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 

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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.

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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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