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