Tag Archives: Networking

It’s OK To Not Want To Have Coffee With Me


A colleague posted an article on his Face Book page by an individual explaining why he didn’t want to have coffee with you. (Click here for article)   It sparked quite a few responses, not only on the Face Book post but also on the original article.  Folks were upset with the audacity of the author in refusing to accept coffee invitations from just anyone.  There were the obligatory comments of “Givers Gain,” “you don’t know who they know,” and so forth and so on.  What an ungenerous soul!

As for me, I support him.

I think I am as helpful a spirit as there can be.  After all, “To know me is to love me.”  But there are other things to consider, the biggest one for me being to have a purpose for the things that we do.  Too often, we offer to have coffee because we feel we should.  Our referral group supports it.  Books tell us to never eat (or drink coffee) alone.  Others have met with me and what goes around comes around; just a few of the reasons we say “yes”.  But is that smart business?

Our time and resources are not unlimited so maybe we should have some rules to follow when considering these meetings.  The author of the article related his rules and was verbally flayed for having them.  Were I his business coach, I would applaud him.  He might be a bit transactional (what’s in it for me?) in his policies but at least he has a purpose for setting these meetings and sticks to it.  Which brings up another point.

We talk about behavioral styles but are offended when someone displays theirs.  This guy may well be a high “D” expressing his get-to-the-point tendencies.  Or he may be a high “C” needing policies and rules to comply with so that he can make rational decisions.  Either way, it’s the way he is and we should recognize that.  Personally, I may be a bit put off by that behavior but I know plenty of folks like this and I seem to get along with most of them just fine.  The ones who are out of control “D” or “C”, well, I’ll take a pass.  Little chance of a meaningful relationship developing from it anyway.

But back to my theme: having a purpose for the meetings we schedule.  Many of these coffee meetings arise from the need to get to know members of our referral groups.  I’m good with that.  If I intend to be a good member and contribute, I need to get to know the membership.

Other meetings are solicited by people you meet at networking events.  Some of these are welcome while others may be less appealing.  The latter can be handled in a number of ways.  One is to suggest that the initial meeting be done by phone.  This is less intrusive on your calendar and easily accommodated.  Another is to invite them to a function such as your referral group, a business lunch or an after-hours event that will provide opportunity to talk more.

There is another reason that should be considered.  While we are generally looking for mutual benefit when business networking, sometimes we may just want to be helpful.  Certainly nothing wrong with that.  In fact, it’s a commendable attitude.  But just like an attorney doing pro bono work, you need to determine how much you can afford to do.

So, Gene Marks, I agree with you…kind of.  While it important to be generous, it is also important to have a purpose.  Successful networking is purposeful networking.  Be smart about the meetings you schedule.  You can do so and still adhere to the “Givers Gain” philosophy.

Thanks to  Referral Institute San Francisco Bay Area colleague, Mickey Griffiths for posting the article and instigating the discussion.

“Who” Is More Important Than “How Many”


Building a productive network doesn’t require you to know a lot of people.  It just requires that you know the right people.  On occasion, I’ve mentioned “Drive-By Networking.”  Most of us have experienced the Drive-By: Networking Man swoops in on your conversation and opens up at the cyclical rate with who he is and what latest and greatest product or service he represents.  He quickly screens you as a prospect, listening only long enough to determine whether to go for the close or move on to the next victim.  Cards and brochures are passed (yours stuffed into a pocket) and poof, he’s gone.  They may follow up with a canned “It was good to meet you” email with an offer to set an appointment if you are interested in learning more about them.  Networking Man knows a ton of people.

Then there is Smart Networker who networks with a purpose.  They know who the right people are for them to know because they have clearly defined their market.  They have a clear compelling message and are focused on meeting the right people.  They get to know those people and seek ways to contribute to their success.  Their follow up is personalized and offers something of value.

There has been debate about what is better with a network: broad or deep.  Numbers are important, don’t get me wrong.  Most sales people suffer as the results of too few names in their database.  They don’t have enough leads.  But going deep with people who you expect to provide you with referrals is what makes it work.  Go deep with the right people and you’re on your way to good things.  Smart Networker has a broad network but more importantly, has the right people in that network.

What, More On Social Media?

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.

Earning Favors


Sent by SunTrust Banker and Certfied Networker Jan Snyder:

“ Don’t wait for, expect, or rely on favors.

Count on earning them
by hard work and perseverance. ”

Marian Wright Edelman (1939 – )
American activist
founder of the Children’s Defense Fund

So what’s hard work and perseverance got to do with getting referrals? I thought this referral networking stuff was supposed to be fun. Well, I think this quote summarizes word-of-mouth marketing and referral development pretty well. And it is another way of saying what Dr. Ivan Misner says about networking: “It’s not net-sit, or net-eat. It’s network.”

I often say that referrals shouldn’t be a happy surprise. Rather, they should be a predictable part of your business plan that can be depended on to help you achieve you business goals. The only way for that to happen is to have purposeful, planned activities that produce referral results. So having a plan and working it are necessary to being successful in the world of WOM.

And one of the really nice parts about developing business through building strong business relationships is the idea of reciprocity. To me, the first line of the quote says that everything I do may not directly come back to be in the way of a referral or new business. However, it will come back to me somehow. It also provokes the thought that we shouldn’t wait before we do something for someone. Don’t wait for the other guy to go first. Start finding ways to help others and see what happens.

Of late, I’ve been trying to pick up the pace with my relationship building activities. Consistently applying the 18 Tactics easily becomes a habit that produces results.  These 18 Tactics are deposits with those who matter and may earn us to those favors that will make the difference in our our business.


Web-Based Networking

I attended a presentation by Jeff Sheehan recently on social networking.  Jeff always does a good job in helping me feel a little better by helping me sort out the abundance of networks and which might be right for me.  Here are a few ideas on the topic from my friend and Referral Institute colleague, Paula Frazier.

Join a Web-Based Networking Group

So you’re stuck in your proverbial cave? There’s still a way out…through the world wide web!
Some say that if you successfully harness the power of the internet you can actually experience positive results in your business networking efforts. David Teten and Scott Allen, authors of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online, tell us that online networks may even become the next power lunch or golf course.
Many times when folks hear the word “network” they assume it’s referring to the way computers are physically connected and hardwired together. The most current definition has to do with the virtual connection to today’s wired-up world. WWW dot opportunities seem almost infinite!
These days, how often do you hear, “Let’s do lunch?” Almost never! It’s been replaced by, “Shoot me an email” or “Let’s catch up on FaceBook.” My teenage daughter literally uses the word “talk” in place of “text” and describes online communications as if they’re discussions.
Like it or not, we can keep up or get left behind because technology is going to continue to move forward with or without us. It’s generally more empowering to get started on your own terms. So let’s do it!
This week TAKE ACTION by venturing out via computer:
1.    Find an online business community that’s a good fit for you.
2.    Set up your profile (completely).
3.    Request connections with people you know.
4.    Post your status and comment on a colleague’s blog/status.
5.    Schedule daily or weekly time to regularly participate in your online community.
Can you establish relationships and do business online? Yes. I still firmly believe that the strongest relationships, those that stand the test of time and turmoil, will be those that are nurtured face to face, nose to nose and toe to toe. Online communities shouldn’t take the place of the actual community you live and work in. It should enhance and add value to it!

As someone that relies completely on word-of-mouth to build my businesses, I’ve found The 29% Solution, written by leading referral marketing expert Dr. Ivan Misner, to be instrumental in my success. He offers 52 weekly networking success strategies (one per week) and specific actions to take to experience success through focused, purposeful networking efforts.

Paula Frazier is a referral marketing trainer, consultant and keynote speaker. She is an Executive Director for BNI and part of a select team of Master Trainers for Referral Institute. Paula’s business networking articles have been featured internationally. She was recently published in Brainsbook for Networking and is also acknowledged in the New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion – Busting Networkings Biggest Myths. Check out #33, Delusion with a twist! Paula can be contacted at paula@referralinstitute-va.com.