Tag Archives: small business

10 Simple Ways to Add Value and Build a Relationship Right Away

Why should you seek out ways to add value to your new contacts? Adding value is one of the easiest things you can do to build trust and start building your relationship right away, as long as you’re adding real value for the person.

Check out these 10 simple ideas:

  1. Introduce them to someone within your own network who they could benefit from knowing. Don’t know anyone specific? Invite them to a group they could benefit from.
  2. Make sure once you’ve connected, you start engaging right away. Don’t wait! When time goes by you forget them, and they will forget you. Get connected and stay front of mind.
  3. Depending on where you met them, if it was an event, it’s relevant and you take good notes, offer to forward them after the event.
  4. Send them an article that might interest or benefit them.
  5. Send information or invite them to an upcoming event they might like.
  6. Send a link to a useful app that might be of value to them.
  7. If at an event, offer a testimonial to a speaker who had great content.
  8. Depending on their stage of business, offer to test their product and offer feedback and a testimonial.
  9. If you think or know someone could be a great speaker and you know of something coming up, refer them for a speaking opportunity.
  10. Refer potential business to them. If you can’t or don’t have any, ask to learn more about what they do and how you can best refer someone to them. Just make sure if you do this, that you actually refer someone in the near future.

Avoid These Common Mistakes After Your Next Networking Event

Networking events have so much potential as a starting point for building great business relationships. And when done right can lead to endless business possibilities and success. However, too many people make the same mistakes each time. Learn what they are and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: You jump from one conversation to the next and although you might have some meaningful conversations – you forgot to get their contact details. Whether we get nervous, caught up or just forgetful, sometimes we don’t exchange contact information. Luckily the other person might remember but you could lose out on a valuable business relationship so don’t forget.

Mistake #2: Even worse, you collect cards from everyone you meet, but either you wait too long to sort through and organize them, or you forget all the important details in the first place. Bottom line mistake: you’ve forgotten who was who and now you’ll have to back track and waste time figuring it out, or you won’t even be able to. Don’t underestimate the value you’ll get from just a couple minutes of jotting down notes after a networking event.

Mistake #3: You don’t take the time to review the handouts, worksheets and resources you received at the event. Networking events are laden with successful people, valuable knowledge and great resources. A big mistake many people often make is failing to take advantage of the incentives offered by the speakers and presenters.

Mistake #4: Failing to prioritise who to follow up with and why. You might have made many, many connections but the mistake people often make is not prioritising the most important ones while they’re warm. Go through and identify who makes the most sense to follow up with first and why. Don’t make the mistake of being vague and always be specific.

Mistake #5: Following up without a plan. You should have at least a 30-day plan for how to follow up with the contacts you would like to establish a working mutual relationship with. But you wont develop these relationships if you catch up once and then forget to show up. You have to be consistent and stay in contact on a regular basis (or as much as possible).

Mistake #6: Waiting. The biggest mistake people make after an event is waiting too long. Timely follow up is critical. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the person has forgotten you or the connection you made before you follow up.

Steps to Take Your Online Connections, Offline

Your online network feels solid and strong. So how do you take online connections, offline? Here are some steps you can take to move your online connections to real-world business relationships.

What do you have to offer? Are you aware of the unique value you bring to the table that cannot be easily imitated or duplicated? If not, know what you have to offer before moving forward, so you can contribute to the benefit of another – specifically, the person you’d like to get to know.

Always explore how you can give before you receive. Of course you need to focus on your end goal too, but that’s not the message that will help you connect with someone offline. It might even push them away. Instead, focus on how you can help them first. Reciprocity is essential to building trust and establishing any successful relationship. Know your strengths and how you can provide value to the other person. If you do this, you’ll stand out against others and be more than an online connection. When you’re able to create value for someone, you set yourself apart and become real-world relevant for the other person.

Start or join the conversations happening online. Once you’re clear on what you can offer someone and how you might provide value to them. With the right attitude you can productively listen and join online conversations. Easy ways to build online rapport is by following people you admire on Twitter, re-tweet or share their content, like their statuses on facebook, endorse their skills on LinkedIn (when relevant). When you’re listening, it shows and you will be front of mind and familiar so it feels like they already know you when you initiate anything offline. However, remember to always be thoughtful and authentic while doing this or all they’ll see are bad intentions.

Be clear in your intentions. Especially if you’re cold emailing, get to the point and be entirely clear about what you want. Everyone’s time, (especially successful people) is valuable. Nobody wants to guess what you want, or even worse, think you don’t know what you want. Be clear, short and to the point. Communicate your “ask” and couple it with something of value you can give and you’ll be more likely to get a response.

Get an introduction. Anyone will be more likely to respond to an introduction when referred by someone they know. When you’re introduced by a qualified source, it’s essentially social proof and an endorsement to you. The risk of losing their valuable time is significantly lowered and they’re more likely to like you if they like and respect the person who referred you.

The Top 7 Important Leadership Traits and Skills for Success

A good leader…

Inspires and motivates others

People wants to work for a company that makes a difference in the world. A good leader regularly helps the members of her team connect to the vision and connect what they do to the impact it has on customers and communities.

Displays high integrity and honesty (always)

Great leaders are honest and transparent, and have high integrity–they do what they say they are going to do, and they ‘walk the talk.’ This is how they build respect.

Is a problem-solver with good people skills

Ultimately, leaders are recruited, trained, and chosen to solve organizational problems, and to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace. This requires excellent analytical abilities and also above-average people skills.

Drives for results

Some people are happy to sit back and watch the world go by. Great leaders have a higher level of perseverance, stick-to-itiveness, and drive than most anyone else, and they can be counted on to get things done.

Develops others

The best leaders set aside time (and money in their budgets) to develop their workforce. They look for the most promising employees, and provide them with the training they need to become their company’s next generation of great leaders.

Communicates powerfully

Great leaders communicate with their people often, and in a variety of different ways. Whatever the medium they use, leaders don’t talk about communicating–they just do it.

Builds relationships

A good business is built on a solid foundation of relationships and trust. A good leader takes time every day to build relationships with the members of the team, customers and vendors, boss, their network, others in the industry, and the community.

5 Traits and Attitudes of Successful People

They See Opportunities in Everything

Successful people see opportunities in everything and they seek them out. They wake up with this frame of mind, they go to work with it, they go out with it, they come home with it, and they go to bed always seeing and looking for opportunities.

They Recognise and Learn From Mistakes

Successful people, even the very best of them, make mistakes, and they make them often. Furthermore, they’re not afraid to make mistakes, and they know how to learn from them. Making mistakes is healthy and normal, and the sooner you realize that, the better. Don’t waste time doing everything you can to avoid mistakes or beat yourself up after making one. Acknowledge them, figure out what you can do to make up for them, and move on. Don’t let mistakes or rejection get in the way of building your business.

They Radiate Confidence

Have you ever tried to compliment someone, only to have them reply with something along the lines of, “Thanks, but ______ is not that great”? Successful people are the complete opposite – they ooze confidence. This is reflected in how they are with others and how they approach a new referral partner. If someone says to a successful person that their marketing agency did amazing work for their business, the successful person will confidently agree with them, rather than deflect the compliment. If a successful person reaches out to someone about building a relationship, helping each other out and creating referral opportunities, their confidence makes the difference.

They Believe Outside Perspective is Invaluable

To be successful, you need to be a good communicator, and that means actively listening to those with different ideas and opinions. It’s easy for us to get trapped in one mode of thinking. Many business owners keep their business models and directives too rigid. What they inadvertently end up doing is restricting their ability to grow and leading to failure. On the other hand, successful people are constantly searching for individuals to connect with who will challenge their way of thinking and lead them to see things from a new perspective. They search for the right sorts of referral partners who have similar drives and attitudes but another perspective. They surround themselves with the right sorts of people who are in line with where they want to go.

They’re Fearless

Successful people become successful because they understand that there is an element of risk in everything, whether it involves jumping out of a plane or starting a new business. Or something as simple as connecting with new referral partners or tapping into a new network. Successful people don’t let fear get in the way of taking the next step in what they need to do to achieve their goals.

How to Think Differently and Have a Successful Mindset Towards Your Referral System

Perfection is the enemy of progress.

When it comes to making and maintaining connections and staying front of mind to your network, many people get caught up in having to write the perfect post or send the perfect message/email to keep their networks alive. They think their referral system has to be set up perfectly before they start implementing.

However, perfection is often what stalls progress. The time you spend trying to hammer down those last few details is likely going to end up as time wasted. Instead, start doing, make some progress and improve as you go. If you’re finding you’re network isn’t made up of the right types of people or the right partnerships, you can work on changing that, but you’ll never know if you get hung up on perfections and you don’t get moving!

Big things are made from small components.

Whether you’re working on building your referral teams, expanding your reach with cross-promotional partners or expanding your network, you’ll be more successful if you learn to break down massive projects, problems and campaigns into smaller, more manageable pieces.

One of the best ways to do this is with plans and blocks. Set plans and goals for yourself regarding the areas of your business you want to focus on. Then break them into smaller activities and set time blocks throughout your week to focus on them. For example, take 10 minutes to check in with referral partners, spend 30 minutes another day on your social media engagement. It doesn’t have to be perfect or feel like a massive task. These small blocks will add up to your big picture and lead to noticeable results.

Discipline is a prerequisite.

To most people, discipline is something extra. It takes extra thought and effort to exercise, wake up on time or do anything other than spend leisure time. To be successful, make discipline your ‘normal,’ (if it isn’t already). This means knowing what you want and being prepared to do whatever it takes to get it. Activities like setting up time blocks, building referral plans or staying front of mind with your network all require deliberate discipline.

There is no magic.

You can’t make sales and grow your business by expecting there to be a miracle, or some kind of instant, magical rise to the top because your idea was revolutionary. Even the best ideas in the world require patience, skill and endless effort to earn that level of success. Those who are good at what they do realize this. Waiting for your idea to do the work on its own, or waiting for some unseen element to carry you to success can only result in disappointment.

You also have to be focusing your time on the right sorts of activities – this means that around 70% of your time should be spent on revenue-generating activities such as sales or marketing. You need the power of your network, your referral partners and cross-promotional partners to expand your reach even further and take you through.

Do Your Customers Trust You? Why Trust Might Be Your Most Valuable Currency

A company or business earns trust though the brand. So what creates a brand that inspires trust? Brand experts point to two key elements, which are reflected in “say” and “do”: the brand promise (SAY: or the declaration of intent that inspires hope) and the delivery on that promise (DO: the fulfillment of the declaration that inspires trust).

Case Study: FedEx – A Brand Built on a Promise Worth Talking About

When Fred Smith founded FedEx in 1971, it was simply a shipping company. Overnight delivery did not exist on a national scale in the United States. Then, Smith found a way to deliver point-to-point, anywhere in the U.S. — almost overnight, thereby inspiring the tagline, “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight!”

Smith talks about his revelation: “We thought we were selling the transportation of goods; in fact, we were selling peace of mind. When we finally figured that out, we pursued our goal with a vengeance.”

FedEx backed up the promise of its tagline with its actions, and it did what it said it would every time. It consistently produced results. It built a reputation for reliability that leading to recognition as one of the most trusted companies in the world.

And people told their friends.

Today, FedEx ranks in the top ten of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies. Trust has become the new currency of the global economy. It is the basis on which many people do business — or don’t.

The world’s largest and most successful brands have built strong reputations by having a clear brand promise and consistently delivering on it. Think Mercedes, Rolex, Apple, Google and Amazon.

Consider these facts:

  • 77% of informed respondents said they refused to buy products or services from a company they distrusted
  • 72% criticized a distrusted company to a friend or colleague.
  • 76% said they recommended a trusted brand to a colleague or friend
  • 91% rated “A company I trust.” as a priority when asked, “When you think of good and responsible companies, how important is each of the following factors to the overall reputation of the company?”
    • (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2009)
  • 83% of People who trust a brand will recommend it to others. (Concerto Marketing Group Study, 2009)

Referral business is the ultimate example of brand trust as a currency. It represents a “transference of trust” that goes from a current customer to a new prospect and back to the seller. With today’s social media, both criticisms and recommendations go much farther and faster than ever before.

So, how much do your customers trust you?

**Read More on this topic in Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World.

Do You Know Your Strengths? Does Your Network?

Do you know what your strengths are when it comes to your business and life? Does your network see and share these strengths with others? The Reflected Best Self™ exercise is a simple, structured process that helps you identify, and make the most of your strengths.

Step 1: Survey Others About Your Strengths

Identify around 10 people who are in a position to give you accurate feedback about your strengths. Include current colleagues, but also, ideally, former colleagues, friends and family members.Then, ask them to think about what your strengths are, and to give an example to back up every strength they identify.

Step 2: Identify Themes

Once you have all of the responses in from your survey group, start to group the responses together into themes. Some of the themes may reflect strengths you were aware of, but they may also identify things that you hadn’t realized were strengths because they come so naturally to you. Don’t focus soley on work – find the overall themes first – then , they will undoubtedly come full circle because how you show up in Life is how you show up at work.

Step 3: Write Your Strengths Profile

Next, draw together the key strengths that have emerged from your analysis, and tie them together in a few paragraphs that summarize what you’re really good at. Then, take a look at how these overlap and apply to your business. You’ll be able to use this in endless ways, to guide future actions and choices, to shore up your confidence, and while building your network.

Step 4: Identify How You Can Play to Your Strengths

With a clear idea of your strengths, take a long, hard look at how they interact within your business. In what ways are you playing to your strengths? If you’re not, can you adapt the focus and nature of your work to make more of your strengths?

** This “Reflected Best Self” Exercise is a copyrighted instrument of the Regents of the University of Michigan, USA.

Most People Don’t Know How to Properly Use Networking Events – Learn How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Event

Networking events can be an invaluable resource for your business, but nowadays, too many people don’t know how to maximise the networking event, and they just rely on the event to do the work.

The most important place to start is what YOU have to do at networking events, rather than relying on the event itself.

The problem starts when people simply don’t know how to get referrals and create opportunities with other people. The whole reason networking works is because when done right, you’re forming mutually beneficial relationships. Just consider what would happen if you would bring a small group of people together and connect all their opportunities. It would open a world of business for all of them!

The Basics:

Focus #1:  First and foremost, you need to have the right mindset and be willing to help others. You’re not there to just take for yourself. So be honest with yourself – can you walk into a networking event with a genuine desire and interest in helping other people?

So the first think to think of at the event is “How can I help others in the room?” Next, how do I create opportunities and get into networks with other people in the room. Just consider and do the maths: talking to one person, might bring one sale; however, those who understand referral marketing know that if I open the doors to your network, I could get hundreds of sales over the next months and much longer after. In every conversation you have, see if you can connect them to someone in your network so they gain access to your network and you open the doors to their networks.

Finally, after the event, the key here is follow up and follow through. Sometimes people will find someone who’s willing to help, and then they don’t follow up!! Don’t miss out on such an opportunity!

As I wrap up, because these simple mindset strategies are not built into most networking events, most people aren’t doing this. Most people are just thinking of the sales they want to make at the event, but the real value lies in the networks and opportunity the people you meet will bring.

So now that you’ve educated yourself on how to be a good networker, for your next event, remember these Key Strategies. Practice the right referral mindset and you will quickly dominate the room at events and walk out having gained the most from them.

Let’s Talk – Rapport is Critical not just in Business but in Life

The dictionary defines rapport as “relation characterized by harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity.”

When you have rapport with someone, it’s that feeling of flow, ease and comfort in a conversation when there is mutual liking and trust. You will recognize a lack of rapport when you encounter those conversations that feel forced, uncomfortable and rigid. Once you’ve established rapport with a person, he or she is much more likely to be open with you and share information, buy your product, recommend you to others, or support your ideas. Consider rapport as the foundation to and referral partnership.

So while building rapport is intuitive and natural to some people, it is an important skill that anyone can learn.

Here are some tips for building rapport.

Be Real. Fist and foremost, be genuine. If you’re not, the person will know. So be sincere in what you say; don’t make up an interest in something just to create rapport.

Establish artificial time constraints. Nobody wants to feel trapped in an awkward conversation with a stranger, so try beginning the conversation with something along the lines of “I’m on my way out but before I left I wanted to ask you…” When the other person knows that there is an end in sight that is close, and you’re not the person talking to them the rest of the event/flight/afternoon, then they can relax and engage with you more comfortably.

Ask good, open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are ones that don’t require a simple yes or no answer. People love to talk about themselves. Asking open-ended questions and paying attention to the answers helps you learn more about the other person and shows that you have a genuine interest in them. The key is in your follow-up. LISTEN and respond according to what they said. This is how they’ll know you are truly catching their details.

Find Common Ground. When you meet someone new, do your best to find something you have in common. Use open-ended questions to discover some personal information about the person: perhaps you attended the same school or university, have the same favorite vacation spot, grew up in the same city, know the same people, or root for the same sports team.

Be Empathic. Empathy is about understanding other people by seeing things from their perspective, and recognizing their emotions. Once you achieve this, it’s easier to get “on their level.”

Ask For Help. When a request is small (this is key), we naturally feel a connection to those who ask us for help. Think for a moment about the times in your life when you have either sought assistance or been asked to provide it. When the request is simple, of limited duration, and non-threatening, we are more inclined to accommodate the request. As human beings, we are biologically conditioned to accommodate requests for assistance.

Smile. Smiling is the most powerful nonverbal technique to let someone know you are non-threatening, friendly and trustworthy. Smiling makes you approachable.