Tag: #Business_networking #Hints&tips

Why keep their details, I don’t need a widget maker

Recently I was talking to a new contact about how to follow up after meeting people. Obviously, I suggested looking at their website, making contact via email, connecting on Linkedin and then I said, “and add their details to your database” He said “but what if I can’t see myself ever getting any work from them”. Then we talked about what networking is about, yes, of course, we want to increase sales but networking is also about, building relationships, helping others by making introductions, having a support system of people who may be able to be suppliers and people who may offer advice, share knowledge, listen when you need someone to listen etc. This is all achieved by the first objective, building relationships.

It is true that you may build relationships by occasionally meeting that person on an ad hoc basis at future networking events. But that means that your marketing is in the hands of others, and you need to be in control of your marketing. For this reason, I always add people to my database. Not sure about GDPR? If I give you my card or give permission by attending an online event, and they are given the option of unsubscribing then GDPR is satisfied. I then use this database to send newsletters, to answer questions such as if someone asks me if I know someone who does whatever. I use it if one if one of my Group Directors asks me if I know someone who fills a category they have available. (This is usually because members have said they would like that category filled because they know they can do business with them). It is a working part of my marketing, not just another file on my computer.

Of course, you may just decide to depend on remembering every person you ever meet networking, what they do, and what their contact details are. I can’t always do this, so I have a database and I actively use it as part of my marketing. It might be you have another system for keeping track of your contacts, if so let me know what it is, please.

Thank you for reading, here is my gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.

Have fun,

Glenys

What are your work rules?

Recently I was talking to a new contact who said his diary was available “24/7” to his customers, and I asked him when he had time for himself. He said he didn’t have much time to himself, but he wanted new customers and he wanted to provide a great service to his existing customers.  This got me thinking, why didn’t I work 24/7?

I think at one level any business owner works on their business 24/7 because they have ideas about their business whether they are working or not.  I find that ideas, solutions, plans often drop into my brain when I am exercising. Now that could be because I’m focussing on something other than work, usually that focus is of the “I must be doing it right ‘cos that hurts” type. Suddenly I’ll see how something could be done or have an idea for something new or a new way of doing something. That is normal apparently.

My work thinking can happen at any time, but I do not work 24/7. Why is this? I think there are three reasons:

My age. I am now thinking about retiring and having some other new adventures. When I was younger, I had more energy, that is a reality. I can still get excited by a new project and use lots of energy implementing it. When I compare my now self with my younger self I can see the difference. I can see the difference between my now self and younger contacts, as I say they are “young and thrusting” and it is fantastic to watch but I just don’t have that level of energy anymore.

My business history. I have been self-employed for over 25 years. I’ve had different businesses throughout that time, sometimes they overlapped but mainly they were the only business I had. The business I had for the longest was a catering business, which I had for 18 years. We had snack bars, units that were on building sites, we did outside catering, and I did some consultancy. I was busy. I had a good team, but I seemed to spend lots of my time firefighting: staff not turning up, regular customers booking at the last moment, and we had lots of customers, so the firefighting was against a backdrop of 24/7 work. Our shops opened at 7 am so staff started at 6.30, and we often had events in the afternoon and others that went on till the early hours. I had lots of teams to manage and lots of projects on the go at any one time. It was fantastic, but eventually, as I got older, I began to realise it was time to sell, which I did.

My type of businesses. As I developed my current business, I vowed that, whatever happened and however I developed it, I would not work 24/7 again. I would work Monday to Friday, no evenings, and no weekends. It is true that I have a business now that rarely requires firefighting. This is partly because of the nature of my business: it is almost unknown that anyone contacts me and says, “I need to network now!” in the same way customers would ring me and say “I forgot to order lunch for today! Can you help please?”  In addition, I have an amazing team of Group Directors who run their meetings and arrange all the admin relating to their meetings. I’m not involved. My job is to build the business, implement strategy, support Group Directors and members.  

I am very protective of my personal time. I worry about people who say they work 24/7 because we all need down time, time to spend time with our beloveds, time to relax and rejuvenate. So, if you do work 24/7 my questions are: “How long can you keep going and what will happen when you reach your breaking point?”

Thank you for reading, here is my gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.

Have fun,

Glenys

Time is of the essence. Part 2

You will probably not be surprised to know that I do a lot of networking. Now, of course, networking is my only business, so I do it as business as well as for business. But I have always done networking as a major part of my marketing, whatever business I have owned. The result of all this activity is that I meet lots of wonderful people. However, I have a problem…I forget things. (Strangely this is getting worse the older I get so I think maybe my brain has reached storage capacity.)

Often this memory loss looks like this: after the event I gaze at the business card I have from someone (or in these virtual days I gaze at the chat, or at a picture on LinkedIn). (Actually, LinkedIn photos are a whole other blog) and I gaze but can I remember them, no.

I am sure I am not alone in this memory glitch syndrome, so I thought I’d share what I do when doing the obligatory follow-up*. The upshot of this reality of my life is that I have a rule, which is: if there are any outstanding follow-ups from the previous week still outstanding they always get done on a Monday. Why? Because:

  • People don’t get forgotten, and feel ignored (yes they might contact you, but they may not, and your marketing should not be dependent on other people making the best use of their networking),
  • I have a clear ‘to do’ list as I start the new week’s networking, and given the memory issue,
  • I can say “Great/good/lovely to meet you last week” and I know I have met them last week!

So, when networking and building relationships, time, for me, is really of the essence.

Need some help with your networking?

Go to: www.ebn.uk.com  and download my Top 20 Networking tips.

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

* Don’t do follow ups? Go to: https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=57 to find out why I think you should.

The 3/3/3 rule

When talking to people about my system of networking I am often asked “How do you manage a room full of people” This can be daunting, even for the most confident or experienced networkers. My advice is: First gather your thoughts and your positive attitude before you walk in, just before you get out of the car is a good time and place, walk in with a smile, don’t overdo it or you’ll look scary, and have a plan. My plan is I follow my 3/3/3 rule:

Category 1. Talk to three people you know really well but don’t stay with them, which is always tempting. Long day, long week, stress at work; you could stay in your comfort zone. Don’t do it. If needs be arrange a 1-2-1 with them and then move on. You might want to ask people you meet the question “Who (what type of company) are you looking for?” If you have already met someone who matches the description, you can make the introduction. If not, look out for them as you continue to network. Also ask people “Is there anyone you have met here that you think I should meet?” if the answer is Yes get them to introduce you.

Category 2. Talk to three people that you may have only met once or twice. This enables you to develop the business relationship further. Arrange a 1-2-1. Call it ‘having a coffee’ if 1-2-1 sound too formal. Stay with them longer than people in category 1 because the relationship is not yet as strong and needs to be developed. Move on, but before you do, go through the part in italics of category 1 above.

Category 3. Talk to three people you have never met before. This can be a bit scary, but you are all there to network and they may be relieved to not have to approach someone they don’t know. If you really can’t do this, talk to the organiser. Make sure they know what you do and ask them to introduce you to someone with whom there might be synergy, so you can work together. Stay even longer with them than either of the people in category 1 or 2 because the business relationship is just starting. But do move on and before you do, go through the part in italics of category 1 above.

Recently I was told my 3/3/3 rule was the thing that had helped the person I was talking to the most. When I told them that this was something I had devised I received profuse thanks and another business relationship was made stronger. When typing that last sentence, I suddenly thought, “Did someone tell it me and I have forgotten?”, so I Googled it (other search engines are available) and came up with stuff about routing cables, so I’m still pretty sure it came from my brain. I am sure people will let me know if I am wrong.

So I offer you my 3/3/3 rule. Once you have met and talked to nine people you can, if you wish go, back to your office…or you could go round again.

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun.

Networking should be scary

Last week I made my first virtual presentation. I am really used to giving presentations and I see nerves as part of the process. It’s the body’s physical reaction (fight or flight) and chemical reaction (the release of stress hormones, particularly adrenaline and cortisol) to new activities, which I accept. So, scary is good, because it keeps us alert and proves we’re still alive!

Once the thunderous applause had died down, I’d been showered with virtual flowers and virtually paraded, shoulder high, round the town, there was a Q and A session. I was asked what my top three tips for nervous networkers were. Now that’s a whole different presentation, so I gave a quick list, but realised this was something that I could share on a blog.

For the purposes of this blog I am going to assume you have prepared for your networking meeting before you walk through the door or turn on your computer. (You can download networking tips here)

Tip number 1:

Accept that networking can be nerve–racking. Remember others may be just as nervous, so accept that nerves are part of the process. Most people are nervous when they are new to any activity and for some people each networking event is as nerves-inducing as the last.

Accept this and accept that you are amongst friends, even if you don’t know them yet. No one wants you to fail.

Tip number 2

Keep it brief. One thing that will turn friends into less happy friends is if you pin them verbally against a wall and spew your entire product range at them. Practise introducing yourself before the event. I would suggest:

  • Your name (see my blog for reasons why you should wear a namebadge, or in the virtual world, put your name and company name on the screen)
  • Your company name
  • Then ask ‘What do you do? ‘

Then shut up and let them talk!

Tip number 3

Get a business card if it’s a face-to-face meeting. If you are networking virtually copy the chat feed and/or jot down their name and business name. Then, after the meeting, connect with them by email, social media or LinkedIn. Ask how you can help them. Would they like a 1-2-1? Would they like some more information? Obtain feedback on how you did. Remember, this is about building relationships and not selling.

So, three tips for people new to networking, which might also be helpful to people who are already networking and who might want to review how they are doing.

Feedback on this, or any of my blogs is always welcome.

If you want more handy tips on networking download my top 20 tips, and you may want to read some of my blog posts.