Networking Power Tips – 10 Productive Trade Show Tactics

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I still remember my first trade show experience. It felt like I was walking the gauntlet with caged animals on either side trying to get at me. Ok, so I say this in jest, but it does sometimes feel like this.

Trade shows are usually busy, pressure-packed events. There is a limited amount of time and a lot to see. You can maximize your return on invested time if you follow these tips:

1.Have clear, written objectives. Most trade shows have hundreds of vendors and booths. Invest time before arriving to decide which have the highest potential for you and list the reasons you are attending the show.

2. Have a product positioning statement. Communicating effectively in this fast-paced environment is essential. Prepare a short statement that identifies your target market, the top benefit of your product/service and the result of doing business with you.

3. Meet, greet & move on. Trade show networking is not conducive to long conversations. Your dialogue needs to be focused, short and to the point. Be prepared to exchange a few sentences, get a business card and move on.

4. Have 3 success stories. You will be meeting new contacts as well as renewing old ones. Be prepared to answer “What’s new?” Have a success story about you, about your company and your business.

5. Have 3 questions. As you meet others, you will have the opportunity to find out information. Be prepared to ask “What’s new?” and make it easier for them by specifically asking about them, their company and their business.

6. Carry breath mints. You will be spending a lot of time talking with a lot of people up close and personal. Because so much depends on your first impression, keep breath mints handy. It’s not if you’ll need them but when you’ll need them. (Others will too!).

7. Get business cards. You will never be able to remember all the people, faces and names. It’s essential that you get a business card when talking with others. Develop a specific location to store incoming cards so you don’t hand them out by mistake.

8. Write info down. Because it will be difficult, if not impossible, to remember specifics about conversations ask permission to write on a person’s card while you’re speaking with them. It will make your follow up much easier.

9. Carry extra cards. One of the most common mistakes at trade shows is to run out of business cards. Bring extra and hand out a couple to each contact. If you run out, ask for your contact’s card and write your information on it.

10. Timely follow up. As soon as you can after the show, sit down with your business cards, and organize and prioritize your contacts. Make follow up calls within 48 hours of the show to maximize your return on invested time.

Want to get better at maximizing your next trade show? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults. to receive a free copy of my Trade Show Tactics Executive Summary.


Michael J. Hughes is a recognized authority on utilizing networking as a business strategy. To find out more about him, or to have him present at your next meeting or conference, contact him at his web site at www.NetworkingForResults.com

7 Ways Personality Can Impact Networking Outcomes

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Research has confirmed that personality is a compilation of four basic behavioral styles. Each of us incorporates the four styles into thoughts, conversations and behavior. Over 75% of the contacts you make will be with differing (and sometimes contradictory) personality styles. We’ve all had the experience of meeting someone where the contact and the conversation have been less than pleasant, even uncomfortable.

This is sometimes the case when two people with different “preferred” networking styles meet. Because their networking interests and their priorities are at opposite ends of the personality spectrum, they fail to connect properly, essentially creating a non-connection which can leave both with a negative perspective of the experience. So the next time you feel this happening, here’s what you can do.

1. Accept that personality styles impact networking results. We are highly emotional creatures with individual and unique characteristics. As such we must accept that we may not always connect with others in ways we anticipate. Up to 75% of the people we meet think differently and as a result tend to behave differently than we do. It’s a fact of life.

2. Recognize that stress can affect networking behavior. Stress is a natural response to real or perceived danger. Meeting others takes many people out of their natural comfort zone and exposes them to the (perceived) risk of being rejected. Their networking style becomes an expression of stress-related behavior that they may not even be aware of.

3. Become more aware of your preferred networking style. Your networking style is a direct extension of your personality. It has a tremendous impact on the way others perceive you. You cannot change your style but by becoming more aware of your preferred style you can more easily leverage your strengths and minimize the chances of falling prey to stress-related behavior in future interactions.

4. Clarify the preferred networking style of your target market and ideal clients. This tactic can, by itself lead to more and better networking success. Review the main personality traits of your clients and colleagues. Then prepare for networking success by planning communication options that allow you to complement their networking style. That way, you can more effectively leverage opportunities with these important contacts into additional results.

5. Develop networking style success strategies for each networking style. Develop the discipline of identifying the preferred networking style of your conversation partner. Then adapt your communication to facilitate and develop increase rapport and build trust. Become more aware of stress-related networking fallback styles and techniques to move others into their networking comfort zone. Others will automatically feel more comfortable with you and work on your behalf.

6. Don’t let first impressions be your only gauge of relationship compatibility and success. This reality can be the most valuable networking idea in this document. The next time you meet someone who rubs you the wrong way or turns you off, remember the fact that it may not be them, it may be you. Raise your networking antennae above your discomfort and assess her/him and the networking style. You find, more often than not, the differing styles are causing this.

7. Above all, don’t take it personally. Meeting others can be a traumatic experience. When others don’t respond as positively as we expect or want, we tend to take it personally. Use the information in this document to remind you that it’s not you they are not responding to, it’s your networking style.

Want to know what you preferred networking style is? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults and I’ll send you my proprietary NfR Networking Personality Style Assessment to determine how to maximize this important area.
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Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. To get more info about his services or to have him speak at your next meeting or conference, visit his web site at www.NetworkingForResults.com

12 Benefits of Starting Your Own Networking Group.

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You’re sick and tired of attending events where others run the show. You’ve tried the pay-for-play referral groups around town and have found them to be more about the few who run the show than about helping you achieve more success.

How can you use networking as a business or career growth strategy that works for you? It’s simple: start your own group. Here’s a dozen reasons why this can be a huge step in accelerating your results.

1. Increase your business. The simple fact of bringing together a number of prospects, be they colleagues or clients, will offer you opportunity to exponentially generate more revenues by being in front of more people at one time.

2. Get others to refer you business. When you bring others together, they appreciate your efforts. They will want to return the favor you have done for them. One of the ways they will do this is by recommending you to others.

3. Position yourself as a leader. Acting as the catalyst in creating the group, you position yourself as a leader. The members of the group automatically respect you and have a higher level of trust in you.

4. Increase your value to others. When the members of your group come together, they will meet new contacts and make new friends. They will associate these great feelings with you and feel you have brought them value.

5. Improve the perception of your professionalism. Your efforts in creating and managing the group will have others perceive you differently. You will be seen as a qualified professional who cares about others.

6. Build trust in others more quickly. Your position as a leader brings with it a number of unconscious qualities. One of the most powerful is trust. Others will trust you more as you contribute to their lives and their success.

7. Have others better realize your level of expertise about your product or service. In leading your group, you will cause others to become more aware of your expertise. This realization will extend to their perception of your products and services. They will see them differently just as they see you differently.

8. Better leverage existing relationships. Bringing together existing contacts, colleagues and clients acts as a leverage factor and heightens feelings of value and service about you. They will then go out of their way to be of service to you in return.

9. More quickly leverage new relationships. As you offer new contacts the opportunity to participate in your group, they will feel more trustworthy and indebted. This is one of the most powerful ways to build relationships.

10. Market yourself to more people in a shorter period of time. As members join and bring their colleagues and contacts into the group, you will find that you are, by default, marketing to more people with one activity.

11. Find more ways to help others. As a result of interacting with more people within the group, you will have more options available to help others. You will have access to more resources, support and opportunities.

12. Develop a cost-effective strategy to grow your business. Starting your group will require an initial investment. Once in motion, it will act as an on-going marketing vehicle that gives you access to an on-going stream of prospects.

Is this an option that could work for you? I’ve written a 16-page Executive Overview of everything you need to know to successfully start and run a networking group. Email me at info@NetworkingForResults.com and I’ll send you a complimentary copy.


Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. To find out more about him or have him share his expertise at your next meeting or conference visit www.NetworkingForResults.com.

Networking Power Tips: 9 Ways to Keep a Conversation Alive.

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Events offer many conversational opportunities. It’s easy and comfortable to chat with colleagues and friends but, sometimes, you end up in an interaction with someone new. These conversations can hit speed bumps that can have an adverse effect .

Nothing is more awkward than lapses in the conversation, particularly in a one-on-one situation with a person you’ve just met. Here are some suggestions on how to keep conversation flowing and build feelings of trust and affinity.

Create a comfortable atmosphere. Most people open up when they feel at ease. Strive to quickly make others feel comfortable around you. Focus on the other person first, ask probing questions, smile a lot and be sincerely curious about them.

Take responsibility for the conversation. Most people are unsure and anxious when meeting another person. Give them some help by being pro-active and starting the conversation. Introduce yourself, shake hands and ask their name.

Use S.A.F.E. questions. Start a conversation using gentle probing questions that relate to both of you. The situation you’re in (networking event), any activities that are obvious (golf shirt), family (children, holidays) or current events (hockey).

Be curious about others. We all respond to someone who is naturally curious. Being sincerely curious about others will help them talk more openly about themselves, their situation and their lives.

Ask about others first. Asking about others before talking about ourselves requires discipline and is an expression of maturity. It demonstrates a respect for the other person that is immediately obvious and appreciated

Express a sincere interest. It is extremely important to demonstrate that we are actively interested and involved in the conversation. Active listening, eye contact and positive body language all contribute to help others know we care about their responses.

Keep the conversation focused. Try to stay on one topic, extending the conversation until all the information about that area has been discussed. In many cases you will quickly discover another point of discussion to move to.

Listen and watch their level of comfort or stress. People will normally become more comfortable as their level of stress diminishes. Getting them talking usually accelerates this process. Once they feel more comfortable, conversation will become easier.

Make a perceptive statement. Most people will give you strong clues about their inner  thoughts, feelings and emotions, even during a short conversation. By making a comment on the other person’s feelings you can demonstrate genuine interest.

You will be amazed at the information you can elicit from a new networking partner in a 30-second chat by prompting the conversation. It’s not about what you say, it’s about what they tell you.


Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. Find out more about his programs and services, or to book him for your next meeting or conference, at www.NetworkingForResults.com.

 

4 Steps To Converting a Presentation Into Profit.

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You’ve been invited to deliver an after-lunch presentation to a group of business professionals. You realize It’s an ideal opportunity to showcase your product, your company and yourself but are struggling with how to maximize it.

Let’s face it, thirty minutes is not enough time fully explain any topic in depth. What it can do is create interest, raise awareness, demonstrate competent, build credibility and position the speaker as an expert. It acts as a lever that can activate follow up opportunities and action.

As such, it should be structured to emphasize all the above areas, and especially to initiate further dialogue. In fact, the complimentary presentation’s real objective is to create follow up opportunities. Here are the four steps that will leverage this situation into the results you want and need.

1.Entertain & inform. Thirty minutes does not allow you to get into any detailed discussion about your products or services. Instead focus on helping the audience appreciate YOUR value and expertise. Make sure your presentation includes value for the audience. This can be done by sharing practical and/or useful information. When you are done, the audience should be thinking “she/he knows this topic. I want to know more”.

2.Verbal vs visual. The emphasis of your talk should be on you. The more paper you include, or the more PowerPoint slides you have, the less they will focus on you and your value. In fact, the less they will need you. The key to success is to find the balance of support to enhance your position.

3.One-page handout. Every complimentary presentation should be supported by a one-page handout. This document fulfills a number of functions. It acts as a guide to the audience as you present your information. I suggest a fill-in-the-blanks format. This is a free complimentary presentation so most people will not be expecting to get a lot of materials. When your presentation is packed with practical information and you offer a summary of your points as a value-added take-away item, the audience will be excited and appreciative. Also, this document serves as a contact info piece when it has all your contact info.

4.Feedback form. This technique is the success secret in your Free Talk Strategy. It acts as the linchpin to tying the value in the complimentary presentation to specific product and service offerings. The feedback form is not an evaluation. You are offering this presentation for free, so an evaluation is not warranted (unless this is paramount for you, not the audience). The feedback form is designed specifically to elicit participant interest in specific business-related areas and acquire participant contact info. This is facilitated by offering value-added items they have an interest in.

Want to know more about how to convert free presentations into results and profits? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults to receive a complimentary copy of my 12-Page From Free to Fee ebook.


Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. To get more info about his services or to have him speak at your next meeting or conference, visit his web site at www.NetworkingForResults.com

Networking and the 10 Commandments of Prospecting.

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Networking is a social activity that most sales professionals embrace as part of the professional mandate. Unfortunately, many tend to put the “sales” part ahead of the “professional” piece. Adhering to these 10 Commandments of Prospecting will make your life easier and your accelerate your results.

1.Every person you meet has the potential to help you. One of the biggest mistakes sales people make is to pre-judge others. Prospecting is the activity of meeting others. Don’t discount a potential prospect because you feel that they don’t qualify before you spend a few moments really getting to know who they are, what their real needs are and who they might know.

2. Always put the person ahead of the business. Selling is a people business, not a product business. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When prospecting with others, focus first on developing a relationship with them as a person, setting aside your selling needs. As your relationship develops and trust builds, you will quickly see how the sales process will fit.

3. Develop the discipline of being a student of listening. Time is our most valuable asset. When we listen to others, we demonstrate our respect and sincerity towards them. Prospecting means gathering information. The best way to get information about others is to ask questions and listen for the answers. Most people will give you the key to their wants and needs within the first two or three minutes if you listen carefully.

4. Focus on one person at one time. Selling is a one-on-one, one-at-a-time activity. When you meet another person, focus all of your attention on them. To prospect effectively you must really listen to what the other person has to say. That one contact can represent a multitude of opportunities. Trying to see who else is in the room or watching for another contact while speaking with someone will only rob you of the opportunity to get quality information as well as insult the other person.

5. Take responsibility for effective communication. Professional sales people understand that most folks are very anxious about meeting others. They take responsibility for the communication process to make others feel at ease. Part of prospecting success involves communicating the message about your product or service in a manner that others will understand and respond to.

6. Be sincerely curious. The trait of being sincerely curious about another person has a powerful effect. Others pick up on your sincerity and feel very much at home. Expressing a sincere interest in the other person’s situation or issue is one of the best prospecting skills. It brings out the other person’s pain or passion and allows you to better position your product or service.

7. Seek to create interest and enthusiasm. Prospecting is a highly creative process that is based on mutual interest. We all like to be with people who have a high level of enthusiasm. Selling has, in fact, been called a transfer of enthusiasm. When you are enthusiastic and positive, it transfers to the other person and creates a higher interest level, inspires dialogue and brings forth more information.

8. Work on developing a reason for others to want to stay in touch with you. Prospecting is the process of discovering needs. When you find that the other person has a need, one of the best things you can do is let them talk about it, explain and expand on it. Your prospecting responsibility is then to work on helping them meet that need. This will create an opportunity for future contact, create a debt of obligation or develop trust.

9. Respond to folks who express warmth and comfort. Continually seek out people who respond to you as a person. These are usually the people who want to help us or are those who will respond best to our help. Relationships develop more quickly with people we are comfortable with. Some people are naturally attracted to us as we are to them. Use a prospecting style that makes it easy for you and for them by being ready for these moments.

10. Expect that most people aren’t initially excited about your product or service. Selling is a highly emotional process. We are heavily attached to our product or service and many people will not share our level of enthusiasm. Discipline yourself to use the prospecting process to find out the other person’s state of mind before proceeding to the presentation or product stage of the sales process.

Do you want to use networking to achieve more and better sales results? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults.com to get your complimentary 20-page “Managing the Networking Experience” ebook.


Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. To get more about him or have him speak at your next conference or meeting, visit www.NetworkingForResults.com.

                                                            

 

The 5 Networking Event Formats & How to Maximize Each

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Every networking event has its individual dynamics, benefits and drawbacks. Many, if not most, networking events include a meal. The act of “breaking bread” with another person is a powerful relationship-building vehicle. In order to maximize your investment, review the information below.

1. Networking Breakfast. Networking breakfast functions are usually high-intensity events. People who attend these are generally early risers who see this as an opportunity to start the day with a bang. There is a strong business context here and attendees are usually focused and business-oriented. These events have a forced deadline as participants know they have a full day ahead. Social conversation is usually at a minimum, even over a quick coffee to start things off. Expect conversation partners to be direct and to the point. This is a key benefit to these sessions.

Breakfast Success Strategy:  Be prepared. Have a plan. Know whom you want to meet and keep your conversation focused. This is the most effective networking venue for fostering business-to-business networking. Many small-business owners and sole entrepreneurs use early-morning networking as their main marketing strategy. They then have the rest of the day to manage their company.

2. Networking Lunch. The Networking Lunch remains the main strategy for the corporate world. This type of event still starts with casual conversation around the bar then moves to a formal meal environment. There is an emphasis on social interaction as the event unfolds. There is less pressure with respect to time as participants add a more social perspective to their luncheon conversation. Expect to see representatives from larger firms or from more established companies. They are interested in investing time to get to know one another. The conversation tends to focus as much on personal areas as business issues. There is a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Lunch Success Strategy: Don’t aim for, or expect, immediate results. The Networking Lunch pays the greatest dividends when used as part of longer term marketing strategy that focuses on relationship-building. Joining colleagues or clients for a Networking Lunch Event with your group or organization can offer incredible opportunities to meet new contacts and develop key relationships.

3. Networking Dinner. The networking dinner meeting is essentially a social activity that may or may not include a business context. This is the end of the day. A time for reflection and discussion. There is a formal feeling to these events, which often include an entertainment component. A meal might include wine.

Dinner Success Strategy: Networking in this environment is an exercise in diplomacy. There is little emphasis on business or business development. Conversations may refer to a business issue but this is not the place to flog a product or close a deal. It is, however, the ideal environment to foster and solidify relationships. The relaxed atmosphere allows for conversations that elicit the important issues for others, as well as their areas of highest interest and need. Using the evening networking event with your closest colleagues or most important clients is a powerful marketing strategy.

4. Wine and Cheese. This event is usually the exception rather than the norm. Its stand-up format means that there is less emphasis on creating an intimate connection. Stand-up conversations tend to be shorter, contain less strategic information and are less impactful from a relationship perspective. This is a social setting that may have business overtones. Don’t expect to accomplish much from a business point of view. Most people are here to see or be seen.

Wine and Cheese Success Strategy:  Use this type of event to create contacts. Make sure you collect business cards as follow up is required to build a stronger connection with your new conversation partners. Keep your dialogue light and seek to elicit information you can use for follow up. This is one event where it’s more beneficial to try and connect more people than usual.

5. Trade Show. These events are an exercise in “speed networking”. Whether as a visitor or exhibitor, be prepared for networking at warp speed. The pace and content of conversations is quick and dirty, as attendees want to experience every part of the event and exhibitors are focused on connecting with multiple contacts. Don’t expect any deep discussions but you will connect with many more people than at a regular networking event.

Trade Show Success Strategy: In a word: preparation. Trade show success requires preparation and planning. Know which exhibitors you want to visit with or which attendees you want to touch base with. Your best option here is to continually meet, greet and move on. Have an answer to “what’s new?” for all your existing contacts and if you do make a new connection, get a business card and commit to following up.

Whichever event format you chose, make sure you maximize its impact and your results.


Michael J. Hughes is a recognized authority on utilizing networking as a business strategy. To find out more about him, or to have him present at your next meeting or conference, contact him at his web site at www.NetworkingForResults.com

 

7 Biggest Networking Myths & Facts

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The real issue about networking is that it’s easy to convince yourself not to do it. There will always be an excuse, argument or urban legend you can use to justify your lack of success. Which of these myths have you embraced?

Myth #1: Networking doesn’t work for me, my product, my service.
The networking process works for just about everyone, every product and every service because it focuses on a relationship. Relationships are the core of business success. Networking for results, as a business strategy, is still the single most effective way to build your business because it takes advantage of the natural process of human inter-action. Either building on existing relationships or as a starting point for new relationships, networking is one of the most powerful tools to develop your business or your career.

Myth #2: Networking is easy.
Nothing of value is ever easy. Every worthwhile endeavor requires awareness, skill and practice. Because being successful at networking involves increased understanding of human interaction, selling/relationship skills and business strategy. It’s a developmental process. Networking for results is a continuous learning process of evaluating what is working, what is not working and finding alternatives that improve results.

Myth #3: Networking success is immediate.
There is a misconception that business should flow immediately upon meeting a new person. One fifteen- to thirty-second conversation will rarely bring immediate results. When was the last time you agreed to pay money for a product or service after meeting someone at a luncheon? Financial investments take a long time to mature and pay dividends but when they do, the payback is usually much higher than the initial commitment. Networking is no different. Networking for results means recognizing that relationships require time and effort to build trust and respect.

Myth #4: Networking is about pushing product.
Networking involves a business perspective. The most successful salespeople realize that selling is a people business, not a product business. They know that people buy people first, ideas second and things last. Networking for results focuses on developing relationships through a sincere interest in helping others. Once people feel comfortable with you, they will listen to your ideas and want to hear about your product or service.

Myth #5: Networking is handing out business cards.
Handing out 35 business cards at a business meeting will rarely get your telephone ringing. In fact, most business cards are thrown out. Handing out business cards is not effective networking. The practise of handing out a business card is only effective when people can relate it to you. Networking for results means focusing on meeting a small number of people who will ask for your card because they perceive a need or benefit.

Myth #6: Networking is meeting as many people as possible.
The quantity of people we meet at a networking function usually is in direct proportion to our ability to do business. Meeting fewer people means taking time to get to know who they are, what they do and what their pain and passions are. Networking for results means understanding that selling is a one-on-one activity and focuses on getting an intimate knowledge of a few individuals to find ways to help them.

Myth #7: Networking is attending as many events as possible.
Networking works best with a strategic approach. Your credibility grows faster within a group than across groups. Joining fewer groups, even just one, and committing to it will always deliver more results faster. As members become more aware of your professionalism, integrity and value, they will be happy to buy from you or refer you.

Want more and better results from your networking efforts? Visit www.NetworkingForResults.com and download a complimentary copy of my 12-page ebook Managing the Networking Process today.


Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. To find out more about him and have him share his powerful and practical message and your next meeting or conference, email him at info@NetworkingForResults.com

 

 

 

 

 

Is Face-to-Face Networking Dead?

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Technology, the economic downturn and shifting social attitudes have all impacted networking in the last few years. Some have even surmised that face-to-face networking is declining in both impact and importance as a contributor to sales and business-building success. After scouring the internet and consulting with a number of trends experts, here’s my take on networking today and in the future.

Networking is alive and well.

The Mark Twain quote “rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated” is quite appropriate. Rather than lessening in value, networking seems to have increased in importance and impact with all the extraneous factors that have come into play. A recent survey (GrowBiz and Zoomerang) concluded that 86% of business owners said word-of-mouth is important, with 70% citing in-person networking as their primary strategy. Networking is, indeed, alive and well.

Networking and the maturing of social media.

The myth of social media replacing the need for face-to-face contact has dissipated, with social media strategies accepting the reality of incorporating and intertwining online and offline marketing options. The social network phenomenon is gravitating to its true value as a component and complement to the interpersonal relationship-building process that drives our lives and determines our success.

Networking and technology overload.

More and more professionals are committing to “disconnect to connect”; turning off technology and allowing themselves to interact with others on a more personal and intimate level. By choosing to eliminate the distractions and interruptions technology brings, they are accepting the true impact of interacting with others and accelerating the relationship process. B2B and B2C has evolved to B2P (business to people), where it’s been for hundreds of years.

Networking and the trust factor.

There is no question that we have become more cynical and cautious. With up to 80% of people now researching purchase decisions online and the multitude of options available, how do we choose? There is no more powerful differentiator than connecting with others in real-time to share your passion, competence, integrity and professionalism. Building trust is, and has always been, a face-to-face activity. The lost art of social contact is becoming the difference maker in our multiple-choice market.

Networking and business strategy.

The economy continues to impact where we commit our resources and how we deliver our products or services. Every investment must be managed and measured. Networking continues to be the single most cost-effective sales and business-building strategy in today’s complex and competitive environment, but only when it is utilized strategically, to access and leverage the right network, with the right strategy for the right outcomes.

Now, go work your network!

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Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. To get more info about his services or to have him speak at your next meeting or conference, visit his web site at www.NetworkingForResults.com or email him at info@NetworkingForResults.com

The 4 Cornerstones of Business Success

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In order for your business to succeed, it’s essential that you have an understanding of, and an appreciation for, the fundamentals of business. Having a passion about an idea is not enough. In fact, unbridled passion is one of the primary factors that can contribute to the premature demise of your business .

Successful entrepreneurs have been documenting the reasons for their positive results for hundreds of years. Adhering to these proven and yet time-tested business principles will not only guarantee your success, they will dramatically accelerate it. Adhere to these four cornerstones of business success:

The purpose of a business. One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make is to presume the ultimate purpose of their business. It’s NOT about sales. It’s NOT about profits. It’s Not about customer service, competition or collaborating with others. The singular purpose of a business, as defined by Peter Drucker, world renowned business expert for over 50 years, is to create new customers. Your primary mission as an entrepreneur and business owner, from the time you rise in the morning to the time you lay your head on your pillow at night, is to create new customers. Without them, everything else is irrelevant.

Marketing. Once you open the doors of your business (literally or figuratively), you must get the message into the marketplace. Marketing is the entire process that takes a product or service from concept to client. It encompasses every aspect of your business’ operation; from research to design to testing to manufacturing to client service. The fundamental premise regarding marketing, as it relates to a small business owner, is that it really only about two things: visibility and value. The success of your enterprise rest primarily on your ability to gain visibility in the marketplace (with right audience) and demonstrate the value your products or services represent.

Selling. Nothing ever gets accomplished in a business until a product is sold. Selling is a requirement for the success of your enterprise. There is no one who can speak to your value better than you. You are you best and most effective selling resource. The entrepreneurial graveyard is filled with owners who fought this reality and tried to abdicate this task to others. You must lead the charge about the value you represent. One of your most important tasks is to master the art of selling. Without it, you are doomed to mediocrity or failure. This one area can do more to catapult you in the success you want and need than any other factor.

Relationships. Success in business and in life is all about relationships. Read the biography of any successful business professional or entrepreneur and you’ll find that she/he attributes the vast majority of accomplishments on the ability to build and leverage relationships. If you’ve embraced your entrepreneurial dream for the long term (and I’m sure you have), make sure you incorporate a long term perspective and implement a three-step approach to relationship-building: based on an unshakable foundation of trust, built on mutual value and fueled by contribution to the success of others.

What can you do to anchor these cornerstones?
• Be unwavering in your commitment to creating new customers.
• Continually create new opportunities to be more visible to your highest-value markets.
• Get better at selling. Your success depends on this more than anything else.
• Build relationships with a long term perspective.


Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. Find out more about him and receive a complimentary copy of his ebook “Managing the Networking Experience” at www.NetworkingForResults.com.

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