Monday, October 25, 2010

You're a painkiller

“I love what I do but don’t like the marketing and selling”

When you are in the advice-giving business, particularly professionals and experts in your field, do you feel exactly like the headline? You spend your formative years in education, academia, gaining professional qualifications and learning on the job. Then after time you realise to progress, or go it alone, you have to start selling, marketing and promotion- the uncomfortable bit of the job.

Change of mindset
You will not be good at this; you will find it unnerving and awkward, dare I suggest. It’s not in your DNA. Had it been, you probably wouldn’t have chosen the career you have.
Stop thinking sell; think help. You are an expert who provides advice which adds value to your client. You are a problem-solver and painkiller. When I ask people what they get paid for I hear, ‘My time or my expertise or the advice I am giving.’ Yes that’s true but in the eyes of the client you are being paid for a problem they can’t solve for themselves. No-one goes to the doctor, the dentist, the accountant or the lawyer unless they have a complication or difficulty. So, I reiterate, you must forget selling if you’re going to become more proactive. Get out there networking and start to look for people who have a pain; you’re there to kill it.

What to do at business events
What you should never do is try to sell your company, it’s services or products; the only thing to promote is yourself and the nice person you are. Networking is simply building relationships; we have all been doing it since around the age of 2.
The three key steps to building new relationships are
1. Get to know more people by attending more events.
2. Start to get them to like you and build rapport and affinity
3. Continue past step 2 and build trust to create long-term meaning sustainable relationships
I believe the reason the word networking attracts such negative views is because many people simply don’t know how to do it effectively and more importantly politely and ethically. This can result in rude and discourteous behaviour including people being too pushy. You occasionally find people who realise you’re not the person useful to them they begin to look around the room or over your shoulder. They appear infrequently and are a small minority but move on quickly from these ignorant people.
Fear of failure
When you are giving your expert advice you are in command and control and with help from colleagues you rarely fail. But attending that business event often knowing no-one and getting involved in conversations taking you out of your comfort zone there will be the possibility of failure crossing your mind.

You won’t fail when you spend time asking good questions, listening carefully and asking the other person to explain or describe more when you don’t understand. You’re looking for those pain-killing opportunities which will only occur by listening. Having spotted a chance or prospect, to avoid wasting your time ensure you follow up in a professional manner. When you focus on the other person and show interest people start to like you quickly. You need to be genuinely interested and when the conversation comes to an end move on in a polite manner.
You only fail when you don’t turn up, you do too much talking, you are impolite or, in my view worst of all, don’t follow up when you think you could move the relationship to it’s next stage. When you ask permission to contact someone after an event and they say ‘yes’, no-one can accuse you of pestering or annoying them.
Remember most people don’t follow up for fear of rejection. Don’t take it personally; they’re not rejecting you just the offer of your help.

The author of this article is Will Kintish, leading UK authority on effective and confident networking both offline and online. If you’d like Will to speak at your conference or training workshops, call him on 0161 773 3727. Visit and for further free and valuable information on all aspects of networking.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Voices in our heads – Part 1

Is it any wonder most people decline or ignore business invitations when they start out with a head full of negative self-talk.

When you walk into a room full of strangers, 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?”

How do we mange and get these fears destroyed?
In my next blog will share my thoughts.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Network? Sure, I network. I’m on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook all the time.

I love social media, don’t get me wrong, but the downfall of today’s social media is it can give people a false sense of security that they are effectively networking. Spending time on LinkedIn or Twitter is a smart component to your work life, but in order to reap the full benefits of networking, you need to regularly back away from the computer, pick up the phone, attend business networking events, or meet up with a former colleague for coffee or drinks. In other words, network the old fashioned way, the way we networked before we became addicted to so many of these networking sites.
Networking is building relationships; know-like –trust are the 3 key steps to achieving this. How can you get others to like and trust you simply through the computer. I do believe you can start a relationship online and even reinvigorate and reinforce but no-one will ever convince me you can build a sustainable relationship with anyone.without the face-to-face meeting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

15 Minutes & 10 Seconds To Great Business Opportunities

1. Walk in and get a drink 30 secs
2. Look for someone 15 secs
3. Approach 10 secs
4. Ask permission 5 secs
5. Introduce 5 secs
6. Opening comment 20 secs
7. Start small talk 180 secs
8. Ask what they do 60 secs
9. Ask interesting questions 300 secs
10. Tell them what you do 180 secs
11. Ask for card 10 secs
12. Read 30 secs
13. Make comments
14. Ask to contact to find out more 20 secs
15. Write in diary 15 secs

Be polite and move on 30 secs

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The perfect networker

You know him, he’s at every event, a brilliant conversationalist, give you the shirt off his back. He follows up, keeps his commitments and he’s always happy to make an introduction.
He drinks water at every event, not because it’s healthy, but to save money. He’ll spend hours on Twitter and other social media doing essentially nothing, but won’t spend £50 for a tool that will actually help his business. There’s always a hint of desperation hidden in his voice (or his blog posts) because his business really isn’t doing that well.
He’s drunk the networking & social media cocktail ‘Gottabeseenandloved’ and if you’re not careful, you might easily fall victim to it too.
Networking is fun. Furthermore, there’s rarely any rejection in networking. People can succeed at networking even if they’re not succeeding in their business. And if you’re any good at it at all, occasionally it will work and actually generate you some business. “See? Networking works!” That becomes a validation of whatever you’ve been doing. It doesn’t matter that if you did things a little differently, you could have had ten times the results with the same amount of effort – what you’re doing “works”.
It’s an addiction. And it’s an insidious one at that if it ends up controlling your life.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Eat Spiders or Make that follow up call?

If you were asked to make cold calls as part of your job I’d guess you’d rather eat a box of spiders!. I know I would.
But how do you feel if you have to follow up having met someone at a business event. Many people feel the same -’Give me that box’.
The situation is so different as you are following up someone you have met. If you have spotted a potential opportunity to do some potential business ask permission to call to arrange a meeting. When the time comes remember
• They are expecting your call
• They agreed to take your call
• You believe you have a service or product which will add value to their business
• You’re simply continuing the conversation you had a few days previously
• What is the worst that’s going to happen?

Consider this
Where are you now? Sitting in front of the phone

What do you want to do?
Call a prospect to help (not sell) with your service or product
What is the worst thing he can say?
“No thanks ”
What is the worst thing that he can do?
Put the phone down
Then where will you be?
Sitting in front of the phone

So what are you waiting for?

We fear the call simply because of rejection. Always remember this; they are not rejecting you, just the offer of your help.