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 

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.

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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.

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.


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