April 27, 2014

Know, Like, Trust

In his book, Endless Referrals, Bob Burg tells us that we should build relationships with people whom we know, like, and trust. People do business with, and refer business to, those people who they know, like, and trust. When we meet people for the first time, we must be willing to work to establish relationships with those people.

What does know, like, and trust really mean? Relationships are two way streets and should be built on mutual action, and effort, by both participants. We are both involved in the relationship that we are building, and we both will benefit from it when it is built. We both must participate in the forming and building of these relationships.

When we first meet anyone, do we “know” each other immediately? We must meet again with each other, chat about business, life, sports, each other, whatever helps us get to know one another. We must decide if we “like” each other through conversation, watching our actions as well as listening to our words. We must “feel” the relationship start to build. Then we can move to trust, the most important part of any relationship.

If we do not trust each other, we cannot pass referrals to each other. Referrals reflect our reputation and are the basis for building that reputation with others. Referrals are a two way street and involve all parties. We must trust the referred person and the person to whom we refer them. We must trust ourselves when making an appropriate referral, and the other two parties must trust us and our wisdom in making the referral.

We must stop being sales people, we must become relationship builders, relationships which allow both partners to thrive, prosper, and succeed. These relationships should include partners who are vested in each other’s success, helping each other to grow their businesses in any manner possible. Relationships may result in sales to one another, but they should result in referrals for mutual success.

We must inquire into the other person to discover what it is that they need, want, or seek to enhance the success of their business or life. Perhaps they need a business coach, maybe they are looking to change careers, or possibly they need to hire employees. How can we help them discover what they need? This process of deciding if we know, like and trust each other should provide insight to mutual needs.

We may not have what they need, but we may know someone else who does. We may not know someone else who does, but we may know someone who may know that someone. We must focus on helping others, not on the sale that we would like to make. Taking care of the needs of others is good karma. Putting forth good karma will result in good karma for us in return.

Meeting others who share our beliefs, objectives, ethics, and goals is the normal focus of all of us. We network with others who we know, like, and trust. We meet others with whom we start building relationships with the intent of mutual success. Getting to know, like, and trust those people we meet and building relationships that lead to success will allow all of us to move forward in our businesses and our lives.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Get to know, like, and trust other people and build relationships that benefit all of us. Remember that karma brings everything back to us sooner or later, both good and bad.

April 20, 2014

Be Consistent

When starting a business we have an objective when marketing our products or service. Over time we may change our products or services, but we should be consistent in our messages that we use to market our business. We may change the words as our product line varies, but the basic message that we put forth should be consistent

We all must develop our core values and the messages that support those core values while we are varying the messages that support our product line. Our core values may remain the same and be consistent over time. No matter what product or service we may offer, we must be consistent with our messages regarding our core values.

These messages are the words that we speak, print, or even imply in our daily marketing. They are also the actions that we, and any employees that we have, show to the world. Marketing is everything that we do from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep. It is the perception that people gain from the actions of all of us that represent any business.

When we attend networking meetings we put forth a message about our business. We are marketing our business, not selling any particular product or service. We may mention a product or service, but the underlying message is about us and our business. We are not trolling for a customer; we are looking to establish relationships.

What type of message do we put forth when we attend a networking meeting once, and never return again? We allow people to believe that we were just looking to sell to clients, and when we didn’t at the meeting that we attended, we didn’t see any value in returning. We should attend any meeting at least twice to gain an accurate look at the group’s membership and the flow of the meeting.

Let’s say the group’s make up just doesn’t feel comfortable to us. Maybe the meeting time or place is inconvenient to us, or maybe the other attendees don’t support our core values. Could we influence change in the group to improve the prospective for success for everyone? Maybe the group represents an opportunity for mutual prosperity for all the members if we contribute to the betterment of all the attendees.

Remember that our core values must be reflected in all of our marketing efforts. No matter the product or service that we have developed for our clients, all of them must conform to our core values and the marketing for each must also conform. If we market any offering in a way that conflicts with our core values, we will be discovered quickly and our business success will suffer from our failure to be consistent.

What are our core values? How does our marketing reflect our core values, and how do we and our employees’ actions reflect our core values? Remember that marketing is everything that we, our employees, and our business put forth each and every day. Market consistently with our core values in mind, and our businesses will thrive. We must make sure that the public knows what our core values are.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. How do your business partnerships reflect your core values, and do your partners hear your core values in every marketing message? If an individual marketing message for one product conflicts with the overall impression that you put forth, change it. Protect your overall reputation by being consistent.

April 13, 2014

Using Business Cards

We know that we should never, ever be without our business cards, or contact cards if you are in transition from one career to another. What do you do with those cards when you carry them everywhere and how do you spread them among the people who you meet from day to day? How do you make it easy for others to know you?

Your name, business name if appropriate, telephone number, email address, and mailing address are the basic information that all business, or contact, cards should present. Some phrase or title to identify what you do would be informative, or you may include a phrase about your business, if applicable.

The cards should be printed in an easy to read font, a large enough font size to be legible, and in contrasting colors, type and background, so that one may easily read the information on the cards. A level 3 font, illegible scrip fonts, and dark colors on a black background should all be avoided.

The reverse side of the card is frequently not utilized, but it is great for additional information. Normal business card size should be the norm, and avoid round card stock unless you are providing a beer coaster. Oversized cards are as bad as the small thumb sized cards that some people use. Odd shaped or sized cards are just too difficult for anyone to file, read, or even hold. Even 4 panel cards are difficult.

When you ask anyone for their card, be polite, and read their name after receiving their card so that you may fix the person’s face in your mind. Then, ask if you may give them your card and provide it face up in a non-threatening manner. The card should be clean, not creased or curled, and should be accurate in its information. If your information changes, get your cards reprinted.

What do you do if the person with whom you are conversing does not have contact cards with them? If possible try to get them to provide their contact number or email address there and then, but it might be necessary to rely on them to reply to you later. Ask if you can give them your card so that they might forward their information to you. If they don’t, maybe you should not have tried to start a relationship after all.

Must you carry the cards of your close relationships with you so that you can provide referrals to other networking partners? That requires you to maintain a large supply for several partners, too many to carry easily. Why not enter all your contacts into your electronic file, maintain your contacts in identifying categories with notes, and sync it with your phone? That way you can forward referrals to whom you wish, when you wish.

Business cards say a lot about us over and above the information that is included on them. They can be an extension of our personalities. Make sure that they show others a professional image of you, providing others the information that you want them to know, but not overwhelming them with data. If you make it easy for them to contact you at a later time, you have started your contacts on the easy road to a relationship.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Remember that the person who you meet should believe that you appreciate meeting them and the start of a relationship. The exchange of business cards can have a major impact on this relationship and how successful your partnership may be. Start this partnership out on mutually successful footing and keep it there.

April 6, 2014

What We Say vs How We Say It

We often hear that it is not only what we say but how we say it that means the most. Our methods of delivery are many times more impactful than what we say. While our words may touch others in such great ways, the manner in which we speak those words may be the most touching part of the moment that others will remember.

Think about something that anyone has said to you lately about how you do whatever you do in your business. Maybe they discussed how you market, how you network, or how you answer the telephone. First there is what they said to you, but there is also how they said it. Did they make subtle suggestions, or did they preach to you, telling you that you were all wrong? Did they encourage you or tear you down?

What someone says has a lot to do with how their words are perceived by the person receiving the information. How the words may be delivered have a great influence with the reaction of the receiving party. Being open to criticism does not mean that we are open to punishment and abuse. Our open minds close tight when we are threatened.

We are more prone to accept criticism from someone who delivers the advice with kindness and encouragement in a softer tone, in a non-threating manner. We do not accept criticism from anyone who shouts, gets in our faces physically, or who makes us believe that we are stupid and unable to perceive that they know everything.

Operating any business is difficult and has many pitfalls. We must not commit the mistakes of our messages being distorted by the manner in which we deliver them. We should understand that the vast majority of our prospects, as well as our clients, do not want our message delivered as an attack on their ability to make up their own minds.

Facts should be delivered as information on which to base decisions, not pounded into the brains of the receiving party, who is reminded that they cannot make intelligent decisions on their own. Information should be offered to others for their use, not poured over the heads of the public like a deluge of rain. There are times when we should just shut up and let the others to whom we are speaking think for themselves.

The tone of our voice, the volume of our voice, the firmness of our voice, all these factors can make or break our message. Do you deliver information as something that the other person can use to make intelligent decisions, in a soft, professional voice? Do you offer suggestions and alternatives to the person who seeks your advice; do you preach to others that only you can know what is best for them?

Our messages to others are very important to both us and the person to whom we are speaking. They must contain honest, ethical, and complete content that we believe is best for the person that is listening to us. They have honored us with their reception of our words. We must commit to delivering those messages in a professional manner.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Remember that the person to whom you are speaking is a human being, their feelings are no different than yours are, and they deserve your message to be delivered in a professional, supportive, encouraging manner. After all, they are your networking partner with whom you have a relationship for the mutual good.