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.

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Building Rapport For Immediate Results

By Andrea Costantine

In the business and marketing world, experts agree that people do business with individuals they know, like and trust. Building rapport with others helps to establish the know-like-trust factor, thereby increasing your potential to do business with those you meet while networking.  Rapport is a critical to growing your business, building trust, and improving your relationship with others. High levels of rapport allow potential clients to move through your sales cycle faster, converts clients to utilize your services longer, and helps them to easily and quickly begin referring business to you.

So, what is rapport?  Rapport can be defined in a variety of ways however each has its place in the daily work of a professional.  An online search defines rapport as:

*A relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people

* Commonality of perspective: being in “sync” with, or “being on the same wavelength” as the person you are talking with.

* A feeling of comfort or connectedness between people

* The presence of harmony, trust, and cooperation in relationship

By the definitions alone you can gather the importance rapport has on not only attracting new clients and business partners, but actually retaining them for long-term profitable relationships.

Building rapport is a learned skill and understanding some basic yet key points about how you interact with others can significantly improve the rapport you have with them.  Rapport can be gained by finding commonality, offering compliments when appropriate, acknowledging others, heart-based listening and effectively communicating.  Even words, body language and tone all contribute to increasing or decreasing your rapport with others.

While entrepreneurs and professionals may realize the importance of rapport, many often forget to establish rapport first or struggle with understanding how to effectively and quickly build rapport to connect with new contacts. While establishing rapport with others is often subconscious and intuitive, the ability to build rapport is a skill that can be developed with training, tweaking, practice and awareness.

Note from Sabrina Risley:  Check out my friend, George Ira Carroll, better known as “The Breakthrough Coach,” as he hosts his May 6, 2011 Breakthrough Seminar Instant Rapport and Lasting Relationships: 7 Unstoppable Steps to Expanding your Network and DOUBLING your Referral Business!  I am honored to be a guest speaker at this seminar,  sharing my perspective and tips on how to deepen budding personal & professional relationships.

(c) 2010, 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.

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.

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. 

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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.

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. 

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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.

 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/.

The Most Important Factor in Receiving Referrals = YOU!

by Sabrina Risley

Now more than ever, referrals are a key component to business growth. The Referral of a Lifetime by Tim Templeton is one of my favorite books and one I recommend to many professionals. In it, we are reminded of the power of referrals. You see, being given a referral means the referring party strongly endorses your product, your service and even you. By the simple act of referring, the contact who referred you has given you a strong recommendation, therefore you are already viewed favorably. Be mindful that people are more likely to believe what others say about you as compared to what you say about yourself. For someone to say that your company has amazing customer service has a much greater impact than you proclaiming that your service is amazing. It’s the essence of the third-party endorsement that gives you strength.

So how do you go about turning the wheels of the referral cycle?  I’d like you to consider 4 components:
Ask, Educate, Assure and Guide.
Ask for referrals. People want to help you so don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Take a look at your current list of contacts, clients and individuals in your circle of influence. You have permission to ask for referral from individuals: (1) with whom you have a good relationship, (2) who know your work ethic and service levels, (3) who endorsed your product/service, (4) to whom you currently send referrals.
Educate your referral sources. Do they know enough about you, what you offer, and what constitutes a good referral? Identify your “carrot” or buzz words that they can listen for as they interact with people, and share your carrot words with your referral sources. Education can be provided any number of ways including informative newsletters, direct mail pieces, and one-on-one conversations.
Assure your referral sources. Pledge that you will always deliver top notch service and look out for the best interest of anyone they refer. Prepare yourself for the occasion in which you might need to recommend another company if you are unable to meet the needs and expectations of your new referred contact. Be sure to communicate back to the referring party to let them know what has transpired with their referral (ie, they hired you, purchased your product, recognized it wasn’t a good fit).
Guide your referral sources. Let them know how best to introduce new referrals to you so all parties have the greatest opportunity for success. For example, you might ask your referral source to kindly: (1) provide you with the new contact’s name and telephone number, (2) let you know which of your products or services the contact has an interest, (3) advise their contact to expect a follow up phone call from you.
When you are asking for referrals, educating your sources, assuring them of your commitment to deliver quality service and guiding them so they know how to deliver a referral, you are facilitating the process to receiving referrals that actually lead to business growth.
(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.

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

The Business Books that Changed My Life & Business

By Sabrina Risley

There are quite a few books that I have enjoyed over the years that have greatly impacted my business.  I wanted to take the time to share those with you here.

The Referral of a Lifetime by Tim Templeton  – This was one of the first books that I read and was gifted to me by a colleague. It literally changed my perspective on networking, referrals, and helping others to grow their business and ultimately helping to grow mine.  This book helps you to understand the power of a referral and how it can change your business.

Million Dollar Rainmaker by Ed Robinson – Another great book about really caring about others, building relationships and putting others needs before your own. A “rainmaker” is a type of person to whom business and money flows easily simply because of who they are and how they operate in their business.

Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard – The main theme of this book is that it’s easy to build your business when you have Raving Fans and people out there who love your work and love to spread good news about you to others.  This is an excellent book about customer service and doing the things a little differently in your business.

The Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell More by Bob Burg & John David Mann – Both are some of my all time favorites. The Go-Giver is an easy-read, very compelling parable.  Go-Givers Sell More combines the esssence of The Go-Giver with Burg’s book, Endless Referrals.  The essence of the Go-Giver series is how doing for others comes back to you with such great magnitude, more than you could ever know and that business grows naturally when focusing on the needs of others and taking your needs and agendas out of the equation.

I am happy to announce that the author of The Go-Giver, Go-Givers Sell More and Endless Referrals, Bob Burg will be in Denver on Friday May 7th.  Be sure to reserve your spot today at www.bit.ly/9H9JsF.

(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.

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

Why Going Once is Never Enough

By Sabrina Risley

Have you ever attended a networking meeting and thought, “Well that didn’t work?” It’s a common thought, but I’ve got to tell you that attending once is rarely, if ever, enough.

Networking is about long-term relationship building which generally takes time, effort, and energy.  Going to a networking event once won’t create the amount of trust needed for people to start referring business to you or to start working with you.  It occasionally happens, but it’s rare.  And when it does happen quickly, it’s commonly due to the fact that they needed your product or service and seldom because they “liked you that much.”

Many people hop from networking group to networking group, saying “networking doesn’t work.”  It’s ironic how those feeling this way are the ones who don’t stick with it and commit to networking.

Here’s a few tips to formulating a networking plan that really works:

1. Visit a handful of networking groups on a regular basis.  Find one or two networking groups that draw people with whom you resonate and then commit to returning to those groups.   Do not return to the groups that don’t fit with your business or your personality.

2.  Make connections and engage people you meet at your chosen networking groups. Listen for cues on how to connect them to others and how you can otherwise give, help and add value to their day.  

3. Be consistent. Attending the same networking groups consistently, week after week or month after month shows people that you are serious about your business.  Consistency gives you the credibility and staying power needed to build trust with fellow networkers. Additionally, some rely on seeing you on a regular basis and depend on being able to connect with you at the event(s) you’ve frequented.  I’ve seen countless professionals quit or stop attending, leaving fellow networkers wondering what happened to them, and perhaps even saying “Hey, where is Jane, I had a referral for her.”

So my best advice to making networking work for you is to choose your groups wisely, be diligent about making connections and be consistent.  Implement these three simple factors and you will be well on your way to successful networking to grow your business.

(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.

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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