Are you Networking???

Posted on June 2, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Good day! IN an effort to provide another means for business professionals in Northern California (and beyond), I have made a commitment to re-engage in this medium called “blogging.” I hope that a) to provide a consistent flow of material and b) provide material that will continue to help me move towards my burning desire to help business people “buy back” the time to do something significant!

This first post will be short (in hopes that you will read the whole thing and so I can start small and build from there). When it comes to networking, the very best thing that one can do is…. just get out there! I know that sounds simple, however I talk to people ALL the time that say they really don’t enjoy networking and when I ask when they last did it and where, their answer is “well it has been a while because I don’t like it!”

I understand that it can be intimidating and annoying and challenging and etc, etc, etc, however realize that IF you want to incorporate referrals more into your marketing plan, then one thing you want to do is be of value to those from whom you want referrals. Therefore, you will need to get out and about to connect to others and a simple way to do it is to network.

In the coming blogs we will continue to provide tools and tips and bring in info from other experts on this, however for now….just get out there and NETWORK!

Wishing you the best!


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I Also Refuse to Participate in a Recession

Posted on December 15, 2010. Filed under: networking, Uncategorized | Tags: |

I Also Refuse to Participate in a Recession
By Trey McAlister

I was at the Referral Institute conference in Arizona a short while back and had
the opportunity to chat with Dr. Ivan Misner (Founder of BNI-Business Network
International and Entrepreneur magazine’s Networking Guru). We were talking about the
economic atmosphere and the conversation got around to the “R” word floating around
and he surprised me (pleasantly) by emphatically stating that “he refused to participate.”
I replied, “What?”
“I have been in business through several ‘recessions’ and I have found that with
the right approach things actually can work out good for people. I do attribute this
approach to a conversation I had back in the 90’s during another ‘recession.’ I was at a
business mixer in Connecticut meeting many local business professionals. It seemed that
everyone was feeling the crunch from the slow economy. Throughout the entire event, the
favorite topic of discussion was how bad the economy was and how things were getting
worse. The whole affair was depressing because nearly everyone was obsessed with the
problems of the economy and its impact on his or her business.

I was introduced to one of the many real estate agents attending. Given the
decrease in property values in the state, I was leery of asking this gentleman the
standard ‘How’s business?’ question. He shared with me, though, that he was having a
great year. Naturally, I was surprised and asked, ‘You did say you were in real estate,
didn’t you?’
‘We are in Connecticut, aren’t we?’
‘Yes,’ he said with a slight grin.
‘And you’re having a good year?’ I asked.
‘I’m actually having my best year ever!’ he said.
‘Your best year!’ I said in amazement.

After thinking for a moment I asked him, ‘Is this your first year in real estate?’ ‘No,’ he
replied with a laugh. ‘I’ve been in real estate for almost 10 years.’ I asked him how he
was doing so well, given the conditions of the economy and the stiff competition. He
reached into his pocket and pulled out a badge that said:

I Absolutely Refuse to Participate in a Recession!

‘That’s your secret?’ I asked. ‘You refuse to participate in the recession, so business is
booming?’ ‘That’s correct,’ he said. ‘While most of my competitors are crying the blues
about how bad business is, I’m out drumming up a ton of business networking with my
contacts and generating referrals.’”

Considering what he said, I looked around the room and listened in on people for
a while as they complained about how bad business was. While nearly all were
commiserating with one another, I concluded that very few were actually networking and
working on seeking new business. As a result, very little business was actually being

accomplished. If you want to do well in business, you must understand that it does
absolutely no good to complain to people about tough times. When you complain about
how bad business is, half the people you tell don’t care and the other half are glad you’re
worse off than they are.”
I have to say, after this conversation I took a different look at things. I have
always had a positive attitude, but this just reinforced my belief that “our attitudes
dramatically impact our altitude” (Dale Carnegie). I have always coached and trained
that we need to continue to develop our networks and focus at least a portion of our
efforts on generating referrals for others (so it will come back to us.) In times like now, it
is even more crucial to keep that “attractive” attitude and work even more to help others
so that things continue to flow back to us. While many are out there bemoaning the “R”
word, let’s turn tail and head the other direction and “refuse to participate” and instead
enjoy great success and prosperity.

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Get the RIGHT networking Mind-set and Skill Set – Part 3

Posted on September 24, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Sharp-shoot, don’t shotgun.

When talking about their businesses, many entrepreneurs try to get everything they do into a 30-second pitch – and potential referral sources miss most of it. They tune out after the first few items on the list.

Instead, focus on two, maybe three LCD’s (Lowest Common Denominators) for your business.  This may be benefits (please, not features!) of your product or service, target market examples, or even specific professionals with which you want to develop relationships.  Regarding this last example, to drive the point home, would you rather someone bring you a single client or would you rather them introduce you to someone who is connected to dozens of potential clients?

Keep in mind that you’re not marketing to your referral sources., in effect, you’re training a sales force. Your networking team is there to keep an eye out for potential clients. If you communicate exactly what type of client you’re looking for, better and more qualified referrals will result.

Hold one-to-ones.

Conducting a one-to-one is almost like doing an interview, except that you both get to ask questions. The idea is to share something in each category you discuss with your referral source.

This does two things a) it puts a business focus on the meeting and b) more info can be disseminated one to one than elsewhere.  This structured one on one approach literally transforms relationships.  We have countless examples of people who have been in the same group or organization for years getting more from (finally) doing a one to one than all the years of hearing each other at meetings.

One example is a couple of businessmen who grudgingly took this recommendation and did a GAINS exchange-
to talk about their goals, achievements, interests, networks and successes – and found that they had quite a few things in common. They both coached their young daughters’ soccer tams, they both collected sports teams’ hats, and their college degrees were in the same field. These two seemingly disinterested people became very close and developed the type of networking relationship that more only dream about.

See how networking is as much a mindset as it is a skill set? Clearly, there are many things to do that will make your networking attempts successful, but there are also a god many things to be that are equally important to this art.

Dr. Misner is co-author of the New York Times bestseller Masters of Networking. He is the founder and CEO of BNI, the world’s largest referral organization with more than 2,400 chapters in 13 countries around the world. He also teaches business courses at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and resides in Southern California with his wife and three children. Dr. Misner can be reached at misner@bni.com.

Trey McAlister is a Regional Trainer for BNI (Business Networking International) and a professional trainer and coach for the internationally renowned Referral Institute’s Certified Networker Program and Referral Pipeline Program.  He is also a contributing author in Masters of Sales and the recently released Chicken Soup for the Network Marketers Soul. He resides in Santa Rosa with his wife and two sons and can be reached at trey@referralinstitutesfbay.com.

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Get the RIGHT networking Mind-set and Skill Set – Part 2

Posted on September 24, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Farming mentality.

For networking to yield extraordinary success, your mentality must be that of a farmer. He prepares the soil for months before ever planting the seeds. He tends the seedling with care, feeding and watering them regularly, putting up a scarecrow to keep pesky birds away. It’s a long, drawn-out process to go from seeding a field to harvesting the crops, there’s no quick return.

Approaching networking with a mentality that focuses on the process of cultivating referrals will create the results you desire. Too many times we see professionals who are trying to grow their networks ask all the contacts they make at a mixer to visit their referral group, or keep them in mind for referrals as they give ach new contact two or three of their business cards. This is way too soon. At this stage of the VCP relationship (see below) we are in the Visibility stage and have no right to go “in for the score.”  (As we will discuss in a later article, this is one of the primary reasons for people feeling that networking events are a “waste of time.”)  Think about that farmer diligently tending the seeds he has sown, and spend more time strengthening your friendships with those whom you wish to have as part of your networking circle.

Now that you have the basics for thinking about networking down pat, let’s examine a few of the things you can do to develop a strong word-of-mouth-based business.

Activate the VCP Process.

VCP stands for visibility, credibility, and profitability. What you need to do in order to be visible, credible, and profitable takes a certain skill set. Tings like participating in monthly mixers hosted by your local chamber of commerce, writing a regular column in your local newspaper, or sponsoring the little league are things that make you visible. (see the article “Build Relationships That Last” at www.entrepreneur.com to learn more about the VCP process.)

As you become more and more visible in your business community, you’ll develop credibility. People will recognize that you’re here for the long haul, and you’ll begin to receive quality referrals. So look for opportunities to make yourself more visible. Think out of the box- be creative!

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Get the RIGHT networking Mind-set and Skill Set

Posted on September 24, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

by Trey McAlister and Dr. Ivan Misner

When you’re thinking about becoming a more skilled networker, you usually think about what you can do to network more effectively. This includes teaching others what kinds of referrals you’re looking for, asking for referrals from your clients, and using incentives for those referring you. These are all components of your skill set.

And while it’s important to know the right tings to do while networking, it’s equally important to start thinking the right way to make your networking efforts as successful and dynamic as they can be. This involves altering your mind-set. Let’s take an up-close look at some elements you’ll want to include in your mind-set to ensure networking success:

The Law of reciprocity – or “Givers Gain” approach.

The law of reciprocity sets in motion in-kind responses of individuals based on the actions of others. I like to call this the “Givers Gain” approach. You shouldn’t approach networking thinking, I did this for you, now what are you going to do for me? Rather, you should remember the old adage “give and you shall receive.”

The law of reciprocity takes the focus off of what you stand to gain from the networking relationship, and in doing so, creates bonds based on trust and friendship. Put it to the test. You’ll be amazed by the outcome.

This concept sometimes is stymied because people look at the relationship as an equal (or identical) reciprocity meaning “I give you a referral and you give me a referral” and think “they should be able to easily refer me, but I can’t figure how to refer them.”  Instead, if people understand that reciprocity is really about equitable reciprocity (not necessarily equal or identical), this frees people to “give” in different ways and still be extremely mutually beneficial.

Diversity in Networking.

Look for groups that don’t target people just like you. In this way, you’ll broaden the net you seek to cast for referrals. There are many great networking organizations out there. If you stay only in groups that focus on your profession, you lose the breadth you need to develop a wide-reaching network.

By developing the wide-reaching network, you actually enhance your ability to do #1 above.  By being in multiple diverse networks (time permitting!!!) you enhance your chance of gaining valuable contacts, but more importantly you enhance your value to each of the other networks by being the conduit (or gatekeeper) to the other networks.

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Networking Faux Pas – Part 3

Posted on September 14, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Never mislead your networking partners. For that matter, never mislead anyone. Trust is everything when you’re talking about relationship networking. Inviting people to a “birthday party” that turns out to be a business opportunity pitch isn’t being honest with the very people with whom you want to build a trusting relationship.  Also, this is what has given several extremely viable and important industries a bad name.  Unfortunately it isn’t the industry (or the company for that matter) that is the problem, it is the representation!

All these faux pas directly relate to good people skills. The prevailing theme of all three is to treat your referral partners and potential referral partners with professionalism and care. Use networking opportunities to meet people and begin the process of developing a genuine relationship and treat your referral partner like you would a top client. Lastly, always network in a way that builds credibility and trust–be candid in telling your referral partners what you need and what you’re asking of them. Do these things and you’ll avoid some serious mistakes in relationship networking.

Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI  and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his recently released New York Times best seller Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths.

Trey McAlister is a Regional Trainer for BNI (Business Networking International) and a professional trainer and coach for the internationally renowned Referral Institute’s Certified Networker Program and Referral Pipeline Program.  He is also a contributing author in Masters of Sales and the recently released Chicken Soup for the Network Marketers Soul. He resides in Santa Rosa with his wife and two sons and can be reached at trey@referralinstitutesfbay.com.

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Networking Faux Pas – Part 2

Posted on September 14, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Faux Pas #2:Confusing networking with direct selling

One of my company’s directors struck up a conversation with a woman business owner at a networking function. When the business owner asked our director what she did, she said she helps owners build their businesses through networking and referrals. The business owner smiled and said, “I’m really good at networking. I’ve been doing it for a long, long time.”

Curious, our director asked her, “So what’s your secret?” She stood up straight and said, “Well, a friend and I enter a room together. We imagine drawing a line down the middle. She takes the left side; I take the right side. We agree to meet at a certain time to see who collected the most cards. The loser buys the other one lunch.”

The director curiously inquired, “So what do you do with all those cards?” Again, proudly, the business owner said, “I enter them into my distribution list and begin to send them information about my services. Since I have all their information, they’re all good prospects, right?”

This is a classic example of an entrepreneur not understanding that networking isn’t about simply gathering contact information and following up on it later. That’s nothing more than glorified cold calling. This is the “hunter” mentality.  Networking and referrals is about “farming, not hunting.”

Faux Pas #3: Abusing the relationship

There are many ways I’ve seen networking partners abuse relationships, but the following story is one of the most glaring examples.

A woman I know was invited to attend a 50th birthday party of an associate who used to belong to a networking group in which she also participated. They once had a long-term working relationship, and, out of respect, she decided to attend. When she got to the door, she looked through the window and noticed people were arranged in a semicircle, listening to a presenter in front of an easel board. When she stepped in, it was very obvious the partygoers were being recruited for a business opportunity. As resentful as the woman felt, she and other mutual friends found it difficult to remove themselves from the “birthday party,” despite the fact that the only refreshment being served was the company’s diet shake!

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Networking during the holidays!!!

Posted on December 15, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Dr. Ivan Misner once shared with me that “you can network anywhere (even a funeral) AS LONG AS you respect the event.”  It is the holidays, and most of us will be seeing lots and lots of people.  Here’s a tip: when you are out and about concentrate on seeing how many people you can ask “How can I help you?”  In doing so, you will a) find all sorts of opportunities to help and b) you will find it is impossible to feel bad when doing this.  Try it!

Have a very happy holiday season!!!

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    Helping business-minded individuals to create more business results in less time in order to "buy back" the time to do something truly significant.


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