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

~~~~~~~~

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 

Cultivating Connections That Count

By Sabrina Risley

Did you know that…

  1. A person needs to hear from you at least 7 to 27 times before they decide to do business with you?
  2. The easiest way to bring profit to your bottom line is to STOP chasing after new clients?

It’s true.  In fact, most professionals give up in the “sales cycle” after the third or fourth “touch.” The key to making your life easier, getting paid for the work you put in and feeling more fulfilled along the way, well it’s all in your…RELATIONSHIPS.  Anyone who knows me understands how much I value and place an emphasis on relationships. How you cultivate the relationships you currently have can greatly impact your success or failure in business. Making a slight shift in your mind set and coming from a place of service and giving, rather than of taking and getting, can have a profound impact on the growth of your business.

Consider these 5 factors which result when you cultivate relationships in business:

1.   It’s about being a giver. Growing your business is NOT ALL about getting a sale.  It’s also about connecting people to the resources they need and helping them to grow their business. Being a giver builds incredible trust and shows how much you really care about the people in your world.

2.   It makes you stand out from the crowd. When you focus on relationships, your business has the opportunity to grow tenfold. Why?  It makes you different, remarkable and memorable.  And people do business with those they REMEMBER.  People will remember you not only when they need your services but they will also become your raving fan. It’s word-of-mouth marketing at its finest.

3.   It builds your referral base. When you stay in touch with people on a consistent basis, those people will come to know, like and trust you.  So even if they don’t need your services, they will always remember you when someone else comes along who does.  Staying in touch and creating an effective follow up system also gives you the open door to ASK for business when you want. When you don’t stay in touch and call to ask for something, it just looks like you are a “taker” and nobody likes a taker.

4.   It allows you to leverage your contacts. You’ve heard the saying, “No man is an island.” The same goes for your business. Trying to do it all alone is difficult, challenging and tiresome. Leveraging your existing contacts is powerful, fun and profitable.

5.   When you serve, you have more fun. Building a business doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact it should be fun. When you come from a place of service and look for opportunities to connect and offer things back to others, you’ll feel more gratified and have more fun in your business. And when you have more fun, your energy will attract more of the right people to your work—increasing your impact even more.

Consider what your business will be like when you wake up one day and your email is full of inquiries about your work, your voicemail is full with messages from potential clients and opportunities, and you’ve only got a few openings in your calendar to take on new clients. Ahhh, what bliss!

There are 3 things that you absolutely MUST know about cultivating connections that count & creating a relationship strategy that works in any economy and market:

•  It’s about service, not selling.

•  It’s a system, not rocket science.

•  It’s about building bridges, not burning them.

This month, Sabrina Risley, Founder and CEO of Behind The Moon, Inc. has partnered with Andrea Costantine, Community Engagement Strategist to offer a two-part tele-seminar series titled Cultivating Connections That Count, a program designed to help business owners and sales professionals uncover and implement the simple secrets to attracting more business through Relationship Marketing and the Power of Service. During the program, we will provide you with everything you need to create an effective service plan, set yourself apart in the market place, become remarkable, and create an army of raving fans and referrals!  We are also including scripts, checklists, sample emails and loads of resources! 

JOIN US ON TUESDAY MAY 22ND AND THURSDAY MAY 24TH @ 11AM MT

We have so much to share in these two 75 minute calls.

If you are even slightly curious, CLICK HERE to learn more about Cultivating Connections That Count. Space is limited so be sure to register soon for the tele-seminar series.  And please know, this information will be available again in June 2012, however at a substantially higher price.  To take advantage of the best value, please consider participating on our LIVE calls on Tuesday, May 22nd and Thursday, May 24th.

Register Here = > http://www.andreacostantine.com/cultivateconnections/.

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

~~~~~~~~

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.

Adding Value: Does It Mean Giving Away My Stuff For FREE?

by Sabrina Risley

You may have a large network.  You may know a lot of people.  They may know a lot of people.  It seems that this alone would be the perfect formula for creating a networking goldmine, but as you may have noticed, a network alone won’t necessarily bring you endless referrals and a steady stream of new clients.  But there is one thing that will…

Adding VALUE and helping those within your network!

A concentration on adding value and service as an important facet of your business growth strategy will have a tremendous effect on what you attract.

So what does adding value and helping others really mean?  It’s like paying it forward.  It’s doing good for the sake of doing good, not for the sake of what you think you might receive in return.  It’s about serving without attachment to an outcome or expectation.  One of my favorite quotes from Bob Burg‘s Go-Givers Sell More reads “The task here is not to create value in order to create a sale or “in order to” anything.  It’s to create value, period.”

Adding value could look like any number of things:

  • Making a phone call instead of sending an email
  • Sending a handwritten note or thank you card
  • Remembering birthdays, anniversaries or other important dates
  • Making an introduction or connecting someone to another person of high-value to them
  • Recommending valuable resources and sharing information
  • Offering a free report, success tips, or valuable information that solves your target market’s problems
  • Following up with a client, contact or prospect to be sure they are satisfied
  • Thinking ahead to what your client might need, suggesting other products and services
  • Sending referrals
  • Saving a client money… and the list can go on and on.

Here are a few specific examples that might help you translate things for your own business:

  • A massage therapist or hair stylist might call their client a few days after delivering service to see how they are doing.
  • An insurance agent might call their client to let them know about new changes in their policy, how that will impact them, and offer suggestions.
  • Thinking outside the box… a professional on the networking circuit might focus on connecting at least two people from every event with someone who could be a good strategic alliance or power partner.
“The essence of the Go-Giver philosophy is this: the more you give, the more you have.”

With this quote in mind, you’ll notice what did not make my list of what adding value looks like…

  • Giving away your services and products for free
  • Discounting your services and products
  • Over-giving to a paying customer because they demand it

These are not examples of adding value.  In fact, much of the time, free or discounting decreases its perceived value. Think of what you treasure more… something for which you paid full price or the item you found on sale?  Well, happening upon a great sale can be exhilarating, however consider an article of clothing costing $100. When the item goes on sale for $50, doesn’t it make you wonder whether the item was ever worth the original $100?

To really be of service and to add value to your network and clients, your giving must contribute in some manner.  Here are a few questions to consider when determining how to add greater value in your business.

  • Is this something that will directly impact the other person?
  • Would this help them solve a problem or overcome an obstacle?
  • Could this support them in learning something new?
  • Am I giving this without being attached to getting something back in return? (giving from the heart versus giving to buy approval)
  • Can I freely give this, without it taking away from my energy, causing resentment, or it being a disservice to myself or other clients?

These are all for your consideration when looking for ways to add value.  Remember, it’s about being of service and giving, but it’s not about giving away your services and products for free, offering discounts, depleting your energy, and devaluing your time and worth.

Focus on adding value for others and you’ll soon see your business grow in value.

“Right now, your total job is to focus on one thing and one thing only; providing value to other people. If you do that well, sales – and money – will find you.” ~Go-Givers Sell More

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

~~~~~~~~

Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include the Bio information for Sabrina Risley 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.

Racing For The 2011 Finish Line

by Sabrina Risley

Santa Claus, snowflakes, reindeer and sugar plus… holiday parties, gift exchanges, hustle and bustle shopping.  With so many distractions, it’s no wonder professionals find it hard to focus on December production and sales quotas.  It would seem the perfect time to throw in the towel, call it a decent year and hope to exceed expectations next year, right?  WRONG!!

The fact remains that December is a month where a great deal of momentum can be lost or gained, making it the perfect time to continue working, even pushing, to close out an amazing year and better ensure a strong start in the New Year.  But what type of “work” are professional doing in December?  I conducted an unofficial poll on Facebook and received some great ideas shared with you below.  I’ve also sprinkled in a few of my own, the combination of which I hope includes some ideas you hadn’t thought of to keep you ahead of the curve when January 1, 2012 dawns.

Continue Income-Producing Activities.  Don’t shy away from making phone calls to prospects and clients, setting up appointments, and reaching out to power partner.  If you think people are “too busy” and you wait until January to reach out, you will already be behind the 8 ball.  Call now to set appointments for the first week in January if your contacts are not available to meet or have conversations this month.

Continue Networking! Do not let up on your networking regimen. Many believe December to be a slow networking month but this is not the case.  In December, go to as many holiday gatherings as possible on top of your regular networking venues.  Be social, make friends, add value and keep networking!

Solidify Relationships! A personal phone call goes a long way!  Review your list of clients and referral partners list and make a point of contacting them by phone to thank them for trusting you and doing business with you.  Consider inviting your customers to an appreciation event (lunch, dinner, cocktail hour) in the first quarter of the New Year. Maybe it’s time to send a New Years card to be receive it mid-January when clients least expect it.  Send a simple gift or quote that you know will resonate with your contacts. At all turns, focus on expressing your gratitude and refrain from hard selling your products or services.

Ask For Introductions! Ask those who know you and your business well for introductions to potential power partners. Then take the time to approach prospective power partners to see if they are open to a referral or cross-promotional partnership between both companies in 2012.

Get Technical & Systematic! Purchase and get the technology or software in place that you haven’t had time to address. Do you need to upgrade your computer, copier, scanner, fax?  Have you put off synchronizing your mobile devices with your desktop solution?  Maybe it’s time to finally sign up for systems to manage your customer relationships (www.Zoho.com), emails (www.Zoho.com), newsletters (Constant Contact), card-sending (Send Out Cards), social media (HootSuite). Review current processes and systems. If your accounting is manual, perhaps it’s time to outsource the task or automate and organize with Quickbooks.  What is your process when a new customer comes on board?  Is it consistent and streamlined for maximum efficiency?  How can it be improved, simplified or automated?  Take the time to thoroughly document processes to minimize the learning curve for new staff and as a reference tool for existing staff.

Revisit Your Business Plan!  Sometimes we over-estimate our capabilities and fall short of our business plan and goals from the previous year. Now is a GREAT time to revamp plans and goals so they are realistic and attainable.

Your competition is relaxing and “waiting” to hit the ground running in January.  Do not be fooled into thinking “no one” is doing business this month.  While others are slacking, continue to work smart and with diligence to keep your strong momentum and better ensure a strong start in the New Year!

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

~~~~~~~~

Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include the Bio information for Sabrina Risley 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.

Building Your Network Through Gravitational Pull

By Andrea Costantine

Have you ever felt that building your network is a struggle and takes a lot of energy and hard work?  Well, it’s quite possible that you’ve been using shear force, pushing, and paddling upstream.  This is the exact opposite of building your network through gravitational pull which is all about serving and taking a genuine interest in others, rather than “convincing” them about your greatness.

Bob Burg, author of Endless Referrals, The Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell More explains the difference between pushing vs pulling like this: “pushing is telling people what you want; pulling is finding out what they want. “ Pushing on people doesn’t move them closer to you. As Burg writes, “…ask them about themselves, find out what their interests are, put their interests ahead of your own, and you can “pull” people from vast distances. The influence created by pushing does not carry far. The influence created through pulling is limitless.”

Push strategies are me-centered, when you are talking, selling and thinking of your own interests and agenda. Pull strategies take the focus off of you and your sales and include genuinely taking an interest in others, connecting people to leads and resources, building relationships and giving in ways that meet the needs of others.

Burg also writes “The secret to developing a vast and thriving sales business is the impact you have on the people you have not yet met.” Think of the times when someone knows of you before you’ve even met them. This is your influence preceding you. So consider how you can impact, influence and grow your network using “pull” strategies. Be the person who genuinely helps and gives to others and you will find that people naturally gravitate towards you and the opportunities you have to draw great people into your network multiply significantly.

Now let’s consider how to incorporate pull strategies into your networking. To some, networking is a disguised version of “tit for tat” as Burg writes. In a dog-eat-dog world, it’s all too easy to consider “what have you done for me lately?”  Doing good deeds and being a Go-Giver isn’t about keeping score. Recognize that when you give and do for others, the returns may not come back directly from the people you serve. You will receive gifts back in a variety of ways… an old client hiring you back for an upcoming project, new business coming from the referral of a raving fan, a lead coming from a “competitor” with whom you’ve developed a respectful relationship.

Have a positive influence on others and make networking about giving and serving others. Being a Go-Giver is about doing things for others, taking a genuine interest in them, and ultimately serving the best interest of those around you. Whether you see a direct return from a particular person or not, it simply doesn’t matter, because the truth is that Go-Givers do indeed sell more.

To expand your influence and achieve the success you desire , join national best-selling author, Bob Burg and Behind The Moon live on April 8, 2011 in the Denver Tech Center for Influence & Success: The Go-Giver Way.  More Information.

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

~~~~~~~~

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.

Anchoring Deep vs Casting a Wide Net

by Rich Anderson

Not too long ago I had coffee with Mark, the owner of a merchant services company.  At the end of the meeting I asked him who a great referral would be for his company.   He responded “Anyone who takes credit cards.” 

Almost 2 years ago, I had a similar meeting with Andy, a principal of a financial advisor firm and I asked him the same question.   His response was “An ideal referral is someone who lives along the Front Range, has a net worth of $X amount, has recently left or lost their job and has a few 401k’s that need managing under one investment vehicle.”

Wow, two very different responses!  Can you see how the first answer casts a wide net and the second drills down to specifics?  The latter actually paints a great picture, allowing me to flip through my mental rolodex to see if I could identify anyone who met his criteria. The result… I sent a few referrals to Andy, two of which became his customer. 

Whether you are part of an established company or a start-up, here are some things to consider with regard to your approach in seeking referrals, whether going wide or going deep.

Going Wide – Casting a Wide Net

  • The Market:  In general terms, you have identified who your ideal client is and what they are looking for from folks in your line of work.   
  • Attend Networking Events: There are plenty of networking events around Denver.  Budget a number of these to go to each month as you never know who you can meet out there.  The more people you meet, the better.
  • Geography:   We can cover a 200+ mile radius. “Let’s go to Boulder, Highlands Ranch, Aurora and Fort Collins….today!”  We go where the business takes us.
  • Products & Services:  Be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, in order to meet a customer’s every need.
  • General Offers/Information:  Communicate with folks through Facebook, Twitter, E-blasts about your services.

Going Deep – Daring to be Specific

  • Target Market:  Day-to-day experience, research and your customer lists tell you exactly who your customers are.  You may just realize that a large percentage of your customers are in a certain industry as well.  Take the time to find out what drives these customers to do business with you and help them to do it more often.
  • Join Networking Groups:  If your Target Market is part of a Chamber of Commerce or Networking Group that also aligns with you and your Company, that’s where you need to be.  Get involved by serving on a committee or helping leaders in some way.
  • Geography:   “Hmmm…we have 3 customers on this street and there are about 25 houses here.  We need to set appointments with the rest of those homeowners…today!”
  • Products & Services:   Limit your offerings to your core competency.  Build ties with those who offer products or services that you don’t, yet closely mirror you and your brand.  Meet with these people often as you will become great referral partners for each other and build powerful relationships.
  • Specific Offers/Information:  Craft specific offers/information to Target Markets and Existing Customers that are unique for that group.

Going Wide has many merits and can be used strategically in each of our businesses.  The idea of Going Deep is worth consideration since it brings the highest levels of relationships, loyalty and ultimately more market share and density. 

Good luck and Good Selling!

For Behind The Moon By Rich Anderson, the Founder and CEO of ClearView Water;

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

~~~~~~~~

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.

 a Colorado based water filtration Company.  He has formed great and deep relationships and referral partnerships within the Behind The Moon Network by implementing the strategy of Going Deep. Learn more about Rich or contact him via his website at http://www.clearviewwater.com/.

%d bloggers like this: