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Business Networking Advice

Expert advice on Business Networking and tips on developing your networking skills.

Updated: 2010-02-17T20:01:13.787-08:00


Dave Scott Founder and CEO of Marketfish Inc.


(image) Dave Scott is the CEO and Founder of Marketfish, creator of innovative list marketing technology. Prior to founding this technology start-up, Dave served as vice president of global marketing and strategy at Intermec, Inc. (NYSE:IN), where he was named “CMO of the Year” in 2006. Scott also served as the vice president of marketing and strategy for the global services division of PeopleSoft, Inc., which was acquired by Oracle.

Josh Hinds: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it's important?

Dave Scott: To me, business networking is another way to say “word of mouth” marketing. It’s a way to promote your services or what you do to others within your network, or circle of acquaintances. It’s the oldest form of marketing and the most reliable. First of all, the return on investment (ROI) is great because all it costs is your time. Second, no one can sell the value of the business better than you.

Josh Hinds: Can you give a few ideas that someone could put into practice which would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Dave Scott: Get out there and mingle. Every event you attend, from a networking event to a happy hour, has the opportunity to bring you business. I’ve found leads in the weirdest of places – alumni events, Cub Scout dinners, even the gym.

Josh Hinds: Based on your experiences, which places and activities have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your professional network (either online or offline)?

Dave Scott: The most important thing to realize is that, even if you don’t yet have the budget for a huge annual convention or trade show, there are still many great networking opportunities. Your local networking opportunities provide a perfect opportunity for finding clients and business partners right in your area.

In Seattle, we have a Seattle Direct Marketing Association. This is a perfect place to get in touch with my target customer without having to weather a huge annual convention or trade show. Online opportunities provide equally great networking opportunities for businesses of all stripes. LinkedIn has many professional groups who have interesting discussions about your industry, as do Facebook and Yahoo Groups. Just dive in!

Josh Hinds: Can you share a personal networking success story with us?

Dave Scott: I belong in Rotary, the ultimate in business networking locations. At a meeting I sat next to a friendly gentlemen and started chatting about traveling, the weather, and service above self. When I explained that I wanted to start a company – Marketfish – he revealed that he was an angel investor and startup lawyer. It’s been a beautiful marriage ever since.

- Yours in networking success, Josh Hinds
(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)

*brought to you by

Kevin Kelly - Motivational Speaker and Entrepreneurial Authority


(image) Kevin Kelly is an Internationally Acclaimed Motivational Speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, sales, creativity and personal excellence. Over the past two decades, he has keynoted at events around the world including the Middle East, Far East, Europe and the US. You can visit him at

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it's important?

Kevin Kelly: From my perspective effective networking is an organic phenomenen and happens at an energetic level.

Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone can put into practice which would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Kevin Kelly: Believe it or not I am not an advocate of just knocking on more doors - I
believe the most effective networking strategy is to work on yourself.

Stanford Business School Advisory Committee asserts that self awareness is the key attribute that leaders should develop - I believe self awareness is the key to attracting an effective network into your life.

The more you develop yourself, the more you begin to attract the right type of people into your network.

Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share an example or two of how it has made a difference?

Kevin Kelly: Network members arrive in various guises - sometimes as students! At the start of this decade I was approached by a person who wanted to write a book.

After an energetic exchange he asked me what he could do for me. I declined his offer initially highlighting that I was happy to help. He persisted - I accepted his help.

It transpires that Michael was one of the top website designers around having worked on developing the site for one of the first banks and magazines online. He brought my site from absolute obscurity to the top of the rankings for some keywords... at zero cost!

Beware the student may be the teacher!

- Yours in networking success, Josh Hinds
(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)

*brought to you by

David Paget - Founder and CEO of


David Paget is the owner of a free sales and marketing advice site online and has been in sales and marketing since leaving school. He is a regular networker at road events and a formidabble networker online. Visit his website at

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

David Paget: Business Networking is something that many businesses do (online and offline) without even realising it. Networking in a simple sentence is communicating your message to other businesses but also communicating their message to others 2. Building trust, loyalty and great relationships together.

Networking is a great way of generating awareness and sales for any business when it is carried out correctly.

Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice which would help them to improve their business networking skills?

David Paget: I would suggest sitting down and writing a list of the best benefits of using their service/product and trying to put this into a small 60 second pitch that delivers quickly and precisely. Something that adds a little humour may also help break the 60 seconds down nicely.

Josh: Can you share a personal networking success story with us?

David Paget: Yes, I am a member at the largest business forum in the UK and had a wealth of information and potential customers at my fingertips. It took me a while to build a good reputation on the forum and meant that I spent time considering my posts before posting. Within 2 weeks of setting up my business I had a diary that was booked 6 months in advance just from that forum.

I believed at the time that the forum that I belong to covered too many generic areas in business so I went about setting up a free sales and marketing site that has really taken off in the short 12 months that it has been live with over 3600 members.

A great success story but networking takes time and persistance before it starts to really take off you cant just jump in there with cheap nike prices and expect a load of business to come from it.

- Happy Networking, Josh Hinds
(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)

*brought to you by

Monique Terrell - Entrepreneur


Monique Terrell runs Sparkle Internet Image Solutions. Her company provides virtual marketing services to both national and international organizations.

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Monique Terrell: Business networking is about meeting others to create and sustain business relationships. It's important for business-owners to be known within their community and it helps to create and strengthen conversations and knowledge about you and your business.

Josh: Can you share an idea or two that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Monique Terrell: Idea: Just Do It! Start with attending 3 groups - one within your industry, one within your target market and one general networking/socialize group.

Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share an example of how it has made a difference?

Monique Terrell: Networking has played in important role in my professional successes. As a business owner, networking both online and offline has been the key ingredient to my business success in obtaining clients.

- Happy Networking, Josh Hinds
(Connect with me on Facebook)

*Josh Hinds is available for keynotes, breakouts and personal development trainings. Visit for speaker information.

Janet Hilts - Performance Coach


Janet Hilts is a performance coach and stress-free speaking specialist, helping reluctant professionals confidently bring their gifts and passions to the world. She helps coaches, consultants, mentors and other professionals to open up their communication so their businesses can expand in new directions. You can contact her through her web site at How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Janet Hilts: Ultimately, exchanging resources is what networking is all about. Those resources come in all shapes and sizes – support, information, products, services. Somewhere in the mix, the goal is to have part of that exchange be someone’s eventual purchase of your services or products. Networking is making solid enough connections with people to the extent that you trust each other’s recommendations. And that doesn’t happen in 90 seconds. That takes familiarity, and usually a little time or repeated contact with someone – in person or online. It’s really important because people buy from people they trust or from people trusted by someone they know. That word-of-mouth marketing is the best! The more interconnected we are, the more channels we have -- for finding exactly what we need for our own businesses and for getting the word out about what we do.Josh: Can you share one idea that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Janet Hilts: One tip for networking events is to act as if you’re hosting these people in your own living room at a party. Do the things you would do there: Keep circulating. Approach people who are standing alone and ask them about themselves to get them to open up. Introduce people to each other. Keep your focus on making other people comfortable. Be sure to spend a little time with people you’ve met before – to continue building those relationships. This keeps your authentic self shining through and that’s who people really connect with.Josh: Please share a bit about the work you do, and in particular how one could go about overcoming the fear sometimes associated with stretching beyond their comfort zone and meeting and connecting with others in a professional networking setting. Could you describe how that might work?Janet Hilts: With a combination of performance coaching and some cutting-edge body-mind techniques, I help people disconnect the actual cause of the fear from their networking behavior. This frees them up to be very relaxed in those settings, easily talking about whatever they want to – as easily as they would at their own kitchen table. First we do some detective work to uncover the inner links to the nervousness. And then we use some mind-body work to unhook those connections so that the experiences or beliefs that produced the fear no longer effect their networking today. And it’s permanent. Now they’re free to just be who they really are in whatever setting they’re in – and feel confident and relaxed about it. Josh: Could you share a personal networking success story with us?Janet Hilts: My story shows the benefit of networking with people in your own field – the ones some people might call competitors. I network with fellow coaches on Twitter, Facebook and discussion boards on BlogTalkRadio. I’m also quick to respond to comments on my blog, which is another form of networking. A woman asked a question on a forum – not even looking for a coach. On that forum, another coach (who knew me through social media) recommended a blog post of mine she’d seen on Twitter. As a result, the woman read my post, looked around my website, and called me to book a coaching appointment. You never know through what roundabout channels your networking will serve you! - Happy Networking, Josh Hinds :-)(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)*brought to you by[...]

Kathy Nelson - Business Success Coach


Kathy Nelson is a seasoned certified Life and Business Success Coach. She challenges her clients to follow their vision, create their plans, use their talents, recognize their strengths and break through their limits. You can visit her and learn more about what she does at either or How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Kathy Nelson: Creating relationships and growing and contributing to community within associations and groups online or in-person. This can run the gambit from interest groups to business groups and philanthropic groups. Josh: Can you share an idea or two that someone could put into practice which would help them to improve their business networking skills?Kathy Nelson: 1. Help others get what they need and want. At BNI we have a saying, "Givers gain". I find that is true.2. Get really good with your 30 or 60 second elevator speech or commercial. Make it about your benefits to others, not a brag op for you. The word *you* is more important than the word *I*. Practice it until it is natural.3. Get comfortable about talking about the value and benefits of your services and share stories of how it has served others. Before and after stories paint the story too. 4. When you meet someone at a meeting that is interesting, follow up with an invite for coffee and make the date. You will build your network one great person at a time. Find the common threads to create rapport.Josh: Based on your experiences, which places and activities have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your business network?Kathy Nelson: I have found success with BNI, local Network groups, NAFE, NAWBO, Chamber of Commerce, Business Association meetings, Rotary, Kiwanis, PTA and Soccer groups, anywhere where people come together for causes and interests. What are your interests? Where does your target market hang out? There are many great groups you can join and get involved with. Check out their forums too. If you are friendly, interested in meeting and talking with others you will strike up a natural conversation. Wear a T Shirt or Hat with your company logo on it or something that says what you do. I used to wear a badge and people would ask me about the real estate market and start conversations with me in grocery and drug store lines. I was not a Realtor, but I got some leads for some of my clients who were. Online social communities work well too. I have become active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and grown good relationships in the last 9 months.Josh: Can you share a personal networking success story with us? Kathy Nelson: I joined a local BNI network close to my office over ten years ago. Not only do I coach a lot of our members, but I regularly receive referrals from them. I believe these groups accounts for a good 40% of my business income and I have great resources available to support my clients needs as well.- Happy Networking, Josh Hinds(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)*brought to you by[...]

David Hassell - Entrepreneur


David Hassell is President of the San Francisco chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), an International network of entrepreneurs who each have businesses with annual revenues in excess of $1mil. He is presently engaged in launching a new software startup that provides organizations with better visibility into their operations. He is also a co-founder of Kite Adventures, offering guided downwind adventure tours and pro-coached kiteboarding camps in northeast Brazil. Furthermore he is also the co-founder of Endai Worldwide, a NYC-based Internet marketing and services firm founded in 1999, and served as the company's CTO through 2006. Endai has been recognized on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America.Josh: David, how do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?David Hassell: You can easily infer the importance of a business network by comparing someone with a weak network to someone with a more powerful one. While people have the same amount of time and roughly the same amount of energy, all other factors being equal, the person with the more powerful network will consistently outperform the other in business. Ultimately the person with the more powerful network has the opportunity to improve their quality of life. It does so by giving them the capacity to produce equal outcomes with much less time and energy that they can now choose to use elsewhere.The way I define business networking is somewhat different from how I commonly hear it described. A metaphor I often use compares a powerful network to a very large bank account. Both a large bank account and a powerful network give you the ability to access what you need, when you need it, while paying you passive dividends all the while. Just as having a large bank account allows you to get whatever products and services you want or need when you choose, your network represents your capacity to access the advice, knowledge, expertise or connections you need in any given situation. You can think of the dividends your network pays as unsolicited opportunities that naturally flow your way as a result of that balance.Similar to the time and energy it takes to earn, save and invest to produce a large bank account, it takes time, energy and investment to create a powerful network, more so than most people realize. Just as you can't spend money before you have it (at least not without going into debt), you also can't call upon your network for any meaningful help until after you have invested in building it, so you'd better start building it now.One pitfall I often see ambitious networkers fall into, is confusing the practice of accumulating a large stack of business cards or hundreds of LinkedIn connections with the way a strong network is really created. The measure of a powerful a network is not so much the number of people you've met or know, but the quality of the help you can get when you need it, and how many real opportunities present themselves to you naturally as a result of having invested in that network.That brings me to my next point. Building a network is about investing in the success of the people around you by providing help, and producing trusted relationships in the process. I once heard LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman give a talk to a group of member-leaders of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) where he said that the phrase "It's not what you know, but who you know" was trite and incomplete, and missing a some key elements. He said that instead it should really be "It's not just what you know, but who you know that trusts you." I think that Reid was spot on. If you don't have you anything to offer, you can't give powerful help to people who may be able to reciprocate in the future. And, if someone doesn't already know and trust you, why would they be willing to stake their reputation on introducing you to an important connection, [...]

Tim Bursch interview - social entrepreneur and marketer


Tim Bursch is passionate about integrating business and social change. He is a social entrepreneur with interests in: recruiting and marketing but mostly connecting. Visit him at

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Tim Bursch: Business Networking for me is all about relationships and creating connections. When I meet someone new I am thinking about how I can help them and who I can introduce them to. Connecting the dots. Networking is not about keeping track of favors or how many cards you can get. It is about sharing and helping each other for the long-term.

Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Tim Bursch: Josh, I get most of my ideas from the masters like Sanders, Ferrazzi, and Carnegie.

What works for me?

-Ask good Questions. When I make a new connection, I don't just ask "What do you do?". I usually ask a couple questions like: What gets you most excited right now? What is your biggest challenge? When you really listen to the answers to these questions, you learn a lot and you can go deeper.

-Give away something. When you check in with business connections leave them with something relevant. If you paid attention to their motivations and problems, share an article that might help. Connect them with someone or something that will just bring the greater good. It's worth it and it's personally satisfying to give away.

Josh: For some people knowing where to go to network in the first place is a problem. Can you share some specific resources, events, or places that you have found helpful for meeting new people and growing your business network (either online or offline)?

Tim Bursch: Lately, I have found Twitter to be a great place to start conversations with people. After you tweet with someone and see a purpose in conversing some more, ask them to meet for coffee. It could be as simple as building each other's network, but be clear about why you want to meet. I have found meet-ups and groups through Linkedin that have offline meetings. These online tools allow you to find groups in your niche and then you just show up.

Josh: Can you share a personal "networking" success story with us?

Tim Bursch: I often meet other parents through my kid's sports. People usually talk about what they do, right? Well, I've just built the kind of relationships I'm talking about in these situations too - by listening and connecting.

Last spring I met a parent who had some job challenges, I listened and just threw him some connections. A year goes by and this spring the same parent now referred an unexpected but valuable client to me. It's cool when seeds from genuinely caring about others grow into valuable connections.

- Happy Networking, Josh Hinds :-)
(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)

*brought to you by

Networking Skills and Advice: From Facebook to Phonebook By Waldo Waldman


The following is excellent food for thought when it comes to effective business networking. I'm pleased to share the following ideas from speaker & trainer Waldo Waldman. From Facebook to Phonebook: How Wingmen Stay Connected...Like many of you, I recently joined the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn craze and it's been great. I've re-connected with old friends from high school, college, and my fighter pilot days, and I've also met some very interesting people. And yes – like you, I can easily spend a few hours a day on these sites checking out profiles and looking at cool videos and photos. Last week, I was driving home from a lunch meeting and was thinking of who I needed to re-connect with. David Greenberg (a personal friend and one of the best speaker coaches I know) came to mind. And I did something crazy. I didn't search for him on Facebook. Nor did I Tweet him a personal message. I didn't even send him an e-mail. I actually called him on the phone, and believe it or not, he answered! We connected, shared some cool business ideas, and I hung up feeling great. Yes, I know I'm being a bit facetious here. But I have to say that if there is one thing that drives this wingman ‘wingnuts' is when people abuse this whole social networking thing. In many ways, it's gone from "Here's what I'm doing" to "Here's what I'm selling." From "Let me connect you to" to "Let me sell you." Well, I've got news for you, ye social networking gurus. If I don't know you, I probably won't buy from you. The reason I said ‘probably' is because there are times when we will buy something from someone even if we don't know them. If it has value and can help our business/life, then hey, it's worth a look. And there's nothing wrong with occasionally sharing our great product, seminar, or book with our contacts. Social networking sites are a tremendous way to expose our market to our value. But please, let's not put our sales links and impersonal offers in EVERY POST we make on Twitter or Facebook! We need to be careful not to abuse the social networking sites and our connections. They are primarily for networking and making contacts, not direct sales. I believe our phone book should still remain our primary method for building and maintaining our relationships. One phone call equals 50 tweets and Facebook messages. Phone calls are great at building trust, and trust what a wingman is all about. So, here are some wingtips to augment your social networking efforts: 1. Make it a priority to call a few of your special contacts every day. Do this first thing in the morning if able. These include your top clients, vendors, and yes, your friends. 2. Use your phone judiciously. Before you head to the airport or Starbucks, make a list of a few wingmen to call while in your car or at the gate. 3. Give something of value to your contact on the phone (i.e. a referral.). Before you hang up, ask them this special question: "Is there anything I can help you with?" 4. ** If you really want to connect with a new e-contact, research their website and call them. I guarantee they will be impressed…and shocked. In this high speed age of Twitter and text messaging where words on a screen are the norm, we need to hear each other's voices. Voices incur emotion and emotion is what connects people. And when connections are made, trust is built and relationships develop. How people make you feel is what initially builds relationships, not the product they sell. So, if you want to be a Wingman - a trusted partner - to your network, don't forget to reference your Phonebook in addition to Facebook when flight planning your next mission. NEVER FLY SOLO!Your Wingman,Lt Col Rob "Waldo" Waldman_____________Lt Col Waldo Waldman, The Wingman, builds team unity within organizations as a high-energy leadership and inspirational speaker. A former com[...]

Howard Bienstock interview - Entrepreneur & Founder


Howard M. Bienstock is an Entrepreneur and the Founder OneDegreeConnected.comJosh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Howard Bienstock: Business networking should be the sharing of relationships for the betterment of all. This is done by meeting people both online and live and helping them connect directly to the decision makers who you know that they can provide value to, and that they want to meet.This is important because you not only quicken your sales cycle you deepen your relationship with both the person asking for the introduction and the person you are introducing them to... It's actively facilitating a mutually beneficial connection between currently 'unconnected' individuals.Josh: Can you share an idea or two that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Howard Bienstock: Practice. Practice. Practice. Did I say Practice? You don't get better at anything unless you practice, and networking is no exception. You need to get good at asking people how you can help them, and in letting them know how they can help you.Be exact. Don't say; I'm looking for anybody. Instead say; I would like to meet the CFO of XYZ company. People cannot connect you to ‘anybody’, but they can connect you to a specific person or company. Try it, it works every time. The more you network and the more specific you are both in what you have to offer, and then in what you need (in that order), the more successful you will become in all networking efforts.Josh: Do you see any common mistakes that people tend to make when it comes to attempting to make business connections? If so, what are they and what corrections could they make in your opinion which would help them to be more effective in their approach towards networking?Howard Bienstock: One of the most common mistake I see is when people go to a networking event (either live or online), and don't have a specific target or channel that they want to meet. If you are not specific I can't help you. The next "big" networking mistake is pushing information overload on everyone you meet. Initial conversations should be about showing that you genuinely CARE about the other person and their needs.Most initial conversations are a one-sided sales pitch... wrong move!Make it a habit to, when you first meet someone, ask them what they do and what they are looking for and how you can help them. Once people begin to feel that you are genuine in wanted to help them, most will reciprocate without being prompted.Josh: Can you give us a brief overview of OneDegreeConnected? What makes it unique, and can you share some specific examples where others have benefited from being plugged into what you all are doing there?Howard Bienstock: What is One Degree Connected (ODC)? is a confidential, permission-based, direct relationship-management website designed by business professionals.It's geared to provide professional networkers, sales and marketing experts, executives, and business owners with a state-of-the-art alternative vehicle to shorten their sales cycle while improving the level of contact through meaningful relationship management and effective business development. We don't share contact information.Our proprietary system helps to facilitate personal, credible introductions to decision-makers outside of someone’s current contact base "from" existing contacts with whom they (decision makers) already share a respected relationship!Josh: How is ODC Different from other social networking tools?Howard Bienstock: ODC is an online tool designed by professional business people to serve the needs of professional business people. It is not a social networking site, but it provides a means for subscribers to effectively ‘leverage’ their social net[...]

Bill Tamminga interview - Founder of Tamminga Marketing and Consulting


Bill Tamminga is the founder of Tamminga Marketing and Consulting. Bill also recently started an online social networking group for service business owners. The community features dozens of free marketing tutorials along with the opportunity to share your expertise and meet other business owners. He received his MBA from the University of Colorado and lives on the outskirts of Denver.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Bill Tamminga: I define business networking as any activity where there is 1:1 communication going on between two professionals.I work primarily with service business owners and I know how critical networking is - especially as you get into higher-ticket services like law, consulting, and medicine. Generally, the more you charge for your service and the more competition you have the more you will rely on networking to build your business. Face to face interaction helps people understand that there is a person behind the company. When it's done right, it brings our natural defenses down and allows a relationship to begin outside the confines of financial expectations.Josh: One of the catch 22's in a typical professional networking environment is that people don't want to focus only on themselves and what they do, but at the same time, they do want to communicate what they do to the other person. With that being the case, how can someone go about getting across what they do in the most effective manner?Bill Tamminga: You've touched on a basic problem with networking today. Networking is often viewed as a short-term strategy or one-time event when the reality is that it's a long-term strategy.If you join a group that meets monthly, but you only show up once or twice a year you'll probably feel pressure to tell people about what you do. But the year progresses and regular attendees start to build strong bonds with each other, the short-timers are forgotten, regardless of what they do or what they said at the events they went to.If you are going to really network effectively, it begins with a conversation about the other people in the room. Ask good questions about their family? What do they do outside of work for fun? Where do they live? Where else do they network? Where did they grow up? Those are the questions that help you get to know someone and build relationships and I've found that the people who spend time asking those questions get the most out of networking events.Josh: In your opinion, what would be the ideal design for a business card, from the point of effective networking. That is, what are the absolute most important elements one needs on their business card?Bill Tamminga: The essentials of a business card are your name, title or occupation, company name, phone number, email address, and website/webpage. Beyond that it's nice to have a physical address, social network (if you've started one), and your social networking pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.The point of the business card is to make it easy for a prospect to learn more about you and continue a conversation at their convenience. One of the reasons why I don't talk a lot about myself and my business at networking events is because it creates a certain amount of mystery for prospects. I'll give them my card and expect that they'll do their own research to find out more about what I do. I make sure to leave plenty of ways for them to do that on my card. Some people can go crazy with their cards. I choose to keep it really simple.Josh: Based on your experiences, which places and activities have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your business network?Bill Tamminga: My strongest networking events are the ones at which everyone has a common bond beyond being entrepreneurs or business owners. Events like non[...]

Lynn Pierce interview - Speaker and Author


Lynn Pierce, the Success Architect, has taught people how to combine business and personal development to reach the pinnacle of success and live the life of their dreams for over 25 years. In addition, she is also the founder of one of the most exciting annual events for women entrepreneurs, "Women's Business Empowerment Summit".She shares her keys to success and life mastery in "Breakthrough to Success; 19 Keys to Mastering Every Area of Your Life" and on her blog at How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Lynn Pierce: Business networking to me is building rapport first and then building a relationship based on how you can support someone else before you ever consider asking them to do anything for you.Relationships are what life is all about and your business is an extension of who you are. The way you network is just your way of showing you care about other people. Nothing is more important than that.It's not about how many business cards you can hand out or how great of an elevator speech you've created to tell people what you do.Josh: Can you share a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Lynn Pierce: The first rule is to be sincerely interested in the people you meet, really want to get to know them.It's important to bond with the person you are meeting and really connect with them personally, not just as a representation of their business. This is accomplished the same way in business as in becoming friends socially.Find areas of commonality by asking questions in a conversation that show you are sincerely interested in who the other person is. Forget about the business end of it at this point. If you develop a real relationship, the business side of it will come easily.I know I'm very shy in situations where I don't know people and lots of other people are nervous about standing alone and not knowing how to start a conversation. They would really appreciate you walking up to them and helping them to feel more comfortable by asking them about something they will enjoy talking about. It only takes 1 or 2 questions to find that commonality.In the 25 year career I had in sales the way I always found myself at the top year after year was because I was able to build relationships instantly.It's a learned skill of being sincerely interested in people and how you can help them. It's also learning how to ask the questions that will engage the other person in a real conversation, not one that sounds like a sales pitch.You also network through the first impression you create, it's another point of bonding.In person, the first impression you create is with your body language and the way you dress, before you say a word. Online or in print your photo does the talking for you before someone reads or listens to a word you say.Always use your photo where you can, not out of vanity but as a point of connection. People feel they know you when they can see you.Josh: Can you share some of the ways you use the internet for business networking?Lynn Pierce: On my blog, in my ezine, on Facebook and Twitter when I interact with someone, I treat it as a conversation and approach that conversation the same way I would in person.People need to connect with the real person, not just the expert or business owner. People don't connect with businesses, they connect with people. They also don't choose to do business with you unless they feel that connection.I learned in the first year of writing articles for my ezine that some of the things people remembered the longest were stories about my life. That's because those are the points of personal connection that allow people to feel like you have thin[...]

Liz Lynch interview - Networking Strategist and Author


Liz Lynch is the author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online and a sought-after speaker who brings a practical and insightful perspective to networking that has connected with a global audience. She’s appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USAToday as well as on Fox Business News, ABC News, and is also founder of the Center for Networking Excellence, a company that develops products, programs and seminars to help entrepreneurs and professionals get clients, build their businesses, and accelerate their careers through networking. Her bottom-line approach grew from her experience in corporate America working at some of the top firms in their industries -- Goldman Sachs, Disney, Booz Allen & Hamilton, and Time Warner.Josh: Liz, how do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it's important?Liz Lynch: To me, a network is a support system that you can turn to for advice, ideas, information and feedback. So networking then is simply the process of building and maintaining that support system.The main reason you’d want a support system in your life is to give you maximum flexibility to pursue the goals that you want to pursue and have a high probability of achieving them. Want to change jobs, start your own business, or do something completely different with your life?As independent-minded as you may be, if a goal is big enough, you can’t get there alone. You’re going to need the help of other people and your network is a valuable source of that help.Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Liz Lynch: I think mindset is the most important thing for successful networking. Tactics and technique without the right intentions will leave you spinning your wheels and potentially alienate a lot of people. Once you develop an intuitive sense for building relationships, you can get almost anything done. So here are a couple of tips for getting there:First, think about being a connector rather than a collector. When you meet new people it’s not about getting their business card, but about making a personal connection on which to form an authentic and supportive relationship. This means you need to have a conversation and get to know them. Let that be your goal rather than just collecting another business card.Second, if you want to get someone’s attention you have to take the attention off of yourself. For instance, here’s an example of a Facebook friend invitation I received the other day:My web site is [url removed to protect the guilty]. Subscribe to my newsletter. It’s free. I CAN HELP YOU! Check out my book on The book is for males AND FEMALES. I will be posting content for you soon."Hmm, how’s that supposed to entice me to want to network? That message tells me that he’s only out to help himself and doesn’t care about me at all. Not a great way to start off a relationship. Needless to say, I didn’t accept the invite. Whether you’re networking in person or online, it’s important to put your agenda aside. Think about what’s going to pull someone into your network, rather than what you can push at them.Josh: I get the question a lot from people who say, "those ideas all sound great, but they wouldn't work for me because I'm an introvert." What advice can you give folks who just aren't comfortable getting out there and connecting with others?Liz Lynch: I’m an introvert too! One of the reasons I wanted to write this book is to let people know that you don’t need to be the life of the party to be successful with networking. You don’t even need to do it all the time, as long as you know how to[...]

Mike McAllen interview - co-founder of Grass Shack Events & Media


Mike McAllen is one of the cofounders of Grass Shack Events & Media worldwide boutique production company based in the San Francisco Bay Area with offices in Honolulu and New York City.Mike spent several years running the production department of the largest corporate production company in California before starting Grass Shack Events & Media.Grass Shack concentrates on communicating clients messages through corporate events & meetings, videos, and new media. Grass Shack has been involved with Social Media initiatives for several clients via podcasting, setting up blogs and other technology based communication tools to further the communications of their clients.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Mike McAllen: The landscape of interactions has changed dramatically in the last few years. With the addition of technology based sites for networking it has only enhanced the face to face meet up opportunities for all businesses.I feel business networking is the foundation of good sales and marketing. Most all sales are relationship driven so always expanding your network is essential.Josh: Can you share an idea or two that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Mike McAllen: I think picking an online business network and a face to face network and concentrating on getting the most out of them is the best practice. For example join LinkedIn and a couple of industry groups in Linkedin and really get involved. Same with a face to face group such as the American Marketing Association or what ever industry association that correlate to your business. And get involved! Volunteer to help.Josh: What is your favorite (preferred) business or social networking site? In your opinion what are the key features which are most valuable to you? What makes the resources you use most appealing to you, as opposed to the other online networking resources and sites that are available?Mike McAllen: I built a blog/podcast called which targets my companies industry this past year and have been joined by two industry friends. This site has been a great way for me to get involved with my community. We as a team have weekly roundtable podcasts and also weekly interviews with industry folks.We also branch off and use Linkedin, Facebook, and twitter to enhance and find like minded people in our space. The Key features are to build relationships and help others in our business and to make friends. The most appealing thing about the networking sites we use is we are comfortable with them and they are the most popular sites.I get a constant stream of new networking sites daily and you have to draw the line somewhere. But find the one or two you enjoy and stick to them.Josh: Do you see any common mistakes that people tend to make when it comes to attempting to make business connections? If so, what are they and what corrections could they make in your opinion which would help them to be more effective in their approach towards networking with others?Mike McAllen: I think going to a networking site and blurting out what your company does in every message you send or write has a negative effect and falls on deaf ears.I read somewhere that you should treat social networking sites like a cocktail party. Would you walk up to a group of people and blurt out what you do for a living? Or would you say hello, listen for a bit and then comment and join the conversation? This is how I try and network.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share an example of how it has made a difference?Mike McAllen: I have so many examples or finding a resource in some city I am[...]

Stuart Tan interview - NLP Trainer and Corporate Consultant


Stuart Tan is one of Singapore’s foremost NLP trainers and peak performance specialists. He is a highly sought-after motivational speaker and corporate consultant in training and development. You can reach him at www.StuartTan.comJosh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Stuart Tan: Business networking is about looking out for and acting in the interests of other people, while holding on tightly to the people who are looking out for you by building a deeper understanding of them and reciprocating.Our environment controls us to an extent that we are not aware of. You behave in constant reaction to your surroundings. So, it's essential for you to create an environment that is suitable for you.We are influenced heavily by the people around us. More importantly, their ideas can become thought viruses. Do you want to hang out with people who have a negative outlook of life? Or would you rather hang out with high achievers?Since people affect us, we might as well find people who affect us in a powerful way.Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Stuart Tan: The first thing is to never network more than you can respond. It's literally a sin. By building deep and intimate understanding with a few people, it helps you create a high quality in the relationship. I've seen people spend 10 seconds with people and make their business decisions just based on that. I mean, what kind of a moron does that?A lot of people take business networking like some kind of commodity to be traded. If we simply started to treat people as people, be sensitive to their needs and empathize with them, it would be easier to find that networking isn't as mercenary as some people put it out to be.Josh: We hear a lot about the importance of creating value for the people who we want to develop strong networking connections with. Can you share some ways people can go about creating value in the eyes of those they want to cultivate stronger working relationships with?Stuart Tan: That's a simple question. By paying attention to what they have ahead of them, and helping to make the way easier for them.Don't just say you'll support them, surprise them with action. If someone wanted to launch a product, do a pre-launch to help them with the buzz. You can take initiative and still benefit from it by simply feeling good that you've done a good thing.Josh: Can you share some of the ways you use the internet for business networking?Stuart Tan: Twitter is a great platform to use. Social networks like Facebook and MySpace are also great. I usually seek out interesting people to interview, just like what you're doing, Josh. This not only helps me to learn a thing or two, it also gives me a bit of time to really connect with my interviewees.More importantly, I've learnt about the importance of conversations and what this does to us. It's no longer putting up a blog post, or a newsletter. It's about the "back and forth" interaction. We need that. As humans, I think we crave that.Once I get to know people, I don't jump in and ask for a business contact. Okay, that may be stupid to some people, but I really need to know enough about someone to actually do something with them. That way, I can anticipate what to expect.Josh: Can you share a personal "networking" success story with us?Stuart Tan: I have a few funny stories to tell about people I networked with in the men's room. Won't mention names, but as a newbie, it was great to have a captive expert in the urinal next to me and I just had lots of questions answered.In 2006, I had the chance to meet Alex Mandossian bec[...]

Dan Schawbel interview - Personal Branding Expert


Dan Schawbel is a leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y. He is the author of "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success". Fast Company calls Dan a "personal branding force of nature."His Personal Branding Blog is consistently ranked in the top 100 marketing blogs in the world by AdAge, and has achieved syndication from Forbes, Reuters and Hoovers. Dan publishes Personal Branding Magazine, is the head judge for the Personal Brand Awards and directs Personal Branding TV. He is a social media specialist for EMC, as well as a speaker and adviser on branding.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Dan Schawbel: Networking shouldn't be limited to straight business. In general, I tell people to make their lives one big networking event. Having that mentality will get you really far because your family, friends, teachers, career advisers and coworkers are all part of your network already.You should focus on networking more outside of your company than within because there is no job security anymore. Business networking is forming relationships based on mutual interest and it's important because social equity weighs more than capital equity.Josh: Dan, can you please share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Dan Schawbel: I think participating in social media can help you become more proficient in writing, reading, presenting and, of course, marketing. When it comes to business networking, the key is to become a great communicator and to be likable. If you have both of those working for you and are extroverted, then all you need to do if find the right people.I would recommend networking with people who are more successful than yourself because they are the ones that can open up opportunities for you and make you smarter at the same time.The more you network, the easier it will become. There is a snowball event with networking, such that, when your network gets larger, it becomes easier to be introduced to new people.Josh: For some people knowing where to go to network in the first place is a problem. Can you share some specific resources, events, or places that you have found helpful for meeting new people and growing your business network?Dan Schawbel: I would use your friends referrals, your teachers and social networking sites such as upcoming and Facebook, in order to discover networking events that match your interests.Finding events that are related to your industry is extremely important because it's a whole lot easier to meet people you have something in common with. If you are a known entity, people will typically invite you to events, either as a speaker, panelist or as press.The more people you can meet online or in face-to-face situations, the easier it will be to find out where the next event is because they might already go to them.Josh: How do you follow up with the people you meet? Do you have any particular system in place for keeping up with and managing the relationships in your business network?Dan Schawbel: I think everyone in the world should have a business card, regardless of age or career stage. This includes college students, who don't work for companies.Aside from passing out your "creative" business card, you have 24 hours to send that person a message. It's typically better to beat them to the punch, when it comes to the follow-up because it shows you care and value the relationship.I use Microsoft Excel to manage relationships, but it gets harder as your network grows. I know there are online services that offer this service, such as LinkedIn and JibberJobber, bu[...]

Gina Bell interview - Co-founder of The Networking Masters


Gina Bell is President and co-Founder of The Networking Masters, creator of Joint Venture Mavens; co-author to "The Power of Mentorship for the Home Based Business" and "The Networking Masters to the Rescue" series of books as well as forthcoming author to "Soulful Networking".For years, Gina has been teaching entrepreneurs how to effectively leverage their networks and accelerate their success thru purposeful networking and relationship building strategies. She offers a free Networking Success Kit available at How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Gina Bell: To me, business networking is really about being genuinely attentive to the needs of others, being in service to others, helping others achieve their goals and cultivating a network of equally relevant, responsive, caring and loyal individuals (without expecting anything in return).I love being a connector and helping people... it feels good and it’s the right thing to do. Even though I’m shy by nature, the very essence of this intention allows me to leverage (true) networking in a very powerful way.This definition of networking is very important because networking is a concept that is largely misunderstood to the detriment of entrepreneurs and small business owners everywhere! A vast majority confuse networking with selling, prospecting and brokering ~ never having experienced true networking at all. After sabotaging themselves with a misinformed definition they walk away believing that networking doesn’t work... it’s sad and unnecessary.When we give to others or do things to help others in some way it helps to build trust... and trust is a critical component of profitable relationships (in business and life).Think of it this way... Your Network Is Your Net Worth. I teach my clients how to build and evaluate their networks the same way they would build and evaluate an investment portfolio per se but, rather than building and strengthening financial capital we focus on building and strengthening social capital thru the cultivation of a relevant, responsive, loyal and caring network or "tribe".The really cool thing about social capital is that it IS tied to your financial capital! The currency or benefits of building and strengthening your social capital comes in many forms (all of which are based on relationships with others)... referrals, information, advice, recommendations, joint ventures, strategic alliances, you get the picture... so while we’re not crunching numbers when we talk about building social capital, all of these results, can have a big financial impact.Tip: Shifting your focus in this direction during economic uncertainty is very, very smart and something that you CAN DO in spite of it! If your social capital is high, you can literally leverage your network to fill any gap that exists in your business!Looking at networking from a social capital point of view allows you to be very purposeful and strategic (not in a manipulative way) but a smart way... because you can build a network that becomes your insurance policy for success!Josh: Can you share a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Gina Bell: A common barrier to effective networking is a fear of talking to strangers... This is a common fear that stems from our childhood. Think of how often you heard "Never, never, never, talk to strangers!" from your parents, teachers, grandparents, etc... Many of us have carried this fear into our adult lives. As children, this belief served us well but as adults, it no longer s[...]

Mike Michalowicz interview - Entrepreneur and Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur


Mike Michalowicz was 24 when he started his first business. With limited resources and no experience, he systematically grew a multi-million dollar technology business. After selling his first company, Mike launched a new business the very next day, and in less than three years, sold it to a Fortune 500. With his newest venture, Obsidian Launch, he fosters startup businesses with his "get rich right" approach.Mike received Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards multiple times. He is a recurring guest on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), and in the New York Times, Smart CEO Magazine, and other publications. He is the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Mike Michalowicz: I define networking as I do communicating - give and take. The key to networking is to actively be out there trying to help other people succeed. The more I do to help other people's endeavors, then my value to others increases... and it brings me more opportunities. To do it successfully, I need to deliver my best on both paid and non-paid opportunities. The return value of introducing two people to do business together is just as great as getting an opportunity for myself.The second part of networking is persistence. I can't be there once, I need to be there "always." So I join a select few organizations, but I make sure I am there all the time.Josh: Can you share a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Mike Michalowicz: There is a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk. The biggest improvement anyone can make in networking, is simply asking someone else what they do... and listen.Let the questions flow, and you will build a good rapport. I often try to discover a new skill or lesson or cool story every time I meet someone else, it makes the listening very fun.A second tip is to dress consistent with your business. At a traditional networking meeting, everyone is in a suit. But if you are a landscaper, jeans and a sweat shirt are way more fitting. Here is the deal, this is not a license to dress like a slob... you need to be neat, clean and put together. But your outfit should be true to your business, you will stand out from the crowd.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share a few examples where it has made a difference?Mike Michalowicz: Networking is everything. Because of it, I built and sold a company within 2.5 years to a Fortune 500. I met my partner for that business through networking, and we were introduced to the buyer through networking. Also, for my companies, I hire over half my colleagues that I met through networking.Josh: You're the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur -- can you share a few specific ideas from the book?Mike Michalowicz: The golden lesson in the book is that entrepreneurial success, as the media presents it, is not typical. There is a far more common path, and it results in tremendous success if navigated properly. That path is the one of the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (TPE).In short, most entrepreneurs will not have an opportunity to start with a full roll of cash, or a strong business network, or any experience for that matter. The funny thing is this common starting point is VERY navigatable. And with the right balance of beliefs, focus and persistence, you can grow a wildly successful company that brings both wealth and happiness to you. I have built thre[...]

Ronn Torossian interview - CEO of 5W Public Relations


Ronn Torossian is the President & CEO of New York City based 5W Public Relations. Since founding the firm, he has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Los Angeles market, and provided advice and counsel to hundreds of companies, global interests, high-profile individuals, regional businesses, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues.Torossian was named to Advertising Age's 2006 "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's 2007 "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at Universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.It's my distinct pleasure to bring you Ronn Torossian...Josh: Ronn, how do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Ronn Torossian: Business networking for me is about meeting people in a variety of industries, with the ultimate goal of increasing the sheer number of people you know. For entrepreneurs, or any professionally successful person, it's important to continually build a network - the people you meet and know and interact with.Networking is vital for increasing sales, visibility and market knowledge. I believe that if you put smart, successful people in a room together, they will figure out a way to make money.Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Ronn Torossian: Networking only works when it's done regularly, without the intent to "sell." Go with the purpose of meeting quality people, and giving contacts as well as getting contacts. Offer to introduce people to one another: it's one practice that often comes back to you many fold.At an event, focus on meeting a few people and leaving a lasting impression on them, rather than working the entire room. And always be sure to follow up.Josh: Based on your experiences, which places and activities (online or off-line) have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your business network?Ronn Torossian: The only online site where I have found networking to be effective is linkedin, and even then it's often minimal in terms of actually meeting people.I find breakfast and small private events to be the most useful. Breakfast events work because there's an actual start and a finish. People come with a target and an end in mind. In the evening, with the potential for drinking or flirting, it's more open-ended and harder to get people to focus.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share a few examples where it has made a difference?Ronn Torossian: Networking has allowed me to build 5WPR into an INC 500 company, and one of the 25 largest independent PR agencies in the US, without ever making a new business call or having a dedicated new business department. We have grown our business entirely through networking, referrals and helping our clients with introductions. Specifically, we host very high profile speakers in our office and invite our contacts to come meet one another.Once a month or more, we host 20 to 25 CEO's at a private lunch event, where we invite our clients to get to know one another. Events of this manner have made a tremendous difference in terms of our ability to network and meet more people.--Happy Networking! Josh Hinds :-)*brought to you by[...]

Eyal Danon interview - CEO of Ignite Advisory Group


Eyal Danon is CEO of Ignite Advisory Group, a customer advisory board consulting company. Ignite offers B2B companies an innovative way to connect with executive level customers through the creation of powerful customer advisory boards.Danon served as senior corporate executive for several publicly traded and privately held software companies, as well as a leadership development expert for the InterContinental Hotels Group. He holds an MBA from Boston University and completed the leadership and coaching program at Columbia Business School.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Eyal Danon: I define business networking as the "secret ingredient" that is responsible for the tremendous success of customer advisory boards. These boards are made up of groups of business leaders in a given industry.The company that is "sponsoring" these boards does not pay for these executives to attend customer board meetings. The customers are really there to expand their professional network, make valuable connections and hear how other members are dealing with the same challenges and opportunities.Josh: Can you share a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Eyal Danon: First and foremost, you need to provide real value to others. A customer advisory board is a classic example - all the members need to add real content and ideas in order for the board to be successful. One important lesson is to do your homework prior to the meeting.Recently I participated in an executive conference that had about 100 participants. I reviewed the list and narrowed it down to 10 potential customers for my business. Then I actively pursued them, and when I met them, I was able to intelligently talk to them about their business needs and how a customer advisory board can solve these needs.Out of the 10 prospective customers I was able to form a long term relationship with 7 of them - more than I initially hoped for!Josh: Upon meeting someone new, inevitably the question of "what do you do?" comes up. In your opinion what is the best way to go about communicating what one does, and how can they leave a positive impression when they explain what they do to others they've just met?Eyal Danon: In order to be effective at communicating what you do, you need to customize your message based on the person you are talking to. If I am talking to a business executive, it's fairly easy to explain what a customer advisory board is all about and what are the personal and corporate benefits of setting it up.The challenge arises when you talk to someone who is not familiar with marketing and customer participation programs. This person can be a valuable bridge between you and a prospective customer. What do you do in this situation? What I have found to be effective is to distill my message to a simple one or two liner.In my case, I simply say - "Ignite connects executive customers with your company". If the person then asks "how do you do that?" I reply "By setting up a customer advisory board, made up of customers that are in the same level". This usually gets the job done.Like I said before, you have to customize your message based on the background and knowledge of the person you are talking to.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share a few examples where it has made a difference?Eyal Danon: Networking has been my primary sales and marketing strategy. I do not advertise my services as in my line of busi[...]

Ted Wood Interview - Executive Consultant


Ted Wood is a Certified Professional Behavior Analyst. He regularly works as an Executive Consultant to top companies including Coldwell Banker, ERA National, Franklin Covey and Larry H. Miller Automotive Group. You can visit him at the Sales Development Center.Josh: How do you define Business Networking? And why do you feel it’s important?Ted Wood: Business Networking isn’t important, it is imperative! I have had my share of major clients as a business consultant. But, Josh I never got a single major client where I wasn’t referred in by someone they trusted.Even when you have relationships inside the company you are trying to sell, the most important person in the beginning stage of the relationship is your internal advocate. Hence you network to get into the company and you network to stay.If we define business networking as parlaying one relationship into another profitable relationship, networking’s value becomes clearer.Here is an example: Most of us have heard of the movie "Good Fellows." Because this was a mafia movie the money people wanted Robert DeNiro to play a key role in the movie. They knew he would sell tickets for them. Robert recommended that they cast his friend Joe Peschi for a particular part in the movie. Joe was presold by the big star Robert DeNiro. But, here’s the kicker. Joe not only got the part but convinced them to give his mother a part as well. With the big money they pay actors, you would have to call that Business Networking.Josh: Ted, can you share some examples of how business networking has helped you in your professional life.Ted Wood: Thank you Josh and first off you are helping me right now by allowing me to present myself to your friends and readers. You would have to call that business networking. One day a friend of mine asked me if I would go with him to a company he was trying to sell his Advertising Agency services to and bear my testimony of him to the Marketing Director. This I did gladly. My friend began to do business there and do it well. Every time I went to a show I chatted for a few minutes with this VIP Marketing Director I had referred my friend to. A year or two later I saw something I could do for this company and called my new friend, the Marketing Director. He introduced me to the Vice President who hired me as a consultant. They paid me from 5 to 6 thousand dollars a month for about 5 years to help them with their networking and networked me in by referral to several more clients who paid me that much or more.Josh: Can you share an idea that helps people improve their networking skills? Ted Wood: Yes, Josh the number one recommendation I would make is that they take a lesson from what you do on your websites and be willing to share. Always offer well thought out content in all your relationships. As a CPBA, Certified Professional Behavior Analyst, I can tell you that most people separate into one of two categories. Either they are task oriented to the point that it is difficult for them develop networking relationships with people. Or they are so people oriented in an unfocused way that the relationships they develop don’t get them the referrals they seek. In order to succeed we must Network with people who both care about us and recognize our competence.Let’s go back to Joe Peschi. There is a scene in Good Fellows where Joe’s character, goes to his mother’s house with two of his friends and his mother serves them some spaghetti. Now Joe’s real mother is no famous actress, but you would think she could pl[...]

Networking Tips - Introduce Your Customers to Each Other for Their Benefit By Josh Hinds


We hear the term "do business with those who do business with us" all the time. I think that's a statement worth considering. You see, as it relates to networking look at the commonly accepted definition of networking which states: networking is simply developing mutually beneficial relationships with others -- be they personally, professionally, or a combination of both.The idea makes sense if you really give it some thought...If you believe in one of your vendors or service providers enough to use them, doesn't it also make sense that you should naturally be on the lookout to help them grow their respective businesses by referring them to other folks you know (i.e. those in your network, even among your own clients and customers) as the opportunity to do so arises? Sure it does.Doesn't it also stand to reason that the vendors you use should want to make a point of doing the same for you? After all, doesn't your accountant, family physician, lawyer, or for that matter just about anyone you choose to honor by being their customer have a vested interest in your business also growing and becoming prosperous? I think so -- yet I'm constantly amazed by how many lost opportunities to do so go by the wayside because neither party has made a solid commitment to keeping the best interest in mind of the people they themselves do business with.Allow me to share an example which should further illustrate the importance of what we're talking about...Recently I was speaking to a friend who happens to run a local business in my area. He mentioned that he had a piece of commercial property, an office space that he was looking to rent.He mentioned that up to this point the advertisement he placed for it in the local newspaper had resulted in a big fat goose egg in the number of leads (for those unfamiliar with the term it means it had produced none, as in zero results).I really wasn't surprised that going that route hadn't yielded satisfactory results. However, I was surprised that he hadn't thought to tap his network (friends, colleagues, and associates he'd already forged some type of win, win relationship with) for help though.We came up with a solution based on an idea which I'd heard about that had been used effectively, which I believed would yield similar results for my friend.The solution we came up with was based on an example I'd heard about where a local attorney would always make a point of asking how he could help his clients (beyond the obvious things related to the service he offered).He would go as far as playing the part of match maker between his clients for their own genuine benefit. He made a point of matching the needs of his clients -- by tapping the products and services which his existing clients had to offer.While it is true that the intent in helping his clients was not for his direct benefit -- indirectly he was being rewarded by putting their needs first.Here are several examples of how putting his clients first yielded positive returns:1. he was viewed more favorably in the marketplace for having matched two of his clients together who needed what each had to offer, but likely wouldn't have connected on without the introduction from the clever attorney.2. by placing a focus on improving the revenue of his clients he in turn increases the likelihood that both clients will grow and prosper, and in turn be around longer so that they can remain as his clients.3. By becoming known as a person who helps his clients actually grow their businesses he de[...]

Henry Pellerin interview - sales training expert


Henry Pellerin is the co-author of the Strategic Selling Process and President of VantaEDGE(TM), inc. a company that specializes in developing custom sales training programs for companies and is also in the process of releasing a new program that provides training on demand and just in time training. Henry also offers a free report entitled: The Red Flag Report, which details the top 12 mistakes that lose sales.I'm pleased to bring you Henry Pellerin...Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it's important?Henry Pellerin: Business Networking is one of the first steps to building relationships.Unfortunately most people I see at business networking functions, and even online, are trying to skip over the first few steps of relationship building and go directly into trying to sell their product or service.So if we can agree that Business Networking is one of the first steps to building relationships, I would more specifically define it as meeting people to determine if there is a fit, common interest, or something that makes sense to go to the next step of the relationship building process.What is interesting is you pretty much approach prospects the same way. Meaning, we don't just go up to a random person and ask for an order... right?We first build some rapport, establish trust, then move onto uncovering needs, etc. before we even ask for an order. The other aspect I will mention about Business Networking is at the end it is not who you know, it is who knows you. Here is a great tip, when you leave a networking function ask yourself these two questions:1. Did I establish some quality (quantity is not the key) contacts?2. If they were asked who they met at the function, a. would they remember me? b. would they have reason to say something positive about me?If you can answer yes (honestly) to those questions, that should give you an indication you are on the right track.Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Henry Pellerin: I think first and foremost is to have the right attitude before attending. Having the right attitude is NOT:1. Focusing on how many business cards you can collect.2. How many "elevator" pitches you can give - fyi - most Business Networking functions are not held in an elevator.3. You get the point.The right attitude is planning to focus on how many quality conversations you can have? And focusing on the people you meet and not the person wearing your shoes. If you have the right attitude you will attract people, which is a lot more fun (and easier) than trying to chase people away. If you follow these simple rules, people will ask you what you do and want to learn more about your business. I guess it all boils down to focusing in on helping others. There is an old Zig Ziglar Quote, "if you help enough other people in life, you will be rewarded in return". That might not be the exact quote, but it was something like that.This is so true, I just like to leave off the last part, about being rewarded or getting what you want in return - that whole reciprocity concept. The reason I like to leave that last part off is so many people have that as an expectation and get upset if they help someone out and that person does not do anything for them. Which is not the point of the concept, too many people are trying to keep score. So I really think it is best to focus on the front part, focusing on how many p[...]

Gail Sussman Miller interview - networking expert and coach


Gail Sussman Miller is a marketing obstacle buster for women solopreneurs. She coaches women to move past obstacles and get in action by shifting their mindset and leveraging their strengths rather than improve their weaknesses. She teaches women to operate from inspired choice rather than from obligation in business and in life. Gail offers a free worksheet to enhance your networking. Get this tool to help you develop your 1-line, 3-line and longer "elevator speech" by focusing you on your WHO and WHAT at How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Gail Sussman Miller: For me business networking stems from simple human interaction for the sake of business. In a workshop I teach to small companies, associations and entrepreneurial groups, called How to Love Networking, I define networking as simply connecting with like-minded people for the greater good. It is critical in business to build relationships, build a network or community, and have support for your goals. Especially for the solopreneurs I work with, it is so important to have resources to help avoid isolation, make connections, brainstorm ideas, and get the joy of helping others. Being generous, genuinely compassionate, and helping others generates energy and creativity to fuel our own work and dreams.Josh: Can you share one idea that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Gail Sussman Miller: Whoa, just one? (smile) Let me share the nugget of a powerful reframing process I teach as a way to help those who don’t like networking. Typically there is discomfort that comes from not knowing how to start conversations, worrying that you are not interesting enough or good enough, the feeling that you are imposing or have to be pushy and extroverted to succeed. Sound familiar? Ok, BNA readers. Try this out. For a moment, focus on something you love to do, like buying a new book to read. You start shopping with a little research based on your desired outcomes from this book. Then you decide the best store to shop in, walk over to the right section, and cock your head to the side and start skimming titles. When a book catches your interest, you might skim the jacket and table of contents. All the while, you are filtering how this book makes you feel, how it fits your needs, and decide if you want to read more. Ultimately, you make some leap of faith that you are ready to make a purchase. This is a relatively simple, self-directed process that you’ve done many times with little or no fear, pressure or self-judgment.NOW I want you to see how you can network the way you shop for a book! At times, you have many reasons for networking; getting new clients, speaking opportunities, a new job. Just as with the book, decide what need you want to focus on. If you are looking for places to speak, for example, you’ll need to know who your target market is and what you do for them to fuel your topic. With that goal in mind, you choose the best networking environment in which to go "shopping" for speaking opportunities and people who can help you find them.Now, let’s use our book shopping metaphor. Imagine walking into a room of people and skimming their titles, literally labeled on their name tags. You say "Hello" and skim their table of contents by finding out what you have in common. As you talk, you learn the theme of their story. See [...]

Mari Smith interview - Relationship Marketing Expert


Mari Smith is a relationship marketing expert, trainer, and author of several e-books and e-courses.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Mari Smith: Businesspeople have been networking since the dawn of commerce. Business networking is quite simply the art of relationship-building. We reach out to connect with new people, seek commonalities to build rapport, and strive to nurture the relationship for mutual benefit.What we're seeing now is a huge upsurge in online social networking platforms. And, we must keep in mind these platforms are designed to be social, first and foremost. So, where we might attend an in-person business networking function and expect to come away with strategic business contacts, with social networks we need to focus on building relationships first, and engaging in business second.Both business networking and social networking are vital to the solo professional, small business owner, and entrepreneur. It all comes down to the saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know." And I like to add, "... more importantly, who knows you."Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Mari Smith: Sure. I believe it's important to have a strategy before beginning to build out your business community through networking. You need to be clear on what it is you have to offer, what problem your products and services are the solution to.Then, everywhere you go - whether online or offline - be yourself. Be genuine, seek to be interested vs. interesting as Stephen Covey says in his Seven Habits book. Look for ways to join an existing conversation and add value. Ask good questions. Read your friends' Facebook profiles. Follow them on Twitter. Get to know them. Reach out and connect and see how, just by being your authentic self, you can uplift people's spirits.Also, there's a fine line between our personal and professional worlds, especially for solo-entrepreneurs. The more transparent you're willing to be, the more people will want to get to know, like and trust you -- which is one of the cornerstones of a successful business. On this topic, I recommend the book, Radically Transparent by Andy Beal.Josh: Upon meeting someone new, inevitably the question of "what do you do?" comes up. What is the best way to go about communicating what one does, and how can they leave a positive impression when they explain what they do to others they've just met?Mari Smith: To effectively answer the "What do you do?" question, it's important to have a clearly defined "tag line" or "30-second elevator speech." You might want to work with a coach or colleague to help you fine-tune your soundbite.I recommend focusing on the result you help your clients create. E.g. instead of saying "I'm an Internet Marketing Consultant," you might say something like, "I help my clients implement online systems to increase their profits while freeing up more time."Studies show we make up our minds about people within the first 3-5 seconds of meeting them. This applies whether we're connecting face-to-face or looking at someone's website, blog, Facebook profile, or other online presence. So, you definitely want to keep a close eye on these areas to maintain a quality professional presence.Regarding leaving a positive impression, I typically look for ways to contribute to someone [...]