Target Market Clarity – Why the Six Key Situations Make it Easier to Give Referrals

May 30, 2011

Most transactions, regardless of industry or business category are the result of a consumer experiencing a life cycle event which requires the products or services of various vendors.

Successful business networkers are always on the lookout for these life cycle events to create referrals for their networking partners.

The problem however, at least on the surface, is the variety of life cycle events driving the economy seems enormous. How can anyone possibly remember all the connections between the products and services of their networking partners and the endless variety of challenges people experience in their daily lives?

Just think of all the different industries and business categories focusing on their slice of the marketing pie. From selling insurance or repairing automobiles to healing an aching back or remodeling a kitchen, it seems that every business is looking for its own, unique target market.

Six Key Situations = Six Easy Target Markets

In Money on the Table, we simplify the universe of potential target markets into “Six Key Situations” or life cycle events that are the underlying cause of the vast majority of referral opportunities in a structured business networking group.

  1. Business Builder
  2. Getting Healthy
  3. Getting Married
  4. Relocation
  5. New Baby
  6. Real Estate Construction, Remodel & Maintenance

By focusing on how each of your networking partners offers a product or service to a consumer experiencing one of the Six Key Situations, you will not only recognize more opportunities to create referrals, you will give stronger, relevant and more compelling testimonials that result in closed business for your networking partners.

Start with Your Product or Service

Many of the products and services from your networking partners will be obvious, others less clear but nonetheless powerful. For example, a Business Builder may know she needs the services of a promotional products person to build her brand but may be unaware of how an event planner can create a successful product launch, how the personal chef can save her money with healthy home-cooked food or the cleaning service can save time doing the housework, so she can spend more time building her business!

Understanding how different business categories from different industries provide a relevant product or service to each of the Six Key Situations starts with a review of your own business category and which of the Six Key Situations are the most productive referral circumstances for your business. More on this next time, when our adventure in networking continues…

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Sudden Impact – Beyond Hot Referrals

April 10, 2009

by Lee Abraham

money-in-the-bank2jpgEveryone loves a hot referral. On the receiving end it’s called money in the bank… Ca-CHING! For the giver, it’s more of a feeling. A warm and fuzzy tingle you get every time your networking efforts help build the business of someone you like and trust. Not to mention, a networking partner who is helping build your business in return.  

Two words: “Givers Gain®!

Coined by Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI (Business Network Int’l), the world’s largest business network, Givers Gain® is BNI’s philosophy of helping others first and then benefiting in return.

That said, hot referrals are great for both the giver and receiver. And yeah, as a result, everybody around the networking table walks away viewing you with a little more Credibility. But if you really want to rock the house and lift the energy of every single person in the room, bring a Visitor to the meeting!

Inviting Visitors 101 – Invite Visitors to VISIT, not join your group

Obviously, the primary reason you invite visitors to your networking meeting is to grow the group. Even a group that is productive at its current size needs to have a steady flow of Visitors simply to cover the natural attrition of losing people due to relocation, downsizing, changing careers or not renewing membership for some other reason.

Plus, even Visitors who do not submit an application to join your network are likely to do business with someone in the group. Studies show each Visitor does an average of $2,500 with one or more people in the group whether they join or not. 

Most important: A Visitor brings fresh energy and even if the other members aren’t consciously aware of it, everyone becomes a bit more animated. visitor1During Open Networking at the start of the meeting, every Visitor is a potential customer for each member of the group. The sense of new opportunity impacts everyone in attendance. And as the person who invited the Visitor, your VCP skyrockets! 

In short, Visitors are the lifeblood of a weekly networking meeting. Your ability to attract Visitors to the meeting plays a major role in your VCP with the other members, and in turn, the benefit you get out of the group. 

What to Say

Good news! Everyone can be successful at bringing Visitors to the meeting. Keep it simple and you’ll do fine. Here are a few basic tips to increase your results: 

1) Avoid creating obstacles that get in the way of someone who might otherwise visit your meeting. Top of the list: suggesting they consider joining. It’s counterproductive.  All the suggestion does is trigger questions of “How much does it cost to join” and “What’s the commitment?” Not good for your Visitor to Invitation ratio!

Let me repeat: Invite Visitors to Visit, not Join your group.

Why? Less pressure and greater probability of success. Trust me, run a good meeting and it will sell itself. Your job is to get the Visitor to the meeting. If joining is a good idea, singerVisitors will see it on their own. 

2) When Inviting, sing the group’s praises, tell the potential Visitor about how great the networking group is for your business and that you would love for them to see how it works. 

3) Tell the prospect about other business categories and people in the group who would likely be a good connection based on Contact Spheres and Power Teams.

For example, if the prospect is a Home Inspector, they would be interested to meet the Realtor, Mortgage and Insurance person in the group. A Photographer would love to be introduced to your Florist, Caterer and Event Planner. Capiche? Click here for a post on Contact Spheres and Power Teams.

4) Ask the Visitor to bring a stack of business cards and be ready to connect with a room full of your networking partners, people who might become a source of referrals for them. 

5) When inviting let the prospect know that there is no cost or obligation to visit, other than maybe a room or meal charge if you have one. Most structured networking groups allow Visitors to sit in on two meetings and then ask the newbie to either submit an application for membership or quit freeloading. 

More Than What You Say, It’s How You Say It

Best practice: be excited, show enthusiasm and speak from first hand experience. What do you enjoy most about the meeting? Talk about how your networking group has benefited you and your business. What business categories might be natural networking partners for the Visitor?

If you genuinely feel great about your group, the person you are talking with will feel it too. bull-by-the-hornsAnd like it or not, we make decisions based on emotion. Be smart. Tap into your positive feelings. Use your emotional energy to direct that quirky thing called “human nature” to your advantage.

I see the look of determination on your face. You are ready to take the bull by the horns and start inviting like never before. The problem? You aren’t sure who to talk to. Got it! Join us next time when we look into who you should invite to your networking meeting and why, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow me on Twitter!


MLM and Golden Goose Referrals

March 2, 2009

 

golden-goose-31by Lee Abraham

 

Regardless of business category, successful networking is all about training your Power Team to recognize prospects and seize opportunity to create money making referrals for your business. 

 

And that includes MLM. But here’s the catch. Although everyone knows MLM’ers make more money by promoting the business opportunity than the actual products, the MLM’er must first build Credibility with the group based on the products in the Power Team framework

 

Listen, I know MLM’ers want to jump straight into the business opportunity. Trust me, I get it. As the relationship blossoms, training your networking partners to bring prospects for your business opportunity is the logical next step. But it takes time and energy to get there. And we’re not there yet.

 

Like it or not, we’ve got another level of product based networking to discuss before we even think about serving up the business opportunity to our Power Team.

 

Golden Goose Two Step

 

Last time out we looked at Power Team networking from the vantage point of an MLM’er in the Nutritional Products business. Using Key Match Networking© we connected benefits of the nutritional products to the Consumer/End User in each of the Six Key Target Markets the Power Team is already trained to recognize and convert into business.

 

In other words, we’ve already trained the Power Team to be a “Bragging Buddy” for the Nutritional Product business healthy-couplewhenever they come in contact with someone who is Getting Married, Having a Baby, Getting Healthy, etc.

 

Now let’s raise the connection to another level, matching a “Golden Goose” Referral Source to each of the Six Key Target Markets. Think about it. If you want the Power Team to bring prospects who are Getting Healthy, you would love your networking partners to create referral relationships for you with other businesses that also thrive on the Get Healthy Target Market. For example, a Personal Trainer working with people who are trying to get in shape.

 

Target Your Target Market

 

Both the Nutritional Products person and the Personal Trainer will benefit from networking strategically together because they are both dealing with people in the Get Healthy Target Market. It’s an obvious connection.

 

Both can work for the same client, and compliment the other’s product or service, without competing against each other. And for those of you taking notes, both are in the Health and Wellness Contact Sphere. Confused? Read this post on Contact Spheres.

 

Face it: businesses from the same Contact Sphere are the low hanging fruit of networking. Not bad, just easy. And easy is good. So good, we always start building our Power Team with other business categories from our own Contact Sphere.

 

But the ultimate goal of Power Team networking is to recognize less obvious, and potentially more powerful relationships between businesses that appear to have nothing on common.

 

Quick examples:

 

Caterers (Events Contact Sphere) and Life Insurance Sales (Finance Contact Sphere) can both provide a valuable product or service to the “Getting Married” Target Market.

 

Printers (Business Services Contact Sphere) and Pet Sitters (Personal Services Contact Sphere) can both provide a valuable product or service to the “Business Builder” Target Market.

 

Your job: Power Team Investigator. money-trailDig beneath the surface and beyond the obvious. Challenge yourself to carefully examine each business in your network to work your way through features and benefits until you form a clear picture of the Target Market the other businesses serve. You will be amazed at the connections you find to your business!

 

Need more information? Click here for a post on Key Match Networking© between Contact Spheres.

 

Target the Golden Goose

 

OK, enough table setting. Let’s get to it, shall we? Take out your notebook and write down these three easy to follow action steps:

 

1) Learn your Key Target Markets

2) Train your Power Team to recognize End Users/Consumers for your Target Markets

3) Go beyond End Users and train the Power Team to recognize Golden Goose Referral sources for your Target Markets

 

I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s an entry level chart showing six of the most common Golden Geese for each of the Six Key Target Markets.

golden-geese-22

Can You Feel It?

As much sense as this Target Market stuff makes intellectually, the Power Team system only works at this advanced level when networking partners have an emotional investment in each other. Call it “chemistry.” Or the “X Factor.” money-boat2More than friendship and trust, when two people “click” and really care about each others’ best interests, the opportunities to create money making referrals magically begin to appear everywhere they go, and wherever they look. 

 MLM’ers, hoist your “Biz Op” flag and your buckle up your money belts! Next time, we look back fondly on the smooth sailing of product promotion and fearlessly travel into rough waters, training the Power Team to bring referrals for your business opportunity, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow Me on Twitter!


Success Recipe – Feed the Hungry

February 14, 2009


recipe-14By Lee Abraham

 

Every recipe has a critical ingredient or two that absolutely must be included. Forget the vodka and instead of a Screwdriver, you’ve just got orange juice. Leave out the yeast and your bread comes out like a cracker.

 

Same with networking. There are a few basic ingredients which cannot be overlooked in cooking up money making referrals for your Power Team, and in return, for yourself.

 

Last time out, we started from scratch, first identifying your Contact Sphere and then mixing in the Key Situations most closely associated with your business. New to the table? Click here to see what you missed.

 

Icing on the Cake

 

OK, great! Now that we’re all on the same page, let me ask you a question. If you are a Caterer (Events Contact Sphere) and do a lot of business at Wedding Receptions (“Getting Married” Key Situation), wouldn’t it make sense to network with a Jeweler, Florist and Event Planner so they could recommend you to their clients who are getting married? You bet it would!

 

All three of these business categories can send you, the Caterer, an ongoing stream of referrals. cake-24In other words, all three are a “Golden Goose” for your business.

 

Sticking with our recipe analogy, all three are icing for your Power Team cake. Left out of the mix, your network will still generate some business, but without a few Golden Goose referral sources, the results will never be as sweet as they could have been.

 

Want to do something great for the Caterer on your Power Team? Give compelling recommendations to a Jeweler, Florist and Event Planner, telling them that they absolutely need to meet the best Caterer in town, so they can refer business back and forth.

 

And regardless of what’s cooking in your business, you will never become a referral gourmet as a one dish wonder. Translation: You must be able to recognize a Golden Goose for all of the Six Key Situations, not just the Golden Geese for your Key Situations.

 

Feed the Hungry

 

Trust me, everyone on your Power Team is hungry for more business. And the more mouths you feed, the more motivated people you have looking out for your best interests.

 

Today’s “Hot Plate Special?” The management is proudly serving Golden Goose!

 

So get out your cookbook and take a few notes. Here is a short summary of a few Golden Goose referral sources for each of the Six Key Situations.

 

Building/Improving a Home: Contractors, Realtors, Mortgage People, Interior Designers, Furniture Sales

New In Town: Realtors, Moving Company, Property Manager, Cleaning Service, Cell Phone Sales, Office Managers

New Baby: Baby Clothes/Furniture, Birthing Centers, OBGYN, Office Managers, Clergy

Building a Business: Business Brokers, Business Owners, Office Managers, CPA, Advertising Sales, Computer Sales, Office Furniture, Printers

Weddings & Events: Any Event Contact Sphere category, Clergy, Office Managers

Get Healthy: Any Wellness Contact Sphere category, Office Managers, Sports Teams and Coaches.dinner-table-24

OK, who’s hungry? Me too! What do you say we sit down at my favorite table and cook up some business for each other, next time, when our adventure in networking continues…   Follow Me on Twitter!


Money Talks – Learn the Language

February 12, 2009

By Lee Abraham

 

bragging-buddy-53Last time out, we watched our favorite Realtor, Manny Goodbuys, create an ongoing stream of money making referrals for the Chiropractor in his Power Team business network. 

How? By giving an enthusiastic and compelling recommendation to a Personal Injury Lawyer and suggesting the two get together to talk about referring business back and forth.

A little further back in our networking adventures, we observed Dave the Nutrition Guy talking to an expectant mother about Pre-Natal vitamins and then asking a couple of  simple questions that resulted in business for the General Contractor, Attorney and Life Insurance person on his Power Team. 

What Questions?

Dave has been trained to recognize that people expecting a new baby often want to make changes around the house before the baby arrives. In our example, the prospect needed to enclose a covered patio off the master bedroom to serve as a nursery for the new baby.

Further, young parents almost always know question-art2they should protect the growing family with a Will and Life Insurance, but too often don’t take the time to do it. 

After asking a couple of questions and helping the prospect recognize their own need, he gave enthusiastic and compelling recommendations for the General Contractor, Attorney and Life Insurance person. That’s right, Dave the Nutrition Guy created money making referrals for all three!

Side note: Dave’s networking partners are even more motivated now and on the lookout to return the favor and make business for him.

Nuts and Bolts

Are you ready for the big money shot? Yes? OK, great! Write this down: Opportunity is often disguised as work.

As we mentioned, Dave the Nutrition Guy was trained to not only recognize opportunity, but how to seize it and create money making referrals for his Power Team. I would like to show you how to do the same thing. That’s where the work comes in. 

Here’s the process:

target-follow-up21) Identify your Contact Sphere
2) Recognize which of the Six Key Situations are no-brainer referral frenzies for your Contact Sphere
3) Make the connection of which other Contact Spheres also thrive on the Key Situations that work for you
4) Learn the Golden Goose referral sources for each of the Six Key Situations so you can create ongoing streams of referrals for your Power Team 

Your Business is Your Business

Every business can be categorized into one of six Contact Spheres. Sometimes more than one. Let’s save that concept for later. Right now we are going to keep things simple. It is critical to know which Contact Sphere your business belongs to as the first step toward building your Power Team. 

So let’s eat the elephant one bite at a time and start with a review of how to identify your Contact Sphere. Good news? I’ve already done my part… click here to learn what you need to know about Contact Spheres!

Key Match Networking™

Now that you know which Contact Sphere you are in, it’s time to identify which of the Six Key Situations connect with your Contact Sphere to create the most referrals for your business. red-flag-25Not sure what the heck these Six Key Situations are? Click here for a crash course on the Six Key Situations.

Key Match Networking™ uses these Six Key Situations as “red flags” to help you more easily recognize opportunity and generate money making referrals for your Power Team. To keep things simple, here’s a very brief overview of the top one or two best Key Situations for each of the Six Contact Spheres:

Events: Getting Married
Real Estate/Finance: Building/Improving Home and New Business
Wellness: New Baby and Get Healthy
Home Improvement: Building/Improving Home and New Baby
Business Services: Building/Improving Home and New Business 
Personal Services: All Six Key Situations

What’s Next?

Once you have identified the Key Situations that work best for your business, you can then recognize the other Contact Spheres that also thrive next-time-55on the same Key Situations as you. From there, we get into Key Match Networking™ among the Contact Spheres. 

Finally, recognizing the people and businesses that are Golden Goose referral sources for each of the Six Key Situations puts you in position to be a referral Creator for someone on your Power Team everywhere you go. So, what do you say we go there together, next time, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow Me on Twitter!  


Contact Sphere = Networking Platform!

January 23, 2009

Every business person I talk to these days is looking for more business. NOW! The sense of urgency is palpable. Unfortunately, overnight success stories are far and few between. Sad, but true.

 

And we all know advertising is no quick fix. Face it: consumers suffer from information overload, numb to a sales pitch from any person or business they are not already connected to. More than ever, people will only do business with people they like and trust.

 

Not too long ago, when someone needed a new product or service they were limited to asking friends and family about who they knew, or rolling the dice, trying to get lucky in the Yellow Pages. Now we can go to Twitter and ask our network for referrals in real time and perform our own Due Diligence searching Google.

 

Bottom line: Information is moving faster and faster, but the source is more important than ever. You and I will gravitate toward doing business with people we like and trust. And that’s true whether you are building your business online, in person or over the phone.

 

The same is also true in reverse. People you never met will contact you to do business if someone they know and trust gave a strong enough recommendation about you. Particularly if that certain someone is in a business related to yours. Say a Florist recommending a Caterer or a Business Coach recommending a Website Specialist or Marketing Guru.

 

So let’s start building your business by networking strategically with other businesses that can work for the same client as you and will compliment what you are doing without becoming your competition. Let’s start creating your Power Team referral network!

 

Ideally, the people on your Power Team will act as your “Bragging Buddy,” a networking partner who makes the prospect, in many cases their current client, understand that you are the best possible person they could work with for the particular product or service you represent. 

 

Copyright 2009 Lee Abraham

Copyright 2009 Lee Abraham

 Start With Your Contact Sphere

 

Your business fits into one of six time tested relationships known as a Contact Sphere, a group of related business categories which traditionally pass business referrals back and forth. Knowing which Contact Sphere you are in, and which business categories your Contact Sphere is missing, makes it easier to find some of the key people you are looking for. People who will help build your networking platform and become top performers on your Power Team.   

 Where Do You Fit?

 

The illustration above is limited to only six business categories per Contact Sphere, and is far from perfect… there are gray areas for several businesses that could easily fit into one group or another.

 

If you are in a profession that is not listed, choose the Contact Sphere that seems most applicable. Rest assured that whichever Contact Sphere you choose will not eliminate the other from your networking efforts. We simply have to start somewhere, so make a choice!

 

Action Step: Take a note on all the business categories listed in your Contact Sphere. Start thinking about people you already know in these professions, people who are good at what they do and are looking to grow their business.  

 

Next time out, we will “Find Your Keys,” and unlock the hidden relationships and referral opportunities among different Contact Spheres, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow Me on Twitter