Strategies For Successful Business Networking
There are a variety of organizations that run networking groups across the country. The largest group is probably BNI, which offers members the chance to attend weekly meetings and develop new professional relationships to help them grow their business. some chambers of commerce are now organizing “leads groups” for their members as well. These groups are intended to offer members a way to connect with each other and potentially refer each other business.
In most “leads groups” each group allows no more then one representative from any industry, so if the group has a mortgage broker other mortgage brokers have to join another group or wait for the seat to open up. The idea is that by restricting membership, you eliminate competition within the group.
The agenda at most structured networking meetings is pretty straightforward. Each member is given an opportunity to introduce themselves, then there is a short presentation by one or two members (each member gets the chance eventually). The meeting ends with members discussing potential referrals for each other. This means that most of the members get about one minute to present who they are and teach the other members of the group how to refer to them.
Most people do a great job of presenting themselves. However, most people do not think to ask for referrals. At most networking events, you are not expected to ask for a referral or explain what a good referral for you is. However, at a leads group it is not only acceptable, it is expected!
I am involved in a number of networking groups and have used the simple outline below to create my elevator pitch (quick introduction). When I deliver my elevator pitch to a leads group, my goal is to educate everyone in the room about my company and what I do, as well as to teach them the best way to refer others to me. In addition, I want to make sure I actually ask for a specific referral. I will go through each piece of the outline in detail, but here are the basics.
o Position + company name
o Location of the company
o Overview of services
* Tell a story
* Call to action
The introduction piece of your presentation should stay the same every time you give it. You might say something like, “My name is Joe Smith. I am mortgage broker at ABC mortgages in Anytown, USA. We offer a full line of residential and commercial mortgage products.” You can add some additional detail, but you should really focus on keeping this short and on point.
At each meeting, you will have the chance to differentiate yourself from the competition by telling a short story during your presentation. The story can be related to a specific challenge you helped a client overcome, a unique feature of your product or service, or you can simply talk about a new development at your company. Consider writing out your stories in advance so you know what you are going to say at each meeting. In addition, you can schedule the content so that the other members of your group learn more and more about you at each meeting. You need to focus on educating your group a little more each week.
The “call to action” is very important and the piece that most people overlook. You need to tell the other members of your group exactly what type of referral you are looking for. For example, our mortgage broker, Joe Smith, might say, “Today a good referral for me would be a Realtor at XYZ real estate company.” Joe may also say, “Today a good referral for me would be anyone who purchased their home more then 10 years ago.”
I alway recommend that your “call to action” is as specific as possible. If Joe stands up and says that a good referral would be anyone who needs a mortgage, the rest of the group will have a harder time thinking of people to refer. If Joe asks for an introduction to a specific person at a specific company, someone in the group may know that person or know someone at that company who can facilitate Joe’s introduction. The more specific the request, the more likely it is to trigger someone else in the group’s memory.
A last minute hint:
Keep focused on the networks of the people in the group, not on the people themselves. In other words, when you are participating in a networking or leads group, you should not focus on gaining the business of the people at the table. Instead, you should focus on gaining their trust so that they will refer you people in their network.
So you want to be a millionaire?
I come across so many people that say “I’m going to make a million dollars in network marketing”. I have conversations with people telling me how they’re going to become millionaires.
That’s great I’ll help you reach that goal every way I can.
But you know what?
Not everyone is going to make a million dollars in network marketing… and that’s ok.
Most people’s lives would change with an extra $500 or $1000 a month.
If you’re in network marketing the opportunity is here to become a millionaire.
let’s talk about that for a second.
To become a millionaire in network marketing is going to take lot of WORK.
Yes, you can do it in the shortest amount of time compared to other business opportunities but you still have to WORK…
But you work smart not hard.
And the cost for start up is minimal.
But it still takes WORK!! no matter how you cut it.
To become a millionaire in network marketing you’re going to have to do things differently.
What do I mean? One of my mentors Michael Dlouhy told me this.
“Duffy if you want more, you’re going have to become more”.
That made a lot of sense to me.
So what if you’re not going to make a million dollars a year in network marketing?
Look I’m not saying you’re not going to make a million dollars, but let’s say it’s not in the cards or that’s an amount you can’t relate to. (Lots of people can’t relate to earning that kind of money)
How much do you make now?
I’ll go with the average and say $30,000. Everything is ok, sometimes it’s a struggle but you get by, but things could be better.
Imagine doubling your income. Can you imagine earning $60,000 per year?
Sure you can.
So if you didn’t make a million dollars a year but you’re making $60,000 in network marketing would you consider yourself a failure?
But let’s say your better at this then you thought and you’re earning $100,000 to $150,000 per year.
Would you consider yourself a failure?
Do you think you could have a pretty good life earning that amount each year?
Man if you’re earning that kind of money from network marketing. You’re winning trips, vacations, getting deals on conventions or even winning trips to your companies conventions, your winning shopping trips, bonus money, car programs, free product or services.
The things many people have to spend money on such as trips, vacations, products, services and cars. You’re could be getting them from your company for a lot less or even free, because of your ranking in your company.
The life you may want may be a lot closer then you think.
Tell me, if you made $100,000 to $150,000 per year in network marketing you’d be a very happy camper, yes?
Tell me you wouldn’t, I dare ya.
I believe in you!!
Until Next Time
To Your MLM Success
Networking Your Way to Online Business Success
Forums, groups, boards, and loops; theyíre all synonymous for online locations facilitating online networking. Some are entirely public, where everyone and anyone can click to the URL, read the messages and if they have no interest in contributing, they can just lurk. Some require active participation and others require registration before members can participate. These online forums, groups, boards or loops are different from paid membership sites in that there is no cost to network at these websites.
Some are active, some are sleepy. Some are strictly for online business related topics; some allow more OT (Off Topics) and social interaction. There are forums for every imaginable topic: Entrepreneurs, International online business, Health related fields, Technology, Copywriters, Web Designers, Work at Home Moms, Programmers, Finance, Ebay, Job Seekers, Internet Marketing, Writers, Inventors and Virtual Assistants, just to barely scratch the surface of whatís out there on the World Wide Web.
Time management skills need to be paramount when participating in online forums. You can very easily get swallowed up and spend hours and hours online networking with others who have online businesses, yet you miss real opportunities to get some productive work done!
From a online business standpoint, there are two areas you should consider before participating in a loop. Itís always good to have a network of like-minded online business people. If youíre a web designer, hang out with other designers. You can help and support each other. If youíre just starting out, you can learn from the pros.
Donít get stuck though, just hanging out with your own kind. Youíre not going to be very successful trying to promote your design services to other designers. This is where balance comes in. Pop into the boards, check new posts of interest, ask or answer questions, then get out. Then move onto groups who need your services or products. Who is your target market and where do they hang out? Go there. Word of caution: Do not go to these forums with the sole purpose of SPAMMING the group. Youíll be tossed out on your ear quicker than you can blink if that is your sole purpose. People like to do business with people they know and trust ñ or at the very minimum have at least heard of.
If youíre trying to sell your curriculum to a group of home school parents and you just pop in, spew your sales rap all over the boards then expect any sort of return, youíre missing the point of online networking. Itís networking ñ not advertising. You need to build a rapport with your other ìloopiesî. Then if a need arises and they know one of their own fellow networkers has that special skill or product, guess who theyíll call first? You hope itís YOU.
For starters check MSN, Google, Yahoo, AOL, and Ryze. Inside there are literally hundreds and thousands of groups just waiting for you. Start networking your way to online business success today!
On Networking Groups ( Part Four )
What is a leads group? Leads groups seem to be the most popular form of networking judging that comment by the fact that there are more leads groups in existence that have been around for a long time than most other types of groups.
Leads groups are often referred to as closed groups. This means that there can only be one type of a business represented in a group. Lets say that I am a web designer. In a closed group I would be the only web designer represented in the group. Other web designers would be allowed to visit, but if they wanted to join the organization they would have to find a group that did not have a web designer. If there was no opening in an existing group for a web designer, the person would have to go on a waiting list until an opening became available, or a new group was formed.
Most leads groups meet once a week. There are some that only meet once a month. Leads groups offer something that a lot of people need. Structure and discipline. What do I mean by this?
Structure – In a leads group you do not have to be a master net worker. As a matter of fact, you can be a shy person and still have success in a leads group. Most leads groups allow a given amount of time to tell other members about your business. This usually ranges from one to five minutes. In this allotted amount of time you can go into great detail about your business including describing what type of leads you are looking for. The format is usually accomplished by sitting around a large table, and a leader moderates the time and asks questions. The meetings are generally held early in the morning or at lunchtime.
Discipline – In a leads group you are expected to show up for the meetings. Theoretically, if a leads group had only 15 members and several people did not show up, it would be difficult to have a reasonable meeting. To insure against this happening most groups require that you assign a substitute when you can not attend. This substitute should be a person in the same industry as you so that the balance of the group is not affected. In this situation, if you have a tendency to miss a lot of meetings, it would not be good to join a leads group. If you miss a lot of meetings without a sub, you will be ejected from the group.
The upside? In a leads group you will get to know people very well over time and get an idea of their abilities to fulfill the needs of a referral. This is good if you do not have time during the week to meet with people one-on-one in order to get to know them. A dedicated group will provide you with a steady stream of leads that you can utilize to expand your business.
The downside? Well, sometimes the leads become a paramount obligation and people feel pressured to pass them. If they are passing leads that are just names and numbers without a true expressed need, the leads generally lead you nowhere. Another issue is a member of the group whose quality of product or service does not meet the standards that you would want to refer to someone. It is difficult to pass a solid qualified lead to someone who will not provide the kind of service that you would expect them to.
There are also a few groups in existence that are in essence leads groups. They allow freedom to go to any meeting you wish as long as you are a member. The format is the same, seated at a table, and there is usually a time limit. The problem with these groups is that people wander in and out and without a lot of time to talk individually, you still have to set appointments outside of the group to really get to know someone. Without the discipline, the freeform leads group usually does not last for a long period of time. Often these groups open and close with great regularity leaving the members to search for another meeting to attend.
In closing, I would like to add that there is no wrong or right group to belong to. Visit groups and you will find the ones that are right for you. It is often beneficial to belong to three types of groups to get the most out of your networking efforts.
On Networking Groups ( Part Five )
Online networking web sites. Are they really networking and are they really working?
They have been springing up all over. They are based on contact management. They are direct in messaging, emailing, and even in the six degrees of separation. They go by many different names and have various methods of finding people. The problem with these sites is that they are not really networking. Do you disagree?
To be effective in networking requires building a relationship with another person. This is difficult to do through messages and email. If you have ever had a discussion with a person through email or instant messaging, I would like to ask if you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to actually pick up the phone to find out what a person was really talking about?
In relationships conversation is extremely important. The communication is key. The thing that we may not really pay attention to is the importance of tonal inflection in the voice and the added benefits of body language in expressing ourselves. These are the things that online networking is lacking.
Since the most important aspect of having a relationship with another person is based in trust, it is difficult to develop trust in someone that you have never seen nor heard. It is even more difficult to get a person to do business with you without some type of face to face contact.
With this in mind, will these web sites last or are they merely a passing craze? Are they popular simply because we are looking for success in any way that it might come to us? Time will tell.
It is my advice that if you are looking for new contacts, step away from the desk and out into the community. Online networking is less effective for getting business than it is putting your resume online to get a job. All of the people are faceless and voiceless and no one really wants to do business with an email. Or do they? With the thousands of people out there who are selling what you need, including those in your own community, how do you decide what to buy? My guess is that you end up buying most premium products and services from someone that you have met in person, even if it is just a clerk in a store. I am of course excluding buying products through an online store.
So then what is the future of online networking? You are in control of it. Please take a moment and send me your opinion of online networking. Please be sure to tell me if you have ever gotten any business from it exclusively. I am guessing that you probably haven’t and you probably won’t.
Networking To Find Music Education Jobs
For those most passionate about their music, a job in music education is a natural fit. Far from being a case of “those who can’t do, teach”, those who take music education jobs are talented not only as artists but as teachers who want to pass their love of music on to another generation, to ensure that there is always music in the world.
Once upon a time, a degree in music education was seen as a ‘fallback option’- the job that would always be there if a performing or production career didn’t work out. That time is long gone now as states have cut funding for enrichment education across the country. While the job outlook for music teachers is still good, the Occupational Outlook Handbook says that jobs for musicians and teachers will grow at about average or a little faster than average rates through 2014 – school departments, private institutions and universities have the luxury of being able to be choosy about whom they hire to fill music education jobs.
One of the best ways to hear about music education jobs and openings is to establish a network of contact within the music education community. While basic networking is good, there are ways to network more effectively to concentrate your focus on finding and improving your chances of being hired for music education jobs.
Lucky you, you actually have three different sources of local networking that can help you narrow your job search focus. As an educator, get involved in local organizations for teachers and get your name out there. If you’ve made contacts while interning and practice-teaching, keep up with them, and ask their advice and guidance in your career path. By all means, let them and others know that you’re looking for a job in music education. Other teachers are often the first to know that one of their own is leaving.
School department contacts are invaluable.
In most cities, the school department must post vacancies internally before advertising them to the general public. Those vacancies are often posted on a bulletin board in each school within the district. Let teacher friends and contacts know that you’re looking and ask them to keep an eye out for you. Knowing that a vacancy is posted internally can give you a leg up on the competition and cue you to submit your resume and cover letter for music education jobs before they’re advertised.
Join national and local music teachers associations online, particularly those that hold regular events, symposiums and have a discussion board. Many of them post job openings for members, and more than a few allow members to post job leads and requests for job leads on their boards. Some organizations that you might consider joining include:
Technology Institute for Music Educators (https://www.ti-me.org/)
Music Teachers National Association (https://www.mtna.org)
The National Association for Music Education (https://www.menc.org/)
Keep in mind that in networking, you get out what you put in. Don’t just join a group and start soliciting for music education jobs. Look for what you can offer – the more you become involved the more visible you’ll become and the more willing others will be to recommend jobs to you.
Networking with previous customers
Your previous customers are going to be valuable to your future business. As you get each new customer you want to network with that customer again in the future, to keep your business in their mind, and to keep them on as a walking and talking billboard for your business. The future of your business is going to evolve to include repeat customers, and referral customers, both of which are vital to the ongoing relationship of your business, the consumer, and the local surroundings of your business.
How can you network with your previous customers?
Even if your customers are online ñ or if they are offline, you can network with your customers. A simple note, or email is going to do the trick. Ask about their day; talk with them by name, and offer advice or to continue with the conversation when they have time to chat with you. Talk with your customers about what they have purchased, or what work you have done for them. Ask if there is anything that can be done to improve the process, they went through while dealing with your business.
Network with your largest clients by taking them to lunch, or ordering them something special and having it delivered to their home. As you continue to acknowledge your largest clients, they will keep you fresh in their minds. They will tell others about what you have sent to them, and how they feel about your business. Of course, this is not done with every type of business, but with the largest buyers who are spending thousands of dollars with a particular business perhaps.
The online business is going to use newsletters, ezines, emails and coupons sent to previous customers as a method of networking and keeping in contact with previous customers. Keeping the lines of communication open with a customer, and with a previous customer is going to increase awareness of your products, and what you have for sale. This in turn is going to increase sales, one repeat customer at a time.
Never forget about your previous customers. In the offline business, and in online business you can network with your previous customers by creating mailing lists and using these mailing lists. State something along the lines of ñ because we have done business in the past, we find that now is the time to offer you this great advantage in Networking we have, and would like to give you a special price. Yes this is still advertising, but networking at the same time because you have established a relationship with that customer already.
Networking while traveling
Networking is more than just putting your business name out there for people to find you, but it is also a part of getting to know people, who are going to spread the word about what you do, what you sell, and that are going to support you in all that you do. Networking is going to involve getting to know as many people in life as you can, and putting your business in front of those people, so they will represent your name, your business, and will tell others about what you have to offer.
If your business requires that you travel often, or perhaps you travel often to find supplies, visit relatives or just because you like it. You should make it a point to get to know those who you are sitting beside, those who are surrounding you on the plane, even those who are sitting on the bench while waiting in the airport. Make it a point to meet and greet at least one new person a day.
How are you going to get started on this?
Start the conversation by saying hello, how are you today?
Ask questions. The best way to get to know someone is to ask questions. Without asking questions, it can be difficult to carry on a conversation. Asking questions is a good icebreaker, in turn, the person is going to want to talk about their self, and where they are traveling too. You can then lead into something like, is this business trip or a personal trip? As you go on with the conversation, the person is going to ask you questions, which is where you will be able to talk about your business and what you do.
As you make it a point to get to know at least one new person a day- you are going to increase your network, which means you will increase the people that you know in life. Increasing your business network is going to be dependent on your abilities to carry on a conversation and to talk with others. Force yourself to do this. Force yourself to stick to your habit of meeting at least one new person a day. As you make this a point, you will make this a habit and in the long run, your business will thrive for it.
Network Marketing Training — Arm Your New Distributors for Success
Whether it is 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.î
– 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 ìslings and arrowsî of the naysayers, those often well-meaning friends and relatives that stand in the way of our making an ìoutrageous fortune!î Experienced network marketers, clothed in the armor of past success, are less vulnerable to outside influences. The new distributor, however, is vulnerable, and that ìsea of troublesî can act as a barrier to reaching their true potential.
What did the knights of old do to prevent an injury? Thatís right ñ 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 ìslings and arrowsî 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 elseís 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.
Letís 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 theyíve been hanging onto and you force them to look at their lives as they really are, it makes them very uncomfortable. Youíve heard of the expression ìMisery loves company.î Well, itís 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 ìdon’t mention my mediocre life, and I won’t mention yours.î Your success and the success of your new distributors, just points out the naysayersí 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 donít let others live their lives for them with their negative attitudes.
To paraphrase Hamlet, by opposing negative thoughts, we end them.