness of your business by a number of means including distributing press releases, getting involved in professional networking organizations (not just attending), increasing your community involvement, volunteering for charities and non-profits, sponsoring community and other programs, and joining service organizations  such as Rotary,  Kiwanis, Optimist, and Soroptimist.  A great resource for finding volunteer opportunities in your area is www.Serve.gov.  Having read all this, if you are overwhelmed with formulating a strategic PR plan, consider hiring a PR firm for professional guidance and assistance.

Outsource or Hire Staff – Business owners often wear hats belonging to bookkeeping, sales, marketing, advertising, social media, administrative assistants, customer service, plus more.  Outsource what you can or hire experts to handle what you don’t enjoy, can’t manage effectively or is preventing you from focusing on strategy and nurturing important relationships.

License Your or Their Products/Services – If you’ve got a great brand, consider licensing your product to partners, an extended sales force, adding revenue to your bottom line.  You can receive upfront payment and then royalties for each sale.  Or, if adding products/services to your repertoire makes sense, find a company offering complementary products and look into a licensing partnership with them.  Either option can bring great value and revenue to your business.  However, it may be best to hire a consulting firm and/or intellectual property attorney to protect your interests.  I thought these articles were helpful:  How to License Someone Else’s Product and How to Successfully License a New Product or Invention.

Document, Implement & Automate Processes –Free yourself up by investing in CRM software, auto-responders, card sending programs, customer service processes, sales from your website, and… what else?  What are you doing that a system or a person can be doing for you once the process has been defined and documented?   Documentation is crucial to minimize time spent training new or retraining existing employees.   Automate with caution… do not automate what you feel requires a personal touch or interaction.

These are just a few ideas that, with consistent effort, can take your business to the next level.  Keep in mind that results may not show up immediately as it can take time to achieve measurable results.  But once you start seeing that upward curve in your revenue, you’ll see that it was worth the wait.  What ideas can you share with us that have worked for you or what are you switching up to take your business to the next level?

(c) 2011 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

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The 7 Secrets to Soulful Marketing

By Andrea Costantine

Have you ever wondered how you could grow your business more authentically and with more soul?  Well, it’s time you found out.
(Following is an excerpt from the book Soulful Marketing: Heart Centered Marketing for Conscious Entrepreneurs,which is being GIVEN away for FREE through May 20, 2011. Grab your copy here http://bit.ly/soulmktg and read Sabrina’s chapter included in the book, Networking Is More Than A Numbers Game).

There are seven foundational essentials that are extremely important in order for the principles of Soulful Marketing to transform your business. These essentials include self-expression, a service mindset, heart based marketing, living your life purpose, having passion for your work, a desire to achieve big things – no regard for living a mediocre life – and a deep commitment to your success.

#1 Self-Expression

Self-expression is a pivotal part of having a thriving business.  There is no point in having a business that leaves you feeling drained, unappreciated, and lacks creativity. Self-expression comes in many forms and is unique to each individual. That in itself is the beauty of it. One person may feel fully self-expressed building websites all day, while another needs to paint, write, or speak. Self-expression is the core truth of who you are and what you stand for.  Knowing what you value and living these values in your daily life is the key to self-expression. A business that doesn’t allow you the room to create from the deepest levels of who you are will leave you feeling drained, burned out, and exhausted.

#2 Service Mindset

A service-mindset, which I will go into more detail about later, is the way to remove the neediness out of your business, take the selling out of your offer, and allow you to “serve” your soul-market. A service mindset eliminates the worry of whether or not a prospect will buy or take advantage of your products. It is also the secret behind creating magnetic energy that attracts clients to you – effortlessly.

#3 Heart Based Marketing

Heart based-marketing is about tapping into the core of who your soul-clients are, figuring out what problems you can solve for them, what you do to bring value to their lives and then speaking and marketing to them in a way that shows you are the solution to their challenges. This is marketing without fear. You do not need to use the typical fear style marketing that many businesses use in the world today. Instead, you can reach people at a soul level in order to inspire them to purposeful action.

#4 An Expression of Your Purpose

Your business must be an expression of your life purpose. Having a business solely to make money without regard for the product or services that you are offering, cannot work under the Soulful Marketing paradigm.  Each person’s life purpose is defined differently, and if you are unsure of whether or not you are living your life purpose, I highly suggest you take advantage of the many ways in which you can discover this powerful life changing information.

Without knowing your true life purpose, it’s all too easy to flounder in your business and wane back and forth on the direction you would like to go. Knowing your life’s purpose will help you move forward faster and with more confidence. I must admit when I first discovered these things about myself, I realized it was my right and responsibility to fulfill my divine destiny. It adds clarity to your business – even if you aren’t sure of “how” you will live it after you have “discovered yourself.”

#5 Passion

Passion and purpose tie in together. Without one you cannot have the other. Sadly, there are times when I come across someone who has lost their passion for their work. Passion is required for your business; otherwise, it’s all too easy not to send out that marketing email, not to make that phone call, to hide behind administrative work, and not to put yourself out there. Passion is the key that drives you. If you can keep your passion high and practice proper self-care to illuminate your soul, you can make it through the difficult times and overcome adversity and fears that are a natural part of being an entrepreneur.

#6 Strong Desire to Live Big

Those who implement Soulful Marketing must have a strong desire to do big things with their life and business and refuse to settle with living a mediocre life. I am serious when I say that if you are okay with living a mediocre life then this is not the book and way for you. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with mediocrity – in fact, some days I crave it – but in general, if you aren’t committed to playing out fully in your life and achieving the biggest possible vision for yourself – finding success as a soulful entrepreneur will be almost impossible.

#7 Commitment

Lastly, you need a deep commitment to your work. Without this commitment it is impossible to achieve your aspirations as there will be days, moments, or even weeks when the going will get tough. It is only with commitment that you can fight back and resist the urge to walk out on your dreams.

            When it comes to implementing the work presented in this book, it is critical that you assess whether your business meets these seven essential foundations of Soulful Marketing. If you find that you are lacking in even one area, seek out support to bridge the gap. It’s only when all seven of these principles are in action that you will prosper and your business will grow.

Be sure to download the FREE ebook of Soulful Marketing: Heart Centered Marketing from Conscious Entrepreneurs at http://bit.ly/soulmktg   – only available until midnight 5/20.11.

Andrea Costantine is the co-creator of Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women and How to Bring Your Book to Life This Year: An Exploratory Guidebook on Writing and Self-Publishing. Andrea is passionate about service, self-expression, and creativity and enjoys unleashing that spirit in others. Andrea is a professional freelance writer, author, speaker, and artist. She resides in Denver, CO. www.andreacostantine.com.

(c) 2011 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Building Rapport For Immediate Results

By Andrea Costantine

In the business and marketing world, experts agree that people do business with individuals they know, like and trust. Building rapport with others helps to establish the know-like-trust factor, thereby increasing your potential to do business with those you meet while networking.  Rapport is a critical to growing your business, building trust, and improving your relationship with others. High levels of rapport allow potential clients to move through your sales cycle faster, converts clients to utilize your services longer, and helps them to easily and quickly begin referring business to you.

So, what is rapport?  Rapport can be defined in a variety of ways however each has its place in the daily work of a professional.  An online search defines rapport as:

*A relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people

* Commonality of perspective: being in “sync” with, or “being on the same wavelength” as the person you are talking with.

* A feeling of comfort or connectedness between people

* The presence of harmony, trust, and cooperation in relationship

By the definitions alone you can gather the importance rapport has on not only attracting new clients and business partners, but actually retaining them for long-term profitable relationships.

Building rapport is a learned skill and understanding some basic yet key points about how you interact with others can significantly improve the rapport you have with them.  Rapport can be gained by finding commonality, offering compliments when appropriate, acknowledging others, heart-based listening and effectively communicating.  Even words, body language and tone all contribute to increasing or decreasing your rapport with others.

While entrepreneurs and professionals may realize the importance of rapport, many often forget to establish rapport first or struggle with understanding how to effectively and quickly build rapport to connect with new contacts. While establishing rapport with others is often subconscious and intuitive, the ability to build rapport is a skill that can be developed with training, tweaking, practice and awareness.

Note from Sabrina Risley:  Check out my friend, George Ira Carroll, better known as “The Breakthrough Coach,” as he hosts his May 6, 2011 Breakthrough Seminar Instant Rapport and Lasting Relationships: 7 Unstoppable Steps to Expanding your Network and DOUBLING your Referral Business!  I am honored to be a guest speaker at this seminar,  sharing my perspective and tips on how to deepen budding personal & professional relationships.

(c) 2010, 2011  Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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

Andrea Costantine is a writer, speaker, and wanna-be artist, focusing on the good things in life.  She is a perpetual optimist, lover of nature, yoga, travel, and new experiences.  Learn more about Andrea at www.andreacostantine.com.

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