Marketing

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Get Clients Now!(tm) Marketing for Service Professionals

Networking Horror Stories

I spend so much time talking about what we should do, that I think it's time to take a break.  I want to know what some of your worst networking experiences are, or your funniest. 

I have tons of them, but the most recent is probably also one of the shortest networking conversations I have ever had.  I was introduced to several attorneys and we were discussing business (shocking, I know).  Not 3 minutes into the conversation, she (yes, "she") looked at the wedding ring on my finger and declared that I did not have to support myself because I was married.  Another whopper followed that, that I was not responsible for others.  I wrapped up that conversation pretty quickly!!  

How about you? 

"Endless Referrals" by Bob Burg

"Endless Referrals" by Bob Burg, "Get Clients Now" by C.J. Hayden and "Book Yourself Solid" by Michael Port are among the core books that I use with many of my clients.   In combination, they make a fantanstic business development program for the non-sales professional.  "Get Clients Now" provides the structure, "Book Yourself Solid" provides the focus and "Endless Referrals" talks about how to develop the relationships you need to grow your business.

Bob Burg was here in June with Motor City Connect. Don't worry if you missed him.  You can find everything he talked about in his books.

All three books talk about the "know, like and trust" factor that's mandatory for anyone who sells a service, such as an attorney, chiropractor, coach or consultant.   "Endless Referrals" focuses exclusively on it.   Bob talks about how to get to know people enough to be able to ask for and get quality referrals, and maintain that relationship over time.

The first few chapters talk about building rapport, the process of developing trust.  He gives 10 'Feel-Good Questions©'  that help you get to know someone and create a connection with them.  He also guides the reader on how to adjust these questions for social events of any kind using the "F-O-R-M" (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Message) method.  I highly recommend studying these questions and using them at your next networking event.  Watch your network grow as you get proficient at this process.  This is by far the clearest process of how to create connection with someone that I have seen so far.

The next few things Burg focuses on are how to ask for referrals so that you actually get them.  Most people just aks if you know "anyone."   I have news for you - there is no one by that name.  It's not likely to get you referrals because it's too general.  He shows you how to narrow it down so that you make the frame of reference manageable for most people without making it too narrow (Tina Morrow at XYZ Company).

Burg also talks about how to get a testimonial that actually supports your business.  I really appreciated that section, after receiving some testimonials that were either unreadable or not what I do. I'm sure you've gotten a few of those too.

I would go to other resources rather than "Endless Referrals for information on internet and other business development strategies, but there is nothing better than "Endless Referrals" for how to build trust and follow up. 

"Endless Referrals" is not the only book you need for your business if you provide a service, but it's a good place to start. 

Women in Insurance Networking Event Presentation July 14 A Success

The presentation last week at the Women in Insurance Networking Event was a great success.  The event, organized by Amanda Bobrovetski of Action Benefits, drew about 25 women insurance agents.  The other speaker, Tiffany Otis-Albert of Blue Cross Blue Shield, did a great job as well.  The audience really enjoyed both the food at Quattro and the presenters.  The feedback has been great.   I spoke on business development, based on the Get Clients Now!(tm) program.  The women were excited and several realized where they needed to focus more in the coming months.

If you are interested in having me present at your event, please contact me at (810) 560-7181.  

 

 

The Real Magic of Business Development is Consistency

I was talking to a client the other day and she said, "I guess I was looking for a magic bullet or something."   I see that a lot when I talk to people.   It shows up in all sorts of areas, not just business development.  Weight loss, job hunting and career planning are all great examples of where I see this mindset.  They are looking for an easy, simple solution. 

The funny thing is that most solutions are simple.  What they are usually not is easy.  It's simple to lose weight - eat less and burn more calories. It is not easy to lose weight.  There's a fairly simple process for finding a job - again, simple not easy.

What usually makes it difficult is all the things that get in the way of you doing it in the first place or you wouldn't be struggling.  There is no quick answer to weight loss, finding a job or growing a business.  It takes time and consistent work.  You can make the work more efficient and effective, but it still takes consistent work over time. 

For business development for professionals, the formula is simple:

  1. Be very clear on who you want to work with (your ideal client) and focus on talking to them.
  2. Be clear on what solutions you provide to their problems.
  3. Focus on building relationships and providing value, not selling.
  4. Communicate to your ideal clients regularly and often.  They must know, like and trust you before they will be ready to buy from you.

The hows might vary slightly - you might prefer to blog, rather than do public speaking for example, but basically that's it.  Simple, but not necessarily easy.  Most people do not track their business development activities, so they often think they are doing more than they are.  It takes an average of seven to nine times of contacting someone before they are ready to buy, but most people give up after the third or fourth time.

Having a system and support to keep you on track and accountable really helps create consistency.    There are many different kinds of systems.  You can create your own and or use something someone else has created.  I use "Get Clients Now!" Outlook, and other tools.  It really doesn't matter as long as you do something that allows you to measure and track your activities.  Ideally, it will make it easier.

Also resolve and deal with the obstacles that come up when you start using your system and working on your business or career development.  If it's fear, get support and work through it.  If it's time management, stress or other issues - identify the problem and get help to get a solution.  Don't let it derail you.  There are always obstacles and for every obstacle, there is always a solution, and usually more than one.

Be consistent and use a system - there's your magic bullet.

Faith - Or How to Keep Going When You Don't See Results

When I talk with my friends and clients,  the hardest thing that we all face is often the lack of conviction that what we are doing is working and that we will see results.  Most of us are very far out of our comfort zones when we're looking for jobs or starting a business.  Hopefully, it's not something we do on a regular basis so that we're comfortable and confident.  That's part of the reason a lot of experts will recommend that you do go on job interviews on a yearly basis, even if you're not looking.   Most people don't.   That way, when you do seriously need or want to look for a new job, you are comfortable and secure in the process.

It's not an easy process either way.  If you're looking for a job, you could end up making dozens, if not hundreds of calls, go on many interviews and do a lot of searching online before you find the right job.   The process looks a little different when starting a business, but it's essentially the same.  You make dozens or hundreds of calls, go to many networking events or meetings and do much research before your business is established.  For the new entrepreneur,  you need to find not just one job, but many - which makes it much worse than the typical job hunt.   Someone looking to find a job only needs to make one sale.   An entrepreneur must make many sales.  Weight loss,  is by the way, often the same problem.  It takes a long time to see results and it's very easy to get discouraged.

Most people tend to get discouraged after the second or third call that doesn't go well.  If you're not a trained salesperson, it's truly difficult to get through the first several years of business.   I believe that most beginning entrepreneurs give up because they get discouraged, not because they run out of money.   They never raise the money they need to begin with.

So do you keep going when you don't see results immediately, the bills are mounting and nothing you're doing seems to be working?

For myself, it's usually that the alternative is much worse.  I would really rather not go back to working the same long hours and travel that I was doing when I worked full-time.  Not to mention that the job itself had long ago ceased to interest me.  There are things I don't like about what I do now.  I am not a natural salesperson and there are parts of the selling process that I don't enjoy.  I don't enjoy the paperwork and I don't enjoy having to deal with the IRS and being much more likely to be audited.  Not to knock them - our auditor was actually a very nice lady and everything worked out fine.  It was just very time consuming. 

The thing is, I love my business.  The core of what I do is helping people I develop.     And it's not just my clients.  I find it very worthwhile to be able to give people useful assistance, even if it's just connecting two people that might make great referral partners for each other, or giving some quick suggestions that may help a situation.  I love meeting new people, helping them develop and supporting their visions.  I meet so many amazing people now.  The parts of my business that I love keep me going and keep me fueled to keep growing my business so that I can help more people.   My faith is that what I am doing is worthwhile, not just to me, but to the people I help - and the alternative sucks.  It doesn't hurt that I'm stubborner that a mule either.  There a lot to be said for persistence.

For some people, putting their faith in God works well.  I have several friends that have a wonderful relationship with God and "he" or "she" supports their endeavors.   I think that's great and more power to them.   It works for them and that's what matters.   It never worked for me - my spiritual views are not that tangible and I've never been able to relate to God as a being.     I have other friends that have such supreme self-confidence that they cannot conceive of failing.   Again, it works for them and that is great.   It doesn't work for me when it comes to my own business.   I am hoping that 10 or 20 years from now, I will have that supreme self-confidence.    

I don't think there's a one size fits all or even a one size fits most answer when it comes to the faith or courage to keep going when you don't see immediate results.   I do encourage you to look for the answer that works for you and will keep you going.  I also don't have a good answer for how to find that faith.  All I can do is suggest the above as places to look.   It has to work for you.

In the meantime, here are some ideas that will help:

  1. Focus on the small wins:  For example,  even getting the meeting or interview is a win.  Having someone call you, even if it doesn't go anywhere is a win.  Feeling energetic and awake rather than bloated and tired is a win, even if you haven't lost an ounce.   Write them down daily in a success log.  Americans have a tendency to ignore everything but who comes in first and this leaves us with a very distorted view of success.  Coming in second is still winning.  So is even making the playoffs.
  2. Remind yourself several times a day of all the good things about what you are doing now.  If you don't know what they are, write them down.  Notice them.
  3. Look at your goals daily.  Remind yourself on a daily basis of what you ultimately hope to achieve.  Not the money or the job, but what that money, job or client will get you. 
  4. Set daily, weekly and monthly short term intermediate goals.   Breaking things down helps you recognize your progress.
  5. Reward yourself when you complete difficult tasks and reach intermediate goals.  The big reward at the end is great, but the little rewards along the way are important too.

I'd love to hear what you come up with.  What keeps you going?

 

Beyond The Basics: Relationship Building Skills – BBCC Professional Edge Unplugged April 7, 2010 Highlights

Lori Williams and I co-presented “Beyond The Basics: Relationship Building Skills” at the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce Professional Edge Unplugged on April 7, 2010 to a full room. The discussion was exciting and it was wonderful to see how many potential business collaborators were sitting in the room and realized it as we progressed through the program. We covered branding, referral partners and strategic alliances. I will be presenting some of the relevant concepts in future blogs. The Greek Isles Coney Island was a great location and the Chamber did a phenomenal job of promoting the event. Lori and I were thrilled to be able to provide value to chamber members and help them develop and grow. Many of the members made connections that will be very valuable in their future business that day.

Barbi Krass of Colorworks Studio, one of the attendees, had this to say about the presentation:

”Lori, Elisabeth, I thoroughly enjoyed your workshop this morning. The presentation was very helpful in sorting out bottom lines for us all and the information was delivered in a way we could certainly relate to.“ 

Elisabeth Garbeil and Lori Williams, Co-presentors at BBCC Professional Edge Unplugged, April 7, 2010

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