27 Jan 2012
I write two weekly blogs for a networking group to which I belong called, Contacts N Coffee , so I decided to write my weekly blog about my observations of people when they network; little quirks and habits, if you will, that I have noticed over the past few weeks. Here they are!
I am holding myself back from doing a “Things Not to Do At A Networking Meeting” because I believe in being positive. So, I will reframe my remarks as questions. See how many of these questions you answer “yes!” (This is not a test and will not be handed in or graded)
- Do you work the room passing out your business cards, even if someone doesn’t ask for one?
- Do you stand in front of the room, facing everyone, during your 30-second commercial?
- Do you talk to someone else during the presentations – 30 second and 10 minute?
- Do you arrive a bit early or on time?
- Do you sit in the same general area for every meeting?
- Do you know exactly what you are going to say when it is your turn?
- Do you think about what you are going to wear to the meeting?
- Do you leave immediately when the meeting is officially over?
- Does your raffle item reflect what you do or a product that is related to the business or service you represent?
- Do you make a point to meet at least two new people at every meeting?
- Do you go home and think about the meeting and people you have met that may be a “good fit” for someone else you know?
- Are you comfortable in your own shoes?
No one ever said networking was easy. For some people, it is extremely difficult because they are moving outside of their natural comfort zone and quite frankly, would probably rather be back in bed – safe, warm, not exposing themselves to strangers.
Next time you walk into a room, look for the people that are clearly not comfortable and strike up a friendly conversation. And it doesn’t and shouldn’t be about sales. How about, “What brings you here this morning?” or “Hello, we’ve never met before, do you know the structure of our meeting?”
For those of you who know me, it’s hard to believe that I was a painfully shy woman not too many years ago. I know how difficult it is to be in front of people one does not know. The beauty of Contacts N Coffee is that, in my opinion, I find most of the folks are friendly, accepting, and genuine. So run through those questions again and think about your answer. Till next week!
Laurie Hurley is the resident blogger for Contacts N Coffee Conejo Valley and Simi Valley and the Founder of The Social Networking Navigator. She helps people implement a smart business strategy using Social Media to increase their bottom line.
Reach out and touch someone” used to be a byline for the phone company. Wow. That was way before social networking was the rage. I remember watching television commercials encouraging people to call their mothers on Sunday. When you think about it, that is a great byline that is timeless. It’s just the manner in which we reach out and touch someone that has changed so drastically. So, I began thinking about how often the people I pay to provide services to me and my family; like my insurance broker, financial advisor, and mortgage broker really pay attention to me.
My financial advisor is great – every ninety days he calls my husband or me with an update about the market and what our money is doing. He makes suggestions, keeping in mind we begin paying for college soon for my oldest daughter in about eighteen months. He is on it and is always in touch. Our mortgage broker is wonderful. We have refinanced our home three times in the past four years because he is so tuned into the interest rates (as every good mortgage broker should be!) Unfortunately, my insurance broker dropped the ball.
Quick case study – every year in February our health insurance policy renews and every year we get the annual phone call from our broker comforting us about the rate increase. This year was different though. I met an insurance broker at a new networking group. Every week he would get up and tell the group how he can save us 30-40% on our premiums. I began thinking about it, and took him up on his offer. He came over and did an analysis of our current policy. Turns out, he was right! Which begs the question, where was our other insurance agent? Why didn’t he do the research and find us a lower premium with the same coverage?
My point is, staying in touch with your customers, and more importantly, with their needs, is paramount to your success and your ability to get more referrals. I have already told at least six people about our new insurance guy and passed along his card. While I do not downplay in-person networking (after all, that is how I met new insurance guy) social media makes it very easy to stay in touch. A nice post on your clients’ Facebook page, a You Tube video you share with them about something important to them, or an interesting blog post that is relevant are great ways to keep the communication open, and your name on their radar.
Think about the last time you reached out to a client just because. Do you remember when? I challenge you to leave the answer below.
So happy to feature another winner of my eBook – Carol Pompe of CP Bookkeeping. She’s one busy lady and shows up at the same networking groups I do. I asked her some questions and here are her answers, in her own words.
1) Tell me about your business and how you got started.
I started CP Bookkeeping to become a financial resource to businesses after online training through Universal Accounting and in their Professional Bookkeeper and QuickBooks Specialist programs. I took the courses via DVDs and online tests and that’s how I got I got my current Professional Bookkeeper (PB) and QuickBooks Specialist (QS) designations. Those are the round, golden colored emblems you see on my business cards and on my website.
2) How long have you been in business and what is your favorite thing about what you do?
CP Bookkeeping started in November 2009. My favorite thing about what I do is being able to customize the type of service a business wants no matter if they want me to do it all myself or if they just want my expertise to help them navigate QuickBooks themselves. The client decides what type of program works best for them and their computers.
3) Who is a good referral for you?
A good referral for me is twofold. The first type is a company that doesn’t want to spend hours upon hours trying to keep their own books and end up getting frustrated with the process. I want to be able to take the bookkeeping off an owner’s hands so he/she can focus on what they do best: run their business. The second type is a company that has QuickBooks set up in their office and they want to keep their books themselves, but they just need a QuickBooks Specialist to help navigate their way so it works best for them.
4) How can people best reach you?
I’ll respond to business owners in whatever way they want to reach me, but the best way for me to be reached is through my website where there is a contact page that business owners can complete and it’ll come directly my e-mail inbox, Carol@CPBookkeepingservice.com
18 Jan 2012
I belong to several groups on Linked In. Most of them revolve around education or social media and recommending cool social networking sites to visit. As I meander through my Groups once or twice a week, as of late, I have noticed many people leaving pointers or business tips that begin with words like, “Five Things To Avoid….”, “The Top Three Blunders When….” You get the picture. Negative stuff. Pessimistic stuff. Darn right depressing stuff!
One group in particular posed the question, “What is the Worst Social Media Sin?” Well, answers came flying in with all kinds of no-no’s and people blasting away at others who do this and that. As I read some of the responses, I realized that the question in and of itself was a Social Media Sin. Why do people focus on the negative? Why not re-word that question to say, “What is the Best Social Media Tip You Can Share?” or something of that nature? Negativity is so pervasive in our world. I make a point to surround myself with positive people, so why would I contribute to a thread that has nothing positive to contribute?
When I coach and mentor my clients, I encourage them to engage in the social stream with the voice of positivity. Appearing negative at any time will not gain you followers, or at least not followers that are invested in your business goals and growth. Bottom line – when you write a blog, record a video, or write a post, try tweaking your tips and pointers so they are helpful without the negative slant.
So, I will ask my question here – what is your best social media tip?
15 Jan 2012
Presenting another lucky winner of my eBook, “52 Ways To Soar Down The Social Media Superhighway” – Ms. Heidi Ahn of NuSkin/Pharmanex. I met Heidi at a networking meeting called Contacts N Coffee in Thousand Oaks, California. We didn’t have much time to talk at the meeting, but that afternoon Heidi called me and invited me to have a cup of coffee with her. Love that! Always nice to meet one on one with someone you want to get to know better. So, we met at a Starbucks the day before Christmas Eve. Heidi is a beautiful woman who totally embraces her brand. I asked her the following questions and here are her responses.
1) Tell me about your business.
“NuSkin/Pharmanex features more than 200 products that include skin care and supplements. Our ageLOC technology helps the genes that cause aging to express themselves in a more youthful way. I do demos using our famous anti-aging facial, the galvanic spa, which diminished wrinkles, tightens the skin and makes you look younger. And, it’s FREE – for the demonstration. As far as supplements, we use the biophotonic scanner, feature on Dr. Oz which measures your antioxidant level. Then I can recommend products to get your “numbers” higher. Finally, NuSkin as a company supports Nourish the Children, whose goal is to end starvation internationally.”
2) How did you get started in your business and how long have you been in business?
“A couple of years ago one of my friends introduced me to NuSkin. At the time I was in graduate school and started using the products. Slowly, I learned about the business side. Shortly after graduating with my MBA, I decided to be a rep. That was in June, 2011 and I’ve been doing it every since!”
3) Who is a good referral for you?
“A good referral for me is someone I can help through joining me in the business or by providing products to them.”
4) Who can people contact you?
“I can be contacted either by email at email@example.com or by cell phone (818) 577-0012.”
I admit it, I am a ham in front of the camera. I am very comfortable recording my own videos with my Flip camera. I am almost always a one-take wonder. I think about what I want to say related to my social media business or my educational businesses and I record it. Easy. Simple. Fast. Then I upload to You Tube, add some annotations, a title, some speech bubbles and I’m done! I share my videos on my Facebook business page, I tweet them, and I post them on Linked In and Google +.
So, last week I hired a professional to video me and add music, icons, and images. I really wanted something very high-end to put on my website and to use for marketing my webinars and teleclasses. I was excited. I took my time getting ready, picked out a nice top in my “pop” color and welcomed him in my home. Who knew that when all the lights were ready and it was time for me to look into the camera, I would totally freeze! I mean tongue-tied, stumbling over my words, stuttering, and basically blowing it. Not a good thing, since I bragged about the “one-take wonder” thing. I quickly ate my words.
Lucky for me, this man is top-notch and has the patience of a saint. He did so many things to make me comfortable. An hour and a half later, we had filled the tape and I was laughing and so much more relaxed. But, it got me thinking about why I fell apart; so not like me! Here are some reasons I came up with:
1) I was spending quite a bit of money to pay someone to record me with all the trimmings – the stakes were higher.
2) I wanted to be sure I said the right things and get all my talking points out – the video is only going to be about a minute long.
3) I wasn’t alone in my guest room like I am when I record myself, I had four lights on me and someone on the other side of the camera staring at me.
4) I am not a professional, he is and he picked up on my tone of voice when it wasn’t quite right, the look on my face that wasn’t always congruent with what I was saying and the sometimes repetitive words.
5) I was stressing too much on having it be perfect (the ultimate downfall of this Virgo woman)
All in all, though it was a great experience and I am looking forward to seeing the finished product. I believe in the power of video, especially when it is part of a social media marketing strategy. Video is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. I can’t wait to record another one.
Have you ever had a professional video done, and, if so, did you have the same issues I had? Please share your experience!
I am so pleased to announce our third winner of my eBook – Jane Jacobs, owner of Speak the Speech. You may be wondering why you can only see Jane’s mouth on the main page of this blog. Well, she is a speech coach, that’s why! I met Jane about a year ago at a women’s networking function and I could tell immediately that she was one together gal. In fact, since she is a professional actress and speaker, I was a bit intimidated to talk after she gave her presentation so eloquently to the group! In her own words, here is a bit about Jane:
1) Tell us about your business! Speak the Speech builds more effective communication through enhanced public speaking skills and personal communication techniques. We tailor our sessions to the needs of each client to reduce speaking anxiety, and to develop stronger techniques of communication and presentation.
2) What is your background and how long have you been in business for yourself? I have been a professional actor and coach for over 25 years, and Speak The Speech was officially founded in 2009. I tell prospective clients that my goal is not to make them a “motivational speaker,” but to be a more motivated communicator. I share my belief that “communication equals connection.” I will help them to connect their meaning to their message and connect their message to their listeners … which helps them build their connections throughout their professional and personal lives.
3) What is a good referral for you? My best referral is ANY individual who wants to be a more effective and authentic communicator in their personal lives or in the business world. My client list ranges from heads of corporations to direct marketing reps to people wanting to be more comfortable in social situations. That is why I tailor my coaching to each client’s specific needs: There is no “one size fits all” method to be a more powerful communicator.
4) How can people contact you? I can be reached via Facebook, Website, email, or they can leave a voicemail on my business line:
03 Jan 2012
There are many great books on the market about sales and marketing. This one is one of my favorites! People Buy You, The Real Secret To What Matters Most In Business by Jeb Blount, founder of Salesgravy.com.
Have you read any great books lately that you can relate to? Please share – author and title.