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.

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Becoming a Referral Superstar: Asking For Referrals So You Actually RECEIVE Referrals!! (Part 2 of 2)

by Sabrina Risley

Last month, I shared Part One on how to become a Referral Superstar, so you can build a referral network that actually delivers referrals. I shared WHY you want to use referrals to build your business, WHO your potential referral partners are, and asked you to be specific in WHAT you are looking for in a referral.

If you’ve completed your “homework,” you are now ready to move on.  If not, be sure to Read Part One first.  Referral Superstars, let’s talk about WHEN and HOW to ask for referrals.

W #4 = When

Once you know who to ask and you’ve identified what to specifically ask for, knowing when to ask is crucial. Asking a contact too soon can feel like asking someone to marry you on a first date.

It’s never too late to ask for referrals once you’ve:

  • Established rapport,
  • Formed a trusting relationship,
  • Ensured them you will take care any contacts they send your way.

A great time to ask for referrals is right after you’ve successfully completed work and you’ve delivered excellent customer service resulting in a very satisfied customer. This customer is in a state of gratitude and appreciation for the work you’ve completed for them and they are ready to share that experience with others. For example, as an insurance agent, you just wrote a new policy for a client and saved them $200 per year. This is the perfect time to ASK for a referral!

Within your network and circle of influence, when to ask can be a little tricky. As we’ve said before, asking too soon can be damaging to the relationship. Most people need to see or hear from you an average of 7 to 9 times before they feel confident and comfortable with you and your products or services. To speed up rapport building and trust, make a habit of reaching out to your contacts consistently. Create a plan of contact.

If in doubt, wait it out. Consider the number of quality “touches” you’ve made with this person, if it’s less than five, enlist a few more measures to ensure you are establishing rapport, trust, and confidence. Perhaps you can pick up the phone and ask what they most need right now, take them to coffee or have lunch after a networking event, or even send a referral or connection their way. Individuals with Bob Burg’s Go-Giver® mentality receive the most.

How:

Once you know who your referral sources are, you’ve identified what a good prospect looks like and you know when to ask, you are ready to actually ask for the referral. Asking for referrals can be intimidating, but if you’ve followed the instructions on when to ask, your request will be well-received.

Here is how to phrase the question.

  • Start by asking an open ended question. Instead of asking “Do you know anyone?” ask, “Who do you know?”
  • To increase your chance of receiving referrals, use the specifics about what your ideal referral looks like. The more general you are, the harder it is for people to recall someone in need of your service. However, if you ask for a specific referral like, “Who do you know that is currently looking to move out of state and sell their home?” people can more readily pinpoint who in their network fits into that specific scenario.

Here are a few more examples to consider:

Realtor: “Who do you know in your wine club that is getting ready to retire within the next two years?”

Marketing:  “Who do you know in Littelton that is struggling to build their business using online marketing strategies?”

Financial Planner: “Who do you know in the Denver metro area that is a higher level executive and recently switched companies?” (You see, they might need their 401k managed).

Here’s another example of how to ask for referrals.  In his book, Endless ReferralsBob Burg suggests, “Anne, I’m in the process of expanding my referral business, and I find it’s helpful to partner with my clients and friends such as you. Could we take a few quick minutes to run past the names of some people I might also be able to help?”

Practice asking for referrals and find the words that work for you. But simply asking for referrals sets you apart from 90% of the professionals within your industry.  All you need to do is follow the Why, Who, What, When and How, and you’ll soon become a Referral Superstar.

For related reading, see also our Janauary 2011 post, The Most Important Factor to Receiving Referrals = YOU!

(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.

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.

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.


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.

Five Keys To Authentic Marketing

by Andrea Costantine

For a long time, I struggles between doing what I thought other people thought I should do and with what was really important to me.  Lately, I have been seeing all the signs that authentic marketing is the best and only marketing.  So today, I want to give you permission to be yourself.
1.  Always be your best self. In addition to not only being authentic in everything you do, be your best. Give people your all and if you cannot for any reason, then let them know immediately. You will get a better response from people if you are honest about your true abilities than if you pretend you are something you are not.
2.  Don’t be afraid to show the real you. If you are really silly and quirky – show it. If you have a side of you that no one knows about it – tell people. If you have children, talk about them. People want to know you. Remember people buy from people and building relationships are the only way to move ahead. When you show your true self, whether it is pictures of your cats or stories of your vacation, people want to know about it. Don’t be shy; share your message with the world!
3.  Stay the course. You will come across some people who may not connect with you, and guess what? That is completely okay. I learned this lesson early in life and it is an important one. You won’t do business with everybody and everybody is not going to do business with you. We need to connect with people. That’s why there is so much abundance in the world. One person can’t have it all, because there is plenty to go around.
4.  Always give more in use value than you get in monetary value. This ties in with giving your best self, but it is much more than that. Go a step above for people, go with the intent and mindset who can I serve, who can I give to and move away from the thinking of what can I get and what can I take. People can smell a rat and they will run the other way. Give, give, and give some more!
5.  Know your core values. What do you really value in life? Sometimes many people don’t even know the answer to this. They just go through life unconsciously, not even knowing what is important to them. I guarantee that what is important to you is important to your target market. Start expressing your values to others in what you do. Work with integrity and never waiver from that. You will quickly gain respect!
Be yourself, be authentic, act with integrity. When you work in these ways you will attract all that you desire into your life. But if you are going around trying to be someone or something you are not, life will be hard, it will be a struggle, and you will never feel fully aligned with your work and life.
(c) 2010 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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