Test Your Marketing Know-How
by Scott Ginsberg. Get your pen and paper out! Yes,
there will be a test at the end!
Let's test your knowledge on networking:
1)The best definition of networking is:
a) Schmoozing at meetings and events
b) The solicitation of funds
c) Building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships
d) Marketing and selling your products and services to everyone
in the room so you can meet your sales quota before your boss
2) Why do you network?
a) To develop your business
b) To help other people
c) To share information
d) All of the above
3) What are the most effective ways to network?
a) Regularly attending meetings, events and activities
b) Talking to random people in the streets, stores, busses and
c) Offering referrals, resources and recommendations
d) It doesn't matter as long as you help others first and remember
that it ain't about you
4) True or False: Networking is not a skill, but rather
a hereditary trait passed down from your father not unlike height
or Male Pattern Baldness.
5) True or False: Networking isn't always strategic,
but frequently occurs by an accident and/or stroke of luck which
falls in your lap like a gift from God.
Networking is the development and maintenance of mutually
beneficial relationships. It's not schmoozing, it's not handing
out business cards, it's not selling, it's not marketing, and
it's not small talk. Some of those activities might be part
of networking, but be careful not to confuse form with function.
Networking is a process that takes the right attitude, patience
Networking is one of, if not THE leading way to increase
your business. In fact, I get almost 100% of my business from
some form of networking. And with proper preparation and implementation,
a networking plan can be your catalyst for dramatically changing
the way you deal with, obtain and maintain your business relationships.
Networking is also sharing information. Your most valuable
resource is other people. And the supply never ends! I once
read a quotation from my favorite author, a philosopher by the
name of Anonymous, who said, "Even though it's not what you
know but who you know - remember that who you know teaches you
what you know."
Networking is a skill. It is not an inherent trait. It
takes time to develop. Now, clearly some people are more extroverted,
friendly and outgoing than others. And that certainly helps.
But anyone can develop their networking skills with a little
research and plenty of practice, and in so doing become a monument
Networking is helping others. Some people just don't
get it. They honestly believe it's all about them. False. Networking
is, as aptly stated by Zig Ziglar "getting what you want by
helping other people get what they want first."
Here's some great tips to help you put these ideas into practice:
At the beginning of every month, sit down and organize your
networking plan. Ask yourself the following questions:
- When are the general membership meetings of my organizations?
- Who can I meet for lunch/coffee to brainstorm and share
- What special events are coming up that I want to attend?
- Are there any new groups with whom I could get involved?
- Who haven't I talked to in a while?
- What resources, tips, articles, ideas or contacts could
I share with the people in my network?
- What people could I introduce that would be able to
help each other?
Before and After
Whatever event, meeting, conference or seminar you attend
- arrive early and stay late. Sometimes the most valuable connections
are made when nobody else is around. What's more, there's less
pressure when you're networking on your time, not the organization's
Don't Limit Yourself
Networking isn't limited to a room. The birth of my forthcoming
second book was a result of a conversation I had with my good
friend Todd - in a swimming pool! We were taking a break from
our NSA Convention when I ran a few title ideas by him. He agreed
that The Power of Approachability was the best choice, so I
decided right then and there. And as any writer will tell you:
once you get the title, everything else is cream cheese.
Become a Resource
Carry with you a list of books, websites, ideas, suggestions
and articles that may benefit other people you're meeting with.
Not only does it provide value for them, but it gives you an
easy conversation starter. Remember, helping others first DOES
Keep a pen and paper
If I don't write that idea down now, I'll never remember
If you've ever said this sentence before, you know how valuable
a simple notepad can be. I recommend carrying a small pen and
paper with you, wherever you go. Keep it right next to your
business card holder. My little notepad is the single greatest
accessory I've ever purchased in my life. It has saved my butt
- and other people's butts - numerous times. You can buy these
at any luggage store at your local mall for under $20. Most
of them have refills for the paper and a nice pen that fits
inside the pad. And I can't begin to tell you how many ideas,
names, phone numbers or recommended book titles I've written
down the exact moment someone told me.
No front porch behavior is more effective than asking open
ended questions. So don't walk into a networking event without
a few great stock questions that are relevant to the event,
i.e., What's the biggest challenge of your job? What's been
the most effective way to promote your business?
Stick with it
A common misconception about networking is that it boosts
your business right away. False. Networking takes time to reciprocate
back to you. And because the process of developing mutually
beneficial relationships involves helping others first, you
may not see the fruits of your labor for weeks, months, even
Here's an example. In March of 2004, one of my audience members
approached me for a copy of HELLO, my name is Scott. As I was
signing it, we talked about possibly working together in the
future. We exchanged cards and stayed in touch over the next
few weeks. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from a guy
named Paul, one of the audience member's friends. He was interested
in featuring my website in his newsletter. Little did I know
his ezine had well over 10,000 subscribers! And two of those
subscribers just so happened to be two meeting planners who
booked me for two programs six months later.
Get the Story Straight
Have you ever heard the question, "So...what's your story?"
This is an obvious figure of speech. People don't actually expect
you tell them a story. But what if you did? What if you called
their bluff? People don't remember things, facts or ideas -
they remember stories. So when it comes to business, you've
got to have a story. Most business people have some signature
tale of how they became involved in their line of work; or something
unusual that happened in their job. So be known for your story.
Write it out. Tell it often. Soon, people you don't even know
will approach you and ask for "The Story." It's a perfect front
Create a Custom Nametag
If you're a small business owner or entrepreneur and you
don't have your own custom nametag, you are missing out. Imagine
you attend your Chamber of Commerce meeting and you get stuck
wearing the obligatory, computerized, faded-font, barely-sticks-onto-my-lapel
Avery piece of crap. You will not stand out. You will not promote
your business. And other members will not know who you are or
how you can give them value. Try this: at your next meeting,
sit by someone in real estate agent - those people know how
to wear nametags!
Spice It Up
Cal Thompson, owner of TripleXpresso's in St. Louis, encourages
Nametag Networking at his meetings. He calls it "Xpress Request."
This is a way to identify people's networking needs in a quick,
efficient manner. Here's how it works. In addition to their
standard badges, people also wear pre-registered nametags with
a list of three things they need, i.e., Web Design, Direct Mail,
New Assistant, etc. This immediately lets people know how they
can help others!
What's your networking know-how?
TEST RESULTS: C, D, D, F, T
© 2006 All Rights Reserved.
Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost
Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott
and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE
their personal and professional approachability - one conversation
at a time. To book Scott for your next association meeting,
conference or corporate event, contact Front Porch Productions
at 314-878-5419 or
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