Category: Marketing


ProBuilderPlus Review ñ A Venture Into World Of MLM

I want to start with simple statement ñ I have always told myself that I will never fall for Multi Level Marketing or as itís called most often MLM. I have always believed that most MLM business opportunities are nothing more than glorified pyramid scheme brought online. So what changed my mind? How did I, a self taught Internet Infopreneur got sucked into it? Read on Ö to learn how, why, get the skinny on the latest hottest MLM opportunity and see my real day-by-day experience.

So, lets start with why. I run a website dedicated to affiliate marketing and home based business. I investigate and share my experiences with anyone willing to read my articles and make recommendations on what I consider a solid opportunity. I make my money on Yahoo ads and on multiple affiliate sales I get, when people do follow my recommendations. In last two month I have gotten at least 10 emails from my visitors asking me about different MLM programs and my personal opinion. Since I have only had experienced myself only with SFI, a known affiliate MLM I could only answer based on that, which wasnít enough Ö So here I was. I have picked the hottest MLM I could find currently running and one of the youngest with low membership fees ñ ProBuilderPlus. This review is dedicated to my readers and hopefully my experience will help you make your decision.

Now to the how part we move Ö How do you make money using ProBuilderPlus business opportunity? Itís really a quite simple forced matrix with 3 levels of payoff but quite a bit more intricate system of payments. Once you build a matrix of 9 people in your downline, doesnít matter how far, you guaranteed a weekly check of $30. But it doesnít stop there. You also get $10 for each paying member you personally refer and then $3 for second level from that member and $2 for 3rd level. All this in addition to payments based on maintaining your minimum matrix. As your matrix grows, so does your weekly income.

The system is quite simple but letís have a look at how effective it is and what does it takes to recruit new membersÖActually this is the part that surprised me most and quite pleasant surprise it was. It was designed to be used by anyone, with no marketing experience and no prior knowledge and recruiting is a lot easier than I thought was possible. I have joined this system for free, while doing evaluation of multiple MLM programs about 7 or 10 days ago. As soon as I did I started receiving emails with interesting subjects:

“Here you go Alex, we put Kathy under you…”
“Here you go Alex, we put James under you…”
“Another One Alex – Joseph just joined YOUR Powerline…”
“Alex – AWESOME Mark just Upgraded to Member in YOUR DOWNLINE…”

And they just kept on pouring in. Before I knew it I had 587 pre-enrolled members, free members but all interested to learn how to make money, all with an open mindset and just waiting for a push to be converted. And believe you me, emails with subjects like I shown above was powerful push even for a skeptic like me, so I decided to join, reasoning that I can always cancel.

And now I move to the tools that system provides, and their quality. It comes pretty much with everything one might require:
1. An autoresponder follow-up system that makes you want to upgrade.
2. A matrix structure and pay plan that almost guarantees you make money.
3. Lead capture pages that get the job done.
4. A traffic rotator that allows you to funnel traffic to your downline.
5. Online training that highlights simple steps to success.
6. A Contact Manager that allows to to stay in touch with people you personally sponsor.
7. A tool that allows you to send a voice message to thousands of people per MINUTE.
Quality design shows in every tool and all of them quite compelling as far as MLM goes.

Day 1-3.
All we are left with is my personal experience. I have had accounts already with several traffic exchange programs that require members to click on your add and actually look at page. I have found them quite effective for building my mailing lists, so I figured I would just add my link from ProBuilderPlus to rotation and see what it brings. Completion of that part only took me a few minutes and once done I had a chance to have a closer look at all tools I described above and specifically training. Nice day of work, if I can say so myself Ö

Day two went pretty much on autopilot, due to my preoccupation with regularly scheduled job and I only had an opportunity to check my stats on third day. To my surprise I had over 530 views of my signup page and one paying member! That is $10 back to my pocket, 2 more and I will return my investment. Not bad, not bad at all.

To do a quick summary ñ I donít know if you can become filthy rich using this system or not but looking at weekly leaderboard I can see people with over 414 paying members enrolled, and that is for one week. So what I will do is continue to investigate this opportunity and post updates on my regular site, so feel free to visit and read them if you liked this article or just want to learn more from a person who is doing it and honestly sharing. No hype, no fuss, just an honest opinion.


Plant a Seed and Watch Your Business Grow

Do you have all the business you could possibly want or need? If you’re like me, you’re still growing your business. Marketing is an ongoing item on my agenda, and I’m always looking for new ways to market my services. Where do you begin the process of attracting more business? How do you get the ball rolling in the direction you want your business to be heading? Well, it’s really simple. Start planting seeds! If you can start your garden growing this spring, why not start your business growing too?

You can start by telling everyone what you do, including those people in your life you see every day. Talk to your hairdresser, dentist, financial advisor, or babysitter. You just never know who they might know who may want or need your products or services. Leave business cards with those people, so they can hand them out to others who may be interested in contacting you. That old saying that includes the line “the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker” may just ring true after all.

Plant seeds everywhere you go. Typical ways to market your business are fine, but the best way is by simply using word-of-mouth. “Who do you know…” can be a very powerful statement when you are talking to others about what you do or what you sell. Let your presence be known. Be creative! I have a Team 100 list of the top professionals I know. When someone either in my professional circle or my personal circle is looking for a particular service, I’m able to refer them to someone I know and trust. All of the professionals on my list are able to refer me to those they know as well. It’s a win/win situation. My name is on their list, their name is on mine, so the seed has been planted, and keeps growing.

These are just a couple of great ideas to help you get started in growing your business (if you want more business that is!). Taking some small action every day is better than doing nothing at all. Following a simple action plan consistently will most likely lead to several great opportunities down the road. Who knows? If you put in the effort, you just may find new business knocking on your door instead of the other way around.

Spring into action…and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds!


On Networking Groups (Part Two)

In “On Networking Groups – Part One”, I spoke briefly about the four types of networking groups. Now, let’s take a look at a category of networking groups.

One category that most people are familiar with is the Chamber Of Commerce. Chambers serve a long standing role in the business community. It is a role of development and support. A Chamber Of Commerce can offer business both small and large with networking opportunities, training programs, legislative assistance and a host of other benefits. A Chamber Of Commerce can be a local, statewide, national, or international organization with separate memberships for each. If you belong to an area Chamber of Commerce, you do not belong to a state or national Chamber. Each plays their own role in the business community.

Some Chambers of Commerce take more of a role in the community to influence policy while others might focus more on business development. Most of them however have a wealth of information for the member that goes unused by most.

For example, let’s say you have a business and you have a question about a city ordinance that relates to your business. Most often a Chamber of Commerce can provide you with the answer to your question. Each of them has a database of members that can often be accessed through some point. Usually computers are made available to members with databases that can be searched for information on other members.

When looking for networking opportunities within a Chamber Of Commerce, most people think only of leads groups or the common after hours. The reality is that any function hosted by a chamber of commerce holds opportunities for networking with other business owners and business leaders.

Chambers of Commerce generally have a yearly membership of several hundred dollars for an individual or company. There are various levels of membership that can be had. Most Chambers offer an executive level membership that includes exclusive meetings between a more elite level of business people. When looking for this type of prospect, you can often gain access to them by joining at this level. The problem you might have is actually paying for this level or attending the functions as they are provided.

I and many other experts on networking recommend anyone who networks to be a member of several groups. This should include a Chamber of Commerce. Keep this in mind when considering a Chamber of Commerce. If you are involved in your community in other business networking organizations like the Rotary Club, a local Merchant’s association, or smaller networking group, you might want to consider joining a Chamber of Commerce in another part of town. This will make you a part of that community as well and open the doors to increased prospects and opportunities.

In any event, you should always attend a Chamber of Commerce function in any area several times and find out what types of assistance they can offer for the growth of your type of business. Do not join any group just for the sake of joining a group. Find out what types of members attend the functions that are offered to determine the amount of exposure you will have to your target prospect.

When you attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting for the first time, look for the most popular person in the room, the one who everyone seems to want to talk to and get to know them first. This way you will make faster connections to the rest of the group. Often the leaders of the group can help you to get in the mix quicker.

Look for people who do what you do and analyze their strengths and weaknesses for opportunities to build alliances with them. If they have been a member for a long time, it is likely that they have most of the business in their industry at this point in time. It is hard to compete in such circumstances, so try an alliance before you bang your head against the wall trying to compete or just giving up.

Chambers of Commerce have been around for many years and there are all types, including minority and international. Be sure to visit many before deciding which to join and your membership dollars will serve you better.


The Art of Giving Business Cards

Giving business cards is an art, not only because they are needed to be considered successful or because, in fact, they represent your corporate or professional identity, but also as an opportunity to impact your existing or prospective customers, and stay in touch with them, helping you to deal confidently.

The scope of business etiquette includes considerations that many professional ignore, or simply do not pay enough attention in the belief that a business card is just a small paper rectangle with a name and phone numbers to introduce yourself.

Color business cards demonstrate that there is something else beyond a simple paper cut; otherwise, they simply would not exist. Certainly, all over the world business cards are used to provide information about a company and/or the employee or professional who holds it, as well as contact information and other details such as business acquaintances or personal details.

Some of them include expressly empty spaces to write certain details such as an appointment date, some others are as simple as blank cards that come in handy when the holder has to leave a customer further details. However, those in color are undoubtedly part of a practical business strategy following refined business etiquette.

In business, time is gold and every minute is important because more often an individual only has a few minutes to impress a prospective client, before someone else does it first. Gentle manners can conquer, but accompanied with poor business cards, it is more likely the client will forget about you as soon as you live. Unprofessional business cards will not impress but will leave your prospective client with negative thoughts about your company.

On the other hand, color business cards are as attractive that catch the eye of even the most skeptical business contact. There is nothing more accurate that “a picture is worth a thousand words” when it comes to describing the first impression left on a person who receives a business card especially crafted to achieve a predefined business goal.

Color business cards and regular business cards should meet the criteria of being printed in very high quality paper, designed by professionals and never using public domain graphics or other elements that makes them look cheap. Make sure to include all personal information to your business acquaintances, and always carry enough of them with you, particularly when you are planning to attend a business meeting or social event.

The art of business cards is not only in giving them away, but also exchanging and receiving. Every time you attend an event where other professionals participate, try to exchange business cards with them, particularly color business cards to better impress, and when you receive a business card, study its design and content because you can learn from them.

Finally, always keep in mind that business cards are the branding tool of your company, not just a piece of paper to stay in touch with someone else.


On Networking Groups (Part One)

I have been trying to think about how I can talk about this subject and address it in a way that would be fair and balanced without injecting too much personal opinion and have decided to first talk about the types of groups and then later on be more specific. It is important to remember that you will have preferences that may not align with mine, but that each of us share a common goal in our networking. More business and possibly more friends.

So lets begin by analyzing the various types of groups. There are many different types of groups, but it is easier to categorize them by the meeting format rather than using individual categories like chambers of commerce or women’s groups.

Most groups fall under one of 4 main categories. These are Social Networking, Business Networking, Leads Groups and Networking with a Program.

Social Networking

Social networking is a part of our daily lives whether we realize it or not. Each time we attend any function that involves a group of people we are networking on a social level. Whether we are attending a charity event, going to a party at a friends house, going to a religious service, or attending an organized social networking event, we are in a networking environment.

In most cases a large part of participation in these groups is not related to business. However, there are always opportunities to meet people who could be or know prospective clients. When you attend these types of functions, it is advised to have some business cards in your pocket in case you meet someone else who is networking for their business, but remember that business networking is not the primary purpose of the function, so be very casual in the way you approach others about your business.

Social Networking Tip:

Never assume that any individual at these functions is not a good prospect for your business. You will find many opportunities there. It is just good to remember that people are there for many reasons and may not want to talk about business.

Business Networking

Believe it or not there are very few groups or organizations that are simply “business networking groups”. This category, for the purpose of our discussion is reserved for groups that do not have speakers or programs. An example of business networking would be similar to a chamber of commerce after hours. In business networking, you simply gather together with other business associates to talk about your businesses.

I find it much better to have a lot of time to talk to people about my business rather than have a brief period to talk and then have to sit down and listen to a program. This format enables you to really get to know people in the allotted amount of time. In some cases you can even do business with someone who you have met for the first time.

This format allows you to get to know people very well and sometimes helps to jump-start the relationship without having to meet for lunch or coffee at a later time. The only thing that makes this format difficult is if you are shy. For the shy individual it is sometimes not easy to just walk into a room and start talking to people they do not know.

Business Networking Tip:
Build a core contact group of people that you see at several different meetings. This will give you a broad base of contacts through these people as they are building their networks. Always get to know the “most popular people” in the room. They will often know most of the others and can help to expand your network quickly

Leads Groups
Leads groups are very structured. This is the largest segment of business networking. There are several formats to leads groups that vary in slightly different ways. In most cases the leads group involves sitting around a large table. Usually a leads group is limited to one person per industry. So if you wanted to be a part of a leads group that already has one of your type of industry, you could not join that group until there is an opening for you created by that person leaving.

Usually leads groups are about 5 to 20 persons in size. In most leads groups you are given a set amount of time to stand up and talk about your business ranging from 2 to five minutes depending on the size of the group. This is a dedicated time, no one else speaks and you take turns.

Leads groups are good for people who are shy or for those who have difficulty in a meeting with no structure. If you are a member of a good leads group, members are actively seeking referrals for other members. This can lead to a great deal of business if you consider the fact that everyone has a personal network of about 200 hundred people. This does not mean that it is the best format of meeting or not a good format, but rather it is good for you if you prefer structure.

Leads groups generally meet early in the morning or for lunch.

Leads Groups Tip:
Be sure to enable the members of your leads group to help you. Give them tools that they can carry to represent you when they encounter someone who needs your product or service. Be sure that everyone understands what you do and who your best prospects are.

Networking with a Program
A lot of trade associations and chambers of commerce follow this format. The meeting usually starts with open networking for a period of 15 minutes to an hour. It is then followed by a presentation by a guest speaker or a current member.

In this environment, you will not have much time to really get to know people unless you always attend the meetings. In most cases these meetings are best for initial contact followed up by meeting prospects for coffee or lunch. It is advised that you use a system of taking notes and qualifying prospects for later follow-up.

Generally these meetings end after the presentation and people linger for 15 to 30 minutes before clearing the room.

Networking with a Program Tip:
Get to know the leaders of the organization. In most cases they will know a great deal about the members as they work their way up the ranks into a leadership role. These individuals can be of the most help when seeking prospects or referrals.

As I said at the beginning of this article, your feelings on these definitions may vary from mine. It is important when seeking meetings to attend or groups to join that you have defined goals on what you are trying to accomplish. Be specific when setting these goals.

Remember business does not always come in the first contact or meeting. Be consistent for best results. Try to balance your networking with a combination of the types of groups and meetings that you attend. Each has it’s own unique benefits and can help you with a well rounded presence in the business community.


Success Or Statistic?

Which one will you be in network marketing?

The truth is the odds are against you; chances are youíll be a statistic.

Hmmmmm bet the super star space commander upline guru that signed you up or wants to sign you up told you that did he/she?

Here are a few stats that may alarm you:

Did you know that 70,000 people sign up into a network marketing company EVERYDAY?

But did you know that 95% of the people that sign up into a network marketing company will quit within the first year?


Well there are a lot or reasons, poor support, poor company, poor product, poor compensation plan, poor upline. But to me one of the biggest reasons isÖ


Most people have been lied to from the get go.

Many of the people who are recruiting people into companies (hate that term recruiting) are lying to people and telling people what they want to hear so they will join their company.

Now on one had you canít blame many of these people, thereíre just doing what they were taught by the person that signed them up, and thatís usually some person with the recruit, recruit, recruit mentalityÖthose are the people I blame.

Hey the great news is you DONíT have to be a statistic. You just need to be taught the correct way of building your business, but first you need to know some of the lies youíll probably be told or already have been told.

My first and favorite lie:

Make a list of your friends and family because thatís who were calling first.

Hey upline line guy, are you crazy? Thatís the last thing, no thatís what you NEVER do. Because of this one lie there are thousands of people that have been shunned by their families.

Your friends and family members turn off the lights and pretend thereíre not home when the see you coming. Ring any bells?

By all means share your product or service with your family and friends but not the business opportunity. Many of your friends and family members are NOT looking for a business opportunity, the truth is most of your friends and family are going to spend more time discouraging you then helping you. But donít get mad at them they think thereíre protecting you, ignore them and build your business.

Let them come to you, once you become successful in your business, your friends and family will notice and then theyíll ask you what youíre doing.

Hereís a tip. This is your business and you DONíT want everyone in your business that includes your family and friends. Only share your business opportunity to people who have raised their hand to you and say. ìIím interestedî or ìShow me what youíre doingî.

Lie number two;

Recruit, Recruit, Recruit. You need to make a 100 phone calls a day and remember for every NO you get youíre one step close to a YES.

I would love to track down the putz that said this. Let me ask you a question.

How many times do you like hearing the word NO?

How much do you like being on the phone every day hearing the word NO?

I think itís safe to say, ìYou donít like it very muchî

The word NO has taken so many good people out of this business. Here is an example my mentor shared with me and it really hit home for me.

Duffy youíve set up candles, soft music some good wine a great dinner a bit of hugging and kissing then your spouse says ìNOî. All right just 99 more times and youíll get lucky.

That put things into perspective for me real fast.

Did you know that 90% of the population is sales resistant, no wonder youíre hearing the word NO so much.

And some knucklehead sayís NO is a good thing. Moving on.

Lie number 3,

If you have no warm market you need to spend money and buy leads.

WRONG!! You DO NOT have to buy leads. Personally youíre just wasting your money. Thereíre people spending hundreds of dollars every month for leads. STOP IT!!!

Remember a bought lead is a bought lead. I donít care if you paid $5 or 5 cents a lead is a lead. When you call these leads chances are they donít remember what forum they filled out or the person gets upset because you called them.

Once you truly understand that people are not numbers, they have goals and dreams just like you. And theyíre real people. And just like you they donít want to be lied too and just like you they want a true opportunity to fulfill those dreams and goals. If you get just this youíll go very, very far in this business.

Network marketing is a Relationship Business NOT a Sales Business. As soon as you understand that youíll have people saying to you ìPLEASE sponsor me into your businessî

Until then youíre DEAD in the water.

I have NEVER bought a lead with my network marketing company and I donít spend 10 hours a day making phone calls, I have people contacting me everyday asking me about my business.

If you had people calling you how do you think your lead calls would turn out compared to you calling people? Please tell me I donít have to answer that for you.

For those of you buying leads stop wasting your money, prospects are everywhere.

I have tons of ways of getting leads for free, but hereís one tip that will reveal prospects to you everyday.

First LISTEN to people, thatís the most important thing you need to do. Youíve heard this ìOne mouth two earsî Listen twice as much as you speak.

Ok how do you determine if someone is a prospect?

Letís say you have a company that provides a nutritional product that helps with weight loss. And now lets say youíre talking to someone and they are complaining about how they canít lose weight.

All you have to say to this person is this: ìHave you ever thought about doing something about itî?

If they say ìYESî you have a prospect, depending on the time and place this person has just given you permission to provide them with a presentation of your product. You could give them your business card, send them to a web site or provide them some brochures about your product. Or ask them for there contact info so you could send them some info later.

If the person says ìNOîÖyou say, ìOKî.

THEY ARE NOT A PROSPECT, REPEAT NOT A PROSPECTÖ forget about them, move on and keep listening.

This is just one-way thereíre lots of other ways to find prospects. The point is you never have to buy leads to find prospects.

Itís a shame that so many lies are being told just to get people into a business, just because the rest of the world is doing it doesnít mean you have to. Tell people the truth, listen to them and truly hear what they are saying. Build relationships; help a person, thatís how you build a business.

If you can help them GREAT if not thatís ok too. Not everyone is suited to fit into your business; and you would be a fool to think so.

Personally I would rather have 10 people that wanted to be in my business and that I told the truth to from the get go, then a 100 people I told what ever they wanted to hear so they would join my business.

Until Next Time

To Your MLM Success



The "Networking" Part of Network Marketing

Networking is obviously an essential part of network marketing. Every successful network marketer knows this to be true. Although networking is such an intricate part of network marketing, the two terms are not synonymous. However there are many similarities. Both rely heavily on people skills. Both require people to confront their fear of talking to other people. Both carry with them the risk of rejection. Both also carry with them enormous opportunity. And to some people, both are considered dirty words.

Of course people that consider networking as something that is ‘not done’ don’t understand what networking is really about. The same can be said of people that think network marketing is something that is beneath them. Many people think of networking as a way to get connected solely for their own advancement in life. In that respect a person might feel that it is unethical or not noble to network. This line of thinking stems from the idea that advancement will always come at the expense of someone else, that success in life is a zero-sum game. These people often look at network marketing from the same perspective. They think of profiting from other people’s efforts as something that is negative and not fair to them. In reality, successful networkers will tell you that it doesn’t work that way at all. Networking doesn’t have to be at anybody’s expense and the business of network marketing doesn’t reward anyone for taking advantage of others. It actually rewards people for helping other people to succeed. In that respect it may very well be the most ethical business model in the world today.

A lot of the negativity around networking can be explained by the different types of networkers. Some can be considered ‘hunters’, moving in for a quick kill, after which they move out again. They often operate without regard of the other persons interest and because of this they will enjoy the fruits of success for only a limited period of time. Often it will not take long before people find out what’s really driving the hunter. Once they see that he or she is only looking after his or her own interests, their willingness to interact with this person will quickly evaporate. By contrast, truly successful networkers are often ‘farmers’ who spend a lot of time sowing and nourishing their relationships, instead of just focusing on reaping. They invest in their network, they energize their network. They use their network, but they never ever abuse their network! And their network knows this. A true networker will always keep the interests of others in mind. That’s why working with a true networker is so enjoyable. Networkers are often very likeable and as such people like to interact with them.

Networking is a skill that is essential to all businesses not just network marketing. Although network marketing differs in many ways from the more traditional forms of doing business, the importance of networking is just as prevalent. If not more so. A network marketer that doesn’t know how to network will be out of business in no time. Network marketing is first and foremost a people’s business and this implies that the ability to effectively work with people is absolutely critical. This is why successful network marketers are extremely adept at networking. Many have found out over time that developing this skill can pay off in many areas outside their network marketing business as well. Business owners who have started a home based business on the side often apply their enhanced networking and people’s skills in their traditional business with great success. For some network marketers this spin-off has earned them more money than the income from their network marketing business itself.

So whether you are in network marketing or in a more traditional type of business, don’t underestimate the importance of becoming an effective networker. And if you really want to master this skill you may find there is a lot to learn from good network marketers. So if you happen to know anybody that fits that description, try and benefit from their knowledge on the topic. It will surely help you network your way to success!


Taking The Vampire Out Of Online MLM Business Networking

You just got started with a new online MLM business and you want to tell everyone online about it. So, you sign up for all kinds of message boards, email groups and other business networking websites.

Before you do anything, please realize that you are dealing with REAL PEOPLE. The Internet seems like this anonymous place where you might feel people wonít really notice you if you engage in any vampirish behavior, but realize that the Internet is no different than dealing with people offline.

Treat people with respect, get to know them first and youíll have plenty of valuable contacts for your business. No, most probably wonít join your business opportunity, but they will teach you a lot about business, will refer others to you and will be a great asset to your business ñ even if they never buy a thing from you.

Some Online Networking No-Nos:

– Sending private messages or emails about your business opportunity or products to another member is in poor taste. If you want to contact someone privately because you feel you have something in common, go for it, but donít recruit or sell.

– When you introduce yourself on a networking group, itís usually okay to say what you doÖbut donít invite people to check out your website or say that you are looking for new customers or recruits.

– Even if a message board or networking group allows you to post ads in certain places or on certain days, donít bother if youíre new. Get to know the group first and then theyíll be more interested your offers.

When you have a new business, it can be stressful and you feel pressure to get results. The important thing to remember is that results come from building long-term relationships and not from preying on online networking groups.

Donít suck the blood out of all your prospects and people who can connect you with potential prospects before you even get started.


On Networking Groups ( Part Three )

I am about to share with you something that I talk to people about a lot. It is focused networking.

In each business, we have a target market or the perfect prospect. If you have been in a particular business for any length of time, you should know what type of person or business owner falls into this category for you. If not, it is time to figure out who this might be.

In networking for business it is important to have a well rounded networking schedule. You should attend many different types of groups in order to reach a broad spectrum of people. If you only attend a business after hours, you may run into several people who provide the same product or service as you. In this environment, it is important to know what makes you different from them. In most cases this is not a company thing, but a personal thing. When you have reached the point that you can relate what makes you different, you will do very well in a competitive environment.

One of the groups that you are likely to attend is a trade association. In my first exposure to networking many years ago, I attended meetings for a group that specialized in the creation of multimedia. I went to the meetings each month in the hope of building a relationship with others who might be able to help me find some work in the field. The opposite happened. I found myself in the ultimate competition. I should have been there to learn about trends in the industry and to get background information of my competitors, there was literally no work to be had in an environment with all of my competition!

What happens if you attend the trade association meeting of your target prospect? It is likely that you may be the only person in the room selling your product or service. If you do your homework before you go and discover the mission of the group, it is easier to prepare for that kind of opportunity.

In this environment, you may be sitting through a presentation by a speaker that you know nothing about, so to maximize your networking opportunity, arrive early and leave late. Talk to as many people as you can in the time that you have to network before the presentation begins. If you see someone in the group that you know, approach them and ask them to introduce you around in the room. This will help you to shortcut the process of meeting people. It also gives a friend an opportunity to refer you personally in a group of their peers.

It is important to be creative when looking for meetings to attend. Attend many, and you will have more opportunities to work with. Set a goal to visit all the types of groups at least once a month for maximum exposure and optimum contacts.


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.

* Introduction
o Name
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.