Passion Is Everything – CRUSH IT!

March 2, 2010

 

All entrepreneurs dream. Successful entrepreneurs take action. Lot’s of it. Some are calculated, carefully plotting and planning every move. A rare few bring an artistic approach to business. Guided by passion and intuition, these natural born empire builders always know what to do, how to do it and when to make it happen. One more thing. They really enjoy what they do!

Meet Gary Vaynerchuk, New York Times best selling author of CRUSH IT! Why NOW is the time to cash in on your passion. Grab a cup of coffee my friend and settle in for a good read. The guy has an interesting story to tell.

At the tender age of eight years old, Gary V. operated multiple lemonade stands and hired other kids to actually sell the lemonade. In the eighth grade he ran a successful, money making baseball card business and at age 15 began working part time as a clerk at the family liquor store. Within a few years of going full time, Vaynerchuk grew annual sales at the store from $4 million to over $50 million!

How? By parlaying self taught sales and marketing skills learned as a childhood business mogul. Oh yeah, he also took the family business online with his wildly popular internet program Wine Library TV.

There are several core elements to Gary V’s success. Passion, fun, commitment to family, hard work and being the best in the world at something are a few of the biggies.

But there’s more to CRUSH IT! than philosophy. A master of personal branding, social media and video blogging, Vaynerchuk serves up an easy to follow blueprint for success. That’s right, your success!

I said easy to follow, not easy to implement. One of Gary V’s principals is to identify your passion. So go ahead, ask yourself, are you passionate about something? Do you have an all consuming, burning desire to achieve a specific goal or manifest a life long dream? Yes? Now is the time to get started. Read the book. CRUSH IT!


Society’s Limited Attention Span – Blame Seth Godin!

February 22, 2010

 

Video didn’t kill the radio star. Neither did TV. And digital media hasn’t buried ink and paper books. Never will. Sure, the latest and greatest digital delivery systems like Kindle, the IPad and whatever’s next, continue to morph the publishing industry with mind melting speed. But regardless of where change takes our old friend the book, ink and paper will always have a role to play in the marketplace of ideas. 

Standing firm in my belief that ink and paper survives, changes are fast and furious. Not only the vehicle of delivery, but content itself. Face it, society is suffering an intellectual crisis and publishers are scrambling to adapt to our increasingly limited attention span. 

Blame it on Seth Godin. Godin’s brilliant series of short, smart and wildly popular best selling books like “Tribes” and his current gem, “Linchpin,” have set the standard for every aspiring New Times best selling author and thought leader wannabe.    

Got something to say? Say it clearly and quickly. Be authentic, clever and lead a tribe of passionate, like minded people who resonate with you and your message. Become irreplaceable by being as much of you as you can be. Of course, it helps to be a genius with valuable insight and a meaningful perspective, but there’s only one Seth Godin. That would make him a “Linchpin” of media transition and trusted tour guide on our collective adventure to whatever’s next.

Be a Linchpin yourself! Just don’t take too long to show us what you’ve got! Right? Write!


Sub Sandwich – More Bread, Any Way You Slice It

April 8, 2009

 

by Lee Abraham

 

Last time out we looked at the importance of making a commitment to attend your networking group’s weekly meeting. sandwichNot just to blindly follow rules, but to build strong, meaningful relationships with your networking partners that lead to giving and receiving an ongoing stream of money making referrals.

 

So what happens when you really can’t make the meeting? Glad you asked!

 

Basic Etiquette 106 – Have a substitute represent you at networking meetings you can’t attend.

 

The first benefit of having a “Sub” is obvious: it demonstrates your commitment to the group. In networking terms, having someone represent your business keeps your Visibility intact and moves you toward Credibility, showing your networking partners some of the people from your world.

 

So far, so good. But there’s more to having a productive Sub than just lining up a warm body sit in your chair. For starters, you want to have a Sub who makes you look good.

 

Remember when we focused on how everything you do or say factors into your Personal Brand with other people, including your networking partners? Understand that substitutes are an extension of you. What they do and say will contribute to where your networking partners place you in the VCP Process®.

So let’s put the pieces of the Sub puzzle together with a few important key points:.substitutes-2

1) Who should sub? Someone from your company is a great place to start. A co-worker, boss, employee or anyone else affiliated in some way with your business is an obvious choice. Other prime candidates include anyone who can speak from first hand experience about what a great person you are. 

2) Sub’s Goal: to help the other members of the group like and trust you by sharing the story of a compelling, first hand experience with you

Although counter intuitive, specific and detailed knowledge of your products and services is NOT necessary for an effective Sub. Sure, the ability to speak intelligently about your business is a good thing, but only a bonus. 

The most elusive and valuable element of the VCP Process® is the underlying emotion your networking partners bring to the table as your “Bragging Buddy” when talking to prospects on your behalf and creating referrals for you. Having a Sub who can speak first hand about what makes YOU special is the best type of Sub you can find!

3) No Compete: Be sure your Sub does not promote anything that competes with a current member of your group.

4) Prep Work: Make sure your Sub is well prepared by explaining the two parts of the meeting when they will need to speak: strategy-1Giving your Sales Force Update to the group and Passing Referrals to other members.

Be specific in prepping your Sub. Outline how to tell the group about the type of referral you are looking for this week and encourage the Sub to share their own, warm and fuzzy first hand experience with you.

As for referrals, give your Sub any Referral Slips you have for the week to pass to your networking partners in your absence. This is much more powerful than the Sub simply showing up and saying they don’t know if you had any referrals this week or not.

Bonus Points: A Super Sub passes a money making referral of their own, either as a customer, or for someone they know who can do business with one of your networking partners.

5) Plan Ahead: Arrange for a Substitute BEFORE YOU NEED IT! Don’t wait until the last minute to line up a Sub, particularly when you know in advance that you will not be able to make a meeting. There are very few good excuses to not have a Sub. Yes, emergencies pop up at the last minute and sometimes it is truly impossible to make the meeting or find a Sub on short notice. No worries. It happens. 

But as the old cliché says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” music-gearAnd perhaps more than any other way to go beyond simply planning, is to create your own success by showing commitment to your networking group and having a great Sub represent at you at a meeting you can’t attend. 

Want to jump start your VCP? Join us next time when we step onstage and under the bright lights as a referral rock star, successfully inviting Visitors and cranking up the volume at your networking meeting, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow me on Twitter!


Weekly Meeting: Networking or Not Working?

April 6, 2009

 

ryan-seacrestby Lee Abraham

 

I’ll admit it. It took me a while to figure out this networking thing. Especially the value of meeting with other people face to face. Here’s the story. Way back in the mid ‘90s I was invited to join BNI (Business Network Int’l), a structured networking group to help grow my business. I was intrigued. And then I was told the group got together once a week to pass referrals.

 

At the time, I owned a Real Estate Appraisal company in Las Vegas and was busier than Ryan Seacrest on American Idol’s “Elimination Night.” Let’s just say I had my hands full with a few difficult and colorful authority figures (Loan Officers instead of judges) and other peoples’ desperate situations (Borrowers rather than contestants).

 

And although I had more work than I knew what to do with, I was changing my Target Market from the oppressive management style (“hit” the value or we stop sending you work) of the Banks and Mortgages Companies to the more intellectually rewarding practice of appraising for Lawyers and serving as an Expert Witness on a variety of Real Estate related lawsuits.

 

Bottom line: I needed help reaching out to the legal community to expand my client base. And the person who invited me to join BNI was one of the top Real Estate Attorneys in town. Can you say: mixed emotions? Yes, I liked the idea of networking, and I really wanted to build a relationship with this Attorney, but it was the once a week meeting that rubbed me the wrong way.

 

Admission of guilt: I didn’t see the point of getting together so often. After all, if I had something to say to someone in the group I could just call ‘em up and take care of business… right? Wrong! Motivated but under duress, I went through the motions. Guess what? The emotions followed. And so did the referrals!

 

Basic Etiquette 105 – Attendance at weekly networking meetings are critical to benefiting from a structured networking group.

 

Let’s face it, a lot of people expect to join a networking group, show up, tell the members about their business and then sit back and watch the referrals fly in. biz-meeting-5Sorry to burst your bubble, but success in networking requires time and energy. Why? Networking is all about relationships. Plain and simple. And nothing builds a relationship better than face to face interaction.

 

VCP Process®

 

Your first goal in a structured networking group is to achieve Visibility: people know who you are and what you do. From Visibility you reach for Credibility: people know you are good at what you do. And finally, the ultimate goal is Profitability: people send you business because they like you, trust you, and know you will make them look good in the eyes of the person they referred to you.

 

Coined by Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, these three stages of relationships among networking partners is known as the VCP Process®.

 

Trust me, you will not achieve VCP with your networking partners by sitting in your office on the phone and internet all day. If you are serious about building a referral network to grow your business, you need to invest time and develop relationships getting to know, like and trust your networking partners. Oh yeah, they need to get to know, like and trust you as well!

 

Don’t have the time? Let me ask you this. If your very best client asked to meet with you once a week as a prerequisite to sending you an ongoing stream of business would you find time? I’m betting you would. Write this down: Treat your networking group as your best client and it will be!

 

Build a Bridge, Get Over It

 

OK fine, I hear you. You just can’t make every single meeting.bridge From vacations and business trips to your child’s first Piano Recital and medical emergencies, life happens. Hey, get over it! Everybody’s got life happening, not just you. Like a wise man once said, “It’s not what happens in life that makes you successful, it’s how you respond.”

 

Let’s cut to the chase. We are talking about priorities and levels of commitment. Nobody expects you to be at every single meeting. That would be unrealistic. The answer? Find out next time with our discussion of having a substitute represent you at meetings you can’t attend, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow me on Twitter!


Twitter Success Formula: RT x @ (Twitter) = VCP (BNI)?

March 18, 2009

 

power-team2by Lee Abraham

Last time out, we looked into the three stages of a networking relationship: Visibility, Credibility and Profitability. Coined by Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI (Business Network Int’l) and world’s leading networking guru, the VCP Process® wraps the multi faceted and time consuming evolution of relationships from unknown stranger to trusted networking partner into a simple, easy to use formula.

Visibility – People know who you are and what you do

Credibility – People know you are reliable and good at what you do

Profitability – People send you business because they like you, trust you and know you will make them look good in eyes of people they refer to you.

VCP Online?

Old school networkers are sometimes labeled “hunters,” notching their well worn money belt for each business card collected and cold call made. And in many cases, the stereotype is warranted. Truth is, a lot of well intended and hard working entrepreneurs view business simply as a big numbers game: the more people they pitch, the more chances of hitting a home run. 

And that’s why the internet is so attractive. Networking online has huge upside for massive, international exposure at little or no cost. Blend in the potential for “Viral Growth” of your message, people telling other people, and you’ve got Word-of-mouth networking on steroids. At least on the surface.

From You Tube and Facebook, to Linkedin and Twitter, the internet has leveled the marketing playing field. Visibility to a huge audience is more possible than ever before. But here’s the rub, while the internet is very effective for Visibility, online-13how the heck can you reach Credibility, and ultimately Profitability, with people you’ve never met, and in some cases, have never even spoken to? 

Be Present

A well rounded online presence usually includes at least two, and often several more, of the most popular Social Networking websites. For starters, a profile on Linkedin or Ecademy is the cyber foundation needed to build a business network online. 

Viewed as professionalism and core competence, if you don’t have a profile online, (OK, let’s include the more social and less professional Facebook as well), you are facing a credibility challenge with your online Target Market. Call it the age of “information entitlement.” People expect to see your face, know a little about your background and experience, as well as how to contact you, so they can check you out further if they choose.

Next, a website or blog to showcase you and your work is also a must. Coupled with a Profile, a webpage rounds out the information on your company, products and services, as well as offering a glimpse into your personality and business philosophy.  

Are You Smelling What I’m Stepping In? 

Profile and webpage in place, you are now ready for marketing and promotion. Like a restaurant and customers, your internet presence only serves a purpose if the people in your Target Market visit to sample the goods. And we all know getting people to do anything is a challenge. 

Enter Twitter. A Visibility machine, smell1Twitter is a mass text messaging service where you send updates to ‘Followers” who “Opt In.” Let me reiterate: Followers choose to follow your footsteps, and in the bargain, smell what you step in. At least online. 

And because they’ve chosen to receive your updates, Followers are more receptive to directives, particularly if they are easy and non threatening. Like clicking a link to your latest blog post, for example. 

In other words, Twitter is a broadcasting mechanism for your Personal Brand, enabling you to communicate efficiently and effectively with the network you’ve built. Got something to say? Step up toward Visibility and start Tweeting!

Join the Conversation

Standing on your Twitter soapbox is an easy way to “join the conversation.” To play on the game board. To star in your own movie. Whatever the metaphor, the act of participating, engaging, and ultimately communicating with other people moves you and your Personal Brand from Visibility to Credibility.

Some of the most common types of Tweets include:

What you are doing

What you think

News

Cool links

Don’t take this personally, megaphone21but people only care about what you are doing if they admire you, want something from you, are responsible for you, or love you. Otherwise, you need to be doing something extremely interesting for people to care. 

Advice: save the updates on the bagel and lox you had for breakfast and that funny story of getting grossed out by the dirty nose of a person sitting next to you on a plane, for your memoirs. OK, once in a while go ahead and show a little flair with an American Idol pick or the overtime score of your favorite hoop squad, fine, but generally speaking, keep the personal byplay down to a minimum until you’ve got a ‘Following’ that cares.

What Were You Thinking?

What you think is another story. Please tell us what you think. Of course what you are thinking about, and how well you articulate the vision, will dictate if we care. Generally speaking, if you have a thought you think is interesting, share it. Chances are good some folks will agree that you’ve got something valuable to say.

For the less creative among us, Tweeting links to useful or fun websites, as well as news articles, inspirational quotes, jokes or photos you find interesting, are great ways to provide value to the people following you. 

Even better, be a Twitter Journalist, reporting first hand on events and news you are involved in or find yourself in the middle of. Now that’s interesting! People living vicariously through your experiences which they would otherwise never be exposed to (bagels and boogers NOT included) is the stuff that explodes viral growth of your Personal Brand.

Visibility in Action

Subtle point: everyone Following you sees your @replies. So even if you are replying to someone they’ve never heard of, your peeps see you working, and you gain big “V” in the process!

Interacting on Twitter starts with a reply (@reply) to something someone Tweets. action-2Sharing a similar experience, congratulating an achievement, agreeing or disagreeing on an opinion, or whatever, as long as you are interacting, you are working toward Visibility when you reply to another Tweeter. 

Let’s crank it up a notch. Did you find someone’s Tweet informative or valuable? Share it with your Followers by “Re-Tweeting” (RT) the message.

A good RT has two benefits. Not only will you enjoy increased Visibility with your Followers who appreciate the value you bring to the conversation with an interesting RT, but you jump start Visibility and instantly move toward Credibility with the person whose message you RT. After all, you are helping the original Tweeter leverage their efforts, and as a part of their promotional network you become valuable to them. 

RT x @replies = C

A good sign that you are gaining Visibility on Twitter is other people replying to your updates. Other Tweeters are obviously taking note of what you are saying and have something to add. Nice!

And you know you are navigating the tightrope toward Credibility when other people “Re-Tweet” (RT) your updates. high-wire-actIn other words, they like what you have to say and pass along your message and contact info to all the people following them. And if some of those people do the same, now you’ve got the Viral word-of-mouth campaign that lures millions of business people online every day.

Two words: Give Value. The more “@replies” and RT’s you Tweet, the more people you are interacting with and the greater the chance of those people caring about what you have to say and Re-Tweeting it. And the more RTs you get, the greater your Visibility and Credibility. At least on Twitter. 

Next time, we stretch the VCP limit to reach Profitability online with people you’ve never met, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow me on Twitter!  


MLM – Make Less Mistakes!

February 22, 2009

by Lee Abraham

 

hung-out-on-the-lineLast two posts we talked in general terms about MLM’s bad rep, particularly among the networking crowd. Bottom line: networkers know there is nothing more sacred than your integrity and Personal Brand, and yes, there are risks of recommending an MLM’er to someone you like and trust.

 

Face it, referring prospects to your Power Team exposes you to the possibility of your networking partner dropping the ball and making you look bad. And that can happen with any type of business, not just MLM. Either way, nothing kills the trust you’ve worked so long and hard to build than a prospect doing business with one of your networking partners based on your compelling, heart felt recommendation, only to have the referral go horribly wrong.

 

“It” Happens

 

Hey, it happens. Every once in a blue moon circumstances beyond the control of your Power Team partner get in the way of making a good first impression. That’s where communication skills come in. Call it damage control. We’ll spin those wheels some other time. Right now let’s keep our focus on avoiding mistakes rather than cleaning up a mess.

 

Power Team networking is all about quality control. If one of your networking partners proves to be more of a liability than a credit to your good name, you’ve got to cut bait and start fishing for someone new.

 

Even more important: before adding a new business to your Power Team mirror-2make sure the person operating the business has what it takes to make you look good in the eyes of the prospects  you will be sending their way.

 

Let’s extend an olive branch to all MLM’ers at large who may not know any better. So far, we’ve looked at the MLM puzzle from the view of the Power Team. Time now for a FAST180 as we change perspectives and piece together the do’s and dont’s of Power Team networking from the MLM’ers side of the looking glass.

 

Two Ears, One Mouth

 

Take a note: most people tend to shy away from strangers who act like they know what’s best for them before getting to know the person first. Presumptuous? Arrogant? Insensitive? Take your pick.

 

Unfortunately, these churn and burn fortune peddlers play the numbers game, preying on a weak minded minority willing to take a huckster’s “easy money” carpet ride simply because they were asked. Poor saps.

 

Listen: Power Team MLM’ers start relationships with new people by asking questions to get to know them and learn about who they are. Using the “Two Big Trigger Questions” we’ve explored in a previous post, are highly effective tools for uncovering needs the other person may have which a product or service from someone on the Power Team can satisfy, and result in a money making referral.

 

I hear the typical MLM’ers knee jerk reaction loud and clear: “Everyone needs more money and telling them about my business opportunity IS what they need!” biz-oppOK, fine, I get the concept that you help people make more money.

 

Now it’s your turn. I’ll be blunt: do NOT open the conversation with people you are meeting for the first time, either in person or online, by asking if they want to replace their current income in a few short weeks, or to join your rapidly growing team so you can all live the life of your dreams. It’s a timing thing.

 

Like it or not, shooting first and asking questions later is not how we build trust and gain confidence in a Power Team network. Or anywhere else for that matter.

 

Slow down tiger. Wait a moment or two. Power Team networking is all about farming, not hunting. Building relationships takes time. But the delayed gratification is worth it. How? Once your Power Team gets to know you, like you and trust you, they will begin to refer people to you who have already expressed an interest in your Network Marketing Business Opportunity!

 

Squeeze This

 

So that’s the payoff. A Power Team of “Bragging Buddies” who are talking to people on a daily basis and trying to send you business. Sit up straight and put on your happy face. Yes, it’s true: your Power Team understands that your business thrives on building a downline!

 

So far, it’s all good. The problem is taking a position that everybody should build a business with you before you even get to know them. Sorry. While a small percentage may jump on board, most people will be put off. Trust me, shoving an unwelcome income opportunity down someone’s throat the first time you meet them makes the Power Team partner who recommended you look bad. And that’s hard to stomach.

 

This is a big topic. So big, I want to make a meal of it. Ready to dig in? Consider the next serving an Online/Social Networking hors-de-oeuvre: Using a Squeeze Page pitching your business opportunity as the first website new people see is not a menu option.recipe-missing-ingredient1 Very unappetizing! In fact, we’ll crank up the heat and show you the door quicker than you can say, “I smell something burning,” if hard sell is what you are serving online.

 

For a few more overcooked, too spicy and otherwise inedible MLM dishes which have been forever banned from the Power Team kitchen, join us next time, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow Me on Twitter! 


Targets, Triggers and Bullets – Ammo Belt for Networking Sharpshooters

February 4, 2009


hunter2Power Team networkers know that building a business with word-of-mouth referrals is more about “farming” than “hunting.” More about nurturing relationships and cultivating credibility over time than the one-and-done, churn-and-burn cycle of today’s hype driven mass marketing. 

That being said, here are three words of war that typically strike fear into the heart of a dove (and boil bloodlust in the belly of the hawk) which we are going to give a FAST180 and redirect into the peace and love, good karma, Givers Gain® philosophy we hold so dear. Ready? Aim…

Target: As in Target Market: Who do you want your Power Team to find for you?

Triggers: – Questions your Power Team ask the Target to uncover a need leading to a money making referral. 

Bullets: Key “Bullet” points your Power Team shares with a Target in an enthusiastic and compelling recommendation explaining what makes you special, and why the prospect will benefit from working with you. 

OK fine, we’ve got some fun terms to play with. Now let’s put the concepts into perspective.

Targets = Six Key Situations

Your ability to recognize Targets that stare you in the face every day, yet hunter-2continue to overlook, starts by setting your networking radar to alert you when you come across, or hear about, anyone in the Six Key Situations:

Getting Married
Having a Baby
Building a Business
Getting Healthy
Building/Buying a House
New In Town

Triggers = Questions

Terrific! Now you know what to look and listen for. What next? Pull the Trigger! Ask a Trigger question that will uncover a need and create a money making referral for someone on your Power Team.

Last time out we looked at 20 Questions which are specific Trigger questions to ask someone in the Getting Married Key Situation. Guess what? We’ve got 20 Questions for each of the Six Key Situations! That’s 120 money making referral opportunities you are probably missing on a regular basis. 

Bullets = Value

And finally, once a need is uncovered, your ability to hit the bulls eye with a powerful recommendation biz-team1that consistently turns into business for your Power Team depends on how well you know your Power Team and how strongly you believe their business gives value to the prospect in the any of the Six Key Situations.

Find Target, Pull Trigger

As we said, the search for money making referrals begins by setting your networking radar on alert for the Six Key Situations. That’s your first task. But waiting around for someone to mention that they, or someone they know is getting married (or going through any one of the Six Key Situations) and then pulling a Trigger question is a slow draw. Too slow. Yes, you will occaissionally give some good referrals, but the idea is to give a lot of great referrals on an ongoing basis

Listen up: recognizing a referral opportunity is not about luck. It’s a skill. And it requires focus. As well as intention. Are you motivated to create high volume, high quality referrals for your Power Team? Yes? Here’s a secret: Opportunity is around the corner waiting to meet you! 

Two Big Triggers

So rather than sitting back, waiting for the Six Key Situations to cross your desk, be proactive and start searching. How? Talk to people and get in the habit of asking the following two “Big” Trigger questions in every conversation:

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?”

“What is the next big event coming up for you?”

Whatever the other person says in reply will lead you to a referral opportunity. How well you play the role of Bragging Buddy for your Power Team will dictate the number and quality of money making referrals you generate. More on that some other time.

Right now I simply want you to commit the Biggest Challengeand Next Big EventTrigger questions to memory. Trust me: the two Big Triggers will transform your life as a Power Team networker!

next-time-21In fact, they are so simple, and so powerful, I need to let the smoke clear so we can ask questions first and shoot bullets later, next time, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow Me on Twitter!