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Networking Is More Than Just Handing Out Business Cards

At a Chamber of Commerce Business Card Exchange several years ago a well-dress woman walked up to me, business card in hand and, in perfect form held it in both hands in front of me, gesturing for me to take it. I took the card from her and smiled. She looked up and in a polite voice, said “Thank you,” and walked away. How sad. Here was this obviously well-intentioned woman, who most likely owned an interesting business but never learned what to do at a card exchange. Somewhere she bought into the idea that you were suppose to hand out as many business cards in as little time as possible. Clearly, this does nothing but waste business cards. Great for card businesses, not so great for yours.

The other extreme is the person who spends the entire time at a card exchange talking to the same individual, sometimes even people from their own company. Again, this is quite unproductive. The purpose of a business card exchange is to get to meet new people in a pleasant atmosphere.

While there are many good books to help you hone your networking skills including, Sue Roane’s How to Work a Room, the essence of networking is quite simple.

Businesses run on relationships. I’ve always felt that everything that we do is about personal relationships and a business just gives us a playing field on which to do it.

Following that theme, growing your business is about developing and nurturing relationships and card exchanges and similar networking events are really the starting point to begin what will hopefully become a mutually rewarding relationship.

Since your time is limited, it is a good idea to spend only a short time speaking with people, especially those you already know. If you feel a resonance with someone you’re talking with, make arrangements to follow-up your connection at a later date and move on to meet someone else. I’m sure the shy looking person in the corner, who is probably there for the very first time, has something interesting to say. Why not go over and extend your hand.

The other big faux paus I see over and over again, are the people who approach the networking meeting with a “me, me, me” attitude. A better approach is to learn about the other person first. You then have the option of explaining how what you do might be of interest to them. This establishes a stronger platform for communications, for as speaking legend Zig Zigler says, “You get what you want by helping other people get what they want.”

Care about the other person

There are better ways to network and meet prospective business contacts. For openers, (no pun intended) people are more responsive if you first show some interest in them and what they do. There is an old clich

Networking for Success: The 3 Phases of Small Talk

In my mind, small talk basically consists of 3 phases:

  1. The ice breaker
  2. Get to know you better
  3. Graceful exit

So let’s go ahead and briefly touch on each phase and in turn give you some concrete takeaway strategies that you can apply immediately for each.

Phase 1: The Ice Breaker So you attend a networking event… you make eye contact with someone you want to meet, you approach them and introduce yourself… now what?

Well having a few powerful, open-ended ice breaker questions should certainly do the trick. For example:

  • A tried and true ice breaker is the proverbial, “So Jeff, what do you do?” In other words “Jeff, what business are you in? Now people love talking about themselves and their business so the idea here is to get them started talking. Most people also love to hear the sound of their own voice so the ice breaker question is critical and essentially sets the tone and potential for the conversation.
  • Another good ice breaker could be, “So Jeff, what brings you here today?”

Now notice on these sample ice breaker questions I’ve repeated the person’s name. First off by doing this it will help burn that person’s name into my head so I don’t forget it. Secondly, people love the sound of their own name – so don’t be afraid to use it throughout your conversation.

Phase 2: Get To Know You Better Depending on the results of the ice breaker questions you should by now be able to determine whether or not it makes sense to get to know this person better. If not, simply skip this phase and go into your graceful exit. But if you do see a synergy here, by all means try some of these again open-ended, getting to know you better questions:

  • So Jeff, how did you get into that business?
  • What types of challenges keep you up at night?
  • Jeff, help me out here, draw me a mental picture, what does success look like for you and your business?
  • What’s new in your industry these days? Any events or trends that are shaping it?

Now you can use one, two, all of these questions, or more if the situation permits. However, be careful here not to dominate and monopolize someone’s time. If you’re at a networking event, there’s a good chance that they’re there to network and meet other people as well, so it may make sense to go to the graceful exit phase and encourage that you two get together in the near future.

Phase 3: Graceful Exit It’s vastly important how you leave a conversation – as this is the last impression you make on that person. We’re not looking to create any animosity here by rudely blowing someone off. The key here is as this phase’s title states, is to exit gracefully.

A key difference between the types of questions or statements you make in this phase as opposed to the previous two phases is that now you shift to using close-ended ones. For example:

  • Introduce the person to someone else that may be of interest to them and then politely excuse yourself. The dialogue can go something like this: “Hey Cindy I’d like you to meet Jeff. Jeff’s in the xyz industry as well and I just felt that you two should meet.” Now they exchange pleasantries and you immediately exit the conversation by saying something like, “Well you two probably have a bunch to talk about. Cindy I’ll catch up with you later and Jeff, it was great meeting you.”
  • Another example of a graceful exit may be: I can certainly see some synergy between what you and I do. Can I give you a call next week to set up some time to talk further?
  • Or, it’s been great meeting you, will I see you at future meetings?
  • And lastly, wow, this is quite an event don’t you think? Well we should probably keep moving… it was great meeting you Jeff!

So now you’re aware of and armed with some actual strategies for the 3 phases of small talk. The key now is to get in the game and practice, practice, practice and you too can see the results you would like for your business.

© 2006 Online Marketing Muscle — All Rights Reserved.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson
Visit http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com for more great information.

Networking Clubs And Their Relevance To Contract Cleaners

If you are a new business just starting out into the world of contract cleaning then your immediate aim is to gather as many new customers as you can and constantly grow the business. The initial stages are hard and it is difficult to gain those first few customers. How gain you gain a foothold in this highly competitive market? Many of the marketing strategies you might employ have been explained in previous articles. One area that was not explored in these articles was networking.

As a new business you will probably receive a number of invitations to go along to various local networking organisations meetings. At these they will no doubt try and impress upon you the huge benefits to be gained by networking. You will also be told how much business was generated for its members over a period of time. All will seem very impressive and like myself you may very well be impressed enough to join the weekly breakfast or luncheon meetings. This could cost you anything up to

Network Marketing – Why is it so great?

If you’ve ever heard of Network Marketing, you’ve probably heard it said that it is essentially a people’s business. Some have also labeled it a people’s franchise because of the similarities between the business models of network marketing and franchising. Advocates of the industry name it as the ultimate people’s business and say there is nothing quite like it. People that are in network marketing will immediately respond positively to this.

One of the unique characteristics of the network marketing type of business is that every individual distributor is in business for themselves but never by themselves. They will always be part of a larger organization and the compensation models are designed in such a way that every person can count on some form of support from their upline.

It is no secret that fortunes can be made in this type of business and many have done just that. Of course this is not the majority of network marketers, but every individual distributor does have the same chances. Success or failure in network marketing is not dictated by politics, race, age, background or gender, but always by results. In that respect it is probably also the fairest business model in the world.

For many people however the true value of their home based business is not directly in the financial return. The lessons a person can learn while building his or her own network marketing business are truly priceless. Many people are totally transformed through the personal growth they experience as a direct result of their challenges in their MLM businesses. It forced them to get out of their comfort zones, grow, and in many cases become a better person.

So what is so unique about network marketing in this respect? Doesn’t every entrepreneur have to deal with challenges? The answer of course is: Yes, they do. And they also experience personal growth as a result from this. However there is a significant difference. Most entrepreneurs are self made and many of them learned their trade largely outside of formal education. Either they were taught by a family member, a mentor or perhaps they learned everything the hard way: by trial and error. Very rarely will you find an entrepreneur that has an extensive library of books and tapes on personal development. Most businesspeople don’t attend seminars and motivational trainings. They think it’s all a bunch of hype. While in some cases this can be true, there are many trainings and seminars that teach the principles of success better than any textbook found in business schools.

One of the great things about network marketing is that this type of education is built into the training systems of all good companies. There is no business on the face of the earth that places such a strong and direct emphasis on the importance of personal development as the network marketing industry. Many companies might argue that they spend a great deal of their budget on education; training employees and as such assisting them in personal development but in most cases what they are actually talking about is personnel development. Although the words are almost identical, their meanings are vastly different.

Network marketing is all about building people. It is probably the best school on the planet if you want to learn about what it takes to be successful in life and you don’t need rich parents or some kind of scholarship to enroll.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson
Visit http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com for more great information.

Network Marketing Training — Arm Your New Distributors for Success

“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.”

- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene i (58-90)

Hamlet may not have been talking about network marketing, but his words do apply. Almost every network marketer has experienced the “slings and arrows” of the naysayers, those often well-meaning friends and relatives that stand in the way of our making an “outrageous fortune!” Experienced network marketers, clothed in the armor of past success, are less vulnerable to outside influences. The new distributor, however, is vulnerable, and that “sea of troubles” can act as a barrier to reaching their true potential.

What did the knights of old do to prevent an injury? That’s right – they armed themselves. Their armor was heavy and cumbersome, and they needed a squire to help them prepare for battle. Well, the same is true for your new distributors. While the armor they must use is less cumbersome than that of the knights, you must help them arm themselves for success. In other words, you must be their squire.

What do I mean by “arming for success?”

When a new distributor joins your network marketing organization, they are moving into an environment that demands strong armor. There are a lot of “slings and arrows” that can hurt their chances for success and create a sea of troubles — of doubt, disbelief, even failure.

As Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert T. Kiyosaki points out, most people in this world are afraid to experience success. They are held back by negative thinking, and consequently suffer the pain of mediocrity. Because they have not been armed for success, and are more focused on security and survival, they subject themselves to a life of servitude and poverty and being someone else’s employee.

Arm your new distributors from negative thinking and potential disaster. How? By understanding why so many people are negative about network marketing and the prospects of the success it can bring.

Let’s face it. There are a lot of people out there that do not want you to become successful. When you are successful, you point out the lack of success in their lives. When you take away any excuses they’ve been hanging onto and you force them to look at their lives as they really are, it makes them very uncomfortable. You’ve heard of the expression “Misery loves company.” Well, it’s true.

Doug Firebaugh, network marketing guru, calls it the “Unspoken Understanding,” which is simply the silent agreement that most people have with each other, namely “don’t mention my mediocre life, and I won’t mention yours.” Your success and the success of your new distributors, just points out the naysayers’ mediocrity.

Leaders help others. If you are going to be successful in network marketing, you must arm your new distributors against people who will try to convince them their business won’t work. Show your downline you want them to be successful. Encourage them. Show them how the most successful network marketers have achieved their success, and teach them to model those attitudes, habits, and actions. Remind your distributors that they are the CEO of their lives. Arm them with the power of positive thinking so they don’t let others live their lives for them with their negative attitudes.

To paraphrase Hamlet, by opposing negative thoughts, we end them.

Bruce Bailey, Ph.D.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson
Visit http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com for more great information.