Tag Archives: business relationships

100 Points Per Week, Part III

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Well, from a points perspective, last week was pretty good.  This was mainly due to an event we did on Thursday.  Of the 165 points for the week, 99 were related to the event.  That’s a good Score Card but those points are only as good as the follow up.

Social events are an important part of my referral marketing strategy and one of the main ways I make new connections.  It is how I make it easy for my referral partners and clients to refer me.  Lots of planning goes into events but they can be very productive from a relationship building perspective.  The Certified Networker Night on Thursday gave us as opportunity to recognize clients, provide a speaking opportunity to a former client and important relationship, renew old connections with current and former clients, and meet new business people who could either become prospects or good referrals or connections for members of my network.  I was also able to use one of my clients as the caterer and thus promote her business while giving her business.

So the proof in the pudding will be in the coming weeks.  How many opportunities did we create and how many of those will turn into business, not just for me but also for my clients who attended the event?

I’ve got house guests coming on Friday, my brother, Paul and his wife, Betsy.  They are easy company and I’m really looking forward to the visit.  But have to keep the focus this week and set things up for the next.  They’ll be here for 10-11 days so I’ll need to be creative with my marketing and communications to not let things drop while remaining a good host.  When you are the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, these are the types of things that can put a big dent in the pipeline if you let them.  We’ll see how I do.

 

Who’s Promoting Who?

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Received this “endorsement” a while back on Merchant’s Circle:

Review Atlantis Educational Initiatives Gladly Endorses Referral Institute Atlanta

Rating:

 (5 stars)

Text:

“Atlantis Educational Initiatives would like to thank Referral Institute Atlanta for supporting our foundation by listing us as a referral and networking partner on Merchant Circle. We are trying very hard to improve education for our children, won’t you please visit our site at atlantiseducationalinitiatives.org to learn how we are doing this. We need your support so if you would like to endorse, contribute or volunteer, please let us know. Thanks again. The Team at Atlantis Educational Initiatives Atlantis Initiatives, Inc. All Correspondence Should Be Sent To: Professor Paul Tynegate Piehler – Director paul@atlantiseducationalinitiatives.org 174 Turnberry Circle New Smyrna Beach, FL, 32168 Phone: (386) 426-6898”

From:

Atlantis Educational Initiatives of New Smyrna Beach, FL on March 11, 2011

So I’ll ask again, “Who’s promoting who?” 

I don’t even know where to start with this.  While this is a very clever way to communicate with me and create visibility, the truth of the matter is that this is nothing about me and my business and everything about them.  That’s not an endorsement.  This is using me (and my credibility) as a platform for a solicitation for their organization. 

I am on Merchant Circle mainly out of curiosity and as a way to stay informed about various “real time marketing” tools so I can better advise my clients.  My observation about Merchant Circle is that most of their members could use a good dose of Referral Institute.  While the object of the network is, rightly, to promote your business, I have witnessed more obnoxious self-promotion on this site than on any other.  As soon as I accept a connection from someone, I immediately become a prospect.  Let the selling begin!

Maybe I’m out of touch with the culture of this on-line community.  Probably, because it seems to be a culture of hard-core, make ‘em an offer, cold calling, close ‘em, and do it quick.  This certainly isn’t about building relationships and a business community that offers value or mutual support.  I suppose I’d be doing the membership a favor if I connected with as many as possible and then spammed them with an offer to enroll in Certified Networker and 6 months of coaching.        

Endorsements and testimonials are a powerful way you can help a business and are valuable in attracting new customers.  It’s just better when they are about someone other than YOU! 

By the way, I thought about deleting the organization’s name and any identifying information but decided I’d leave it in.  They’d probably like the additional exposure. 

 

 

I’m a Good Person, So Where Are My Referrals?

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One of the things in life that we are pretty sure of is, “To know me is to love me.”  Most people who get to know you end up liking you.  So being the lovable person that you are, why aren’t you getting more referrals?  Well, one of the reasons could be that you have the wrong expectations.

When we think of referrals we know we want them, and maybe even how many we want.  But where will we get them?  We belong to referral groups.  We have clients who can refer us.  We network.  We have friends and colleagues.  But identifying these sources isn’t enough.  They must know how to refer us.  And that is our responsibility.

Knowing how to refer us has a couple of aspects: who is a good referral and what is the process for making the referral?  Our trouble starts with our expectation that everyone can and will refer us to good prospects.

It is not reasonable to assume that everyone will be able to refer business to us.  There are many reasons why this might be so.

  • They may not know we are looking for referrals.
  • They may not have contact with our target market.
  • They may not be inclined to make referrals.
  • They may not know enough about us.
  • They may not know enough about our product or service.
  • They don’t know what to say.

If you are expecting referrals from someone, some of the first questions to be asked are, “Does this person have contact with my Target Market?” and “Do they engage with my Target Market in a way that enables them to recommend me?”  There are many people we like and who like us.  And many people ask us to tell them how they can help us.  But many of these people are able to refer us only occasionally and randomly.

Are your expectations for referrals in alignment with your relationships and with the ability and desire of the people in your network to refer you?

What, More On Social Media?

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These days it’s hard to go for long without hearing about social media. Weather Channel is Tweeting, athletes are tweeting and Facebooking, politicians are tweeting, alerts and updates popping up on the computer. It’s all fun and interesting but left unmanaged, can become a black hole that eats up large chunks of valuable time. So, from a business perspective, how much is enough and which media are the right ones? Of course, the answer to that is, “It depends.”
We network to meet other sales professionals and expand and deepen our referral relationships. However, another valuable aspect of your network is that of providing support and information. Most of us are fortunate to meet regularly with a number of experts, some of them in the area of social media and internet marketing and support. So if you have questions about what you should be doing in the world of real time marketing (to quote a favorite source, David Meerman Scott) you may find some answers right there in the room with you. How about Jeff Sheehan, Donna Lang, Danny or Sarah from Yepser, or Stan Schnitzer, PR consultant? Or Carol Shepherd, Eric Flamm, Erik Seifert, or Doug Wheeler to help sort out the technology to plug you into the cyber world? Or Betsy Rhame-Minor or Michelle Hutchinson, or Stan Schnitzer to help you craft that that social media message? If you are interested in learning about how social media might fit into your marketing, you might want to spend a few minutes with Dan Greenfield and ask him about the Social Media Makeover on 8 November. Looks like a good place to start. http://bit.ly/rsFNWZ
Make good use of the great resources you are already connected to. If you look around you, you will find an abundance of talent that can help you with building your business. Social media is only one of the areas represented by some real pros you already know. Have a conversation with the; broaden and deepen your referral relationships. Lend your expertise to them, and in the process, expand your information network, as well.

Life Long Learners Make the Best Clients (for Some of Us, anyway)

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Had a great conversation today with Graham Wickham, President and CEO of the Wickham Financial Group in Marietta, GA. Graham mentioned one of his agents, a new guy, made comment on a book he was reading. It brought to mind part of the definition of a good client for me: a life long learner. I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and reading. That pleasure seems to grow as I get older but I wish I had been more diligent about it when I was young. One of the best bits of wisdom ever imparted to me was by my old mentor and friend, Fred Yeager, of Met Life in New Orleans.  Fred once told me that “We don’t know what we don’t know.”  Kind of the premise of the book I was moaning about some months back, The Black Swan.

As we near the milestone of December 31 and prepare to cross into 2010, we hear the usual wisdom about getting your plan for next year complete. We all nod our heads and our hearts fill with good intensions but, ultimately, some of us will plan and most of us won’t.

I’m not sure what works for you. I do know that one needs to pause and reflect occassionally on what you are doing. Because as a business owner or independent sales person, you are sliding behind if you are not learning and adapting. The pace of change keeps increasing.

Discussions regarding the economy break out at the drop of a hat these days. Are we still struggling in recession? Are we in recovery? If we’re in recovery, what is the pace of it, how long will it last, is it temporary? And on and on. While staying current with all that, the most important question to consider is, “What does it all mean to my business and what do I need to be doing every day?”

With all this change and upheaval, it might be a good time to consider your business anew. Is your message (USP, Elevator Pitch, tag line) still relevant? Have customer/prospect needs changed? What are their current concerns and am I speaking to them? Am I providing the right products or services?

We will probably be attending various Holiday parties and functions; good networking opportunities, all. However, while meeting with clients, friends, colleagues, and prospects, this might be a good time to conduct a little market research and find out people’s concerns in the areas you provide solutions. A little Q & A could provide you some valuable information regarding who is in real need of what you provide and what their main concerns are. Maybe it’s time for some chages.

Besides, they will be impressed with what a good conversationalist you are if you let them do most of the talking.