Thoughts on Networking

Posted on August 25, 2013. Filed under: Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales, Social Networking | Tags: , , , |

Last week I attended two networking events.  Now the purpose of networking events is to meet new people, establish new connections, and hopefully obtain referrals for more business.  You would think that such opportunities would be treasured and explored.

Between the two events I collected about 60 business cards and had brief to virtually no conversation with most of the attendees, and talked in depth with about fifteen.  I followed up the next day by inviting each individual to connect with me on LinkedIn, and for those not on LinkedIn I sent a traditional e-mail.  Each individual received a personalized message commenting on what we had discussed, or an apology for not having but a brief interaction.  Some, those who had the potential of mutually beneficial referrals, I suggested we meet for more discussion.

Of those 60 e-mails about 24 replied or accepted my invitation to connect; two initiated the suggestion that we get together to learn more about each others business.  Not a single individual initiated an e-mail to me or a request to connect to them.

Only 40% of the networkers did anything.  And then only after I initiated the dialog.

How is that networking?  About 60% of the people ignored an opportunity.  Now I’m certainly not the best referral opportunity for some of those individuals, but you never know when I, or someone I know, might need a plumber, or painter, or Avon representative, or car, or whatever.

Networking is about staying in touch, but to stay in touch you have to acknowledge a person when they reach out to you.  You have to be willing to interact when someone approaches you.  Most that I met unfortunately didn’t bother.

When networking the name of the “game” is meet as many potential referral opportunities as possible, especially those in fields that would naturally feed into you.  But you keep in touch with everyone because you never know where that next big opportunity might come from.

Not one member even reached out to me and said “Thanks for coming, hope you liked the group and come back.”  Oh I got a packet of info at the end, and two lovely ladies talking up the group, and they did say “come back”, but they were part of the membership committee; none of the regular members said two words to me.

It just really saddened me to attend professional networking groups that aren’t interested in truly reaching out to prospective members or sources of referrals.  And quite honestly member interest and reaching out are qualities I look for in a networking group.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Thoughts on Networking

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I attended a networking event today that overall was quite enjoyable.  We met at a local Italian restaurant, had a bit of open networking then sat down to eat. 

After eating came a period networking that was “speed dating” style.  Half of us remained seated and the other half rotated from person/position to person/position every five minutes.  Got to meet a great many very nice individuals.  Some were competitors, but they were still nice people.

But I was struck by the number of individuals, (about four), that would hand me a business card with scratched out information and corrected information hand written on the card.

For one individual it was, in my mind anyway, excusable — she had only recently started with the company and they hadn’t gotten her business cards yet.

One individual had so much hand written on the card, and so much scratched out that it almost looked like he had simply picked up someone’s business card and scribbled his info on it.

Is that the kind of image you want to give as a business professional?  Computer generated business cards, while not top-of-the-line in image, would have been better than a card all scribbled on.

That business card is how people will remember you, and this gentleman will certainly be remembered . . . but not in a good way.  Oh, his profession?  Marketing Consultant.  What kind of marketing message does a scribbled business card send? 

To add to the image problem he wore jeans, while the rest of us were in business attire; and his body language screamed “I don’t care”.

It’s not unusual to form strategic alliances with competitors on occasion, but I saw no reason to want to form any alliance with this gentleman.  He certainly seemed like a nice individual, but his attitude, attire, and business card all said “unprofessional”.

In marketing you should be presenting a unified image.  All your marketing materials, letter head, staff, and everything else needs to be sending the same message about you and your company.  When they don’t match it sends an unconsious signal to your prospect that something isn’t right; and they become reluctant to do business with you.

Make sure you are sending the right message every time you step out the door.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Twitter

Posted on November 6, 2008. Filed under: Business, Marketing, Networking, Self Promotion | Tags: , , , , |

Are you constantly receiving request from friends and family to join this months fad networking site?

Recently in a discussion group a number of people were all enthralled with a site called Twitter.  I broke down and took a very brief look, but was unimpressed so I asked the group what the big deal was.  What had it done for them?

The first response came from Jason Alba, creator of the job networking site www.jibberjobber.com.  He said:

“I love Twitter… it’s been an amazing tool to brand my stuff, develop relationships, etc. On Sunday I blogged about getting on Fox news just because of a Twitter relationship…

another benefit is who else is on Twitter. I find there are social media thought leaders, and just hearing the buzz between them is valuable for me to keep up to speed on the space.

The value is really, really, really hard to explain. But once you get in, and participate, you just may find it.”

Karen Swim of http://wordsforhirellc.com had this to say:

“The largest advantage I have gained using Twitter is to easily connect with my target market or industry leaders. On Twitter I have engaged in conversations with and developed relationships with news anchors,
members of congress, journalists, PR Agents and entertainers.

Without Twitter, I would not have been able to send an email, pick up a phone
or strike up a conversation.

Twitter breaks down the degrees of separation faster than any other medium I have encountered. On a
personal note I also enjoy the mix of conversations happening at one time. I can engage in conversation with one, two or 50 people at a time.

It truly delivers a far different experience than IM, email, and other services.”

I was concerned about the amount of time using Twitter could involve, and Jim Turner gave me yet another way of looking at and utilizing Twitter.

Since it is my primary relationship and brand building tool, I spend 30 – 45 mins directly on twitter. That means I’m actively messaging and participating in discussions. However it’s on in the background all the
time. When I get a message directed at me, I have an audible signal that goes off and I know to at least check to see what the person wants… It could be a simple hello or it could be something requires me to drop what I’m doing to respond. But it’s up to me if I respond immediately or continue
with what I’m doing.

So, bottom line, it’s up to me as to how much time I spend on twitter. I do find that I spend more direct time on twitter during the weekend days than I do during the work week. Weekend conversations are quite different than those on weekdays. Weekends are typically filled with the fun ‘water
cooler-type’ conversations.”

I also received some very useful information about Twitter related web sites and tools to help make your use of Twitter more enjoyable and useful.

From Social Media Consultant Anita Cohen-Williams, (www.mysearchguru.com), I learned about www.Twellow.com and www.tweetDeck.com

She explained that “Twellow.com is a directory of who does what on Twitter. It is a great resource to find the people you want to follow on Twitter (you can search by occupation). By following one of the founders/programmers of Twellow, I was able to help them add a new category and new occupations to the directory.

TweetDeck.com is a free application that sits on your desktop and lets you
see all the comments of the people you follow, their replies to you, and any
direct messages you receive without having to sit on the Twitter website all
the time. TD is still in beta, so there are occasional bugs, but it works
very nicely. I also use Twhirl, which is smaller and looks like an IM client.

Here is an excellent article on the Mashable blog that covers Twhirl and
Tweetdeck:
http://mashable.com/2008/07/15/twhirl-tweetdeck-comparison/

So now I have joined Tweeter but haven’t done as much with it as these folks, but I’m still learning.

Is it useful?  Well, it obviously is for those who responded to my inquiry, and I see how it can be useful as well as addictive.  As Jason said “The value is really, really, really hard to explain.”

So if you decide to try Twitter and want to follow my ramblings there, my Twitter ID is BrockH, or you can do a search and find me that way.

Happy Twittering.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Discussion Groups

Posted on October 2, 2008. Filed under: Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking | Tags: , , |

Are you involved in these on-line discussion groups?  You can find a discussion group on just about any topic you want, Health, Business, Networking, and thousands more.

But are they useful?

I am a member of two discussion groups; the one on marketing is pretty much dead.  When I first joined the group some years back it was lively and full of solid discussion, but no one has made a post or asked a question in weeks. 

It has become uninteresting and useless, but I will stay a member for two reasons.  First, with no activity it isn’t filling up my In Box and thus isn’t a nuisance.

Second, there were a lot of business owners and marketing managers on there, so it is my target audience—even if they are as quite as a church mouse right now.

The other discussion group is focused on networking, (the human-to-human kind), particularly networking on http://www.linkedin.com.

In recent weeks this discussion group seems to have drifted farther and farther off course.  Recent discussion subject lines have included:  “Project Tuesday”, “I Need Money”, and “What is Your Twitter Name?”. 

At least that last one did relate to networking.

But discussion groups, like business relationships sometimes need to be cut loose when it no longer serves any significant purpose.  Sometimes you can get a discussion group back on track or re-energized, but not always.  Sometimes it is simply better to find another discussion group to be involved in.  One where:

· there is consistent activity

· Posts are (for the most part) on-topic

· You feel comfortable actively participating in

· The group adequately satisfies your needs.

Now that last one can have a host of meanings.  Your “need” may be to have exposure to discussion makers, such as in my marketing discussion group; or it could be a source of useful information; or it could satisfy some other personal or business need you might have.

Regardless, if the discussion group doesn’t do something for you, then what is the point of being there?

Why be anywhere if it isn’t productive in some form or fashion for you. 

And “productive” includes entertaining, relaxing, enjoyment, and etc, not just professionally productive.

Discussion groups can be wonderful sources of fun, information, and business.  They can also eat away a lot of time and energy.

Choose your groups carefully and participate fully and completely; but when they are no longer of value to you it is time to cut the cord and focus on another group or something that will give you some benefit.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Barter Exchange Groups

Posted on June 11, 2008. Filed under: Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Self Promotion | Tags: , , , , , , |

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a Barter Exchange meeting in our area.  It was held at a local restaurant, and I was very impresses with the quantity and quality of the individuals at the meeting.

(I am not a member of the Barter group, I was attending as a substitute for a friend of mine.)

Like most networking groups the various members stood up and took a minute to talk about their particular business.  After the introductions and food the meeting concluded and there was a great deal of additional networking going on.

Joining a Barter group is relatively inexpensive, anywhere from a few dollars to a couple hundred.  However, these groups do not allow half cash and half trade, it is to be 100% trade.  A centralized “bank” keeps track of all the trade dollars you earn and spend, so you can take trade dollars from one firm and spend them with another firm.

A nice advantage of this is that you can accumulate your ad dollars and spend them with any firm in the Barter group … and these groups are nationwide.  This means you can earn your trade “dollars” in one city and spend them in another city.  People have taken vacations in resort locations on dollars traded in their local community.

Yes, those trade dollars are considered taxable income by the IRS, but the Barter organization keeps track of it all and sends you a 1099 at the end of the year.

Now, these Barter Exchanges are businesses, and as a business they need to earn income to stay in business.  They will charge you a percentage of the transaction.  Once group charges 6% each time you buy or sell a service; another group charges 12% every time you purchase barter services.  So take a look at when you pay and how much you pay.  These service charges are in cash and made to the Barter group.

While it would be nice if everyone in the Barter group wanted your services, the reality is they probably won’t.  But could you really afford to take that much in trade dollars?  After all, you still have bills that require cash … like the mortgage, phone, electric, water, insurance, and etc.

But the members of these Barter groups are diverse, and include restaurants, sales consultants, printers, life coaches, auto repair, computer repair, web developers, spas, painters, photographers, sign companies, Dentists, cleaners, appliance stores, appraisers, hair salons, hotels, and hundreds of other businesses.  The list is extensive.

It’s an interesting idea that is really starting to catch on, and I encourage you to take a look at the various Barter groups out there and consider joining one or more of them.

I’ll be joining IMS (International Monetary Systems) this week; hope to see you as a member one day too.

 That’s my 2 cents.

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