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Entrepreneur Success Starts with Step 1 – Respect

Part 1 of 5 in the RAISE Sales System blog post series for entrepreneur success.

Are you an entrepreneur who struggles with sales? If so, you’re not alone. Entrepreneur success requires strong sales skills and this struggle is a common problem that many business owners have. Entrepreneurs wear a lot of different hats and for most, selling isn’t their strongest skillset.

Respect the prospect - entrepreneur success
Entrepreneur success requires RESEPCT, step 1 in the RAISE sales system

One of the secrets to entrepreneur success is knowing how to ask for and close the sale. In this 5 part blog series, I’m going to share my signature sales system, RAISE.  I created this 5-step strategy RAISE from my 25+ years of experience across multiple industries and teach it in workshops and when doing sales coaching with clients. This is the sales process entrepreneurs and sales professionals use for dramatically increasing sales.

Download free ebook “17 Sales Hacks to Close More Sales”

RAISE is the word that is spelled out by the first letter of each of the steps in the system. This post is about the first step and each post in this series will reveal subsequent steps in the RAISE system.

The R in RAISE is for respect and I love starting with respect because this is where a relationship building begins. This is where developing the know, like and trust factors starts, so you can advance to asking for the sale.

Entrepreneur success secret #1 is Respect

You can’t close the sale if you’re no longer in the conversation. Respecting the prospect will keep you in the conversation longer than asking for the sale before they are ready to buy.

First of all, respecting where the customer actually is, and not where you wish they were in the buying process is vital to entrepreneurs success. It’s super essential to be aware of where your prospect is where their heads at what they care about where they are in the sales or buying process.

Two Ears and One Mouth for a Reason

One example is at a networking event or a party. You have connected with somebody and they did most of talking, while you do a lot of listening. At the end of the conversation, they say, “You’re a great conversationalist!” And you think to yourself, “I said so very little and you did all the talking!” There’s a reason people say we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason:-)

Why is it that the person who did the listening is a great conversationalist? Because human beings love to feel heard. When we show consideration for people and actively listen to them, they FEEL respected and valued. Plus, we find out what is important to them and that knowledge fuels our own entrepreneur success. All of this goodness also allows us to build the know, like and trust factors.

Success Story Using Respect to Sell

Now I’ll share with you an example of how amazing the Respect step is for entrepreneurs to succeed. In the late 80s, I sold construction equipment in Florida, working for the only companies in the country that had female sales. I was calling on construction sites throughout Southwest Florida and I wasn’t always welcomed. One general contractor was using the old-style, less cost effective and more dangerous scaffolding on a project that was a prime candidate for using a boomlift. He wasn’t interested in hearing about a new technology solution from a woman who he perceived didn’t know anything about construction.

How I Cracked the Tough Prospect

If I was going to have any shot at selling this customer a boomlift, I knew I needed to get creative. I realized I needed to respect where he was, no where I wanted him to be.

Since I knew he felt competent as a general contractor, I asked him about the project. He was happy to talk about it. After listening, I offered to deliver the boomlift the next day at no charge to him. If at the end of the day, he found the equipment effective, he could keep it and pay only for the rental for the rest of the time he used it. If not, I’d pick it up and charge him nothing. No risk for him.

When I called this customer at the end of the day, he told me I could leave the boomlift.  I had the sale without ever asking for it. What is important to know, is that I respected where this customer this prospect was and stayed in the conversation. When building a relationship with a prospect, starting with respecting where they are and what they value is the best first step. R is for Respect and entrepreneur success depends upon it.

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What is the lack of soft skills in millennials costing us?

We hear it often. “Millennials make eye contact. They don’t respect authority. They don’t show up on time.” Why? What happened? And how is all of this impacting our culture and our businesses?

Millennials who have great soft skills have a huge advantage over their peers who do not.  Studies, reports and articles emerge weekly about the severity of the challenges that employers have with hiring and managing a generation that lacks people skills. That means that members of the most tech savvy generation who have solid soft skills have a serious competitive advantage in the job market.

In his recent post, “Is Lack of Soft Skills Hindering Millennials’ Careers?,” Kevin Howell cited several studies that indicate the answer is “Yes”.

Lack of soft skills is holding back Millennials in their careers

It’s such a chronic and acute problem, that, according to a recent McKinsey study, “40 percent of employers said they have difficulty filling vacancies because younger workers lack soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and punctuality. A PayScale survey found similar results, with managers highlighting leadership and ownership as skills that Millennials lack.”

What’s the cause of this lackluster skill set? Too much focus on STEM education and job? Maybe. Too much screen time? Perhaps. Some studies have shown that “social anxiety with face-to-face interaction increases with the amount of time spent online.”

“Regardless of the reason young workers struggle with soft skills, companies have to deal with it. Addressing the skills shortfall in the workplace means tailoring training and development toward those needs.”

And that means that soft skills training for millennials needs three things:

  • To be valued by millennials
  • Fun for them to learn
  • Include a lot of practice

Changing behaviors is hard and humans resist it. Shifting the way millennials interact in person is not going to be easy. Success will require engaging training, practice and accountability along the way.

This generation grew up with digital media and video games and they like activities to be fun. Gamifying soft skills training is essential to hold their attention.

Practicing new skills and repeating them often is how soft skills behavior will change.

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How to accelerate lead nurturing and turn on the flow of referrals

Part 2 of the Secret Weapon: Referrals for amplifying your sales.

You’ve asked, listened and begun nurturing those new contacts. Awesome! Want to learn what will speed the relationship developing process along faster so you can convert contacts into referral partners?

Here’s how to follow up better than your competitors ever will: Follow up until they “Buy or Die”!

80% of sales require seven follow-ups (and that number keeps climbing)   [Source: Scripted]
44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up  [Source: The Marketing Donut]

So, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to attract more clients, these numbers are eye-opening. This means it’s likely your competition won’t follow up as often as you will if you commit to five times. BOOM! Advantage, you!

Download the free eBook, “From Cold to Sold” to get 17 hacks for nurturing leads and converting them to customers.
If you’re a job seeker, this underscores the importance of persistence. While no one wants to be a pest, it’s in your best interest to follow up multiple times. Some HR experts say, “Follow up until they buy or die.”
People are just too busy to remember who they talked to and what action they promised. Those who rely on new contacts to do the follow-up are guaranteed disappointing results. Instead, proactive professionals who make a point to reconnect after introductions impress and succeed.
Staying connected is how you’ll nurture and build this relationship, so call or email with a brief message about how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’d like to stay in touch. Mention something specific they talked about. Ask what social media they prefer and connect with them on those channels. LinkedIn is a given for most professionals, but find out if they like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest also. Most people have a couple of go-to channels they like.

People are more likely to respond to social media than an email, so take advantage of that and meet them where they are. Showing social love to your contacts will accelerate you rapidly towards your goal of seeing referrals flow into your business. Public admiration and validation is pure gold!

Check out my post “5 ways to get free leads on LinkedIn” and “Promote Your Business with Instagram” for specific tips.
You now have a platform for nurturing that new business relationship and expanding your network. Repost things they post, make comments (positive and insightful) and make sure you do it within the first week, and then every couple of weeks after that.
Network like a pro and watch the job opportunities and sales flow in, right? There’s a little more to it than that, of course. Once you have the strong referral network in place, you need to know how to ask for the referrals.

When you’re ready to build a full pipeline of referrals, consider a workshop, Give Yourself A RAISE – Build a Referral Pipeline workshop, where you can create an entire action plan to drive massive revenue to your business.

Learn more about the Referral workshop

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Referrals: the secret weapon used by the world’s most successful business owners

Part 1 of 2 in a series.

Quick question: Which is more important for professional success?
A) What you know
B) Who you know

If you answered B), you already know a lot. But who you know isn’t much help for advancing your career or business if you don’t have skills. Having knowledge is far more likely to lead to success if other people realize you have it than if you secretly have them. So really, the answer is A) and B), in that order. Knowing people is great for building referral partnerships, but it won’t get you a job or sales leads without some talent and ability.
And have amazing skills in a vacuum won’t make you successful.

Do you find yourself stressed out when you think about making sales calls? Many people fee frustrated when they realize they need to build a strong network, have no idea where to begin. It can be a little like the “How do I get experience if I don’t have experience yet?” syndrome.

Referral Pipeline Building Workshop

Some people are naturally gifted in the art of networking and some are not. Guess what? That’s totally ok! We are all different, which is what makes the world an interesting place. There’s no reason to feel badly about yourself if you don’t already have relationship building skills honed to a fine point. We can’t all be ace at everything. (For example, don’t ask me to file your taxes. Orange is definitely not my best color and I doubt it’s yours.) If you aren’t the best at relationship and network building, don’t worry. Skills can be learned.
So, what are the 3 steps you can take to build highly successful business relationships and bring referrals flowing into your business?

1. Ask. Be intensely curious about people. Ask a lot of questions about what they do, what they like to do, what success looks like for them, what their challenges and problems are. Ask what they enjoy most and least about their work. People love to talk about themselves, so this is easier than you might think.

Specifically ask them about their goals and concerns. Sample questions:
What’s the most important goal you’re working towards right now?
What’s your greatest challenge with achieving it?
What keeps you up at night?
Their answers will give you some insight to what they care about and the problems they are trying to solve. We’ll come back with what to do with the answers in tip 3.

To get 17 hacks for generating and converting leads, download my eBook, “From Cold to Sold” here.

Download Free eBook
2. Listen. Have you ever tried the experiment of listening more than you speak in a conversation? If you have, did the person you were “talking” with say, “You are so easy to talk to”? If not, try it out sometime. The results can be a fascinating illustration of how much value people place on sharing and feeling heard. It’s not a bad thing that we like focusing on our own experiences and telling others about them. It’s a human thing. When you’re building a network of relationships with humans, understanding this quality is invaluable. We are wired to connect and share our thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences with people. And that happens to be awesome for networking.

3. Nurture. Once you’ve met someone and discovered what they value and established some rapport, the most important step to adding them to your network, is to follow-up with them. I cannot emphasize the importance of following-up enough. Have I mentioned how essential the follow up is?

Look for part 2 of this blog post next week and discover exactly what you can do to accelerate relationship nurturing and turn on the flow of referrals into your business.

 

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Follow up is the gold – From cold to sold to convert sales

Convert cold leads to sold customers with this sales system. From cold to sold.
Convert cold leads to sold customers with this sales system.

Nice to meet you, now what. The steps you need to take to turn those new contacts into gold.

Well done. You went out there and connected with some new people. Networking can feel daunting and you did it anyway! And, now what? What’s the secret to converting that new contact into a referral relationship or customer?

Knowing what to say and how to say it without sounding cheesy can be a challenge too. If you need to repeat it, automate it, as they say. So here’s the 6 step process I use and can recommend for you.

    1. Always send a quick thank you email or text the same day or the next day at the latest. This shows respect for the other person’s time by prioritizing a follow up to the conversation right away. It is more important to send this quickly, rather than for it to be a comprehensive or long email

  1. Be yourself. Authenticity is always a good approach. To pretty much everything. Follow up emails are no different. Since people feel good when you listen to them, include something key you heard the contact you just met say. Use your own “voice” and keep it professional. That doesn’t mean uptight, just respectful.
  2. Make a positive observation about the person, company or project that this contact mentioned. Comment on how you can see this work achieving the goals or being successful. More good evidence of your effective listening skills and this creates the know, like and trust factors.
  3. Summarize the action items you agreed to do and include any you can in this email. If your follow up action requires more time or a separate email, outline how and when you will complete it.
  4. Thank your new contact for the action items they offered. Appreciation is always smart and it can be a helpful reminder to busy people who’s intentions are good and who’s schedules are full. They feel valued. More know like and trust development:-)
  5. Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook. You’re building your network and broadening that connection to social media channels is too important to miss. 

Get the 17 sales hacks to convert cold leads to profit, with this free e-Book, “From Cold to Sold”. Download now for free!

Do you have suggestions for making the follow up after making a new connection even better? Bring it! I’d love to see it, so share your comments below.

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Ready to give yourself a RAISE?

I recently presented my R.A.I.S.E. method for relationship building to increase income at the Texas Women in Business meeting at Austin Country Club. Get out your pen and get ready to take some notes. This is a really powerful system that works outrageously well to increase sales revenue, so you can give yourself a R.A.I.S.E.! Discover how to build relationship and financial wealth.

Schedule your FREE sales coaching session!

So if you’re wondering how to increase sales or give yourself a RAISE, watch this 3 minutes video and take me up on the offer for a free coaching session.  Investing even 15 minutes in your success can have a massive impact on your business and your life. YOU are worth it!

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Write Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened

Subject lines determine whether people click of don’t, so they matter. A lot! I recently created an email campaign for one of my clients and we saw very strong open rates, which has everything to do with great subject lines and brand name recognition. For this particular campaign, we were inviting the recipients to an event. Our  most effective subject line was:

You’re invited! [Company Name] [Event]

Subject line determines open rate
The email subject line makes or breaks your email marketing success rate.

Subject Line Determines Email Open Rates

It’s pretty important to find the optimal subject lines. Who cares how brilliant your email is if no one ever sees it? Test, test and test. Try different subject lines and track open rate performance. It’s almost shocking what a difference the subject line makes!

Some good subject line formulas:

  • Your Guide to [Industry-Related Topic]
  • How To Get the Most Out of [Product/Service]
  • 5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your [Product/Service]

Another technique that motivates readers to open emails is calling out the hot industry topics. Of course, any good marketer is creating content that address the issues that are top of mind for their prospects, so including those terms in the subject line should be automatic.

Read more on how to improve your open rates immediately with this post from Amelia Showalter, on CXL.  Once you’ve figured out the formula for fabulous subject lines, you may be interested in learning more about writing wonderful emails. Check out this post “Anatomy of an Awful Email” for a guide on what not to do.

Oh, and don’t forget to optimize the emails and landing pages for mobile. With mobile device use continuing to rise, demand generation efforts need to be responsive as well. You know the numbers: According to a Google Survey, 61% of site visitors using mobile device are likely to leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile. With a third or more emails being opened on tablets and smart phones, marketers can’t afford to not optimize.

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Sales Tip of the Week – Active Listening

One of the most powerful ways to increase sales is to listen. Active listening means you ask your prospect questions and focus on hearing their answers. People love to be heard because it makes them feel respected and valued.

Plus, active listening often reveals insights that help you determine how best to help them solve their problems or entertain them. This information helps you illustrate the value your product or service offers, which helps you close the sale.

Active Listening – Sales Tip of the Week

 

Try it out and let me know how it works for you. I coach and train sales teams and entrepreneurs how to increase their income by 20 to 80%. Active listening is one of the most effective methods I coach my clients on developing. For a limited time, I’m offering a FREE 15 minutes Sales Strategy Session! Click the button below to schedule your session now. Spots are limited, so get yours on the calendar while you can!

Schedule a Free Session!

 

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Are You Losing Money Because of Your Sales Blindspot?

Your sales blindspot could be costing you money. A lot of money. You could be missing out on sales and not even realize it. But you can’t fix a problem you can’t see.

Are you losing money because of your sales blindspot?
Are you losing money because of your sales blindspot?

Wouldn’t it be great if you buy a little sales blindspot mirror like you can for your car? That way you could see where you’re missing opportunities to make more money and fix them. But sales blindspot quick-fixes aren’t a thing…or are they?

Do you know what your sales blindspot is?

You may detest networking. Or maybe it’s following up with leads that isn’t your favorite thing to do. It could be you don’t know how to ask for the sale. As America’s #1 Master Confidence Strategist, Jan Goss-Gibson told me, “You can’t read the label from inside the bottle.” In other words, everyone has a blindspot, so don’t feel badly.

The Solution – Identify the area of sales where you struggle the most

Get a qualified sales expert to show you what you can’t see because you’re inside the bottle trying to read the label. Click here to schedule a free 15 minutes session with me to discover your sales blindspot. The link takes you right to my TimeTrade scheduling app.

Once you see what you’re not seeing, you can makes some shifts in your selling and reclaim that lost revenue.

Every business owner wants more sales.  What if you could discover a simple tip you could use that would get you more sales right away? Schedule a free session with me and I’ll show you how to increase revenue right away. You may want to take advantage of this offer now, since the free session slots are filling up quickly.

Discovering and removing you sales blindspot leads to a major increase in income. What part of the sales process do you struggle with the most? Leave your answer to this question in the comments. I look forward to seeing your answers.

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5 steps to get new customers on LinkedIn – FREE!

Finding new customers with LinkedIn is actually fairly easy, especially with the new user interface. This social media platform is an incredibly powerful tool. Because most of us don’t know how to use the LinkedIn search tool, we miss out on finding and connecting with new prospects.

So, Here Are My Top 5 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Get New Customers on LinkedIn.

1 – Define Ideal Customer

Your your company’s success depends on how well your understand your ideal customer. In order to communicate the value that your product or service delivers to your customers, it’s essential to understand their pain points and how they seek to solve them. Sometimes this is called a persona or an avatar.

It doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as you identify who you’re targeting, so you know which prospects you’re looking for on LinkedIn.

2 – Start with clicking in the “Search” field. For example, if you sell a service to videographers, type “videographer” in the search box. With no other qualifiers in the advanced search, over 100,000 results come up. Now, you can narrow your focus by adding specific locations, like cities, states and countries.

After focusing on a specific location, I recommend adding the connection qualifier to see who you and your contacts know who meet your ideal customer profile. Connections with people you already know are warmer and easier to nurture.

3 – Narrow results with additional qualifiers. You can narrow the results down by the location by typing in the area you want to search in the location field. Below that field, you’ll see the check boxes for first, second, group and third and everyone else. You can further narrow the field of prospects by selecting these. Select third and everyone else for the broadest list of results. You can get more specific and with other details as well, like industry, past or current company, school and more.

4 – Create your hottest leads list. You can message first connections directly through LinkedIn. You can also access contact info for first connections. Often, they will have email, website and social media details listed.

You can connect with second degree contacts, so go ahead and click the “connect” button next to their names.

Sending an “Inmail” through LinkedIn is an option for reaching out to second connection. I find that it’s not as efficient as some other ways to connect.

Insider’s secret! #5! —> You can connect directly with people who are in groups with you! That’s right! You can connect with complete strangers if you share membership in th same LinkedIn group!. As of this post, LinkedIn allows membership in up to 50 groups. 

A quick message saying you look forward to hearing more about their business and would like to stay in touch is all you need. Finding something specific in the contacts profile or group discussion to mention will make your message stand out.

The easiest way to discover some interesting details, is to look at the contact’s LinkedIn profile and review what they have posted recently, where they have worked the past few years, school they attended and even nonprofits they like. Using a bit of a personal connection goes a long way to begin the conversation and start a potential relationship. Other ideas are to watch videos, view SlideShare or samples of work to get some insight about the new contact. a look at any of these videos like this.

Connecting with the new contact on Twitter or other social networks can be really useful for starting a conversation. Approaching people them from multiple platforms can increase your success rate. and reach out to

Success tip! –>  Making a positive comment about a prospect’s work or post can increase their response rate! Click here to download email templates that work great to connect with new prospects on LinkedIn.

“I deliver a service that helps videographers edit and deliver their videos quicker and more cost-effectively and wondered if you’d be interested in hearing more about this. ”

“I’m a fellow Tarheel and wanted to reach out to you to talk about a tool that I’ve got that will help HR managers work more productively. I went to that Final Four basketball game and it was crazy!

As you can see, researching on LinkedIn can be very powerful! The amount of information you can discover takes a little bit of time but can be like uncovering gold. It’s always good to know people who are successful, so it is extremely valuable to take your time to do your research to uncover the riches available to you on LinkedIn.

I’m looking for specific companies and want to find the contact I need to approach. I may find a contact of mine is connected to the person I’d like to reach out to. I could send him a message asking for an introduction.
“I’d like to meet x and it looks like you and I are both connected to him or her. I’d love to talk to her about what it’s like so you could I could have absolutely do that I could also i wanted to warm it up.

Some more I could look at the organizations and the groups and I could do all kinds of research on where people are what they’re doing and find ways to reach out to them and connect with them

Now we’ve looked at different ways to use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find prospects – people who meet your profile an ideal customer.

  • Jobs
  • Title
  • Geography
  • Group memberships
  • Post and activity
  • Company – past and current
  • School

 

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5 Tips to Promote Your Business with Instagram

It’s not too late to get in on using Instagram to promote your business. There’s been lots of buzz about this fast growing social media platform and there’s still time to take advantage of all the good Instagram can do for grow your business.

Promote your business with Instagram
Promote your business with Instagram

Some companies have already done well with it, but it is my opinion is that Instagram has more big growth waves coming.

Use these Instagram tips to bring major growth to your business

Some techniques may #surprise you. Thought hashtags were so 2012? They’re back!

Subscribe so you don’t miss the latest tips and trends.

#1 Use More Hashtags

Max Woolf studied 120,000 photos and likes on Instagram and discovered that using more hashtags actually does correlate to more reach and likes. So, spamming is good?!?! Well, not exactly. Spamming isn’t considerate of others and tends to annoy people. But using many hashtags that are closely related to your post on Instagram is worthwhile. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags and it’s unclear how many is too many. My advice? Test what works best for your business and use keywords efficiently and liberally. Since long tail keywords tend to be the best, try a few of those first.

#2 Identify Instagram Influencers

In her post “How to Promote Your Business on Instagram“,  talks about collaborating with social media influencers. “As a small business, you should actively research which Instagram influencers are a great fit for your products. Chances are, their followers have the same interests and are potential customers”, Danielle says.

#3 Collaborate with Influencers

Have some fun brainstorming about partnership and collaboration ideas. Are there influencers who could benefit from your service or product? Could the followers of those influencers benefit from what you offer? If not, there may still be a way to nurture a relationship with them. You may be creating content for your own marketing that could be very useful to a potential social media partner.

For example, I have a client who films weddings and is looking to build his referral business with venues and event planners. These businesses want to show the world how beautiful their events are. Since many of them have a lot of followers on social channels, my client upped his social media game to increase his brand recognition.

Because he is one of the first certified videographers in his area to use a drone to shoot aerial footage, he is promoting this market differentiator across Instagram. Also, he noticed that very few venues and almost no planners have any video of their events on their websites or social accounts and even fewer have aerial video.

Recognizing a great opportunity when he saw one, this videographer uses drone footage he already had to help his potential referral partners so that they could market their businesses. As a result, they are blown away by the gorgeous video they have to use on Instagram and Facebook. Also, they are extremely appreciative of the wedding filmer’s generous gift.  Relationship nurturing is easy when we help others achieve their goals.

#4 Share Marketing Content

He has a library of stunning drone video from several weddings at a wide variety of venues. We created a business development program for him to reach out to these prospective partners and offer to provide them with this gorgeous aerial video to share across social channels and websites. It gives them a beautiful piece of marketing and sales content to share, it nurtures the relationship for my client and it cost him nothing. This is all goodness for his brand. Helping his customers grow their digital presence increases the value of his relationship to his customers and prospective customers.

#5 Use Apps to Simplify Posts

Who’s got time to schedule posts on a bunch of different apps? Instagram doesn’t play as well with social media scheduling tools. Grum is a fun app that allows scheduling Instagram posts from a desktop. About time! I like how Grum makes it easier to manage followers and following. Plus, the app provides an easy way to deliver scripted direct messages to new followers. Grum has a cute little messaging like interface.

Social media and live video are changing fast! Subscribe and stay up to date on the latest social media marketing trends.

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3 Steps For Awesome Relationship Building – Keys to Success

In the era of customer experience is king, successful relationship building is key. Some people are naturally gifted in this art and some are not. We are all different, which is what makes the world an interesting place.

So, if you don’t already have relationship building skills honed to a fine point, there’s no reason to feel badly about yourself. We can’t all be ace at everything. (For example, don’t ask me to file your taxes. Orange is definitely not my best color and I doubt it’s yours).

If you find that pleasing others interferes with your own happiness or success, you’re not alone. Many of us have a tendency to be people pleasers. And it doesn’t have to be a permanent condition:-) I’m a reforming pleaser and discovered steps that help me experience more joy and peace by reprioritizing my thoughts and actions. I share these steps in my ebook “Stop Pleasing Others and Get More Joy in Life” and invite you to download a free copy. Click the link below to get your free ebook:

Get my ebook FREE!

Relationship building skills can be learned.

Here are 3 simple and impactful steps I use to nurture relationships. Try them out and let me know how they work for you.

1. Ask.

Be intensely curious about people. Ask a lot of questions about them. For example:

  • How do enjoy life when you’re not working?
  • What projects are you working on right now?
  • How do you define success for yourself and your business?
  • What challenges are you dealing with?
  • What do you enjoy most and least about your work?

Since people love to talk about themselves, this is easier than you might think. Their answers will give you insight to what they care about and the problems you (or someone you know) may be able to help them solve. Showing an interest in someone is the ideal first step to great relationship building.

2. Listen.

Have you ever tried the experiment of listening more than you talk in a conversation? If you have, did the person you were “talking” with say, “You are so easy to talk to”? If you haven’t, try it out sometime. The results can be a fascinating illustration of how much people love feeling heard.

Because people enjoy focusing on themselves (and that’s not a bad thing) it’s naturally a good thing to let them share ideas and insights with you.  It’s a human thing to connect, share, listen and feel heard. When you’re building relationships with humans, understanding this quality is invaluable. We are wired to connect and share our thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences with people.

3. Reconnect.

Now that you have established some rapport and discovered what your contact values, the most important step is to follow-up with them. Staying connected is how you’ll nurture and build this relationship. Call or email with a brief message about how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’d like to stay in touch. I also suggest mentioning something specific they talked about.

Also ask what social media they prefer and connect with them on those channels. LinkedIn is a given for most professionals, but find out if they like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest also. Most people have a couple of go-to channels they like.

The magic of successful relationship building is to continue nurturing.

Now you have a platform for nurturing that new business relationship. Use social media to develop your new relationships by liking, reposting and making comments (positive and insightful, never negative). I suggest doing this within the first week, and then at least every couple of weeks after that.

Finally, since nurturing a relationship takes time, stay in touch with your new contact by email or text regularly. You don’t want to stalk your new contact, but you do want to stay in touch. so I suggest checking in with them every month or so.

Finally, for more tips on ways to ramp your success, subscribe here . You can have a look at “Three Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do First Thing in the Morning”.

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400% Increase in Referrals – The Success Story Video

Referrals are awesome! You know you’ve done a good job nurturing business relationships when your referral rate goes up by 400%!  That’s what one business coaching client saw as a result of the marketing and social media efforts. Watch the video below to see how we did it!

Hint: We didn’t have a marketing budget or dedicated marketing person. I worked with my client to create a plan that HE could implement and feel GOOD about. At first, he was worried he would dread contacting colleagues in his industry to network. He thought, “Ugh, I hate calling people to ASK them for something.”  We needed a plan my for building up referrals that my client could enjoy. Sound familiar? I knew the secret to his success would be making this process easy…and maybe even fun.

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Getting Referrals Can Be FUN – Really!

I’m serious. Connecting with other people in your field can and should be fun. Referrals are so crucial to the success of most entrepreneurs and yet, I find many business owners avoid networking like the plague.

Social media can be a great way to expand your network. It can also be a tremendous way to waste precious time, so learning how to use social platforms efficiently is the key to success. In my recent post, “The 1 Thing to Do on Social Media Today”,  I outline how to focus your content on the highest value you can deliver to your prospect.

LinkedIn offers very powerful tools for finding new potential referral partners and prospects. The advanced sear tool is incredible  – but using it can be overwhelming. To unlock how to use LinkedIn’s search tool to find more referral partners and leads, click here.

Do you have some techniques that work really well to grow referral networks? Share them below in your comments.

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What my dog taught me about social media

What my dog taught me about social media marketing
What my dog taught me about social media marketing

Ever noticed how dogs behave so much better in an off leash park than on leash anywhere else? Social media is like an off leash park for humans. Free range to say what we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want. No leashes constricting us!

What is it about an off leash environment that makes dogs get along so well? Dogs adhere to an ancient and universal set of guidelines for interacting in off leash encounters. Dogs don’t discuss the guidelines ahead or time or sign waivers before they engage in off leash play. (Their humans might have to, but they don’t.) If people were to adhere to a commonly accepted set of guidelines for engaging with each other on social media, we could enjoy substantially reduced: hurt feelings from inflammatory statements, offending remarks, escalation and online bullying. It might even help us move closer to world peace. Certainly, the level of civility would improve. 🙂

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So what guidelines do dogs use that humans could adopt for more civil social media engagement?

  1. Enter social situations with respect. Healthy dogs approach a new social situation with submissive energy and body language. They don’t enter a free range social situation like an off leash dog park with aggressive or dominating behavior. People who demonstrate a healthy respect for others, rather than blasting social channels with bombastic posts gain the respect of others. As a result, they gain more followers and repel fewer.
  1. Get to know others first. How relieved are we that the polite way for humans to get to know each other does not emulate dogs?!? Butt sniffing would be SO embarrassing! Fortunately, finding out more about another person is as easy as asking them.
  1. Accept our differences. Alaskan Malamute, Dachshund, Lab or mutt, dogs take each other at canine face value. Different isn’t bad to dogs in a free range area; it’s good. Different smells, different sizes, different shapes, different everything. Except that the general guidelines for polite doggy behavior is the same and dogs who don’t go by those rules are shunned. Dogs have no reference for breedism. If people can learn to treat those with differing political views, religion or opinion with this same regard, the world would indeed be a more peaceful place.
  1. Invite others to play nicely. The adorable and universal body language for dogs who want to play is the same across all breeds. Front feet down, hind quarters and tail up and open relaxed face. No teeth baring or growling, no fur standing up on their backs. Dogs who want to play will engage with the pups who show they want to have fun. If a dog doesn’t respond to the invitation with the same playful body language, the other dog moves on to invite someone else.

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  1. No means no. When a dog is uninterested or is through playing, they adopt a “No thank you” stance. They look away or walk off. Persistently playful dogs (@mylabs) might attempt to engage this dog in play another time or two. But once they get the message, the pup will move on to someone else.

Seems to me, our best friends can provide us with an excellent example for how to treat each other in our own off leash areas – social media.

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Live Video Streaming is How Michael Phelps Announced His Retirement – Not TV

Live video streaming is beating out cable and network TV for celebrity announcements. That’s not all. Life and business is changing radically.

Michael Phelps showed the world how game-changing live video streaming is by announcing his retirement on Facebook Live this week. His fans loved the feeling that they were right there with him and his teammates hanging out in between races in the Olympic village. We loved watching him talk with us as if we are his friends and as he bared his soul, announcing that Rio would be his last Olympics. This illustrates how authentic live video makes the experience feel for the broadcaster and their viewing audience. The unscripted and conversational style allows the viewing audience to connect with the people they watch on live video. It is so comfortable, natural and easy. Of course we love it!

Live video is on fire. Like, white hot fire! I feel like a kid in a candy store because we are at the beginning of a new wave of communication that changes, oh, just EVERYTHING! How lucky are we to live right now!?!

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If the internet was the greatest invention since the car and social media was the great democratization for people across the globe, then live video is the paradigm shift that empowers everyone to become their own broadcast stars. Talk of content being king has been around for years now and recently, video content has become most effective at garnering our ever-shortening attention spans. But live video broadcasting is a whole new and exponentially more captivating dimension.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video may be worth a million and live video is worth a trillion words. Don’t quote me on the math, but there plenty of studies that show our brains are wired to detect and focus on movement. So, while I view all content as having intrinsic value (I myself love painting and drawings), it depends on the context. Of course video content grabs out attention more quickly than still content. Of course it’s more compelling for our brains to watch moving pictures and action than read words. (Sorry, my dear talented writers. People do still love to read. It’s all about context and right now we are talking about the digital screen context.)

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Moving images + real time live action = incredibly compelling content. Plus, thanks to camera phones and social media, anyone, anywhere with a smart phone can be a live video content creator, aggregator and publisher. How cool is THAT?!?!?

Google introduced video conferencing with “Hangouts” in 2014. Twitter launched Periscope as their live video streaming platform in spring of 2015. Also in spring of that year, Blab went live with their beta version of live video. Facebook Live launched to celebrities in the summer of 2015 and rolled out to most members with fan pages in April of 2016. Less than five months later, Blab shuttered their platform in the same week that Google announced it’s closing down “Hangouts” next month. Google wants everyone to migrate over to YouTube for live video. YouTube has some work to do to make that platform more user friendly.

Now there’s a mad scramble to claim the live video streaming territory. Blab and Hangouts both allowed multiple video hosts to participate. That was really compelling because humans like to watch interactions between other humans more than watching one human monologuing.

Instagram added live video recently. Huzza has emerged as a live streaming platform that offers multiple video feeds and hosts, plus it’s is more stable than Blab ever was. Huzza recently added a beta feature that allows live video broadcasters to connect and stream over Facebook Live simultaneously. It has a few bugs so we’ll see how that works out. Meanwhile Facebook attempted to launch 2 person live video, but it was nothing more than glorified Facetime. Wah-wah-wah. Periscope continues to thrive, since people all over the world can “scope” live to anyone who who wants to watch. It’s easier to get discovered on Periscope than on Facebook. IMO, Facebook might wanna close that competitive gap.

Whatever the live video streaming platforms do this year, this is going to be a fun and wild ride!

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Follow up is the gold – From cold to sold to convert leads to sales

6 step process for follow up after meeting a new contact
How to follow up after making new contact.

Nice to meet you, now what. The steps you need to take to turn those new contacts into gold.

Well done. You went out there and connected with some new people. Networking can feel daunting and you did it anyway! And, now what? What’s the secret to converting that new contact into a referral relationship or customer? Knowing what to say and how to say it without sounding cheesy can be a challenge too.

If you need to repeat it, automate it, as they say. So here’s the 6 step process I use and can recommend for you.

  1. Always send a quick thank you email or text the same day or the next day at the latest. This shows respect for the other person’s time by prioritizing a follow up to the conversation right away. It is more important to send this quickly, rather than for it to be a comprehensive or long email.
  2. Be yourself. Authenticity is always a good approach. To pretty much everything. Follow up emails are no different. Since people feel good when you listen to them, include something key you heard the contact you just met say. Use your own “voice” and keep it professional. That doesn’t mean uptight, just respectful.
  3. Make a positive observation about the person, company or project that this contact mentioned. Comment on how you can see this work achieving the goals or being successful. More good evidence of your effective listening skills and this creates the know, like and trust factors.
  4. Summarize the action items you agreed to do and include any you can in this email. If your follow up action requires more time or a separate email, outline how and when you will complete it.
  5. Thank your new contact for the action items they offered. Appreciation is always smart and it can be a helpful reminder to busy people who’s intentions are good and who’s schedules are full. They feel valued. More know like and trust development:-)
  6. Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook. You’re building your network and broadening that connection to social media channels is too important to miss. 

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Do you have suggestions for making the follow up after making a new connection even better? Bring it! I’d love to see it, so share your comments below.