Have a phrase ready to go …

Have a phrase ready to go that sums up what you do very easily to introduce yourself when networking. “I’m an Expert in Teaching Business Owners How to Really Network” for example is one that I commonly use. It has never failed to lead into more questions being asked. That’s the goal, start a conversation, not a sales pitch.

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Network to find and deepen connections, not to sell

Network to find and deepen connections, not to sell. And seek to connect the
dots between your network and that of those you meet. A real conversation that
may lead to a referral partner is 100 times better than any “sales pitch” while

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A friend recently shared an article from Fast Company with me about networking for startups – read the article here: http://www.fastcompany.com/3017319/dialed/hey-startup-founders-youre-networking-wrong

The author makes some good points about networking “events” – they are not the best use of your time as a startup. At the same time real “networking” doesn’t take place at networking events, it’s what happens outside of the events and the relationships that develop, that is how serious networking is defined. What generally happens at events is database building. Any highly successful business owner and entrepreneur will tell you that networking is an absolutely critical part (if not the single most critical part) of their success. We will also tell you that a narrow, deep network is what counts, not a shallow, wide network. Whether you create that depth through events or other means, go deep, not wide. Use your time wisely and make sure you are indeed networking, not simply database building. (Thanks for sharing this article with me Erin Bradford)

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Networking Follow-Through Touch Tactic #1: Send them free stuff

Everybody loves free stuff. I used to get boxes of two gourmet chocolate truffles from a local chocolatier in Richmond (For The Love of Chocolate, they cost me less than $1 each) and drop them off to referral sources every time I got a referral from them. This strategy alone has yielded me hundreds of thousands of dollars in business of the years, and it was amazing to how the referrals would roll in when some folks had a craving for some chocolate. They even consistently call me to tell me they sent me a referral just so I was aware.

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Networking Tips – “Don’t Ask”

“Don’t Ask”

Networking Tips with Mark M. Deutsch – CEO, BNI Central Virginia

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What’s the Best Way to Follow-Through?

A frequent question I get is “What’s the best way to follow-through after I meet someone at a networking event, or after a sales call, etc.” The answer is simple … the best way, is the way that you can and will do consistently. Whether that’s a hand-written note, email, phone call, text, smoke signal, telegram, it doesn’t matter if you don’t do it consistently. In addition, a great question to ask of someone you are speaking with is simply, “What’s the best way for me to follow-through with you on our conversation? Their reply may also give you some valuable information on how they prefer to be communicated with. Finally, to help get the creative juices flowing, I’ll provide a number of “follow-through” tips in the weeks to come, so stay tuned.

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Create a Shortcut for Referrals

Have you ever arrived somewhere and wondered exactly how you got there? Or have you seen someone else get hurt and seem to feel it yourself (guys in particular know what I mean)?
Our brains are hard-wired to take shortcuts. Since the beginning of mankind when Og saw some rustling in the bushes outside of his cave and thought it would be in his best interests to immediately run the other way (versus becoming a saber toothed tiger snack), our brains work diligently to keep us out of harms way. In today’s world, our brains rely even more on this function because of the volume of decisions we must make every minute of every day. By some research, we make thousands of decisions each day and more than 80% of those decisions are made subconsciously.
I recently saw a great show that also focused on how the brain works to create shortcuts and I would encourage you to check out – it’s called Brain Games (http://braingames.nationalgeographic.com/) – the episode was on “persuasion.” Part of what I gathered from that show, was that one of the most powerful ways you can create shortcuts for your referral sources and clients is to make it easy to refer to you. Don’t ask directly for referrals – make it known that you build your business by referrals (thereby planting the seed, subconsciously, that referrals are how you do business) and then make it super easy for people to give you referrals.
To help make this very easy to see in practice, below is an example of an email I received from some cabins my family and I stayed at in Virginia while we did some hiking recently, Cabin Creekwood. They did a brilliant job of making it very easy for me to refer to them. I have included the email in it’s entirety since it is highly instructive – you’ll learn a lot that you can implement in your business, just as I did.
Create a shortcut for your referrals sources and clients today – be easy to refer to and they’ll gladly follow the path (whether they know it or not).
Dear Mark,
Thank you for being a guest at Cabin Creekwood.  We appreciate your
business.  If you enjoyed yourself, here is a way to come back
again for very little money, and help your friends out too!
Cabin Creekwood is proud to introduce our referral program.
Here’s how it works. For every new guest that you send us,
we’ll give you 10% off the lodging portion of your next
getaway.  Send us two new guests, and that is 20% off.  Three new
guests is 30%.  And so on.  Just imagine…if you book a week-long
stay in one of our larger cabins, you could save well over $100 for
each friend or family member that you send us!
We’ll even provide a discount for your friend.  All they have
to do is tell us that you sent them, and we’ll give them 10%
off their first reservation.
We’re going to make it really easy for you.  Here’s all you
have to do!
#1. Type (or handwrite) a short letter or email (see sample below).
(To make it really easy, you could just forward this email, delete
the parts you don’t want, and modify the parts you do.)
#2. Pick a number of your friends/family who could use a restful
getaway to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
#3. Send it to them, along with the coupon I’ve included that
shows their discount.
We’ll notify you each time that a friend or family member takes
advantage of this offer, and we’ll keep track of them for you.
Hope to see you again soon!
Stan & Deb Horst
(888) 942-2246
44 Creekwood Lane Lyndhurst, Virginia 22952
Sample Letter
Dear Friend,
I want to introduce you to the most amazing getaway we’ve
found, Cabin Creekwood.  We stumbled upon it while searching on the
internet, and planned a getaway which was truly a much-needed
restful break away from it all.
These cabins, located just outside of Waynesboro, VA, were fully
furnished and had everything we needed.  Our hosts, Stan & Deb
Horst, provided lots of information about things to see and do in
the area, and even helped set up a horseback ride for us.
If you could use a restful break, I assure you that Cabin Creekwood
 is the place to go.  They’ll even give you a 10% discount if
you tell them we sent you.  Their website is
http://www.cabincreekwood.com, or you can call them at 888-942-2246.  I
hope you’ll take advantage of their excellent service.
Love to y’all,
New Guest Coupon
This email entitles you as a first time guest of Cabin Creekwood to
a 10% discount on lodging at any of their nine mountain cabins.
All you need to do is to let them know that we sent you.  Their
website is http://www.cabincreekwood.com, or you can call them at
Coupon courtesy of: Mark Deutsch
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