Wednesday, 25 November 2009

In my blog on ecademy yesterday I had a laugh when Carolyn Williams told us, "The best one recently, was him speaking down the mic pretending to be a Lady Gaga impersonator with a stutter saying PapapappPoker Face.. Brill!! Phone goes and I'm yep mimicking Papapppoker Face and it's someone (nameless ) quite straight laced."

It took me back to my days as a Regional Sales Manager in Manchester. Every now and then when you were on a sales call, guys would do all sorts of stuff in the background in an attempt to put you off. You know the idea pull your chair away, put on daft faces and masks etc.

I was also reminded of it in a crazy sketch by "chewing the fat" a hilarious Scottish comedy show where they specialise in "taking things to far!"

Dr Ivan Misner wrote an excellent article some years ago in BNI Successnet, It was specifically for BNI members; however, the points about whether we hold our friends accountable in buiness is very generic and useful.

In his opening paragraph he said "One of the strengths of BNI is that the members of a chapter become friends. One of the weaknesses of BNI is that the members of a chapter become friends."

Is it all laughs and fun in your business/networks? Are you able to hold friends accountable in business? Where do the lines cross between creating a good atmosphere and creating disruption?

Keep Smiling :-)

Charlie Robertson

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Charles, Do your homework...

My mummy always told me too......

1. Make friends
2. Play nice
3. Tell the truth
4. Take a bath
5. Do your Homework

What has this got to do with networking?

1. Make Friends
Will you introduce your best clients to someone you dont know just because you met them at an event? Relationship building is absolutely necessary, as is having structured 1 to 1s? Dr Ivan Misner talks a lot about V+C=P. The need to have visibility, then building credibility, resulting in profitability.

2. Play Nice
Do you practice Givers Gain or do you have a hunting sales mentality?Do you listen more than you talk and refrain from interupting others when they are talking, Do you treat people with respectful elegance face to face and online. Do you give genuine testimonials when they are earned? And very importantly do you thank people properly for their assistance.

3. Tell The Truth
Honesty is absolutely necessary in business, behaving and acting in an ethical manner enhances your reputation. If you mess up, be honest "I'm sorry I really dropped the ball on this occasion, please give me the opportunity to put this right". It is possible to create a good second impression when you get things wrong.

4. Take a bath
Not as big an issue online:-) However; In face to face meetings, body Odour is not the new cologne! Shower, wash your hair, look presentable, dress according to your profession.

5. Do your homework
Get prepared for your meetings in advance not last thing the night before or writing your elevator speech while others are speaking. Be specific, set goals on what you want to achieve, then measure and analyse. If you arrange a 1-1 find out as much as possible about the other person's business in advance so you are showing you are interested in them and not self centred.
What lessons did your Mum give you that have stood you in good stead?

Charlie Robertson
Thank you to Jason Smith for inspiring this blog.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

How do you prepare for a networking event?

My wife Anne seems to think that my car is an extension of the house. There is handcream in the passenger side pocket, tissues in a little box stuck on my dash board at her side by double sided tape, and a lipstick/gloss type of thing in my glove compartment. A little holder thingy for contact lenses and lens cleaner, etc etc etc.

I wouldn't mind so much, but I have other people in my car during the course of the day and they are forever sitting on the umbrellas she leaves behind and I have to explain every time that these things are not mine.

The other day I stuck another one of her umbrellas in the boot and it ended up getting covered up with my stuff. Last night we went out for a meal and the weather was sunny so we didn't have coats, by the time we got to the restaurant it was raining heavy and she started searching around for the umbrella she left in my car and had a right good moan when I said it was somewhere in the boot.

Sitting soaking wet in the restaurant I was thinking, maybe preperation isn't such a bad thing after all.......

Are you a person who likes to be prepared in advance? What about when you are networking, do you go prepared? Do you have a plan that you use on every occassion so it becomes second nature.

Here are some tips

1. Have your networking tools with you at all times.
An informative name badge
Plenty of business cards
Brochures about your business
A pocket-sized card file
Have your killer qualifying question and your free item of value ready

2. Set a goal for the number of people you will meet.

3. Act like a host, not a guest, at events.

4. Listen, and ask the 5 "W" questions:
Who, What, When, Where and Why

5. Give a "referral" whenever possible.

6. Describe your product or service by:
An elevator pitch
60 second introduction

7. Exchange business cards with the people you meet.

8. Write comments on the back of the business cards you collect.
e.g Monday 1st October, speciality wholesale, looking for Tesco contact - send free item of value

9. Spend 10 minutes or less with the people you meet at events and do not linger with friends and associates.

10. Follow up with the people you meet

The reason why most people are innefective in their marketing and their networking isn't because of lack of knowledge or ability, it is down to lack of preparation.

If you lack preparation you increase stress levels and reduce the probability of excellent results.

What do you do to prepare for an event?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Look at that horrible Pylon!

At the end of May, Anne and I where walking in Queen Elizabeth Park, the Trossachs, one of the most beautiful areas of Scotland, if not the world.

As we stopped and looked at the breathtaking view, Anne said to me "Look at that horrible pylon!", I said "where", " over there at the top of the hill just at the side of the trees.""For goodness sake Anne, concentrate on the view, it is phenomenal, and all around you".

Yesterday Anne received a bunch of beautiful lilies. As she was arranging them for the vase she said to me "one of the lilies has a broken stem, that's ridiculous, the person who made them up must have noticed". I said "Do you think it would be a good idea to concentrate on the beautiful lilies, those with complete stems, there are plenty of them".

I then got the "don't you give me any of your NLP, Law of Attraction tosh, if you want to bury your head in the sand away from the real world that's up to you. I am not your client, sometimes there are problems in life and not "challenges" as you keep telling me."

Ok , I admit it, I messed up and handled the situation badly, I had better contact "The Divorce Coach Jackie Walker" for some proper relationship advice.

It is worthy of discussion though isn't it? Sometimes we concentrate too much on the negative aspects of life, and miss the beauty of what is around us.

Don't think of it!

Often instead of focusing on what we want in life, we're focusing on what we don't want - but by continuing to focus on it we keep it in front of us. Which is why New Year resolutions like other 'new starts' and good intentions end so swiftly!

It's the "don't think of the blue rhinoceros" phenomenon. Try it: close your eyes and decide that under no circumstances will you think of a blue rhinoceros.
As you do this reinforce it by affirming to yourself "I won't think of a blue rhinoceros". And, of course, the more you try to not think of it the more and stronger you make the thought.

The more you focus on what you don't want the more you become fixated or even obsessed with it - and that's one of the things which we learn from using NLP to understand how our thoughts and our emotions affect one another.

The solution?

According to Pegasus NLP trainers, you should begin thinking about what you want instead!

  • Instead of 'I mustn't overeat': Perhaps eating healthily and sensibly. Or eating just enough to alleviate hunger. Or eating healthier foods.
  • Instead of 'I want to give up cigarettes': You might want to enjoy the freedom of being an ex-smoker who breathes easily, has clear airways and smells clean.

  • Instead of 'I won't get so angry': Maybe you'd like to be able to rise above the issues, to be able to ignore what you perceive as others' pettiness or thoughtlessness. Or to be able to see through the other person's anger-provoking ploys.
  • Instead of 'I don't want to feel nervous or panicky? Focus on how you'd like to be handling stressful situations e.g. feeling calmer, breathing easily, thinking more clearly.
Developing the habit
Get into the habit of noticing which mental images your thinking is evoking. Recognise that these mental images are affecting your feelings. And, if necessary, change what you're focussing on.

Many of us have been brought up in a world of "don't do's" so switching from focussing on what you don't want, to what you do want will take a little bit of attention - for a few weeks, at least!

This approach is not a magic fix or panacea but it's a very important start to driving your own bus. The old saying 'be careful what you set your mind upon for surely it will be yours' has quite a a bit of truth in it.

Oh and I should mention, if you were to ask Anne the things I do that annoy her, after 16 Years of happy marriage she could come up with a list as long as your arm. However let's not focus on that, let me tell you about my good points.....

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Can positive attitudes save jobs

I just read an excellent article in the new BNI UK Successnet.Paul Williams is a member in Wigan.

His company directors recently advised him that the effects of the economic downturn meant that Paul would need to make two of his staff redundant in the next week. He was devastated. He had personally recruited every member of his team and the thought of making any of them redundant appalled him.

He decided to do everything possible to prevent the job losses.He had recently attended a training event led by BNI Director Mike Holman, which inspired him to infuse a positive BNI mentality into his company. Paul brought his team together and told them about the proposed redundancies. Then he offered them the opportunity to take a very different road: they could join him in refusing to participate in a recession and instead look for new ways of improving the long-term weilbeing of the business. On a whiteboard he wrote "IN THE NORTH-WEST OFFICE WE REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN." and invited each team member to sign their name underneath it.

Then the team sent out an email to all 20 staff members across the company, giving them the chance to join their pact.The response was astounding. Within just one week, the company's finances had recovered sufficiently to rule out the proposed redundancies. Each member of staff had actively sought out opportunities for new business and the company enjoyed its best week in months. Four weeks later, they had generated more business than in any other four-week period in the previous two years.

Paul was justifiably delighted. He says, "Times might be tough but the business is out there. The BNI mentality allowed me to motivate my team to reject the media's doom and gloom and actively create new business. There's no hard sell-every member of staff just keeps their ear to the ground and recommends goods and services that genuinely help clients. It's working brilliantly.

Were it not for BNI, at least one of my team would be out of work. For me, that alone is worth the subscription!"

Do you refuse to participate in any recession by adopting a positive attitude?

Do you believe it is not what happens to us but how we react to it that determines your future?

Or do you believe a commentator on one of my previous blogs when she said "This is all just woo woo Law of Attraction nonsense, what happens to us is controlled by external circumstances?"

I am a firm believer that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to