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How to Make Networking Work for You (2 of 2)
That’s right; you no longer can sit and wait for your neighbors to find you. If you don’t start making sure people know what you know, they will just go elsewhere.
This session follows on from the last with Judy Robinett, where we talked about the importance of networking. In this session, we discuss how to map your network and start making it work for you.
Social media, ecommerce and video conferencing has allowed each and every individual to connect with more people and do business outside local boundaries. For people that go into this brave new world prepared, it is an opportunity like no other. For those that treat business and networking the same way as the past, it will leave them sorely surprised.
The days where opening a shop on the corner guarantees you trade are gone. No more does being the only accountant in town mean you will get the business of everyone around you.
Judy suggests that there is an unwritten rule to the success you can achieve, and that is, "Your network equals your net worth." It is possible to be successful in business on your own, but it is a lot easier if you have the help of others. If your whole network is a few family and friends, you’re going to hit a wall. You have to have relationships with people that can help you.
Mapping your current network
On average, most people know 632 people, yet they infrequently think about how to leverage these people to help themselves or the people around them. Judy suggests that when it comes to networking, not utilizing the network you already have is the most frequent mistake a person makes. To rectify this, she suggests you write down a list of one-hundred people you know. By doing this you will soon start to see obvious connections you could make, introductions that could help others, and holes you need to fill.
One connection away from success
Judy suggests that many people complain that they have not achieved success yet because they’re just missing one introduction, one endorsement, or one piece of publicity. On completing the mapping exercise, she suggests that more often than not the person realizes that they actually have known someone all along that could introduce them to the person they have desired for so long.
Be upfront about what you want
People too often try to project the best versions of themselves to their network, family and friends. This makes it impossible for them to help you because they think you are where you want to be. Truth is, if they knew you needed help, they would probably love to help you. For that to happen though, you need to be vulnerable and say to the people you know:
* This is where I’m at.
* This is what I’m trying to achieve.
* What ideas do you have for me?
* Who else do you know I should speak to?
Letting a person know where you are struggling strengthens your connection with them and you will find, more often than not, they will go to the ends of the earth to help.
Yes, it is true that there are people out there that when you try to get a leg up will try to pull you back down. There are also people that when you tell an idea, will want to tell you why it won’t work. These people do these things so they can feel better about themselves, while they do nothing. Now I could dedicate the next three paragraphs to explaining why what I have written above won’t work with these kind of people, and how to handle them differently, but instead I will just say this:
"These relationships do not serve you. The sooner you sever them the more successful and happy you will be."
How to Make Networking Work for You (1 of 2)
When it comes to networking, people commonly suffer from two major issues:
* Getting in a room of quality prospects, rather than just other people that do what they do
* Talking to the right people when they're in the right room
This is exactly why today on Better Business Coach podcast I have asked a close personal friend, Judy Robinett, to share some of the wisdom that made her book, “How to Be a Power Connector,” a best seller.
Times have changed and the old networking skills you may have learned are now dead, and these days may be seen as manipulative and "icky." Judy suggests that the new way of networking must be robust, wide and deep. Whatever your objective, whether it is going public or finding new customers, a good network should support and aid you along the way.
One of the most common problems is that we tend to network around like-minded people.
* If we’re a coach we network with other coaches
* If we’re a dentist we network with other dentists
This strategy may work from time to time, but ask yourself: Wouldn’t you find more clients being in rooms of people that need coaching or dental work? So think about it. Where do your clients hang out? It could be:
* another sort of networking event
* a football stadium
* an art gallery
* the symphony
* charity events
Wherever they hang out, that’s where you should be. I know what you’re thinking at this stage..."But I don’t like the symphony!" Truth is, you don’t need to like it. Of course as a coach or dentist you will enjoy hanging out with like-minded coaches or dentists more, however, that’s not going to get you paid.
Research indicates that the average person only talks to strangers about 2-3% of the time. Judy highlights that that is where the magic happens. So why is it then that we spend so little time doing it?
Talking to new people is uncomfortable
If you are like 50% of people in the USA and classify yourself as shy, you may want to check out what I call, "the seven self-destructive mindsets to selling." This will help you understand the logic for why you feel this way and offer advice on how you can overcome it, even if you are an introvert.
Judy suggests that most people worry, especially if they are trying to network with high profile individuals, that they will have nothing of value to offer. She says this is just a limiting belief. Everyone has problems and everyone needs solutions. Judy recommends that if you just start, you’ll work it out.
I like to think of this simple rule of thumb: If you’re feeling uncomfortable, you’re probably meeting the right people. If not, then you’re not.
Where do you start?
First, get in the right room. When you’re in the right room, start by saying, "Hi, how are you?" Then use the below three golden questions:
* How can I help you? – This is a great rapport builder and a perfect lead into the conversational elevator pitch, discussed in session three.
* What other ideas do you have for me?
* Who else do you know that I should talk to?
Once you see this works and works well, get braver and speak to more/higher profile people.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
As JV Crum III said in episode 18 and 19,
Discover More About Your Business Coaching Clients
The "Get to Know Yourself" template should follow directly after episode 21’s ForceField Analysis, and should be completed as part of your first paid client sessions.
As a business coach, you need to understand your clients on a deeper level. To add to that, as discussed in session four, running a business can be chaos and your client may not have had time to truly understand themselves. The "Get to Know Yourself" template is designed to get everything out on the table, so you can start helping your clients where they need it most.
I want to preface by saying: use your discretion before using this worksheet with corporate clients. While it is amazingly useful when working with them, many consider it life coaching and it can lose you rapport. When working with corporate, if I decide to use the worksheet, I like to add on the phrase, "when you’re working," to the start of each question. I find it makes them feel more at ease with the questioning. Small businesses, however, absolutely love it, so never feel you shouldn’t pull it out and get started.
This worksheet can sometimes take up to an hour to complete because it forces the client to consider things that in many cases, they have never considered before. You will be surprised just how often something pops up that highlights something neither you nor the client originally expected, changing your entire coaching approach or the desired direction the client wishes to pursue. Often, what the client says they are wanting at the start of the session is the last thing they would want by the end. This is the true power of this worksheet. Without it, you could end up coaching a client toward something they never actually wanted.
This worksheet works fantastically when combined with the homework, “Forget About Goals - Why Is The Key To Success”, covered in session 17, as it ensures you are always on point with all your critical direction and advice.
What do you enjoy doing?
This question may seem simple enough, but who truly spends time thinking about these things? Asking it in this session, like many of the other questions, will force the client to consider things they have, perhaps, never considered before, or at least not on a truly real level. Understand that these questions, as you progress, may take time to answer and for the best effect this is a good thing. Embrace the skills covered in session 9, "Listen & Succeed," and give them time to consider their answers on a deeper level. Very soon you will step past understanding the client and shift to assisting them to move forward. It’s vital that before you do this you understand exactly what they want and why.
That said, if you’re not careful, the client will go off on a tangent and time will fly. This may sound great since after all, they are paying you to listen, but consider what they will think after the session. The last thing you want them to do is go off on a tangent for too long and then feel they just spoke about themselves and you offered very little value. As a coach, you must balance between allowing enough time for expansive, well thought-out answers, and time wasting chit-chat, bragging or complaining.
What makes you happy?
How to Make Email Marketing Work for You
So why is it, when clients are the life blood of any business, we don’t go out of our way to reconnect with these potentially willing to buy clients? Sure, we tell ourselves, "It is because it was only a quick introduction," or perhaps you think they gave you their card "just to be nice." Maybe you just don’t feel "comfortable," but the reality is: you just don’t know where to start.
This is exactly why today on Better Business Coach podcast I have asked a close personal friend and iTunes top 100 podcaster, John McIntyre, to offer some advice on how he would re-engage with these prospects with emails that sell.
Forget about hacks – Writing emails that engage and sell isn’t about the perfect subject line, the perfect email, or the perfect pitch. It’s about understanding who you’re trying to talk to, what their problems are, and what you need to say to move them on to the next step.
John says, "There is no magic to it; just be cool about it."
The 5 steps to getting started
* Create your elevator pitch, as discussed in session two - Not just to have one (we have already discussed the benefit of that), but to understand who you’re trying to talk to, what you’re helping them with, and what the most common objections are.
* Find the need - When you go out to networking events, don’t have shallow conversations. Establish a problem they have that you can help with. If they don’t have a problem you can help with, don’t feel bad, remember you don’t need to (and can’t) sell to everyone.
* Take their card – Ask if they have a business card and request one.
* Take good notes - Before you talk to someone else, write the prospect's problem down on their business card with any additional information you think pertinent. This is vital as most people speak to 5-10 people at each event, but remember very little about any by the time they leave; they just blur together.
* Write an email like you're talking to your friend – Instead of being fancy, and "being a salesperson," just try sending them an email like you would a friend. A good basic example of an email to a friend would read as follows:
Subject: Just touching base with you about (your problem)
Body - Hey , what’s up?
I wanted to touch base about (the problem) you discussed at (event).
Call to action - Do you want to catch up this week to have a quick chat about it?
Don’t people just delete these emails? – There are a lot of articles out there that suggest email is dead and social media is the new hot thing in town. But ask yourself, what is the first thing you do in the morning? That’s right, you check your email and so does everyone else. Sure social media is highly powerful, but your message is also avoidable. Nothing beats an email sitting there in your prospect's inbox demanding attention. Be honest with yourself: Don’t you read a few unsolicited emails every now and then?
Take action – Email is just like all other things; it’s not an art form, you just need to take action.
How long should my emails be?
In business there is a communication process. From the point where they don’t know who you are, to the point that they are a customer, there is a certain amount of communication and rapport that has to happen. An email can’t be used in isolation; it is part of that process. It’s best not to get caught up in the nitty gritty, it’s just another tool in the arsenal and for many the first step to engaging prospects they would have otherwise never seen again.
Long term email relationships
It’s time to stop thinking day to day. Let’s say you meet, or your sales team meets, 18 people a week.
ForceField Analysis - How to Start a Business Improvement
The ForceField Analysis should follow directly after episode 20’s SWOT Analysis, and should be completed as part of your first paid client sessions.
The ForceField Analysis is amazingly useful for helping your client, and you as their coach, understand the terrain before making any change or improvement. It’s also a great way to ensure your client doesn’t miss out on potential supporters that may aid their success, or fall victim to unforeseen hurdles.
You may have clients that you believe might find the SWOT Analysis overwhelming or too complicated. For these clients you can choose to skip it all together and move straight through to the ForceField Analysis. To do this, you will take the biggest challenge (problem) given by the client in the "Where Is Your Business Now" worksheet and then move straight into discussing what improvements and/or changes would fix this. Once this is done, it is an easy transition into what will help (and stop) them from getting there, which is the basis of this worksheet.
For coaches that have just completed a SWOT Analysis with their clients, you may be thinking you can skip this step - and you would be right. You can choose to skip ForceField Analysis completely and move on to the next worksheet, soon to be provided in session 23.
I conversely see each indicated action discussed in the table, derived from the SWOT analysis, as a requirement for improvement or change and therefore use ForceField Analysis for each of them.
The worksheet is simple - you just list the desired change or improvement. Then you list all the possible things that will help you implement the change or improvement, and all the things that could stop you.
An example of this would be installing a new CRM system to replace a paper system.
You may list "what will help us get there" as:
* Certain high IT skilled staff
* Your client's experience
* Your assistance (you as their coach)
You may list "what will stop us getting there" as:
* Staff members that are less technologically advanced
* Scarce resources
* Lack of time
* Paperwork in disorder
* Staff members that don’t like change
Keep me in the loop:
I would love to hear how you’re currently using the SWOT Analysis and how you will now change this. Please take a second to post a comment in the comment section below.
Download the "ForceField Analysis" worksheet!
* BBC 012 : 3 Steps To Effective Change Management
* BBC 013 : Second FREE Worksheet – Where Is Your Business Now
* BBC 020 : Third FREE Worksheet – SWOT Analysis A Businesses Free Insurance Policy
Don’t miss a thing:
As the podcast will have sessions both in video and audio, make sure you subscribe to both the audio and video versions of this podcast.
Here are the links:
SWOT Analysis - How to Ensure Business Success
This worksheet follows shortly after the "Where Is Your Business Now?" worksheet, explained in session 13, and should be completed as part of your first paid client session.
You will also find SWOT helpful when creating SMART business goals, as outlined in session 17. SWOT will really help your client understand if the goals they are setting themselves are achievable for their organization, or if they should be increased/reduced to better motivate and drive the organization to a higher or more realistic target.
The SWOT analysis is a coaching tool that is too often undervalued, generally conducted once in every coach’s initial meeting and then put in the drawer never to be seen again.
To me, the SWOT analysis is one of the most important documents in niche marketing and in ensuring business longevity. I believe the SWOT analysis should be conducted every six months and be viewed as an organizational insurance policy. By doing this, an organization will make sure it is best positioned against threats that are looming on the horizon and best placed to capitalize on any potential opportunities that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.
So let’s have a closer look at SWOT
Strengths and weaknesses
Here you encourage your client to look inward for strengths and weaknesses within their organization. Good examples of items that may lie on either the strength or weakness side of a SWOT analysis for any organisation may be:
* Customer base
These items are all internal to the organization. This means that if they’re currently a weakness, the business is in complete control of the weaknesses rectification.
Opportunities and threats
These effect a business, however, are outside (external) to a business’ direct control. While a business can’t directly change external opportunities or threats, knowing what they are still allows a business to be in the driver’s seat. Knowing about potential opportunities and threats gives the organization a real advantage over their opposition who are instead affected by a change as it occurs, or are confronted by others exploiting an opportunity they never saw coming.
So how do you know what opportunities and threats to look for?
I suggest the use of an analysis commonly known as "PEST"
* Political – Changes in government policy, political climate, laws, funding, grants, zoning, etc.
* Economic – Consumer confidence, currency fluctuations, international downturns, interest rate variations, etc.
* Social – Opinions, pressures, thinking, values, etc.
* Technological – New, obsolete, evolving, etc.
Synergies and niche markets
Once you have all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on the table, it is time to look for synergies that would allow you to capitalize on new niche markets, as well as potential weaknesses that if not rectified may lead to adverse effects. To achieve this, ask yourself/your client the following:
* What strengths could give you/your client a unique advantage when attempting to capitalize on any of the listed opportunities?
* What strengths could you/your client easily obtain to capitalize on any of the opportunities uncovered?
* What weaknesses, unless rectified, could put you/your client at a potential disadvantage?
Thanks a lot - very systematic and valuable!
Matthew brings amazing value to this podcast. He lays out a very simple and quick method to improve your coaching. Although I am not a coach, I have been able to apply these techniques to the small businesses that I work with in my Financial Practice. This is highly recommended. Well worth your time to listen to.
I absolutely love listening to Matthew Pollards podcast on my down time! Very informative.