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Lead Systems – The Fortune Is In The Follow Up

Written by Kalynn Amadio   

Do you have a follow up system for your leads? Is it a shoebox where you throw all the business cards you collect having every intention of sorting them out later but later never comes. The fortune is in the follow up. So having viable lead systems that you find easy to use becomes critical to building small business success.

A super simple follow up system is best for beginners. There are plenty of ways you can follow up as part of a small business lead systems strategy. If the system is too complex, you or your employees are not going to make good use of it. In the beginning, it’s perfectly acceptable to create lead systems from the tools you have at hand.

Something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet with contact data, notes, dates of contact, proposed follow-up and more will work. Many people start out using Microsoft Outlook to catalog contacts and calendar to maintain some sort of follow up system.

If you have a shoebox handy, you can go even more old school with lead systems. Create monthly dividers for your shoebox. When you have collected business cards from a networking event, attach them to index cards and write notes about your prospect. Simply file the index card behind the date you’ve already agreed with the prospect to follow up or date in the future you intend to follow up. Once this system is rolling, you only need to check the calendar date within your shoebox and DO the follow-up.

If you have an assistant, virtual assistant or family member that supports you in this role, they can keep your lead systems organized and create your follow up list each day. A solopreneur doesn’t need to spend a lot of money on fancy software and services to stay organized though those systems do have their advantages when used properly.

Electronic systems can send you email updates and reminders to follow up. In essence, they can check the box for you. Any lead systems, no matter how simple or how complicated, require human input to make them work. It’s basic garbage-in, garbage-out that could hamper your success with any small business lead systems.

In the end, you have to be diligent, organized and thorough, no matter what follow up business systems you decide to use. But the bottom line is this: No lead systems – No business growth.

The ultimate gesture, the first impression…. THE HANDSHAKE!

When you shake a hand, it only lasts a few seconds, but it is during that time you have the power to influence and build rapport, whether your goal is to negotiate peace between Syria and its people, or whether you’re trying to sell a car.

In just three to 7 seconds it tells people how we feel about ourselves and how much we respect them

3 easy steps on how the HANDSAKE is properly done;

1- Look at the person in the eye and smile

2- Extend your hand perpendicular to the floor, thumb to the sky

3- Connect with a semi-firm handshake and three to five pumps and then let go

Did you know that someone could interpret a weak handshake with having a frail inner core… it is the firmness of your grasp helps someone determine your character or lack thereof during a meeting.

I challenge you to rehearse and refine your handshake this week!

Utilizing Your Team

Written by Jon Henry
Who is your best sales team?
[allow for responses]
There are three categories of your best sales team: members, your power team, and guests.

  1. Members
    • One on ones are critical to helping members answer the question, ‘How can I help you?“, for each other. Have we conducted a one on one with every member? If so, have we started a new round of meetings?
    • Are we informing the members on how to sell your services or product in the meeting?
      • Before the meeting?
      • With our sales manager minute? Are we wasting our time and the chapters time by coming unprepared for your minute? Fifteen minutes the night before can make a world of difference. Are we utilizing all the elements of your minute? (opening, message, story, asking for a referral, closing, memory hook, staying within time, making it interesting)
      • With our 10 minutes showcase?
      • After the meeting?
    • Are we developing the habit of recognizing referable moments during the week?
  2. Power Team
    • Our power team are members in our chapter who have complimentary services or products.
    • E.g. I created a rack card listing residential services that my power team can leave in homes. These services included snowplowing/landscaping, window cleaning, remodeling, cleaning, carpet cleaning, disaster clean up, and plumbing.
    • Have we developed a power team? Met recently? Brainstormed together? Taken action?
  3. Guests
    • Guests are potential chapter and power team members. Are we looking expand our sales team through inviting guests?
    • Guests can be sold on our services or products during our minute or showcase.
    • Guests can be convinced to refer us before and after the meeting through friendliness, interest, curiosity, and inclusion. Don’t under estimate the potential of a first impression with a guest.
Who is your best sales team? [allow for responses]
Let’s utilize our best sales team!

Value Added Services

Written by Franklinpr@aol.com

Offering value added advice

It’s no secret that we all want to do business with people whom we know and trust. So, how do we build rapport and create trust with new contacts at networking events? One way is by offering value-added advice–solid, helpful information provided out of a genuine concern for another person – without a sales pitch. It can actually endear them to you.

Let’s say you’re a real estate agent talking with someone at a networking event who isn’t ready to buy a home today, but is heading in that direction. You could say something like: “Well, I know you’re not interested in buying a home right now. But, when you’re ready to start looking, I highly recommend checking out the north part of town. A lot of my clients are seeing their homes appreciate in the 10 to 20 percent range, and from what I understand, the city is thinking about building another middle school in that area.”

By doing that you’ve just made an ally without being too salesy, and an ally can become a client in the future quicker than a cold call can. A statement like this demonstrates your expertise, so he or she will remember you when ready to move. This model works for consultants, CPAs, accountants, financial planners, coaches–just about anyone in a service-based industry in which knowledge is the main product. If you’re concerned about giving away your intellectual capital for free, look at it this way: few people are going to sign up to do business with you if they’re not sure you can do the job. In the absence of a tangible product, you have nothing but your technical expertise to demonstrate that you have the goods.

Give potential clients a little test drive to show how it would feel to do business with you. But don’t go overboard! Just give them something they can try on to see if it works. Not only will this open up a good conversation with new contacts while you’re out networking, if you play your cards right, whom do you think they’ll go to when they’re in need of your kind of service?
We all know that visibility leads to credibility, which, with time and effort, leads to profitability. In this case, a little helpful advice leads to credibility, which, with time and effort, can lead to profitability.

TWELVE QUESTIONS FOR MORE EFFECTIVE 1 to 1′s

Written by Jeff Wilson

TWELVE QUESTIONS FOR MORE EFFECTIVE 1 to 1′s

 The biggest problem most people have when doing a 1to1 with a fellow member that they may know the most effective questions to ask them. Below are 10 questions that will help get a clear answer on how to help the member get more referrals and get connected to the people that can help feed them. When asking these questions focus on just one person during the first part of the 1to1 and then focus on the other member next.

This will energize your 1to1′s and make them 200% more effective. Here are the questions you need to ask:

  1. Name a person or company you would like to be doing business with that you are not currently doing business with?
  2. What type of person or business is likely to be a great source of multiple referrals?
  3. What profession(s) in your contact sphere would you like to build a relationship with?
  4. What phrases might we hear in everyday conversations that would indicate a potential referral for you?
  5. Which past customer(s) best represents the kind of referrals you are looking for?
  6. What is the best referral you have ever received?
  7. Out of all the members in your chapter, whose customers are also likely to be good customers for you?
  8. What kind of referrals are you NOT looking for?
  9. Are there any new markets you are targeting for your business?
  10. What general types of customers or companies represent the best kind of referrals for you?
  11. What types of problems does your product or service solve?
  12. What types of products or services does your company provide?

Referrals and credibility

Definition of credibility

“Trust of belief in somebody based on their track record”  this is built up over time but can destroyed in a second!

Whats your definition of a credible BNI member?

trustworthy, committed, reliable, selfless, honest, integrity, punctual

When you give referral its your credibility on the line, there is a credibility curve and at some point on that curve we reach the trust point.

There are 5 steps which will make the biggest impact on the curve.

  1. Quality 121’s – not going around every member at speed. Its about taking time to get to know the person and their business and importantly the actions from the 121 and the follow ups.
  2. Get to know the members in your power circle – 67% of referrals come from within your power circle.
  3. Prepare for every meeting, going to a meeting armed with a referral for a fellow member is a great feeling and having your script prepared (not written on the back if a referral script!) or a visitor invited or a testimonial printed out means you have a contribution to make. 90 minute members within BNI are not the successful ones.
  4. Give without looking for the gain.
  5. Follow up – this is key to credibility, if you are given a referral and never make the call or contact the person that impacts on your credibility and also the referral givers.

Before your next meeting take a mirror moment

Have I done everything for my group I promised to do and am able to do?

Do I look the part?

What are my motives?

Strong members make strong groups where the business opportunities just keep growing.

THE PURPOSE OF BNI NETWORKING

The purpose of networking is not to sell something. It is to build relationships.  We shouldn’t confuse direct sales with the time and effort it takes to educate referral partners.

The objective of meeting here every week, and especially during one-to-ones in between meetings, is to form trusting relationships with other people so they feel enthusiastic about referring you.  Remember that the vast majority of income generated by our chapter does not come from doing business with each other.

It comes through doing business with people we refer to each other.

So how does it work?  Think of the letters VCP.

V stands for visibility.  People have to know your name and what you do.  That is being visible.  And that is where you are when you first join a BNI chapter.

Then comes C, for credibility.   Credibility is formed when people feel that you are a good person, they like you, they feel you are good at what you do, and, most important, they feel you have the ability to make their referrals really happy with your product or service.  Credibility is the time consuming stage.  It takes active participation in the weekly meetings and lots of one-to-ones.  How much time?  At the MSP training I went to when I started BNI the trainer threw out the number 9 months before this starts to happen.  I asked why.  He said he didn’t know, it just seems to happen like that.

The last letter is P, for profitability.  You have established your visibility. People know who you are and what you do.  You have established credibility.  They know you are good at what you do.  Now they start to refer you to their friends and business contacts.  That results in new business for you and, of course, more profit.  The funny thing here is that profit is kind of a by-product of the first two stages.  If visibility and credibility are well established, the referrals will just start to come.

So now it becomes pretty clear the difference between selling and networking.  Selling is effort to make a sale.  Networking is effort in forming relationships with the assumption that referrals will follow.   It is important to understand this difference, especially for new members who may want to see immediate results to their bottom line.  Profitability will come, but it takes time and effort to create the relationships that will make that happen.

Positive Attitude; Timeliness; Willingness to Learn; Reliability

This month’s theme is PROFESSIONALISM. 
Last week we looked at five important ways we recognize a professional.
In recap:
-Positive Attitude; Timeliness; Willingness to Learn; Reliability; Want to know about parson before discussing business.
This week we take another look at a few other ways we will recognize it.
Some of the things that we believe will demonstrate a persons’ professionalism are:
1.     Has a phone manner that stands them apart from their competition-it is a delight to hear from them when they call.
2.     Their attitude when calling you-a professional always asks if you have time to talk when they call you-simply as a matter of courtesy.
3.     Their responsiveness to phone messages-a professional has a policy about returning phone calls-and sticks to it.
4.     Adds value-a professional usually delivers just a little bit more than they said they would.
5.     Has quality products and services and only uses quality when they undertake a project
6.     Has a business card that makes it easy for the client to find the information they need.
7.     Demonstrates a willingness to learn-a professional is superbly knowledgeable about their product or service, yet is always ready to listen to another person’s point of view.

What is Professionalism?

What is Professionalism? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wilson
HOW TO RECOGNIZE PROFESSIONALISM (SERIES OF 4 EDUCATIONAL MOMENTS)
Part 1 of 4
Let me ask you a question. What is professionalism?
The dictionary defines “professionalism” as “the standing practice or methods of a professional as distinguished from an amateur.”
But in one word what is it?
It’s an attitude.
As an attitude it is something that anyone can have. It is free. There is no charge for it and no training course to teach it.
Anyone can have it.
But like so many things that are easy to get, many don’t have it or exhibit it.
So how will we know if someone has this thing called professionalism?
From our perspective it will be evident from things people do.
Sure you can also see it in things people say. But the best guide is in what they do.
So let me ask you that-how do you recognize professionalism in someone?
Some of the things that we believe will demonstrate a persons’ professionalism are:
  1. Their positive attitude-rarely do you see a real professional with a negative attitude. They see the glass as half full instead of half empty.
  2. Their timeliness-professionals do not show up LATE-they are the people who show up early rather than risk being late. When you refer them to your clients you know they will be early.
  3. Their willingness to learn-professionals never proclaim that they know everything; EVEN when they are the expert in the subject. They are the people who ASK instead of TELL.
  4. Their reliability-professionals do what they say they will do and under most circumstances you can bank on it.
  5. Their humanness-professionals always demonstrate their caring people skills by treating others as “people” rather than “resources.” They first want to know about you the person before they ask about your business. Usually they will remember what you talked about last time. And when something goes wrong the FIRST give you the “benefit of the doubt” before forming an opinion.

Next week we will look at more ways to recognize PROFESSIONALS and PROFESSIONALISM.

5 Questions that will help you leave a lasting impression

Written by Jeff Wilson
  1. “What Do You Like Best about What You Do?” This leads to more interesting conversation about the other person’s business, his likes and dislikes, his experience and so forth. This is a much better alternative than simply asking, “What do you do?” which doesn’t leave much room to maneuver after each networker has answered the question.
  2. “You Mentioned that You Were in [Industry]. What Got You Started in that Direction?” This gives the other person a chance to talk about personal goals and desires and to look favorably on the asker. It also gives insight into how dedicated she is to her profession and how proficient she may be at it.
  3. “Where Else Do You Usually Network?” This helps break the ice during that awkward period just after introductions and offers the chance to talk about something common to both parties, creating an opportunity to make an instant connection.
  4. “What Are Some of Your Biggest Challenges?” This can be used toward the end of the conversation. It allows the opportunity to learn about the other party’s reasons, passion and motivation for being in her specific business in the first place.
  5. “How Can I Help You?” If you decide the person you’re talking with is someone you’d like to have in your network, this is a good question to ask. Being helpful is the best way to start building a solid relationship.
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