In the early days of the Internet,
companies built websites and supplied all the content. They knew that it was
critical to have fresh content as often as possible so people would come back
to their site. And if people didn’t come back, then they knew they would be far
less attractive to potential advertisers.
We all know how this story ended. People
invested millions in these websites, stock was sold on Wall Street and in the
end, people lost billions and the economy was thrust into a recession of sorts.
While some proclaimed the World Wide Web
as just a fad, others re-tooled and took a new approach to the Internet. Many
sites, such as Amazon and WebMD, still depend on having fresh content to keep
people coming back. Many developers, however, took a new approach, creating
websites where the online content is created everyday by millions of average
people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. These
developers look to people like you and me to write about what is interesting to
us and share things we deem important or entertaining. This development, known
as Social Media, completely shifted how people discover, read, and share news,
information and other content.
Certainly, social media gets a bad rap. It
can be viewed as an expansive online rumor mill or coffee club. If you approach
it correctly, however, it can be a valuable networking tool.
There are many different types of social
media, including the big three – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Beyond those
are dozens of others. YouTube is a form of social media just for sharing video.
Instagram and Pinterest are for sharing images.
There are sites geared entirely for small
business and some just for attorneys … Or writers. The point is that there are
tons of different types of social media. Some have better business applications
than others, but there are lots of ways to connect with people on the Internet
Networking Rx: Networking and Non-Verbal Communication (EPS 033)
As a follow up to Episode 019 (Creating Networking Recall), Frank Agin, founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections and host of Networking Rx, shares research on the power non-verbal communication has in making us memorable.
Congratulations! You’ve established relationships and empowered that network. Great! But
remember there is no such thing as perpetual motion. Too often, people work
hard to create a referral machine only to watch it break down because they
erroneously assume that an empowered
network will just keep kicking out referrals.
Think of it like pushing a car: You have
to work really hard to get the car rolling. Once the car is rolling you only
have to exert mild force to keep it moving. But don’t let it stop because then
it is like starting all over.
and empowering the network is the
Herculean push to get things moving. The mild force to keep it all moving
involves three things.
ASK: Continue to ask for referrals, including things your network might not see. Don’t get frustrated if they are not referring things that seem obvious to you. Remember, they don’t live in your world and don’t see it as you do. So ask!
Can you introduce me to…?
Could you connect me to speak at this event?
Would you keep your eyes open for…?
APPRECIATE: No matter what your network does for you, thank them. If a referral goes nowhere, thank them anyway. Why? The fact they are thinking of you is excuse enough to celebrate. Your referral machine is working!
Also, appreciation is a wonderful motivator.
Dole it out and people will do whatever it takes to get more. Few people thank
others. You will set yourself apart when you show your appreciation.
CLARIFY: No matter how well you educate and empower, your network is going to get it wrong from time to time. They want to help you, but they are going to send you referrals that are, well, bad.
Don’t get frustrated. They want to help
and they are trying. Reconnect with them and clarify your request. One small
correction in how they perceive what a good referral for you is could spell the
difference between continued bad referrals and a great new client.
Drawing on an anecdote from the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games, Frank Agin, founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections and host of Networking Rx, encourages us to carry ourselves with the same pride and confidence that American athletes demonstrate in carrying Old Glory.
Networking Rx: John Millen – Guest Interview (EPS 030)
Frank Agin, founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections and host of Networking Rx, interviews John Millen, executive communication consultant who encourages the use of storytelling to create impactful messages (www.johnmillen.com).
If you do a spectacular job educating your
network on recognizing referrals, great. That, however, is not enough. You need
to empower them with the ability to talk to prospective clients about what it
is you do.
For example, if they recognize that the
displaced executive is a potential client to refer to you, great. Encourage
them to strike up a conversation with the person (and they will if they know, like and trust you). And
transition into a discussion about franchising. Here is an example:
am sorry you are in transition. What is your next move? Have you considered
becoming your own boss? I understand that franchising is almost a fool-proof
means of successfully being in business. I know a great franchise broker …
there is no obligation to meet with him and his services are essentially free,
as the franchisors pay his fees.”
In addition to general conversation, empower your referral machine with
non-technical buzz words and catch phrases about your industry (as well as what
they mean) … Franchise Fee … Ongoing Royalties … FDD … Earnings Claim …
Discovery Day. Your network should know
enough to talk about what you do but not enough to do it.
Finally, encourage your network to hook
you into the situation. In short, encourage the person to talk about you in a
connecting sense. Returning to the example from before “I know a great franchise broker. There is no obligation to meet with
him and his services are essentially free, as the franchisors pay his fees.”
Networking Rx: The Freshman Mixer Parable (EPS 029)
With the assistance of a short entertaining story, Frank Agin, founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections and host of Networking Rx, demonstrates how aggressive sales tactics can impair long-term networking potential.