Tag Archives: networking

Learn More by Keeping Quiet

Indeed, you should be having multiple conversations every day in order to create more opportunities and generate more business. Yet, don’t underestimate the advantage of keeping quite. Here’s when to bite your tongue and what you can learn by doing so.

Zip it. You can’t learn when you’re talking. If you spend most of a meeting or a conversation talking, trying to impress or trying to sell, you’re not learning anything. You’re also going to miss out on potential partnerships and you likely won’t hear enough about the challenges the other person is facing to know how you can help solve their challenges.

Listen. It is not only important to let other’s talk at meetings or in conversations, it is more important to listen to them. Nobody is going to be motivated to talk if you are not listening. People can tell if you are asking them to talk just to check off a box or whether you and others are actually listening and digesting what they are saying. More importantly, no one will trust you and they definitely wont want to do business with you.

Don’t ignore. Learn to leverage the suggestions and ideas everyone has. Learn how to connect your contacts and tap into each other’s networks. The goal is to get the best comments from everybody and have the team work together to synthesize the suggestions into an idea superior to anything anyone (yourself included) initially had. Come out with a better idea.

How to be Smart at Being ‘the Dumbest Person in the Room’

Growing up, we’re praised for getting good grades and doing well in school. So it’s no surprise that many of us might scoff at being told to aim at being ‘the dumbest person in the room.’ Not really the soundest advice, is it?

However, consider the endless instances when you’ve been around people who want to be the smartest at a meeting, or on an email thread. Their need for approval can become a detriment to any progress. Ironically, the most successful people are actually the ones who want to be the ‘dumbest’ at the meeting.

While highlighting your intelligence may seem important for your career or management, the opposite is true. Instead, by focusing on trying not to be the smartest person in the room, you’re more likely to be the most successful. Allowing others to be the ‘smartest; enables better input, more creative ideas and improved team performance. Here are some guidelines for how to be the smartest ‘dumbest’ person in the room.

Surround yourself with the best people available. Great people generate great results and you need to be willing to surround yourself with great people. These top performers are the ones who will drive success.

Everyone has good ideas. No matter how smart any one person is, there are millions of other very intelligent people on all levels, from the best physicists to the smartest marketers to the best product managers. While you may have some very creative solutions to a problem, do not think that others in the room do not have even better ideas. Letting everyone speak and respecting their ideas gives you the option of selecting the best one.

Great leaders are not great at everything. If you are a great leader, there is no way you are also great at every functional area you are responsible for. You may have wonderful leadership skills, but you should enable your team to do their best and defer to them as experts rather than trying to tell them how to do their work.

Measure on results, not sound bites. The measure of success of a meeting, or a working group, or an email thread is not how smart it made you look but that it generated the best possible results. These results are what will also drive your long-term success, not how much you impressed the others at the meeting or on the email.

Rather than trying to sound the smartest at a meeting, you should aim to be the dumbest. It is more important to surround yourself with great people who will bring performance to a level higher than any individual can achieve.

Are You Spending Your Time on the Right Activities?

You should be checking in on yourself on a regular basis and evaluate whether or not you’re spending your time in the right way. Are you doing the right activities? Are you reaching the level you want to be at? Do you know how you’re spending your time and what you’re doing?

Take a look now at what you’ve achieved and see if you’re going in the direction you want to go.

You want to focus your time on the most important activities you need to do each week to accomplish your goals – the ‘right’ activities.

More likely than not, your key activities should focus around engaging with your network, creating conversations, engaging with your sales funnel and building your partnership teams. This is because these are the activities that will generate new business.

Your first step is to identify the specific ‘right activities’ relevant to your business.

Next, write down about 5 – 7 of these activities, following these criteria:

  1. Does this activity generate new business?
  2. Is this an activity I can (and should) do on a weekly basis?

Commit to these activities and create a plan to spend at least 75-80% of your time doing these things. Otherwise do what you can, even if it’s just a small amount each day.

Stick to this and you’ll be creating new opportunities every week, your business will build momentum and by focusing, you’ll take your business to another level.


Referral Marketing “Dos” and “Don’ts”

How can you close the gap in your business? Don’t miss these referral marketing “dos” and “don’ts” that will help you proactively convert happy customers into reliable revenue-drivers:

  1. Do give customers the tools they need to promote your company.

For referral marketing to work, you can’t expect your referral partners or customers to invest time and energy into developing tools and assets to support your brand. Instead, you need to make the referral process as simple as possible. Most importantly, your referral partners need to know who your ideal customer is and how you can help them. Next it needs to be easy. This might mean having regular catch-ups with your referral partners, creating a hashtag that customers can share online, or developing email templates that ensure referral partners use the right language and share the right landing page URL.

Regardless, decreasing the effort required to deliver a referral is a critical piece of the referral-marketing equation.

  1. Don’t expect customers to always be thinking about you.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make with referral marketing is assuming customers always have their brands on the top of their minds. If you’re not constantly looking for opportunities to engage your most loyal customers so you’re staying front of mind with them, then you’re missing a huge opportunity to encourage and incentivize conversations about your products or services.

  1. Do think about who (and how) you ask for referrals.

To operate a successful referral marketing program within your business, you must consider who you’re targeting, where those people are most active, and which potential referral partners already have a relationship with them.

Regardless of where your customers fall on that spectrum, it’s critical to truly understand their motivations and preferences before you reach out.

  1. Don’t “set it and forget it.”

Once you start building your team of referral partners and get a referral coming in the door, it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming the engine will run itself. Like all strategic marketing initiatives, referral-marketing requires your continuous engagement to work.  It doesn’t have to be hard, and simple is always better. Make sure you’re touching base regularly with your referral partners and customers so you remain front of mind.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254516


How to Choose the Right Referral Partners

There are some important things you need to do when choosing and growing a strong referral partnership.

Who’s the Right Referral Partner for You?

First, make sure you find the right referral partner. The right person is someone who has the same mindset as you and is in line with your values. Don’t get stuck into thinking that you have to have the same or similar network to be a good fit because you can build relationship with whatever networks your referral partner has.

The Right Communication

There are 2 common reasons whey referral partnerships don’t work. The first reason being due to poor communication.

So perhaps it’s not much of a surprise that the right referral partner is someone who you like and are excited about speaking to. Why? Because you want to be catching up with your referral partners every week and you don’t want this to be a chore because then you won’t enjoy doing it. This will help to keep good communication flowing between you.

The Right Training

Once you’ve identified someone you believe to be the right person, the second common reason referral partnerships don’t work is due to improper and infrequent training of one another. Take the time to train each other properly before jumping into everything. This step isnt’ to be underestimated and is highly worth it in the long run.

Training consists of simple, clear, communication where you teach each other what types of referrals you want. If you’re both clear on this, you’ll each know what to listen for and what to recommend to potential referrals. Your referral partner will be equipped on how to find or identify your ideal referrals and how to speak with them.

The Right Number

Once you know how to address these first points of establishing a strong referral partnership, it’s time to start! Have a look at who your referral partners are right now. Are they right? Could you follow the above criteria with them? If not, you might not be the right fit for eachother. Ask yourself if you’re able to establish a good partnership or if you should find someone else.

If they are the right referral partners for you, great – get started. Begin with one person, take the time for weekly catch-ups and start building the relationship. You’ll want about 6 good referral partners. This will bring in enough referrals on an ongoing basis but also still allow you enough time for weekly catch-ups. Follow the guidelines and agenda and you’ll have a steady flow of referrals in no time. The best part is, you’ll enjoy getting there without spending all your time.

Exploring a Joint Venture? 10 Important Questions to Ask

Wondering whether you should start a joint venture? A joint venture is a step further than a referral partner or strategic partnership and there’s no straight answer to this question. The decision involves addressing various elements. Consider copying the following questions on a word processing document, so that you can constantly address and answer those important elements before and as you move forward. Here you’ll find 10 important questions to consider:

  1. Do I need to develop a know-how, which has already been developed by a company or by an individual?
  2. Is there a logical business partner that could help me develop a vertical or horizontal market penetration?
  3. Do I have all the human resources I need in marketing, R&D, production, or operations? Is there a company I know which would have resources complementary to mine?
  4. How do I feel about combining resources? Do I like to lead by myself and act as a solitary business hero, or am I fine with sharing the pie?
  5. Do I have access to the right legal resources to structure the joint venture and insure all aspects are duly covered?
  6. Are there local legal regulations I can bypass by partnering with a local business?
  7. Am I prepared to take the time to write a full-fledged joint business plan?
  8. Am I aware that in the vast majority of cases, merging activities, even when not necessarily identical, will result in an inevitable workforce reduction? How do I feel about letting go of some of my most faithful employees?
  9. Do I already know of a person or a company that I see has a real interest in partnering? Have I discussed this possibility with this person or with the person in charge of the targeted company? If yes, what is the general feeling? If no, then it is time to start a high-level discussion to gauge the level of interest.
  10. What are my strengths and weaknesses? What are the threats and opportunities in my target market?

Source: Happy About Joint Venturing by Valerie Orsoni-Vauthey. http://www.happyabout.com/jointventuring.php

Get the Most Out of Your Referral Partnerships – Your Weekly Check-in Agenda

Do you have a process in place that makes opportunities happen? What are you doing with your referral partners? Are you making the most out of your time together? Let’s have a look at what you’re doing and how you can improve and get the most from your partnerships.

The Purpose of your Weekly Catch-up

To keep the partnership strong and valuable, you’ll need to have a quick 10-15 minute catch up every week or two (max). Doing so keeps you front of mind with each other and allows you to be continually strategising and getting each other more referrals.

Always remember the purpose of the catch-up call. The reason for the catch-up is to stay front of mind, to strategise on how to get more connections for one another, talk about how to open doors, to get more exposure to a new and wider audience, how to share networks you both already have, and how to find the right types of people. This may seem like a lot but it doesn’t have to be long; the process is short and simple.

Your Referral Partner Agenda

  1. Goal Setting – Each of you discuss your goal for the week.
  2. Connections – Who do you want to be connected to that week?
  3. Helping – Each of you ask, ‘What are 3 things I can do for you?’

The next meeting, Do an accountability check and simply follow up on those 3 agenda items  Then, cover the same 3 things again for the next week. Just keep it going. It’s that simple.

There’s no point in the relationship if you’re not helping each other. So ask yourself whether you’re taking the right steps and having the right type of contact and communication with your referral partners.

If not, set a goal this week to work on it. Start with 1 referral partner and then work your way up. Your goal should be to have around 6 strong referral partners who you have a good, ongoing relationship with.

Joint Ventures – How Are They Different and How Do They Work?

What is a joint venture?

A joint venture is different from a referral partner in that it’s a strategic alliance where two or more parties, usually businesses, form a partnership to share markets, intellectual property, assets, knowledge, and, of course, profits. It differs from a merger in the sense that there is no transfer of ownership in the deal.

These partnerships can work for any size business. Companies with identical products and services can also join forces to penetrate markets they wouldn’t or couldn’t consider without investing tremendous resources. And sometimes, due to local regulations, some markets can only be penetrated via joint venturing with a local business.

In some cases, a large company can decide to form a joint venture with a smaller business in order to quickly acquire critical intellectual property, technology, or resources otherwise hard to obtain, even with plenty of cash at their disposal.

How does a joint venture work?

Partnerships are a well-known, time-tested principle. The critical hit-or-miss point of what a joint venture does lies in the execution, not in the process itself. Most often, we know what needs to be done, but it’s necessary to join forces. However, it’s easy to overlook the details or get lost in the big picture so you have to focus on both.

The Big Picture

All mergers, large or small, need to be planned in detail and executed following a strict plan in order to keep all the chances of success on your side.

The Details

The details of the arrangement should be covered in a legal agreement that will carefully list which party brings which assets (tangible and intangible) to the joint venture, as well as the objective of this strategic alliance.

**Pro tip: You can find joint venture legal agreement templates online; however, consider seeking the appropriate legal advice when entering such a business relationship.

Relationship Management Skills Everyone Needs

Whether you have a relationship manager on your team or you’re aware of the benefits and are managing clients, team members or your greater network, you’ll find these skills applicable to every scenario.


A good relationship manager is able to inspire others. This skill focuses on using other people’s wisdom in situations, as well as the ability to connect with people emotionally. When a person has a vision, this quality relies on understanding the entire purpose of the mission. This skill also includes involving others in the vision and listening to their opinions and thoughts.


Your ability to influence others is vital in managing relations. You can learn, acquire or improve your ability to influence by listening to other people, making others feel important and making them feel like their opinions are valuable. This strategy allows people to influence others by making the person speaking feel significant.


Another important skill for relationship management is developing others. It focuses on acknowledging people’s accomplishments and strong points, then offering feedback to them. This skill is important because it helps the growth of businesses. Employees who feel valuable and appreciated are likely to accomplish more.


To manage relationships effectively, emphasize the importance of teamwork. Teams that work well together result in higher performance and productivity levels. Encouraging teamwork includes building and promoting strong teams that communicate and work well together. It also includes encouraging participation from all members and rewarding teams for good work.

Initiating Change

Initiating change is a skill that is used for recognizing when change is needed. When you can initiate change, you challenge the status quo and make compelling, logical arguments when change is needed. This is vital in growing businesses; businesses must be willing to accept change and proceed with it. People with good relationship management skills look for ways to overcome the barriers that stop change.

Managing Conflict

How well are you able to manage conflict in a constructive way? People with this skill are able to accept different perspectives, and they demonstrate self-control and respect for everyone. People who manage conflict well are able to deal with difficult people and situations and look for solutions that everyone can accept.

Are you Reliable? 3 Easy Steps to Prove Your Reliability (quickly!)

You can be significantly more effective while building your network, teams, and partnerships if you establish trust first. There are four variables that comprise trustworthiness — credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation—only

One way to establish trust more quickly is by establishing reliability. However, this actually takes time to establish. By definition, reliability requires consistency over time to demonstrate. Luckily, you can accelerate this process if you know how to do it correctly.

Make lots of small promises.

One aspect of reliability means to do what you say you’ll do (and when you’ll do it). So create opportunities for yourself to prove this by making lots of small promises. For example if you meet someone and say you’ll follow up with them, send something or help connect them to someone else. Make the promise clear and give a deadline of when you’ll do it by. Then set the intention and make sure you deliver. You can do this within your work setting too, for example, there’s no need to wait until the end of a six-month project to prove you can be counted on. You can start from day 1 by making lots of small promises, then following through on each one. “I’ll set up the meeting with our partners for Thursday.“

Be on time
If your appointment with Ashley is at 10:00am, let your actions convey that one way you keep your word through punctuality. Then go the extra mile to make sure you’re fully prepared. Whether you’re meeting in person or via an online platform, arrive/login with plenty of time to review your notes, get your mindset and intentions in order, and take a couple of deep breaths. In other words, take an extra few minutes to be fully present.

Use their own words

Did you know reliability is rooted in a feeling of familiarity? People experience others as being more reliable when they feel connected to them and when they feel familiar. You can make this feeling stronger by using others’ jargon, instead of your own. This is a great way to create that feeling in your very first encounter. If you say “public offering” and Michael says “IPO,” go with IPO. Be aware not to do this too often though or you risk losing your own authenticity which is critical to establishing trust.