Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I've been to China and back...what an experience

A different planet, well worth the 11 hour plane ride!
I am all fired up ready for a challenging year.I like challenges , I'm sure we'll come through.
As the year comes to an end we all look forward to next week, next month,next year.


I get a newsletter from Dr Alan Zimmerman
and this article caught my eye.

Use it now.

I'm amazed at all the people who work hard to get some nice things ... things that would make their life more pleasant ... and then don't use those things. There's no better time to use those nice things than when times are tough ... because they'll lift your spirits.

Ann Wells wrote about that in the "Los Angeles Times." She wrote, "My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. 'This' he said, 'is not a slip. This is lingerie.' He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite: silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.

Her brother-in-law continued, "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.

"Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."

What about you? Are you using the special things in your life now? After that experience, Ann Wells is. She wrote, "I'm not 'saving' anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event -- such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. 'Someday' and 'one of these days' are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now."

I learned this lesson from my Grandpa John. On several occasions when we went to visit, he would pull out a special bottle of wine to share with us. Grandma Em would chide him and say, "John, we were saving that bottle for a special occasion." But Grandpa would remind her, "Em, what could be more special than spending time with our family?"

Who knows what's coming?
Enjoy 'the now'
Live in day-tight compartments and wear thos nice new clothes you may have just received for the holiday season

Monday, December 15, 2008


My friend Alan Stevens, the Media Coach sent me this.
Take heed

Here are a few rules that you can implement if you want to keep those annoying visitors away from your website. After, all, they only send you pestering emails trying to buy things from you. It's a real nuisance. Even if you only follow one of these rules, you will be able to reduce the amount of inconvenient requests from potential customers by a huge amount. Ready?

Insist on customer registration before they can see all the pages
Keep popping up screens asking them if they want your newsletter, or would like to fill in a survey
Have text scrolling across the screen, like a neon sign
Give detailed information about the history of your organisation
Hide links under innocent-looking pictures
Use lots of flash, so that poorly-sighted people with screen readers can't make sense of the page
Include the phrase "Optimised for Internet Explorer"
Tell users that they have to download software to see the page properly
Use cheap clip art and standard images
Tell the visitor what their problem is
There, that should do it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The third step in building relationships - TRUST

The start of any relationship is meeting someone and getting to know them.
The second step is to create some mutual liking. When we don't like someone we don't want to spend time with them. Whatever they do or say we will find fault and the relationship will end.You will see something negative in every aspect of their life. On the other hand when we do like people we forgive them everything.Think of the friends you have and their faults. When you like them you forgive them everything.You are tolerant of their weaknesses and even though they may let you down on occasions you forgive them. Why? Because you like them and sometimes you question why you like them. It's rapport, chemistry...who knows?


But for there to any meaningful long-term relationship there has to be trust. Check out the definitions on the web; there are lots of them. Emotions, relationships, confidence are included with lots of psychology thrown in for good measure.

But I see it all starts with reliability.

When you always do what you say you're going to do and do it when you say you're going to do it, for me, that goes well down the line of a great meaningful and long-lasting relationship.

How reliable or you? How true to your word are you? Can people trust those words which come out of your mouth? can you trust those words which come out of your mouth?!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

You are and do what you think Chapter 3

When you walk into that room to network, i.e. build new or on existing relationships please think the following

• “Yes I am a little nervous, but I guess so are most other people.”
• “I’m going to be friendly, courteous and polite; that way people will like me quickly.”
• “I’m going to smile, give good eye contact, shake hands and aim to remember people’s names. This will help me create a good first impression.”
• “If I pretend to act like a host, my confidence is going to build. For example, I’m going to talk to people who I see standing on their own and introduce them to others when it’s time to move on.”
• “It’s a business event so I suppose everyone is here to meet new contacts.”
• “I’m going to spend more time being interested by asking questions rather than talking too much about myself.”
• “I’m going to positively look for potential opportunities and follow them up.”
• “If at the end of the day all else fails, I’m just going to have to fake it ‘til I make it!”

But why should you fail? Fail at what exactly? It’s not an examination or you are the defendant in a trial being judged. It’s just a group of people, most of whom will be polite, friendly and welcoming. Focus on them and enjoy your networking.

You are and do what you think Chapter 2

Voices in our heads

When you walk into a room full of strangers, at the networking event, do you ever start off having ‘solo’ conversations which go something like this?

• “I don’t know enough about xxxx.”
• “How am I going to break the ice,’ because I don’t know anyone, do I?”
• “ I’m so nervous that I’m bound to forget the name of the host, not to mention other peoples’ names when I first meet them”
• “I’ve no right to be in front of all those people; I’m too junior to represent the firm.”
• “Nobody’s going to talk to me.”
• “What if I’m asked something and I don’t know the answer?”
• “I fell terrible! My hair’s a mess and my shoes look ridiculous.”
• “No doubt I’ll do something stupid like tripping up or knocking my glass of wine over fellow guests.”
• “People just aren’t going to take me seriously.”
• “People may laugh at me, not openly and when I feel that, what do I do?”

The majority of people have this conversation simply because we all have two key fears in our lives; fear of rejection and the fear of failure. Fear is a made-up word – it’s really an acronym F.E.A.R. It represents the phrase ‘false expectations appearing real’. These fears do represent false expectations as most people who attend business events are friendly, personable and welcoming. When have you been rejected at a business event? After all every one is there to spot opportunities, build or reinforce relationships. Yes, there will be a tiny proportion of rude people; those who decide you’re not important enough and start looking around the room for ‘more significant people than you.’ Don’t let this small minority get to you. They’re not worth giving a second thought to. You don’t want to be building relationships with these rude ignorant people anyway, so excuse yourself and go and find the ‘nice’ people who deserve your company.

When you walk into the room it’s time for a rethink.

You are and do what you think. Chapter 1

Worth 2 minutes of your time if you don't like business networking or following up opportunities

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Important words from the King of modern networking

It’s Called Networking for a Reason

By: Ivan Misner

It's not "net-SIT" or "net-EAT"-it's "network." Successful networking is about learning how to "work" the networking process-not just letting it happen.

In many ways, success at networking is the perfect example of the uncommon application of common knowledge. Most people understand that networking is important to their success-they just lack a step-by-step process to get the results they want. Almost no one really incorporates a comprehensive methodology that will build a business through networking. Thus, the need to network is "common knowledge," and the development of the methodology required to be successful at it is the "uncommon application."

The word networking has become so overused that some business professionals can no longer define it. Many people think that networking is attending social or business after-hour events, shaking a few hands, collecting a few cards, and, of course, giving away a few cards of their own. Sadly, they actually believe that's all there is to networking. To be fair, we could say they're engaging in social networking. That's never to be confused, however, with business networking.

I've found that businesspeople tend to fall into one of two groups when it comes to their views of networking. For many, the current mind-set is that networking is a passive business strategy, not a proactive marketing tool. This attitude results in a scattered, often ineffective networking approach that consequently wastes the business owner's time and money. Not surprisingly, when people feel they've been wasting their time and money on something, they're understandably not going to continue that activity.

On the other hand, some entrepreneurs do consider networking a proactive marketing tool for their business. How can you tell? They make it a significant part of their marketing and business plans. They have networking goals. They may even have a budget line item for networking. Most important, they practice it and live it every day.

If you share the first mind-set-the passive one-you're hoping that just showing up at meetings is enough. And therein lies the problem. You need to integrate networking into the way you do business on a weekly basis. This approach truly brings networking into your business as a proactive marketing tool. For examples of straightforward ways to do this, pick up a book that I co-authored with Michelle R. Donovan entitled The 29% Solution. In it, you will find 52 weekly strategies to quickly incorporate networking into your life.

Building these strategies into your life helps you maintain your focus on networking while you work to identify new revenue streams for your business. Before you know it, you'll be driven by the intention to get new business, and you'll have the networking tools to satisfy that drive, because-let's face it-if you have no new business, soon you will have no business at all.

About the Author:

Called the "Father of Modern Networking" by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI (www.bni.com), the world's largest business networking organization. His latest book, The 29% Solution can be viewed at The 29% Solution. Dr. Misner is also the Senior Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company (www.referralinstitute.com). He can be reached at misner@bni.com.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Business cards are, well sort of, important!

In our training we say the most important aspect of business cards is not you spraying yours to all and sundry but, when you spot an opportunity,to ask for the other persons.That card should be the gateway to the follow up
I was talking with my friend Mark Greenwood of Simply Networking who had been viewing some of his members' cards after an event.
Although he agreed about my views on cards I had to agree with him when he said it says alot about a person's business when
1 They come from a free source and look and feel like paper
2 They only have a mobile phone number
3 There is no postal address
4 There does not appear to be a website

The only tangible you leave after saying goodbye is that small piece of card. What do you want people to think of you as they empty their pockets, wallets and handbags?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Business networking skills

An insightful extract of a newsletter by Jim Wigg. Check him out here. He's one of the good guys!

Happy Ears

Clear blue skies, glorious sunshine, burnt orange leaves, golden brown ferns and not a breath of wind – what an amazing weekend we picked to be in the Lake District with my mum (although Sandra, my wife, will tell you in that smug way "it's always sunny when I'm in the lakes!").

Now, you may remember the last time I mentioned a trip to the mountains (Sphere Issue 2) we met a very nice lady who we called VNL (who sold me a very nice rucksack VNR). Unfortunately, on this trip we met another kind of VNL - but with a very different word for the N. You’ll work it out in a minute!

On arrival at our cosy little B&B in Coniston we were greeted by the landlady. She was saying all the right landlady-ish words, eg "have you had a nice walk?", "if there is anything you need..." etc but something was wrong, they weren't coming out with any warmth - in fact, they were positively arctic.

To illustrate this, let's play a game with the next thing VNL said to us. Please stand in front of a mirror, put a big beaming smile on your face and say aloud "let me show you how the keypad on the front door works". Congratulations, what a good host you make! Now, purse your lips tightly together and repeat again "let me show you how the keypad on the front door works". Notice the difference? Same words, very different result and no prizes for guessing which one we received from VNL!

So, "what does this have to do with Happy Ears?" I can hear you saying. Happy Ears is a term often used to describe what people listen with (especially salespeople) if they are overly optimistic about what clients say to them. This can have two forms:

1. Listening for what they want to hear (the right words) rather than
the underlying message
2. Interpreting what is said as meaning something more

It's the first one that VNL highlights so beautifully. Clearly this was an extreme example but if you'd listened to what she was saying with happy ears (which would have been easy as we were having such a nice weekend) you'd probably be thinking how helpful and friendly she was. Needless to say this wasn't the experience my poor old mum got when she had a problem with the shower in the morning!

Developing the ability to observe and spot signals, as well as listen, is a key skill in business. It can give you early warnings signs of what's to come or an opportunity to uncover a 'golden nugget' - a key piece of information - if you spot the signal and ask an appropriate question.

VNL was an in-your-face reminder of the 55/38/7 research that found face-to-face communication is made up of 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and only 7% words. It also reminds us where to look for signals - body language and tone.

Here's a simple exercise. Pretend you are a client who has just been given an idea by a supplier. They now ask you the question "what do you think?" Practice giving the same response "yes it looks good" a number of times with different body language and tone. Show things like enthusiasm, hesitancy, reservations etc but keep the same words. Each time you give the response think what you’d expect the supplier to say back to and you'll get a new perspective on what to ask next time you spot a signal in a business meeting.

Happy spotting (not happy ears)!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Think business networking, think business sales and development

'I work in an office, I don't need to network' 'I'm only an internal person,I don't need to network' 'I work on reception,I don't network.'
The truth is we have all been networking since we started talking. It's simply building new or building on exisiting relationships.
Using the three sentences above when people in different departments start to get to know and like each other, trust eventually is formed.They start to share ideas, information and speak candidly to each other.Their quality of work processes improve, they create more opportunties for the company where they work.
People live in silos because they are comfortable resulting in so much wasted knowledge. when you network internally your visibility raises and in the longer run you become more successful..
In a bigger organisation it is rarely about marketing and selling...other than of yourself of course

Monday, November 03, 2008

"I feel as if I'm on Big Brother."

That was a comment made on one of our networking skills seminars when a delegate was asked how he felt when he went networking. I was a little suprised as he was a fellow speaker and I thought a very self-confident person.
My only response was to suggest he behaves like the nice man he is and to act purely naturally.
We shouldn't see the attendance at business events as 'being on stage' but just at work but not in our normal environement. I hoped this helps you, the reader and also my delegate who felt he was being watched on csmera, being judged and maybe found wanting!

Monday, October 27, 2008


From a story by Peter Thomson

My nostrils dilated as I inhaled the aroma of freshly cooked bacon. Two of my sons were in the kitchen and just in the process of wiping their mouths as they’d obviously just finished a bacon-sandwich-breakfast.

Smiling, I said...

“You didn’t ask me if I wanted one!”

This was when...

One of them uttered the ‘there’s something to learn here’ reply – here it is:

“Dad, I asked you yesterday and you said – No!”


On the journey to London to the conference I was telling Sharon, my wife, about the kitchen conversation when she made the insightful comment:

“I wonder - how many people do the same thing with their customers?”

She does, just occasionally, come up with bright ideas!!!


I thought “She was right; she’s right; she is right!”

I wonder how many times I’ve made that error – the error of asking a customer if they wanted to buy something from me - and hearing their “No, thanks Peter” have mistakenly taken the words to mean: “No – never, ever, ever – thanks Peter”

It’s true isn’t it...

Times change, businesses change, markets change, people change, situations change, problems change, opportunities change – everything changes!

And just because...

We’ve asked a customer if they’d like to buy something from us and they said “No, thanks” doesn’t mean they’ll NEVER buy it. It might just have been the timing wasn’t right for them at that moment.

And so...

I’m off to ask my clients and customers (and prospects) to see if by now they’d like to buy now. After all it wouldn’t be fair to them (or me) NOT to ask again – would it?

We learn that unless the client has fallen out with you on a personal basis follow up,and keep in touch. Don't pester, don't be pushy, just every so often pop into their lives again to see if you can help. Don't take the 'no' personally they are just refusing the offer of your help.keep asking permission for that pop up and they can never accuse you of pestering them

We run networking skills seminars which leads you step-by-step through a very comfortable follow up process

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why barristers don’t shake hands!

You learn something every day.
As part of our training and presentations we suggest that a good handshake when meeting people is a very important part of creating a good first impression.
At a recent workshop a delegate said, “We don’t shake hands with other barristers.” My eye brows raised to query this comment.
It seems in olden days it came from the custom of showing that there were no weapons in one's hand so mutual trust and respect could be established before negotiations.
So the barristers say, ‘We don’t need any of that; as a fellow professional we automatically trust each other, hence we don’t need to shake hands.’
Good history!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Setting up in business?

When you decide to set up in business make 3 vital lists
1. List everyone you have ever known who you think would want to help you if asked. These are people who like and trust you
2. List exactly what areas of expertise you have and what benefits people will get from that advice.
3. List the companies and, if possible, positions of people in those companies you wish to meet. The more specific you can be the more your friends and family can help you.

Take lists 2 and 3 to list 1 and say, “I have just started in business and this is what I do. Please can you help me? Do you know anyone at these companies or this particular person at this company”?
If they say yes ask, “If you were me how would you approach….?”
If they like and trust you they will be happy to help. Any, my goodness, at this stage you need every bit of help you can at this point!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Networking and business cards and time wasters

Imagine two people attending an event, sizing it up and drawing an imaginary line down the middle. They separate, each taking half the room. At the end of the event, they meet again to see who's collected the most business cards.

Have you met these people? Sure you have. We all have. What did they accomplish? They collected a lot of cards that will end up on a shelf, in a drawer, in the trash, or--worse yet--scanned into a computer so they can spam everyone they just met. Why? What does a business card represent? It's a piece of paper, with ink and images on it. No relationship has been formed. This networking strategy, by itself, isn't an effective use of time, money or energy.
How can anyone build relationships like this?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Make an effective presentation

To make an effective presentation you need the '"E's" as Dale Carnegie announced all that time ago.
If you're not enthusiastic about presenting why should your audience be interested in what you have to say?
Are you eager to get your message across and educate or entertain? If not your audience will turn off immediately
Earned the right
When you have had enough experience or the story belongs to you, then you've earned the right to stand up and use your audience's time.
It's only when the 3 E's are present will you make an effective presentation.
At my breakfast club this morning John ( not his real name) stood up amled to the front and said
" I don't know why I'm doing this. I really don't want to and I haven't really prepared and i'm not feeling too good and ...and.... and."
WOW, what a start to him trying to promote his business. if you didn't know this man you would never have bought his services.
Ironically enough after he got going he told some great stories but that start...oh dear, oh dear oh dear!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When people like you...

...they'll do anything they can to help you.They even overlook your faults most of the time and find most things about you attractive.
When the opposite is true whatever someone does or says we can so easily find fault in someone we don't like.
Work hard at being a 'nice' person; it makes life so much easier!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Not working the room; a fresh perspective

I read this by Dennie from her blog Similar Circles...takes the pressure off sometimes

I found myself at a music festival this weekend. Literally. On Friday night, I stood on the edge of the grass behind the sea of lawn chairs and felt myself arrive – piece by piece. The sky had miraculously cleared and there were at least 4 constellations (of which I knew the names). The sun had blazed over Lake Huron an hour before and now here we all were, many hundreds of people, all sitting / standing /swaying and all strangers.

It was a relief to not be “on” - to be anonymous – to be part of a crowd with no agenda but to be there.

Which completely freed me to do what I love best.

Meet people.

What? you might think, Isn't that the opposite of the anonymity and the purpose of getting away from it all?

I think that's the biggest mistake we make when we talk about “Networking”. It is not a task to be undertaken or a challenge to be overcome. It doesn't have to involve your game face or your most polished presentation.

Here we all were at a large gathering for a common purpose. No one asked me what I do for a living. No one was seeking anything. Heck, folks didn't even ask my name unless the conversation was going really well.

We all wandered about this lovely park (could've easily been a big hotel ballroom) and nodded to each other, made comments about a book tucked under an arm, the source of a sandwich, a compliment... a commentary on the musicians... found an old acquaintance. Some conversations evolved. Some will stretch on and off through the event. Some were simply polite.

It is ok to say 'hi' to folks. It is ok that some conversations go nowhere. It is ok to just be in the room and not 'work it'. Often the room works itself :-)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Reflections from a US Conference

I recently returned from a big big Convention in New York.
New york, for me , is the most exciting and busiest place in the world. If you don't like noise, people, traffic,big buildings and a fast pace of life...don't go.
The convention itself was okay, good but not in my view great. I had been wanting to go for 8 years so the anticipation was high. Like everything in life if your expectations aren't met it becomes a little of a disappointment. I found too much sizzle and not enough substance. Funnily enough the books I bought at the exhibition taught me lots of new stuff!
I consider myself a good networker meaning I spend more time asking questions about others, listening carefully and being genuinely interested.i nticed a trnd which showed after I had asked them questions not many seemed interested in me and what I did. When I asked my fellow 'Brits' about this they told me the same.
Perhaps the US business community need some help with my netwrking skills?!

Friday, August 01, 2008

I met Jeremy Thorn just surfing the net

I found Jeremy Thorn writng on an online magazine called Fresh Business Thinking

He wrote a great article entitled Ten Top Tips For Persuading Others

here they are

We all need to be persuasive to get our points of view across effectively. But are there any ‘golden rules’? Here are ten, well proven. We probably knew them already – but do we always apply them?

We all have to influence and persuade others, whether at work or at home, and most of us find that coercion and manipulation rarely works well for long. There are indeed very many, better ways…

1. Build Trust

Even some 2,300 years ago, the philosopher Aristotle recognized that logic alone may not be sufficient to persuade others. To be truly influential, he suggested it may be essential to demonstrate first a common ethos, or a shared set of values. We don’t have to like each other, but we do have to trust each other! (Try being persuaded by someone you don’t trust?)
2. Build Empathy

Aristotle went further: he also suggested that after building on shared values, it is far easier to persuade others by employing pathos, or an understanding of ‘what it is like to be them’. That is why it can be so smart to hear the other side’s story first, before we give them ours. (This is also why it can be invaluable to ‘walk a thousand paces in another’s moccasins’ - we do need to understand each other!)

3. No lies – no exaggeration

It is often tempting to gild arguments with a little ‘poetic license’, but note that exaggeration, let alone falsehoods, build neither trust nor empathy. Once even one lie is spotted by others, the rest of our arguments may be discounted and even rejected, however valid they may be overall.

4. Build your case from the bottom

Especially when time is short, it may seem attractive to give others our conclusions first, before providing the reasons. Wrong! If those we seek to persuade do not like our conclusions, they won’t be listening to our justification. They will be spending all their energy in finding reasons why our conclusions must be wrong. So build your case up from the bottom, so that your eventual conclusions may well then appear to be the only logical outcome possible.

5. Keep it short

While some people hate arguments of any kind, far fewer welcome long explanations. So keep yours short, sharp and crisp. You can always amplify them later if you need to.

6. Keep it relevant

Many arguments fail to persuade because they didn’t seem relevant to those being persuaded. You need to know what may be relevant to the other side. Refer back to Golden Rule 2!

7. Use only a few good arguments at a time

Some feel it helpful to support a case by giving all the arguments. Not so! In most debates, a strong case needs only two or three really good supporting reasons, at least to start with. By adding more, apart from increasing the chance of confusion, we not only dilute the impact of those really good reasons we could have focused on, we also offer more hostages to fortune for incidental, nit-picking debate. You can always declare your subsidiary reasons at a later stage, as additional reinforcement if you need to.

8. Be positive and confident

If you don’t really believe in your case, why should anyone else? Unwarranted, blind confidence is clearly crass; overwhelming confidence may suggest that the issues have not really been properly thought through. But a lack of confidence may suggest that the case being presented really is rather flimsy.

9. Watch and listen for reactions

As they say: ‘Those persuaded ’gainst their will, are of the same opinion still’! So don’t take minimal reaction to your proposals as silent acceptance – they may be no more than ‘dumb insolence’! Although some may express their reactions to your proposals quite verbally, some will indicate their silent reaction quite clearly by even unintended body-language, while others will need time to digest what you have proposed before you can expect any useful response. Don’t miss these cues, and give people time to ponder on any difficult propositions.

10. Different folks – different strokes!

However you may like best to be persuaded, do not fall into the trap in thinking that all others will. Psychological research (by Dr Susan Brock, based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) shows that some people need ‘the facts’ to be persuaded, without which any proposition may seem unsupported. But others may far rather have ‘the logic’, a very different appeal. (For them, ‘facts’ may be two-a-penny, but the overall rationale may be far more convincing.) Equally, others may focus much more on the emotional content and consequences to be persuaded, whether on the impact of any conclusions on ‘service’ to themselves or others, or on their inherent ‘vision and values’ of how people should be treated, which by the way are rarely open to logical debate alone. So be ready to appeal to all possibilities?

I wish you really productive persuading!

Jeremy Thorn is the prize-winning author of ‘How To Negotiate Better Deals’, ‘The First-Time Sales Manager’, and ‘Developing Your Career in Management’. The past founding-Chairman of QED Consulting, he is an experienced Non-Exec Director and executive coach, and a regular key-note speaker on many practical business topics.
Jeremy@JeremyThorn.co.uk - www.jeremythorn.co.uk

Monday, July 28, 2008


This hackneyed phrase cannot be more apt when building new business relationships.

Firstly I have asked a number of human resource managers what is the average time it takes interviewers to make their decision when assessing the interviewee. The answer unfortunately is approximately 45 seconds. Unfair? Yes, but human nature dictates that “perception is reality” and I am told by these managers that the other 59 minutes of the interview is usually to confirm those first impressions.
You enter a room, be it social or business, where there is a group of strangers and your role is to make a fantastic first impression to start building relationships.

How do you want people to perceive you?

We all know ‘you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression’.

You can often come in contact with many people every day -- in meetings, at lunch, or any business-related or social events. People buy people before they buy the product or service. You may be part of or own a great business but if you don't project the appropriate image to go with it, people may not respond the way you want them to.
Your overall appearance represents who you are and what you do. It can be a reflection of your self-esteem. If your self-esteem needs an occasional boost, you can start by changing your whole demeanour and behaviour. When you show yourself to the world as confident and capable, you actually increase your self-confidence and standing. You are more likely to achieve greater results because people respond more positively.
The way you look outside and the way you feel inside should be appropriate with what you're saying. That way people will take what you say more readily. We have all met people whose appearance and behaviours are so off-putting that we can't really take what they’re saying too seriously. Consider a man with a badly fitting suit or stains on his tie. Or a woman in a low-neck top or very short skirt. Will she be able to portray the professional image she’s aiming for? We can’t help it , we make up our mind immediately and think, ‘Can this person really be serious?
Which impression are you aiming for?
Today, you have choices. We can wear smart or casual; both are more often than not acceptable. It really does make a difference to the start of the building of relationships particularly in a business setting.
Clean shoes? Good collar and tie? Jewellery or not - for both genders? Do your colours match? Accessories? Facial hair?

Saving the Situation

What if you've done your homework, but find yourself in a room full of people dressed very differently than you are? If they very casual and you're in a suit, you can still save the day. Take off your jacket, or at least unbutton it and push up the sleeves. As surreptitiously as possible, loosen your tie, open a shirt button or two, remove accessories, roll up shirt sleeves. Always overdress, you can always take things off!

In summary – S.H.I.N.E.

S mile. From the famous song in the Broadway show, Annie, “You can’t be fully dressed without a smile.” The smile is the greatest tool in your networking toolkit. You can’t fail when you greet someone with a happy open disposition.
H andshake. That first touch and feel can also make a massive difference to the way people perceive you in those early moments. The limp handshake or even the bone crushing variety will not create the impression you’re looking for.
I – contact. A bit of a cheat here with the letter ‘I’ but it fitted the acronym perfectly! When I meet people and they don’t look me in the eye I am immediately on my guard. Am I being unfair, even unreasonable? I don’t think so. From many years experience I find at the end of the day the relationship I have with these people generally tends not to be as strong as with those who smile, give me a good handshake and look me in the eye at the same moment.
N ame. Most people admit they forget the other person’s name within 5 seconds of the introduction. I disagree; they don’t forget. They simply haven’t been listening because they are so concerned about what they’re going to say next. One of the greatest ways to build early rapport and affinity is to treat peoples’ names with the same respect you treat the owner of that name. When you shake hands use your first name only; most of th time the other person will do the same. Repeat their name as you are still shaking hands and if you don’t hear it ask them to repeat it. They will never say ‘No I’ve told you once’! Concentrate for just 1 second and you will remember their name.
E nthusiasm. Show some enthusiasm when you greet people to complete the whole picture. Enthusiasm is contagious; a double whammy at the start of a relationship can only be a great indicator for the future.
Now go networking; meet new people and by shining you can’t fail to create the sort of positive impression I’m sure you are looking to make.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"You can't network with the groom on his wedding day!"

When I found out the groom was a senior member of the training and development team at a prospect's company I couldn't help myself. I introduced myself and explained what I did. He said his company may be interested in my services and we should meet after his honeymoon.It all lasted less than 1 minute but I have now met this guy,eye to eye and when I call it will be so much easier to get through to him.
Don't miss opportunities; become a Martini networker.
Any time, any place, anywhere.
My wife was dumb-stuck...now that doesn't happen often!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Th above title is the name of a book written by Dale Carnegie in 1936...a long long time ago
it is as relevant now as it was then. In fact it is more relevant as technology is trying to take over for good old-fashioned communcations through word of mouth.
Younger people are trying to build relationships through Facebook,Bebo and other so-called social networks. Nothing wrong with those as long as they are not relacements for buidling new and building on relationships.
here is an extract of some of the great man's words

Good relationships are key to business success. Here are some tips on strengthening your relationships:

Don't criticize, condemn, or complain
Give honest, sincere appreciation
Become genuinely interested in other people
Be a good listener
Encourage others to talk about themselves
Make the other person understand that you consider them important

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Who is Killing the Energy?

another guest writer to my blog... Paul Bridle a leading authority on leadership

Here are his sage words

Recently, I was with someone who found it amusing to make sarcastic digs when the opportunity arose. Those comments were funny when taken at face value. However, when they were aimed at someone in particular, they were hurtful and even undermined the individual.

I noticed a few things as a result of this type of behaviour.

It divided the room. Those that enjoyed that type of behaviour and those that didn't.
You could tell the people in the room that were learning this sort of behaviour from their boss, because they were trying to mimic it.
You could tell those people that were being affected by it negatively as they withdrew into themselves.
The overall energy levels in the room dropped as people on both sides were uncertain about when they would be next.
This brand of humour starts to be oppressive and can cause unnecessary offense. My Grandmother used to say that "Sarcasm was the lowest form of wit". In the beginning people find it funny and then they laugh because they feel they should. However, ultimately it becomes an embarrassment to people and starts to undermine relationships.

One thing I have learnt is that organizations thrive on energy. The higher the energy, the more proactive,responsive and dynamic the organization. As a leader, our job is to encourage positive energy levels.

What sort of energy do you add to your relationships? You are adding energy all the time and the question is ... is it constructive energy or destructive energy?

Constructive energy creates constructive ideas, constructive thought patterns, higher activity levels and higher results. Destructive energy destroys ideas, destroys creativity and slows the pace and ultimately lowers the level of results.

Have you ever had that person who walks into the room and it is like a ‘damp towel' has been thrown on the room. You can nearly hear the moan as people struggle to stay positive. It is like trying to swim in the pool knowing that someone has pulled the plug and you will now need to swim against the flow to stop being sucked in.

It can be as simple as something they say, their approach, or their demeanor.

If we understand this then we realise that the role of the leader is to encourage energy that drives the business. We also need to be aware of how quickly we can kill the energy by comments we make or things we do. The trouble is, some of the things that kill the energy are things we don't even notice we do. They are habits we have created and we don't realize the impact of them. In fact we can be lulled into a belief that they are positive when they are not.

Let us go back to the example of sarcasm. People still laugh but what we don't notice is that the laugh is an embarrassed or false laugh because they feel they should rather than because they are enjoying it. We think that we are causing them to laugh, which means they are enjoying themselves. We think we have added positive energy when in reality we are taking energy away from the room.

So consider these questions:

What habits have you got that may be taking energy out of your people?
When you interact with your team, are you adding or taking away energy?
Do you take time to consider (and even plan) how you can constructively add energy to your people, or do you rely on hoping that what you do has a positive effect?
These are simple but powerful questions and I implore you to consider them carefully. This year you will hear a lot from me about the importance of energy and so all these questions are important

"Straightforward and Clear Communication", says

...marketing guru Robert Middleton
Much of marketing is convoluted and confusing. It doesn't have to be. To market oneself effectively, one needs to communicate simply and with clarity: "These are the clients we work with; these are the areas where they have problems; this is the solution we provide; this is how it works and this is what it costs."

We work with people in the professional, finacial and business services communities who get most of their business from referrals and exisiting clients. This means they are reactive rather than proactive meaning they rely on others for the growth of their business.
What we do do is give them practical step-by-step techniques to become more effective and confident networkers resulting in them being in control.
We run a nationwide programme of public seminars and in-house tailor-made workshops.The cost for the former is on the website; for the latter, like every business transaction,it is negotiable depending on exactly what our clients want.

Hope that's okay, Robert!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Search Engine Optimisation – A Foundation

I'm delighted to introduce my good friend and a UK leading authority, Guy Levine to be guesting on my blog. Read what he has to say - it will raise your visibility.

Most people will use a search engine every day, if not many times per day. Looking for information, looking for new suppliers, looking for things to buy. People are looking for everything online. In fact, some research just released states that a font page Google listing is worth between £10,000 and £100,000 per year! Web Marketing Advisor CEO Guy Levine, a Manchester SEO Company shares his strategy

Do you want to be top of the search engines?
The benefits are numerous, but there is some work involved. Let me share some SEO foundations.

Firstly, survey your competitors

The best way to get ahead online is to take a good look at the competitors around you. Everything is possible, but it is far better to make sure that your first efforts are effective. The best way to find this out is to look at the number of search results for a key phrase which you want your website to be found for. Our method of beer mat calculation says that searches with less than 1,000,000 results are projects which can be done quickly and cost effectively. 1-5,000,000 are a little more challenging and 5,000,000 and above become and longer term project.

Choose your key phrases very carefully

When you ask most people what words they want people to use to find them online, they will often give you the most generic phrase possible, such as consultancy, mortgages, accountant or some other top level word. The issue is that these phrases never really produce any business. Firstly because there is so much competition, getting to the front page can be a long, involved and expensive operation. Secondly, because they are too generic.

Keyword Selection Strategy

When someone does a search for the word ‘accountant’ on Google, there is very little chance that they are going to buy or enquire from the search results they see. The search is just to generic. What people will then do is add a word to the search depending on the search results displayed. So the next search might be ‘tax accountant.’ This could then bring up a country wide selection of tax accountants. The likely hood of this search bringing in business does improve, but it can be made better. The final iteration is to add one more word, which then becomes ‘tax accountant Manchester.’ The person who types this search into Google is definitely a potential new client for a tax accountant in Manchester!

The more keywords in the search, often the less competition which ultimately means quicker and more cost effective results. It’s worth taking the time to really think about the words you choose to optimise your website for as they really do make a big difference.

All of the strategies above can be classed as ‘on-site’ which means things that you can do to your own site. There are also a host of other activities which need to be undertaken, which can be classed as ‘off-site,’ one of which includes increasing the number of people who link to your website.

Guy Levine is the CEO of Web Marketing Advisor, a cutting edge SEO Company.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Don't sell when you network, but do....

...remember when you are at a business event you have a vital role to play. Whether you are a single person business or represent a major organisation you are
When you meet someone and you are the first person they have met from the business you are attached to that person will often decide what sort of a business it is depending on your behaviour. behave well and when that person has need for your company's service you may well be the portal through which business will come.
So, it doesn't matter if you're a first year trainee or a senior partner you can bring in the next biggest client.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pour P.E.E. into your presentations!

When you make a presentation, whether it is to colleagues, clients, prospects or
professional contacts you are saying “I’ve earned the right to be up here; I’m
an expert.”

When you do it well i.e. in a confident and convincing manner it is the very best way of marketing both yourself and the company you represent. When you give away free and valuable information to your relevant audience it is one of the very best methods to attract new business.

BUT, when you present in a nervous hesitant manner, go on unprepared, read from the screen, put no energy, passion or enthusiasm into your talk you are damaging your
company’s reputation.

It will always be better not to volunteer if you see yourself with the shortcomings in the previous paragraph.

Most people, however deep their knowledge is, shy away from presenting.
Whenever you volunteer to stand up the key to a great presentation is
P assion
E nthusiasm and
E nergy.
if they aren't present in abundance, think twice before standing up.
If you need help check this out

Friday, June 06, 2008

Kids + adults + rejection

I was chatting with my fellow professional speaker, Kenny Harris about why kids don't seem to have the same problem. He wrote

You'll recall you pondered the question - kids don't seem to be nervous/shy
about walking into nursery, and just introducing themselves - why not, and
what makes adults different?

(There are, obviously, kids who ARE shy, mostly with adult groups, but for
the most part I think you're right).

Here's what I've been thinking about:

1. Kids live 'in the moment'. They don't consider what 'might' go wrong, so
don't worry about being rejected, insulted, whatever - at least until they
learn (probably at primary school) that this does in fact happen.

2. Kids have no fear. You know how you see them climbing trees, patting
dogs, rolling down steep hills, with no thought of the consequences? Again,
they don't stop to consider "what bad thing might happen here?". There's a
great line Scottish mums used to use (maybe they still do - my wife's
English!). Whe the kid was balancing along a ledge or wall, they'd shout "If
you fall and break your legs, don't come running to me!".

3. Kids don't hang on to grudges. My two will be fighting cat and dog - and
three minutes later sitting up close to one another, quietly doing a puzzle
together. It's all I can do to stop myself saying "I thought you two hated
each other?"!!!! Adults bear grudges - if there's someone we don't like, or
there's a competitor in the room, we're wary and careful, unlike children.

Hope this sparks some thinking, and perhaps a new theme for you?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"It's my birthday every day"

Whoever I say this to they laugh or smile. But it's true. I love what I do;I feel good when people tell me I have been able to help them in various aspects of their lives through effective and confident networking.
I aim to see the best in everyone, even when people are discourteous and disloyal. I try to win all arguments by avoiding them and where we make mistakes we put them right immediately to every one's satisfaction. That way we often get more work even after errors or bad service. Mind you, this rarely happens as we plan and prepare carefully.
The first principle of building relationships,i.e. networking,is to give first and receive second.You feel good when you give to or help people you know, like and trust.
Yes, every day is my birthday

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

remembering names. Can you?

“Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

- Dale Carnegie

When we go networking it is simply to build new or build on exisiting relationships.

No single action conveys the message "you're important" as effectively as remembering another person's name. Here are some steps you might take to help ensure name recollection:

Hear and understand the name
Create a mind picture linking the name with the person
Add details about the person to the mind picture
Repeat the name in conversation
We often don't hear the name simply becuase we are too focused on ourselves. 'What will I say next?' 'Will I be interesting?' 'Will I say something stupid?'

when you give your full attention to someone you meet and greet and follow the guidelines above you have a much better chance of hearing, then remembering their name

Sunday, May 04, 2008

"It's official. You can now talk to strangers."

When we were young everyone is given this advice. But just now I watched a TV programme where police were asking young children under what circumstances was it acceptable to talk to strangers.
Little Johnny said ,"Please miss, when you need help and the person is doing a job, sometimes in a uniform and in a building" PC Mary said "Absolutely right Johnny, well done."
A lesson for us adults. When we attend business events, we are looking for help (i.e. new business)in a building ( normally),everyone is doing a job ( otherwise they probably wouldn't be there)and they are in a uniform (suited and booted or 'smart casual').
So there you go. When you walk into that room full of strangers make the first move and approach either someone on their own or an open-formatted group and ask, "Please may I join you?"

Friday, May 02, 2008

"Did someone mention times are getting tougher?"

They tell me there’s a credit crunch coming along, that the economy is on a downturn, that the near future is bleak…

Well, I’m not joining in! And nor should you.

Remember, whenever there are difficult market conditions, in the most challenging economies in the world, people still succeed. In tricky circumstances, teams still pull through, people survive… and not just survive, thrive.


Because they do the right things… and have been doing them when conditions have been good. They have businesses built on solid foundations, a clear and congruent strategy, and an effective approach, filled with belief and determination.

Those who will suffer are those who, when market conditions have been good,

Have just been harvesting, and not sowing for the future.
Haven’t laid foundations for growth, just get-rich quick.
Have just been taking customer orders rather than building client loyalty

Interesting, isn’t it, that it’s these businesses who are showing the first signs …

Of course, 97 percent of people will resort to a blame/complain/seek compensation approach in troubled times.
The 3 percent who will thrive are those who have clear goals, who have belief in their own abilities to succeed, who are forward thinking, and energetic.

Time for Leadership!

In times of turmoil, the leaders “step up to the plate” (to borrow the sporting terminology). And we are all leaders: whether you’re a leader of your team, a business owner, a family leader, or even a self-leader!

So if you are without a Mission, a Vision, Values, specific goals, an action-plan for success, a zest-filled environment where you thrive and where your people love to work, and the right clients love to come… you may have missed the chance. Because there will be precious little time to sit and create a winning strategy when the vultures are circling, when the going is tough, and when you feel least positive about the short-term let alone the long-term.

My advice: get your strategy sorted, create a rudder NOW for the stormy seas ahead. And then, with confidence, you too can choose not to join the crunch!

This came from Phil Olley as it reflects EXACTLY what i'm thinking i couldn't see any reason to amend it. check out his site; it

Monday, April 28, 2008

What Are We Afraid Of?

Most people fear walking into a room full of strangers and that is the reason the vast majority of people will avoid attending business events at all costs
To analyse the reasons why we feel pressure or anxiety about failure, we have to understand that it is the fear of failure that hurts far more than the failure itself. Actually, it is the fear of not being sure what will happen.
"There will be so many strangers there, all looking at me"
"What am I going to say?"
"Am I going to be included?"
Most of us can learn to accept and deal with the worst if we really know what's coming. We may not like it or look forward to it, but we can handle it.The very worst that's going to happen is there will be atiny majority of rude people who will not see you as'importasnt' enough to chat with. They look over their shoulder and give all the signs they want to move on. When you see that, excuse yourself politely and don't give them a secod thought. They are rude, ignorant and not worthy of your time.
Not knowing is a different story. It creates anxiety, vacillation and a very gut level desire to escape the whole problem. Each of us is different in the things we fear, and to analyse the reasons we are pressured by the fear of failure we have to find out what kinds of failure bother us. When we walk into a room full of strangers you will never see more than 6 formats of people.
Look here for the answer. So, now you know; there should be no need to worry about the unknown. Join the person on their own and open-formatted groups. When you don't know anyone in the closed groups- stay away. Their body language says "we're very comfortable at the moment, thanks."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Modern day marketing. Discussion between Robert and Ruby

"I am enthusiastic and passionate about my business, but I must admit, I do a good job of keeping it to myself - unless someone shows an interest during a conversation. Why?

"I'm concerned about turning people off. I'm often turned off when someone I meet goes on and on about something I'm really not interested in. It often seems like they're trying to push me into something. I don't want to do that to others, so I find it hard to promote myself.

"Does that make any sense? Anyone else know what I'm talking about? How can I be sure I'm being passionate without annoying other people? Ideas?"

Thanks! - Ruby Curran

Thanks for this question, Ruby. This really gets to the heart of what stops people from marketing successfully.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding about marketing that you are making. You think marketing is about you. You think marketing is boasting, a big ego trip and fundamentally self- centered. You think that marketing is "going on and on about something I'm not really interested in."

If you believe that, of course, you'll keep your business to yourself. You don't want to be seen as an obnoxious egomaniac.

But marketing is NOT about you. It's not even about your services. It's not about all the things you do and it certainly isn't about going on and on until people are turned off.

Marketing isn't about what YOU do, it's about what THEY get.

Just think, when someone asks you what you do, you tend to talk all about you and how your business works. It just pours out automatically. You can't seem to help yourself. But you realize that this is a turn-off, so you solve the problem by not talking about your business at all (unless someone shows interest).

Clearly, this approach doesn't work.

When someone asks me what I do, I NEVER talk about my business. I talk about the problems my prospects and clients are experiencing. And when I do that, most people do show interest.

I say, "I work with Professionals who have a great service but who struggle with networking." There's absolutely nothing about me in that message. And it interests people because it's about them.

When they ask me how I do this, I say, "I work with them so that marketing is easier for them and becomes less of a struggle, and so that they ultimately attract more clients."

Again, nothing about me, it's all about what they get. And that is interesting as well. It starts a lot of good conversations.

And if they want to know more about how it works, I tell them a story of a client I worked with and the results they got. Again, nothing about me. Stories are great because people can see that if you helped someone else, maybe you can help them as well.

And you know what? When you talk about your business like that, people become interested. They want to know more. Then you provide more information in the form of an article or details of your services on your web site. And, of course, you get their email and put them on your regular eZine list.

Why do I have thousands of people on my monthly email magazine? It's because that's how I've consistently communicated about my business over the years. It's all about communicating value, not going on and on about how great my business is.

But there's also another way to look at this.

I realize, that at any given time, I'm not going to communicate perfectly. I may say things that turn people off. I might send one too many emails and have someone unsubscribe. Once in awhile I might forget myself and go on and on.

But so what?

I do my very best to communicate with integrity. I know my communications provides value. I know that my products and services have made a huge difference to thousands of people.

But you can't please everyone all the time. In fact, if you're doing really well with your marketing, you're still only going to please (get positive response from) about 10% of your audience (at best).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Why don't people say thank you?"

Maybe I am getting to be a 'grumpy old man?' Some say I have been taht person for years!
I recently rana free seminar for post-graduates at Manchester Business School. Most did not have a job and I offered to send to those who wrote to me a copy of a letter they could use to apply for jobs. It is to go with their CV/ Resume and I believe will at least help them get an interview.
I received 8 requests and sent 8 letters.
I did not get one thank you back.
Now I don't do these things to get a 'thank you' but common courtesy disctates when you do someone a favour, the least you can do is acknowledge it with a response.
Am I being unreasonable?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Business is slow but hey that's great!"

It's a slow month, less presentations, less income, less profit.We're not used to that; our growth has been like the chart above for years."Am I bovvered?" I was..last month. But now I'm in the middle of this 'quiet' month i 'm delighted for the upside.
less travel for a start but the most important benefit is I am spending time with my team. We are planning, discussing and reflecting. We're working ON the business and not IN it for a change. We've come up with lots of new marketing and business development ideas...a big investment for the future.
why am i so relaxed? Well, we do have a healthy order book for the next few months and enquiries continue to flow in.

Monday, April 07, 2008

People,People who need people...

Are the luckiest people in the world
Were children needing other children
And yet letting our grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside
Acting more like children than children.

Song by Barbra Streisand.

We all need people to network with and the words of the song say it all.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The "3 P's" to gain ...or lose more business

Let's start negative
The first set of "P's"
Push back

When it comes to business development and chasing new clients or more business from exisiting clients it's so easy to be waylaid by other things. Things could well be tough this year and when we feel like that it's easy to go into negative mode. 'They won't have a budget''Maybe I'll leave it another month' 'I read their industry insi struggling , no point in contacting them'
Familiar? So what do we do? Sit on our hands and wait
Look at the other 3P's?

Present clients
Past clients
If you're any good and add value businesses are laways going to want your services. You just have to increase your business development activities. Maybe reduce your prices abit, be a bit more flexible on your terms, offer more for the same price.
if it going to be tough you have to work that bit harder. More networking; more follow up calls; more trawling through past clients to see how they're getting on.
We've all had it easy over the last few years and now it is harder.
Shrug...let's incease our marketing and business development activities

Monday, March 31, 2008

"Come on now, name names!"

Thousands of people go networking and a key reason is to get others who know like and trust them to refer others. But these people don't make it easy for others to help them.
'I am looking for new clients; do you know anyone is not happy with their accountants?'
'I am looking for any businesses within 25 miles from here who need a sign writer.'
I don't know about you but if I hear these questions, my mind goes blank.
When someone in my breakfast networking club say'Does anyone know anyone at Trowel & Co I either do or I don't.
When you want others to introduce you to 3rd parties make it easy for them -name names. The more specific you are the easier it is for them

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Whenever you attend an event or function as a guest (unless perhaps it’s an exhibition or a charity dinner) there’s going to be host. When it’s your turn, or the turn of your company to host, you find that thousands can be spent on hosting. But what return do you get from the investment? Not just the investment of money, but the invisible (and often large) amount of time spent in its preparation by both chargeable and non-chargeable staff?
Preparations and Planning
Let’s ask some basic questions like why, what, where, when, who and how.
Why is this event being held? Is it to:
• launch a new service or product?
• celebrate a milestone for the company or an individual?
• announce a new market place?
• say thank you to existing contacts and clients?
• raise your profile?
• impart knowledge?
• commemorate a particular time of year?
• use up the marketing budget?!

A bit flippant, that last one, but I believe some companies hold events which are just as irrelevant. Try, ‘because we did it last year’ or ‘the competition does it’ or ‘it seems like a good idea’ or ‘the senior partner likes synchronised swimming and the National Championships are coming to our City’. You think I’m being sceptical? Far from it; I speak from experience. Remember, I was in a professional partnership for 30 years so I’ve seen it all. I say here and now, I was probably a key culprit in choosing some or all of these (wrong) reasons for hosting events. Make sure you know WHY you’re about to spend vast sums of time and money before moving forward. If you can gather together a wide range of interested parties right at the start, I believe you will come to a more objective conclusion

What sort of event should it be?
Should you:
• hold an intimate lunch?
• run a seminar?
• host a stand-up buffet, lunch or evening event?
• invite clients to your professional institute’s or association’s dinner?
• host an awards ceremony?
• take people to a sporting or cultural event?
• take them out for lunch or dinner?
• invite them to a networking event?

Still under the what section, what do you want from the spend? Is it:
• to build on a relationship?
• to start a relationship?
• to try to sell more services to the same client?
• to try to convince your professional contact why they should send you more referrals?
• to find out why the existing contact has stopped sending you referrals?
• to simply keep in touch?

Return on your investment

Don’t forget whenever you play host, it costs money AND time. It’s the time that tends to get lost in the equation, but, if you ponder a moment, it’s often the time and not the money that needs to yield a return. Money can be replaced, your time can’t! Every time you and your company spend money you want a return. If it’s a new colleague or capital expenditure, you calculate the extra income this new person should contribute or the savings on the capital spend. It should be no different when you organise an event. I worked with one major professional firm who were investing approximately £100,000 sponsoring an event. They said their target was an extra £1,000,000 fees over the next 12 months. Now that sounds like a return.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Law of Reciprocity.

The core principle of networking is to give first and approach life and people generally with a generous spirit. When meeting people for the first time the greatest gift we can give to our new contact is our full attention.

By understanding and using the power of reciprocity, you improve your relationships
and avoid mistakes that can permanently damage your relationships. In life and work, you get what you give.
When someone does something for you, they implicitly expect that when the circumstance is right, you will do something of approximately equal value for them. But don’t wait to receive first; be in control and give first. These acts however should be carried out with the right attitude; give without remembering and revive without forgetting.
Stephen Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) uses the metaphor of Emotional Bank Account to describe "the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship"
When you are kind, honest, caring and friendly to another person, you make deposits on an Emotional Bank Account. However, if you are unkind, disrespectful, uncaring and mean, you draw from this account. These actions all relate to the initial stages in the ‘liking’ stage of the building of relationships.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Do you really know what your customers are thinking and what they really want from you?
Most companies think they do but don’t. You need a strategy to focus on your customers:
• To grow the business.
• To ensure the success of your existing or new product.
• To develop the skills of your professional sales team.
Scientists and business people with the full might of marketing tools, constantly fail to spot how much consumers want technology and why. For example, in the early 90’s a huge investment went into interactive television but this took some 10 years for it to take off.
In the late 90’s, even bigger investments were made to produce an inter-connecting process between the internet and mobile phones. Whilst the outcome is unknown, early stages suggest that technology has not produced the popular demand thought.
However, on the other hand, short text messaging which was a tiny investment has turned out to be absolutely booming.
Unique Selling Points
What is your unique selling point? It need not necessarily be unique but simply that there are a number of significant differentiators to the competition.
Loyalty and Satisfaction
There is loyalty and there is satisfaction but invariably these do not go hand in hand. Once you have found your USP, you need to build loyalty and then develop customer care.
Clients are often satisfied with many small issues but this strategy is on focused and confusing. Satisfaction is short-term, meets immediate needs and generally is passive. A survey was recently carried out which said that 70% of defections were satisfied customers.
Loyalty means that there is a long-term stronger relationship with trust and an army of people ready to refer others to you.
The buying decision for most products and services is based upon on a small number of USPs. Satisfying USPs often makes customers forgiving of other service weaknesses but do companies know what their USPs are?
Finding true USPs has the best leverage for growth.
McDonalds for example, put a toy in a Happy Meal, which creates a large children’s market. Location is important, why are so many “average” hotels doing so well at airports? Simply because they are at airports!
What do you differently from the opposition, which attracts clients – have you ever thought about this?
What customers buy and what companies sell are two different things. Therefore, every so often you should place yourself in the shoes of the customer and ask the question what are they really buying?
The answer 99 times out of 100 is not what you think they are selling. (Source: Funky Business 1999).
Do you really understand your customers and if so, how do you do this? Often this is done through surveys but why don’t we hear the true voice of the customer? They invariably tell us what they want us to hear rather than the real truth.

Hotels! You don't always get what you pay for.

I spend my life in hotels so feel i am an expert on what is good and what isn't . last night I stayed at the Ibis in Lincoln...less than £50.But wow, what a warm greeting I got from Lee the receptionist. I had 2 rooms booked but one of my colleagues was ill but forogt to cancel. "Don't wory, Mr Kintish we all make mistakes" and she didn't charge me. She sorted a tray of foofd out as I wanted to eat upstairs and she couldn't have been more pleasant.
I stay in big hotels charging £200+ . Are the staff there so nice? Never...well rarely.
Hotel chains spend billions on making the place look good but I often wonder how much they spend on staff training for customer care?
Well done Lee, you deserve a pay rise and a promotion!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Portraits at an exhibition

We exhibitied last week at an exhibition. It cost a lot of money. Not only the xhibition costs but 2 days in London for 3 people. We had to get a return on our investment otherwise it would have been like tearing up £50 notes.It is my business and not wasting such a vast sum of money comes easy.
We worked 'our butts off'! We worked the room, Will Kintish, me, presented 3 times and , we chatted to as many people as possible, collected lots of contacts AND THEIR CARDS. Next week we will be following up all the leads.

BUT what did we see about us? People who are employees where it's not their money

• On the phone
• Closed twos
• On the computer
• No eye contact
• No approaching
• As far back as possible on the stand
• Backs to the corridor
• Sitting down
• Playing with own exhibits
On the phone
eating big plates of sandwiches, ignoring the world go by
• Hiding behind stands
• Sitting reading a magazine. There should never be chairs in such a booth. If people want to sit they can go to the coffee zone for 10 minutes each hour.
• Keeping their backs stuck to the rear wall of the cubicle in case they had to talk to someone

If only "the powers that be" could have seen them, they would have been....well who knows? Maybe the management is so bad , they didn't care either!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


1. Remember, if you don't ask, it will NEVER happen.
Wayne Gretzky once said, "One hundred percent of the shots I don't make
don't go in." Likewise, the unasked question is never answered.

2. Don't beat around the bush.
Just ask!

3. If it's an extraordinary request, say so.
BIG requests are often the best requests. Be 100% upfront and honest about
what you want and what's involved.

4. If the request is work that YOU normally (or should) do, explain why
you can't.
You don't need to provide tons of detail, but again, be honest with the
person you're asking (and with yourself).

5. Don't assume you know what the answer will be.
Maybe they'll say "No." Of course, they might say "Yes."

6. Recognise that the person *can* say "No."
You may not like it, but it will happen from time to time. Accept it and
move on.

7. Request one thing at a time.
Asking for help, assistance, changes, etc., is fine, but don't overwhelm a
person with multiple requests all at once.

8. Request clearly.
If there's an exact way it needs to be done, let the person know. Give
them all the information to make a good decision, but also so they can
really do what you need them to do.

9. Trust the person to do the right thing.
If you request clearly and the person has said that they'll do it, expect
they'll do it correctly. Don't follow them around and hound them about it.

10. Say "Thank you." (Even if they turn you down.)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"NO" is such a little yet emotional word

NO is the verbal negative often as a result of rejection."NO" we don't want your products or services; "no" I don't want to go out with you; "no" Ican't make it to your event.
Hearing 'no' is no fun but often we don't like saying 'no' to others simply because when we are the receiver we know how we feel. So what happens when we have to say no to someone else? We often avoid it by ignoring the other person and hope the person wanting something will just give up and fade away.
One of life's major challenges is uncertainty which causes even more upset so when we hope'they'll go away' we really are upsetting business relationships.
Tell people 'no but as things change it could be worth asking again in say 6 months'.
From my experience 2 in a 100 ever call again.
As a good networker I am one of those 2!!

After the encounter...leave a sweet taste

Whether you leave a group when attending business events, finalising a deal or get a "no thanks, we don't need your goods or services" always leave others with a sweet tatse in the mouth. At events if you are with one person at an event offer to take them for a drink or introduce them to others rather than leaving them on their own.

Whenever you recive anything always acknowledge it be it an email, letter or fax. That way people know you have received it

And when you hear you have been unsuccessful at gaining new business or getting a new appointment always thank people for their time and wish them success.

Keep the door open for another time; you never know what might happen next and as we always say in business...things change.

People often don't rememeber what was said or done but they invaribaly remember how they felt about you at a later date. Let that feeling be a sweet tatse

Friday, March 07, 2008

When you attend events are you fishing or harpooning?

A harpoon is a long spear-like instrument used in fishing to catch fish or other large aquatic animals such as whales. It accomplishes this task by impaling the target animal, with the fishermen then using the a rope or chain attached to the butt of the projectile to draw the creature in. A harpoon can also be used as a weapon.

Do you ever feel like this when inexperienced networkers approach you at business events with their sales patter and pin you to the wall until you submit?
Networking = building relationships. The 3 key steps being


This takes time and you have to be patient...just like fishing - not harpooning!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Please...just listen

When it comes to selling, listening is your most important skill.
I come to a sales conversation with this attitude: "I have nothing
to sell this person, I need to first learn if I can help him or not."
And I'm only going to find that out by listening, not talking. It's
amazing what you DON'T need to explain about your services if
you take the time to really listen.

When you find yourself talking too much flash up in your mind

...meaning "Why am I talking?"
We learn nothing by talking

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The customer is king? YES but only after you look after your team first....

When your team care about the company they work and feel good coming to work they will automatically look after the customer.
How do we get them to care?
What is it that inspires you to do your best work? Have you considered what things might be fueling the work of your employees/coworkers? Although unique to each worker, professional drive has a basic core to which everyone can relate. Discover your essential similarities, and use this knowledge to inspire others to cooperate, instead of mandating that they do so.

Don't dictate -- inspire
Don't direct -- win people to your way of thinking
Begin with praise and honest appreciation
Build morale and earn loyalty
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

Friday, February 29, 2008

"I'm not insulting you, but what you have given me is a BAG OF CONFIDENCE TRICKS"

That's what a senior lawyer said at the end of one of my networking skills training this week.My first reaction was, 'Perhaps my delegate is insulting me'. Before getting too upset I stopped to reflect.I went to Wikiperdia to get a definition firstly.
Wikipedia defines a confidence trick as
A confidence trick is an attempt to swindle a person or persons which involves gaining his or her confidence."
Cofidence is one of the key traits we need to succeed. When we're not confident we tend to shy away from doing what is required so we spend our time in our comfort zone...the place where there are NO OPPORTUNITIES to grow.
Whether it's working the room, following up leads or even going to a social event, we need to tackle these challenges feeling we can do it and risk the fact we may not quite get it right at first. That's not failure, that's part of lif'es University of life.
Failure is not trying.
In our training, we can't give you confidence ( wowI'd be richer than Bill gates if I could!) but we do give you a load of confidence tricks to help you overcome all your fears. When you practise them you can become a great business developer in general and a confident and effective networking in particular.
Thank you Mr Delegate lawyer for your comment!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Don't you get fed up doing that every day?"

...said one of my delegates recently at the end of the presentation.Last year I presented on networking skills just under 200 times and most of what I said was similar each time. But, as I try my best to interact with my audience (who are different every time) then the event turns out differently each time.
I loved every one of those events whether or not they were free events or well-paid.

That is the reported figure each SPICE GIRL has just earned for their world tour. Now the money might be good but they did EXACTLY the same thing every night for weeks on end.

When you do your job with energy, passion and enthusiasm you can only have a good time at work.
Most people do the same thing every day; it's the way you approach it that counts.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hey don't tell anyone.Do you want to share in my share of £30,000,000?

Do you think this is a scam or should I go for it?

Dear Partner,

I wish to request for your partnership and assistance in transaction of £30,000,000.00 GBP that would be of immense benefit to both of us.

I am the Auditor General and Chairman, Audit Committee of Bank of Scotland, London.
My purpose of contacting you is to seek your acting as the beneficiary of the will, and lay claim the legacy of (£30,000,000.00) million pounds sterling, which my unfortunate customer, John Hughes bequeathed to his next-of-kin but unfortunately died in a car accident along with this family and his next-of-kin. After a thorough investigation I discovered that John Hughes s has no other beneficiary to claim the fund.

The fund will be shared between us after the confirmation of the fund in your account and I would like to take a part of my share and invest in any lucrative business in your country with your assistance. All I have to do is amend all file to make you the beneficiary to the (£30,000,000.00) million pounds sterling legacy though you might consider this amount very huge for you to defend, It does not matter, as there are some legal documents to back it up.

I therefore appeal to you not to obsolete this request to anybody, even if you decline my request. Until I am sure of your consent and full cooperation. I would prefer that we maintain all correspondence by email and phone call.

I look forward to your earliest reply to this email: david_wood87@excite.com for more details or call on my private mobile +44 704 572 3648 for further discussion on this.

At this point I want to assure you that your true consent, full cooperation and confidentiality are all that are required for us to take full advantage of this opportunity.

I look forward to hear from you soon.

Yours truly,
Mr David Wood.

I get so many of these , surely someone must take it up...or do the Mr Wood's of this world just like sending letters?

PS I wonder how Mr Wood knew it was my birthday?

Monday, February 25, 2008

20 Tips on what to ask for in a testimonial:

It doesn't matter how brilliant you tell your prospects you are. What is far more important is what your clients and customers say.
Testimonials can be very comforting for potential new clients. here are some ideas to consider.

1. Three problems your client faced before you came along.
2. How delighted and happy your client is with your services.
3. How easy and fulfilling it is to work with you.
4. Would they recommend your services to anyone else.
5. How does your client feel by taking up your services.
6. How easy is it to do business with you?
7. Why do they continue to do business with you?
8. Why are they loyal customers?
9. What would you say to someone who has never heard of you before?
10. What is unique about your service.
11. What changes has your client seen in themselves since getting
involved with you.
12. Make sure your client puts your testimonial on their letterhead.
13. Ask them not to date it so it doesn’t become out of date.
14. Always give your client a deadline for when you need the
testimonial back.
15. Ask your client verbally
16. Send them a prepaid envelope to send it back
17. Thank your client with a thank you card
18 Or with something more substantial if it leads to business
19. Don’t date testimonials
20. Write testimonials for your clients and educate where you can. Help them to increase their own referrals

Where to use testimonials?

1. Frame them for reception and office
2. Use on packaging
3. Direct mail campaigns
4. In your welcome pack
5. Photocopy on to coloured paper and send to your support network
6. Extract bits for sales letters
7. Use on your web site
8. Place in a folder to show potential clients
9. Add photos to testimonial
10. Use for audio and video to place on audio and website
11. Read them when you are feeling down

See lots more free and useful information on business development at

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Passion, enthusiasm,energy

Why is there so little of the above around?
We interviewed this week and the 2 people we chose had lots of all 3when we met them. We ran a group interview and each person made a presentation. The 2 who came through to 'formal' interview stage showed they really wanted the position.
When you are asked "What do you do?" how much of the 3 do you show? if you're not passionate and enthusiastic about what you do, what chance have you attracting others to use your services or products.
When you make a presentation, whether it is to colleagues, clients, prospects or
professional contacts you are saying “I’ve earned the right to be up here; I’m
an expert.”

When you do it well i.e. in a confident and convincing manner it is the very best way of
marketing. When you give away free and valuable information to your relevant
audience it is one of the very best methods to attract new business.

BUT, when you present in a nervous hesitant manner, go on unprepared, read from the screen, put no energy, passion or enthusiasm into your talk you are damaging your
company’s reputation.

It will always be better not to volunteer if you see yourself with the shortcomings in the previous paragraph.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Word of Mouth Marketing Plan

I have never seen this as a section, subject or even draft discussion document in any marketing plan. Yet when you think about it, it should be an integral part of any marketing, selling and promotion campaign for all businesses serious about expanding. Marketing plans will include:
• Hosting events
• Producing designs
• Creating literature e.g. brochures, business cards, newsletters etc.
• PR campaigns
• Free giveaways
• Corporate entertaining
• Advertising.

Now, add to this the word of mouth marketing campaign.


1. Who should be giving the message?
2. To whom it should be given.
3. What the message is.
4. Where and when it should be given.
Number 4 is easy when you have sorted 1 to 3. The answer to number 4 is everywhere and as often as possible.

Most people who work in marketing see word of mouth promotion as a result of good advertising not a strategy for conveying it. Just because there has been a great ad campaign doesn’t mean that the power of buzz is automatically generated. My thoughts are these: advertising is floodlight marketing, networking, i.e. word of mouth marketing, is spotlight marketing.
Once a decision is taken to go down this route, the protagonists need a script. Do they know:
• What services are on offer?
• What the target client market is?
• The answer to: “So why should we use you?”

Unless they’re armed with these answers, there is no point in moving forward.

Effective networkers understand that word of mouth marketing is not just an expression; it’s a way of life. Like the old Martini advert “any time, any place, anywhere.”

Monday, February 18, 2008

Strategy for survival is visibility

Just a few years ago, when somebody wanted to find out about you, they would go to your Web site. But now they don't have the time to do that. Oh, sure, if it's important they'll take the time to visit your site. And if they're serious about doing business with you, they'll eventually get there.

But it's no longer their first port of call.

And that's important!

Because it means you have to convince people you're an expert BEFORE they ever visit your Web site.

How do you do that?

You do it by blogging.
And podcasting.
And participating in forums.
And updating pages on Wikipedia.
And putting little video clips on YouTube.
Or even commenting on other people's videos on YouTube.
And writing an e-book that you freely pass on to others.
And publishing an e-mail newsletter.
And writing articles and submitting them to article directories.

In other words: Participate.

It's no longer enough to build a tiny little Web site in one corner of the Web and hope people will come streaming by. Don't be an on-line hermit - it doesn't work any more.


First Step Communications Pty Ltd
8 Windich Place, Leederville WA 6007, Australia
Help Desk (Support): 1300 791 780, Sales: (+61) 08 9444 1225
Fax: (+61) 08 9444 1384
E-mail: gihan@GihanPerera.com

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"Kintish, you're such an interesting person"

I went to a dinner of an old client last night and sat next to Ian ( not his real name!).
He talked at me for over 2 hours. He told me about
his job - how he got started -how he ran the company - how he was going to take it forward - how....ooh I forget
his family - 3 daughters 2 grandchildern a wife he'd divorced and how they were still friends
his many years living in a bed and breakfast
how the music was too loud
...and lots more things I forget.
he was very 'interesting'. I was being very interested although he asked me no questions at all about me.
I just know on his way home he will have said to his companion, "I met a great guy tonight,he was so interesting!
When you let the other person do most of the talking, become a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves....you become very interesting.
A great lesson for building relationships be they social or business

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Business development ...the modern way of thinking

Change your thinking
There are lots of people who consider selling and marketing as essentially dishonest and manipulative. If that’s how you think, the chances are you will resist change with all your might. This resistance is expressed in sentiments such as:
1 I feel uncomfortable talking about myself and blowing my own trumpet
2 I sound phoney when I write about the benefits I offer
3 I'm just not the marketing type
4 I can't sell myself, I'm far too uncomfortable

It's no wonder many professionals and technicians not only struggle with marketing, but feel uncomfortable and inauthentic when communicating with prospects about their services. Marketing becomes a "necessary evil."

The best way to get past these quite understandable feelings is to look at marketing your services from a new perspective. The negative feelings are bound to make you feel dreadful about marketing. Thinking in a completely different way should make you feel good.

Let’s explore the OLD THINKING -v- NEW THINKING

Marketing is manipulation intended to get people to buy things they don't
really need.
Marketing is about making people aware of a service that could make a
real difference in their lives and businesses.
Marketing is uncomfortable because it talks about me and what I can do
and how I'm better than other service providers.
Marketing is a valuable service in itself because the primary activity of
effective marketing is to give away valuable information.
Marketing is dishonest because it depends on hyperbole and making false
promises while charging high fees.
Marketing is honourable because it offers to solve problems or assist with
challenges that are costing the client time and money.
Marketing is egotistical and self-centred, focused on me, me, me.
Marketing is helping with needs and wants, focused on them, them, them.
Marketing needs endless amounts of creativity and cleverness in order to
get attention and response.
Marketing simply requires an understanding of clients’ problems,
challenges and aspirations and your ability to respond accordingly
Marketing is highly competitive, so you need to make sure other
professionals don't know what you're doing.
Marketing offers great opportunities for co-operation and creating joint
ventures with other professionals.
Marketing takes huge expenditure of time, money and effort and gets a
very poor return on the investment made.
Marketing is what you do in the natural course of your business-share
value. The amount invested, when done effectively, is very small compared to the return.

So which thinking suits you? Only you can decide.