Monday, March 7, 2011

The Good: My Name is...

Back in December (2010), my friend, client, and referral source Julia Reich from Julia Reich Design ( invited me to participate in an open house, website launch, holiday party held at one of her client's offices.

The welcome sheet / guest book at the entrance allowed everyone to sign-in (not a bad idea for the host to follow-up with people, the list included name and email address). The welcome table had a sign that read something to the effect of, 'Write your name and how you know the host.'

Some people put client, some people put vendor, some people put friend or family member. I hadn't met the host yet. I did know Julia and I knew that the website launch part of the party was all about the website and branding work that Julia did for the client. So, for my name tag I wrote, 'Dave Makar' and 'Friend of THE website designer'.

The regular, 'Hi, how do you know the host' was changed to, 'Oh! You are a friend of the designer? And she's here? Can you introduce me to her? I want to see the site! There's the site on the monitor. How do well do you know the designer? I'm looking for a designer.' It was a great way to connect with more people - without selling my services (that's for others in my word-of-mouth network to do) and with letting people self select if they want to meet the fabulous Julia who just redesigned and re-branded the look of the host of the party.

As I was introduced and met people throughout the evening I had an instant way to connect these new connections to Julia. I always favor the in-person introduction when meeting a new prospect, referral source, future client, and friend. If you think about the last person you met and became good friends with - did you get connected by a third party in person? How did that change the speed that your relationship developed?

Next time you are at a networking event, consider promoting your referral partner, right on your name tag! It'll take a little imagination and creativity, but the results will be major deposits in your relationship.

Key Points:
  • Use your networking time to help others, not just to sell yourself
  • Be creative in how you help others
  • Make introductions on behalf of your referral partners
  • Make these connections face to face
  • Include a positive and supportive testimonial for your referral partner
  • Network with the mantra of 'Givers Gain'

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

As I traverse the Ithaca area and greater Tompkins County I hear a lot of different stories about networking and referral marketing. Until I come up with a better name for this series, I'll use the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Networking can be crucial to finding that next job

I was quoted in the Saturday, March 5th Ithaca Journal, Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin, and Elmira Star-Gazette on 'Networking for finding that next job'. Here's what I added:
Here are some more tips from David Makar, consultant with the Referral Institute of Ithaca, on how to network effectively:

* Be selective about which networking events you attend to make the best use of your time.

"Go to networking events where there will be people you can help or who can help you," he said. "Whatever your skill set is, you should try to find a group of people that matches that."

For instance, people who are interested in starting a high-technology business might want to consider attending a meeting of the Finger Lakes Entrepreneurs' Forum.

* "Use the networking event to set yourself apart from the competition," he said. "Clean your suit. Get a haircut. Get a car wash. ... This is your chance to make an impression on people. You want to look good."

* "Treat the event like you would treat your first day on the job," he said.

If the networking event will occur from 5 to 7 p.m., show up at 4:45 p.m. Arriving late means you've lost time you could have used to connect with people.

* "Bring your networking tools with you," he said.

That includes business cards, even if you don't have a job. Make sure they include your name, phone number, e-mail address and website -- if you have one -- that features your resume.

Offering your own business card is an easy way to prompt someone to give you their business card in exchange.

Also, bring your calendar so you can immediately set up meetings with people you meet at the event. It's easier to do this face-to-face rather than play phone tag later.

* Follow up after the initial meeting by phone, note card or e-mail.

"Follow up in some way that they're going to remember who you are the next day," he said.

For instance, if you offered to help someone, perhaps by providing them with some kind of information, include that information as part of your follow up.

Jean McPheeters from the Tompkins County Chamber was mentioned. I also mentioned the Finger Lakes Entrepreneur's Forum. Here are a couple links: