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 

Death By Coffee: Seven Effective Networking Strategies for the New Year

By Sabrina Risley, extrapolated with permission from an article by Alecia Huck, Maverick & Company.

It’s the start of a brand new year and you know what that means.  That’s right, it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions!  At the very least, this means the crowd at the gym will quadruple.  Traditionally, it also means the number of professionals who get out and network more than triples.  But just as the gym crowd eventually wanes, so too can the crowd at networking events.  I attribute this waning to ineffective networking which causes wheel-spinning, something for which professionals rightly have little tolerance and therefore let up on networking.

If you intend to do any amount of networking this year, you will want to do so strategically so as to make networking a useful and sustainable marketing activity. Networking without an effective strategy is what Alecia Huck (the sassy CEO & Founder of Maverick & Company) refers to as “Death By Coffee.”  She outlines some incredible strategies for effective networking in her article, The Seven Most Common, Most Surprising Networking Mistakes & How to Do It Better.

START WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT – One of the biggest missed opportunities is to actually connect, reconnect and interconnect the network you already have. Leverage the work you’ve already done and the relationships you’ve already got before you start spending time and energy trying to build new ones. Identify Strategic Partners, Candidates and Contacts and then focus your time on Strategic Partners and that small group of Candidates that are most likely to become Strategic partners and sources of referrals.

LOOK FOR GREAT STRATEGIC PARTNERS – If you focus on finding clients, you’re focused on finding one person to write you one check.  Alternately, a single Strategic Partner is worth 10-100 clients and can connect you with multiple opportunities on an ongoing basis. Looking for Strategic Partners will get you further, faster, than just looking for your next client.

INVEST STRATEGICALLY, NOT EVENLY – Spending time with bad candidates means you have less time to spend with good ones.  Not all potential connections are a good fit for your business. Not all connections are created equal. Understand who is a good fit and who is not, act accordingly and spend your time wisely.

SEE GOOD PEOPLE 3x’sOne coffee meeting is just the beginning of something, not the completion of it and if the person IS a good partner, one coffee will not be enough. Relationships are built primarily through shared experiences and shared connections. As a general rule for new connections, you want to see good people 3 times in 3 months in order to build a real relationship. As the relationship progresses, follow up accordingly, based on whether or not they end up as a good Strategic Partner.

PRE-PLAN EVENTS FOR EASY RECONNECTING – Each month, look for and put events in your calendar to give yourself multiple options for inviting Candidates to and staying connected or reconnecting with good people. This also makes it infinitely easier to hit your 3 meetings in 3 months goal with good new contacts. Think beyond coffee meetings… power lunches, large open events and educational events. Pre-planning allows you to have events you can mention during a good first meeting AND reasons to call and reconnect after.

BRING A BUDDY – Time is a precious commodity and when you go to an event alone, you miss a golden opportunity to make your investment of time and energy do double duty.  Even if the person cannot attend with you, the simple act of calling allows you to reconnect and they are sure to be flattered to have been invited.  Carpool to get some good one-to-one time or make a plan to meet several people at an event, allowing you to make multiple re-connections at the same event.  Just don’t go alone.

CONNECT TO NETWORKS, NOT INDIVIDUALS – It takes time to build relationships and credibility with new people. It also takes time to stay connected. When you INTERCONNECT your network, you leverage all your past investments.  So connect to existing networks and connect your contacts to your other contacts to build networks around you.  Your old connections will share about other projects results with your new connections. Your people will talk to each other about you. They’ll often do business together, like each other, and build relationships of their own. It’s far easier to stay connected to a web of connected people than it is to stay in touch with a bunch of individuals.

As with most things in life, success is not about working harder, it’s about working smarter. Knowing a few simple secrets and following a few simple rules can make a HUGE difference in how effective your networking efforts will be. While all seven strategies are important and useful, applying even ONE will make a positive difference. Often the source of a major breakthrough is a relatively minor shift in strategy.

Cheers to you and effective networking in the New Year!

(c) 2012 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 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.

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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.

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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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.

No Brown Cows in This Pasture!

by Sabrina Risley

What do companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, KrispyKreme and Apple all have in common?  They are Purple Cows.  They are the trailblazers in their industry, pioneering their new and innovative product(s) or approach.  In his book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable, marketing guru and best-selling author, Seth Godin argues that no matter how many marketing dollars you throw at your business, it is wasteful spending if your company isn’t unique, memorable, worth talking about, phenomenal, or just down-right remarkable in the first place.  Be the purple cow amidst a field of brown cows or risk being ordinary, invisible and left behind. 

So where do you start as you embark on this idea of “reinventing” your business and becoming a purple cow?  First, I highly recommend you read the book Purple Cow.  It’s an easy and entertaining read, with practical examples and stories.  In the meantime, start with these 3 considerations, loaded with questions to get you thinking.

Go From Good to Remarkable.  These days, even being “very good,” is ordinary.  What would it take to turn your very good widget into an extraordinary widget?  What can you do to trigger a bit of controversy or teeter on the edge of outrageous?  What can you do to increase your “gossipability” factor?  Push the limits to make your widget the tallest or shortest, the biggest or smallest, the most expensive or the most affordable.

Reflect on Suggestions, Recommendations and Complaints.  When someone provides you with a suggestion, if your inclination is to brush it off, then STOP… that is the very suggestion to which you need to pay the most attention.  An outside perspective might be just what you need to go from very good to remarkable.  What are some of the recommendations you’ve rejected as too far-fetched?   Fetch them for reconsideration.  Is there a gap you can fill between what consumers are receiving as compared to what they really want?  What would make their life easier?  What is missing from what your widget provides today?   What can you add (or take away) that would cause your raving fans to boast even more?  What can be done to address complaints you’ve received?  Consider the one risky suggestion you could implement that would yield a better widget.

Dare to Compare.  In order to stand out from the crowded marketplace, you need to deviate from the norm.   What is your competition doing and can you do the opposite?  What would you change about what market leaders are doing to make your widget more remarkable?   Is there a different niche or target market you can serve?  Think about noteworthy widgets in your market.  What can you do to take it to the next, or at least a different level?

With competition fierce and more companies than you care to think about vying for consumer spending dollars, you really need set yourself apart.  Following the mold that  everyone else is “doing it this way” or that you have always “done it this way” is not going to increase your “gossipability” factor.  Be that purple cow in the pasture with the ordinary brown cows and stand out as something worth talking about.

(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.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking and referral group 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, as well as referral groups 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.  To learn more about Behind The Moon, please visit http://www.BehindTheMoonInc.com

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