Change Is Not A Four Letter Word

Understandably, just the word 'change' makes people uncomfortable.   What are we in for?  I didn't sign-up for this.  What's wrong with the way things are?

Ladies and Gentlemen, there comes a time when a change of leadership presents itself.

Change is necessary, change is good.   It offers a chance for others to put their mark on  BTN.  It also offers the opportunity for some of the previous leaders to hand-off the baton, step back and watch the new leaders run.  

All things evolve and while it may sound ominous or uncertain it is a force of nature.  It is a way to keep it fresh, a way to grow.  It is a way in infuse new ideas and new energy, to carry momentum and direction forward.

It will still be BTN, but with a little different imprint.   You may notice a different vibe at the BTN meetings.  The meetings, the events and many other things should take on a little flavor of the new leadership.

But we must not lose sight of where we started.  The leadership has been handed a compass that lies at the core of Building Trades Network.

Trust, Integrity & Accountability

 Building trust and relationships is what BTN is about: with that comes confident referrals and recommendations.     

Over the next few weeks I will take this opportunity to go over things with you.  Take a look at your membership packet.  You will have questions, maybe there is something you haven't noticed before.  I suggest you write them down and ask them at the next meeting or two.

We will also introduce the new leadership, and they will explain their duties and what is expected of them.

So let's embrace these changes together.  Right here, right now, and we will move closer to a brighter future.

Your Perception of Networking

It is important that people grasp the nature of true networking. How many of you have been in other networks. Raise your hand.

You may have even done this yourself. One month maybe two and gone. We have all seen people come and go in networks. Just when you start to get to know somebody they are down the road.

They are usually spreading comments like, “Nobody shares leads or referrals” or “That group is dead I only had a few people buy from me”

What is keeping them from success is their perception of networking .

Let's look at the definition of “leverage”

Here are a couple that suit our purposes :

Leverage (lev-er-ij )

  1. to use (a quality or advantage) to obtain a desired effect or result.

  2. The use of a small initial investment , credit, or borrowed funds to gain a very high return in relation to ones investment

Over here they are talking about money. But in networking, we are talking, time, relationships, trust. That is our initial investment and that is what will get you those high returns.

There are hunters and there are farmers. Hunters don't network. They don't even know the meaning. They bag 3 or four kills and move on to the next hunting ground. It sounds a lot like sales to me, and to me, that sound like a lot of work.

It is the farmer that and cultivates the relationships and lets them grow to cast their seeds to the wind. In time the farmer will reap the fruits of those relationships. As his relationships bloom, so will his business.

“ I would rather have one percent of the efforts of one hundred people, than one hundred percent of my own efforts.”

J. Paul Getty never knew what a network was. But his comment, is not only the quintessential definition for leveraging but it defines the core principle of networking as well

We are not here to sell to each other, that is just a bonus! We are here to leverage our time and our relationships, to help them multiply, to build our farm and to help our business grow.

Your Best Brand

Personally, you are your business, you are your brand. You want to make a memorable impression because that is the impression people will have of your business.

You want people to remember you, in a positive light. Here are a few things that may help.

First, there is that sweet spot to being memorable. It lies between blending into or getting lost in the crowd and swinging from the chandelier and breaking the ice with your best fart jokes.

You don't have to try to hard or hog a conversation. After all, I prefer my doughnuts glazed not people. Spewing out mindless chatter is the quickest way for people to glaze-over and shut out.

The rule is engaged and attentive. Think of it as a value thing. Less is more. Understanding the subject and one really smart comment during the conversation is all you need to make a memorable impression.

When it comes to what you do. Keep it short. People won't remember if it is long. People will remember few things. You want them to remember the key elements:

Your name

Your business name

Your product or service

Location

For example:

Last week I ordered a product from a company called Gallina. I told the lady there that Gallina was Italian for chicken. I am Italian it was a short conversation. Since then, when we speak, we almost always have a cordial comment or two before we get down to business.

She recalls my order details and even all the products and questions I asked about that aren't on the order in front of her. I can't forget Ashley and her company (Gallina) and likewise she will remember me.

So if there is a special story about the name of your business or your one of a handful of people that do a particular service, or you sell widgets that turn twinkies into vitamins. Concentrate on the key elements and incorporate one or two into the conversation and keep it short.

The common misconception is “Great Logo equals a Great Brand” But a truly great brand is much more. A great brand incites emotions and value that you can't forget. It's a reflex that triggers your memory.

In networking situations and one on one's, no one is better at planting those reflexes than you. You're your best brand and your best brand is 'YOU'.

The Right Time to Ask for Referrals

If we want to grow our business through referrals. We know we need to ask for the referrals. But when is the right time to ask?

Old School is, the first meeting or even prior to a meeting. It was not unusual for a Sales person to bring up the subject of referrals and tell people to think of a few people between now and the next meeting.

It is an aggressive approach that produced results to those who are persistent. Someone may begrudgingly give a referral but it wouldn't be thoughtful and sincere.

It is best to ask when your client has perceived or recognized value. When you hear a client say, “I have enjoyed this meeting” or “You have been a great help.” That is your cue to ask for a referral.

If they say, “I can't wait to get started.” or “I've put this off long enough”. This is a signal that means they are receptive to the referral process.

What if you don't get strong signals from your clients? Gauging how your meeting is going is necessary skill you should be doing every meeting at various intervals. So, starting about halfway through your meeting. You should ask “value seeking” questions. They need to be specific and not open ended. Like, “What would you consider to be the most important?”

Sometime they may respond with an, “I'm not sure.” Don't be discouraged. You need to know this so you can address the issues, instead of starting the Referral process when the perceived value is not there.

If you have filled a need and the value is there, why wouldn't they want to refer you to their clients and friends.

You can approach like this, “I'm glad we agreed on a solution. Perhaps you know someone with similar issues. We can offer them the same solution.” Notice, the process itself its a team effort.

The best referrals come from the perspective of 'We'. Helping someone together. Engaging the referral process once you have established a perceived value.