Social Networking Method

Networking insights for the real world

January 2012 Monthly Referral Report

Welcome to my January 2012 Monthly Referral Report!

Each month from here on I will write a detailed report about the referrals I’ve received over the previous month. It ties in closely with the other advice that’s contained within the other posts on this site.

So why share this with you?

There are a couple of reasons:

To start with, it keeps me on track with doing the things I need to do on a daily basis. Publishing my results really forces me to practice what I preach and hold myself accountable for my performance.

Secondly, I do this to be transparent to you the reader. I’ve found that wonderful things happen to those who apply what they learn and I wanted to show you the ups and downs of putting into practice a systematic networking system.

Thanks again for coming by, and let’s get down to business.

January was an absolute bumper month for referrals. It is by far and away the biggest referral month I’ve had yet, and I don’t expect February to be as large. It’s taken almost 9 months to build the relationships that are now sending me transactions. The key take away is that my networking efforts are starting to turn into opportunities, which is exactly what I was hoping for!

It was a heavy referral month from my internal sources, but this make more sense as I spend time cultivating and working directly with them to find leads that I can help. The external referrals both came from the same source who had two different deals he was in the early stages of. I’m thinking that the external sources will be less frequent, but larger in size as the year progresses.

January 2012 summary

-          Business (equipment), $95k, internal partner

-          Commercial property, $3.5m, external partner

-          Commercial property, $1.55m, external partner

-          Business (line of credit), $250k, internal partner

-          Apartment building, $1.7m, internal partner

-          Apartment building (2), $4.6m, internal partner

-          Business (line of credit), $200k, internal partner

-          Apartment building, $785k, internal partner

-          Commercial property (2), $1.35m, internal partner

Total dollar amount referred: $14,030,000

Source split: Internal 64%, External 36%

One note that I will make is that a referral in my line of work will often not directly lead to a funded transaction. So while the volume of deals that are referred to me may seem high, the percentage that close is but a fraction of that number (perhaps only 25% will make it to the end of the process). That’s still a good number as my yearly company mandated goal is $6.5m in closed loans. My personal goal for 2012 is $12.25m though!

If you’re interested in networking and want actionable advice you can use in the real world then subscribe to this blog by putting your email in the box on the top right. If you enjoyed what you read here please share it with your friends by clicking on one of the buttons below!

Seminar Networking

Hosting and presenting at a seminar is a powerful way to build up your contacts

Leveraging your contacts to amplify your results is a key to setting yourself above the pack. The real trick is working out exactly how you can leverage your contacts to bring different people into your network.

In my line of work it’s important for me to become intertwined with the business community in my area, and help business owners reach their goals by providing funding so they can grow and prosper. One of the most important contacts I’ve made is an accountant called Mark. His practice deals only with dentists and physicians, which make great prospects for me and my services. I’ve built up my value to Mark over the last 6 months and we are now at a point where we will be able to leverage off each other.

Hosting a seminar is a way to leverage my relationship with Mark. This seminar will benefit Mark’s clients by presenting a range of different services that I can provide to them. Presenting is going to give me an opportunity to make new connections and to get my message across in an atmosphere of credibility and trust. I believe this is going to be one of the best ways of leveraging Mark as a contact and to bring new people into my network.

As with all networking advice that I espouse, I’ve tried to give as much value as possible to make this seminar a real win for Mark as well. He is also leveraging me for his own benefit. I’ll be paying for all of the costs of the seminar, providing a professional setting and delivering top quality content to his current clients – all of which build up his credibility in front of his customers. In addition to that, I’ll be inviting other dentists that bank with me that are looking for a new accountant, giving Mark the opportunity to build up his business at the same time.

This is going to be my first seminar that I’ve hosted so I’m not sure how it will turn out. But I can’t help but think that presenting to 20, 50 or 100 people at one time is more efficient and effective than doing it one by one.

If you’re looking for a rapid way to build up your contacts and want to add value to one of your important centers of influence, hosting a seminar for the benefit of their clients may be the way to go!

If you’re interested in networking and want actionable advice you can use in the real world then subscribe to this blog by putting your email in the box on the top right. If you enjoyed what you read here please share it with your friends by clicking on one of the buttons below!  

Doing Amazing Things at Work? Read this!

Miles getting into his tea

A few weeks back I was at a party in Oakland with a group of Berkeley grads who were sharing their experiences about the jobs they had selected after finishing university. Some were taking on business development roles with Silicon Valley start-ups, others were seeing Angel financing for their own businesses and then was Miles who had taken a recruiting role at a fast growing Silicon Valley start-up. He was telling me about how his new role needs him to travel the country and hire about 450 new employees in less than a year. A huge task for anyone, made even larger by the fact that Miles has never had to do it before!

After taking over his new opportunity for a while it became obvious that it provided him an incredible opportunity to network with other Silicon Valley HR managers who had been in similar positions. He could approach them as an equal and ask them for advice on how best to execute his task. Knowing that VC’s and other investors are always on the lookout for people who can get difficult jobs done (like ramping up employee numbers across the country) it can be a real stepping stone for Miles.

For Miles the challenge he had been set by his employer can be leveraged to help build his network and reputation in the Valley. It got me thinking that there must be thousands of people doing amazing things within companies that have never thought to approach people at rival firms to ask for advice and or share their wisdom. What are you working on at the moment that you can either seek out help or offer it yourself?

If you’re interested in networking and want actionable advice you can use in the real world then subscribe to this blog by putting your email in the box on the top right. If you enjoyed what you read here share it with your friends by clicking on one of the share buttons below!  

Top Networking Books

Here they are, my choice for the top networking books out there. The books I’ve picked all have actionable advice presented in a super straightforward way. Enjoy!

Top Networking Books. Not pictured is Networking with the Affluent which is on my desk at work.

1. Networking With the Affluent by Thomas J. Stanley 
This is a late 90’s classic that still packs a huge punch. This book is all about getting into the social fabric of your target audience. It focuses on networking with the wealthy, but the advice it espouses can just as easily be applied to other target groups. Don’t expect anything about LinkedIn or Twitter here, this is old school stuff.
2. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi 
Keith has climbed the corporate ladder and has come out on top. His book on networking is a confirmation that hard work pays off. While it may initially seem that Keith’s Ivy League School education got him where he is (and I’m sure it helped) it’s his day in day out netwokring strategies and mind set that are the most useful from this book.
3. Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg 
While this is a great book overall, what I’m most interested in sharing with you is Chapter 2 on networking. Michael has done a great job of interviewing people who have built big and profitable networks in different fields. This chapter has no fluff and is worth it’s weight in gold.
4. Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy 
Looking for a one stop shop on how to get your story onto the internet through social media? Then this is your book. It takes you through all the steps of building your personal brand that will let people find you and connect with you. This is where you can learn about how to maximise your efforts through blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s what I’ve used religiously.Grab these books and most importantly, apply what you learn. Good luck with your networking!

3 Steps to Ramp Up Your Connections

Connect with the Connectors of your Industry

Networking takes time. A lot of it. I’ve tried to find ways to condense what would take years to accomplish and do it months and then share that with you. What sounds great in a book doesn’t always work in the real world though. With all of that in mind I’d like to share with you how you can leapfrog the “build time” and start getting the benefits of a larger network in a fraction of the time.

Step 1: Find the “connectors” in your target group.

In Malcolm Gladwells’s book, Tipping Point, he introduced the world to “connectors”. Those people who just seem to know everyone. Gladwell explained that new information was more likely to come into contact with a connector and that if the connector chose to they could distribute it to their network. Thus helping to create the Tipping Point where an idea grabs hold and spreads like crazy.

Why this is important for us is because while becoming a connector may seem to be the goal you want to pursue it takes a lot of time to get into that position. In business a connector is more often than not someone who has been in the industry for 20 or more years and has a track record of accomplishments longer than your arm! If you’’re new to an industry or territory (like me) it can be very hard becoming one of these connectors in a reasonable length of time.

The beauty is that you don’t have to be a real connector, you just have to have a few in your network and get 80% of the benefits. Don’t spend 20 years becoming a connector, find someone who has already done it and connect with them! 1% of the time and effort for 80% of the benefits. Sound like a good deal? I think so!

Step 2: Find out what’s important to these people and how you can help them achieve it.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts (Do You Know the Point of Business Networking?), you need to put yourself in the shoes of the person you want to connect with and work out what’s important to them and then see how you can help them get it.

In my line of work (giving loans to businesses) there are small brokerage houses that do a very similar job to me. They go out and find business that need money and then find a bank that will lend the money to them. Usually these people started out working for just one bank as an employee but over time built up their contacts to a point that they have lots of deals coming across their desk and could make more money simply linking the businesses with the banks that could lend to them. These loan brokers are the connectors for my industry. As a result, I’m changing a large portion of my networking efforts to bring these connectors into my network. They need to find banks that are lending to businesses and are looking for people they can work with to deliver loans with excellent pricing and terms to their customers. That’s how I can help them.

Step 3: Repeat Steps 1 and 2.

Where there is one, there are others. Done it once? Do it again. Leverage yourself wherever you can to ramp up the reach of your network.

That’s it! Get out there and bring some connectors into your network.

Using Your Uniqueness as Way to Connect

Use your uniqueness as a way to connect with others like you

Everyone has something about them that is unique – it’s that something different that sets us all apart from the crowd. For me, it’s that I’m an Australian living in America. The people here seem to love my accent and Aussie sayings – brilliant!. It got me thinking about ways to use that difference to be able to not only set myself apart, but also to connect with others like me.

So I called the Australian Consulate in San Francisco and booked a time to meet with the Consul General and the foreign direct investment representative. I let them know about my position at the bank and how I could potentially help Australian businesses secure funding in the US. The meeting went very well, and we were able to uncover a few little issues that would need some further research and one or two opportunities. They were happy we met and were able to make some appropriate introductions to other people in the Bay Area.

What is it about you that is unique? And how can you can use that element to your advantage when connecting with other people like you?

Introverted Networking

Controlling the movie in your head can help you focus on positive outcomes

Understanding the importance of networking and going out into the real world and doing it are two entirely different things. Most people know that networking can be incredibly powerful in helping them reach their goals, but don’t follow through with the actions that can build that network.

Why?

For the introverted, the thought of meeting new people in an unusual setting or calling them up out of the blue is completely nerve racking. Fear of rejection and embarrassment, and questions of self-confidence loom over them ominously. Everyone feels these emotions when in a room full of people they don’t know. I’d like to share with you the three things that have helped me to overcome my fears while networking.

1. Sell yourself to yourself first. There is a great scene in the movie Boiler Room where a more experienced stock broker is lecturing a younger broker on cold calling: “A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t.” The same principle is true when we focus only on the negative outcomes that could happen. We tell ourselves that networking is embarrassing, that we’re going to get laughed out of the room, that we have no right to be mixing with these other successful people. We have to sell ourselves the fact that networking is about connecting with people who are just like us: looking for new people to work with and find solutions that are mutually beneficial.

2. Control what you focus on. Connected with the point above is a little exercise that I use to control the movie that runs through my head when I get a little nervous and my self-confidence decides to take off without me. When you catch yourself thinking you’re out of your depth, do the following steps:

- Focus on the discouraging movie that is currently playing in your head. Remove the colour from the picture so that it becomes black and white. Then, shrink the picture until it disappears in the distance. Repeat this process until the negative move you have running in your head loses it’s potency.

- Next, replace your negative thoughts with empowering ones. See yourself connecting with people with ease, smiling and shaking hands, having meaningful conversations and arranging times to catch up in the future. Make the image bright with colours, zoom in so the picture is huge and directly in front of you. Repeat until that feeling of confidence returns.

Those two steps may sound a little “woo woo” at first, but they have worked dozens of times for me. Like the old saying goes, you get what you focus on. So focus on what you want.

3. Start small. Start with one call to someone you’ve wanted to reach out to. Go to a small local networking meeting. Whatever your fist step, make it manageable. The most important thing is to begin your adventures in networking. Once you’ve proven to yourself that you’ve beaten your fear of networking, work your way to bigger events and more difficult people to get a hold of.

Are You Focusing On What Matters?

Focus on what matters most

Have you ever achieved great results then stopped doing the actions that got you those results? It’s something that I realized today. In my field of work commercial real estate agents always have new (and big) transactions on the go, which translates to big business loans if I can fund those transactions. I focused a lot of energy a few months ago on getting out, meeting agents and forming a bond with them. But lately I’ve been caught up with getting loans approved and funded (a very good thing!) and networking with other groups which has meant that I haven’t spent anywhere near as much time making new connections with commercial agents. And now my pipeline of loans is suffering because of it.

“What’s the point of this story?!” I hear you asking.

Are there people or groups that you used to network with regularly that you know would give you huge results but haven’t for a while? What’s stopped you from that winning formula? The one thing you should remember after reading this post it is to focus on what matters. Focus on making the connections that give you the biggest impact. Find that important group and offer them value, then they won’t be able to resist connecting with you. Don’t get caught up with the daily hum drum and forget the actions that lead to your past successes.

Put Your Networking on Autopilot

Put Your Networking on Autopilot

One of the most common questions I am asked is “How do I get started with networking?” There are so many different techniques and tactics available to help you reach your networking goals, sometimes it seems all too daunting.

Here is what I think about all the techniques and tactics… they don’t matter. Yep that’s right: they don’t matter! All of the options on how to connect with people are just that, options. You can take them or leave them. People generally gravitate to the methods that suit them naturally and that’s great. But there is one important factor that is often overlooked. And it’s this factor that makes all the difference.

Networking is a habit. It’s as simple as that. It matters less which method you utilize on any given day, much like when an athlete changes up the bicep exercise in their routine. It’s not so much the exercise that builds the muscle, it’s the fact that they do it every day that counts. Aristotle knew this fact when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do.”

You may be thinking, “That sounds OK but I’ve got plenty of bad habits I’ve tried to change over the years without any luck. Why should making networking a habit be any different?” Searching deep inside for your reason to work on this area of your life is a personal thing that you should spend some time thinking about. For me it is more a matter of necessity rather than nicety. I need to do well in my job to keep it, and to do that I need to network with people.

What I can share with you is a way to make your networking a habit. It doesn’t rely on willpower or any superhuman exertion of discipline.

  1. Forget your end goal, focus instead on starting your everyday actions. When you are starting out I want you to forget your end goal after you have set it. Counter-intuitive? It’s meant to be. Thinking about your final large goal can be intimidating and crush your enthusiasm within a few days. What you want to build in the first few weeks is consistency, that’s all.
  2. Be as specific as possible with when, how and for what length of time your networking activities will take place.The more specific you are with the details the less you have to think about them again once they are set. This makes it easier to “just do” when you need to.
  3. Record the progress of your actions at the end of each day. Notice I said the progress of your actions, not your results. If you are doing the right things, you’ll get the right results. What we are focusing on is getting the actions to become automatic. Being aware and accountable for your actions each day will help immensely with this.
  4. Rest after you’ve finished your set networking activities. I don’t mean go and have a nap (although I’m a big fan of napping in the afternoons to power back up). I mean take in 10 deep breaths, drink some water and have a walk around for 5 minutes. It’s as important to recover from a set action as it is to execute it well.
  5. Repeat every day.

My networking ritual looks something like this on any given day.

  1. I’ve got my goal of how many deals I want to close every month, but when I start my networking every morning all I’m interested in are the two centers of influence that I’m going to speak to that morning and forget everything else.
  2. Sitting at my desk with my computer up, a bottle of water next to me and my phone within reach signals that I’m about to start networking. My designated length of time is 30 minutes and it’s split up like this. 10 minutes researching people I want to connect with, 15 minutes of calling/leaving voice mails and 5 minutes of recording my actions.
  3. At the end of the day I review my notes from the networking session in the morning and add any other networking events that took place during the rest of the day. I then file that piece of paper away and review it again every two weeks to check for patterns.
  4. I like to take 10 deep breaths (5 seconds breathing in, 10 seconds holding and 5 seconds breathing out), having a big drink of water and stretching. My hamstrings are pretty tight and stretching is one of those things I know I need to do everyday so I built it into my networking routine.
  5. Do it all again the next day.

That’s it! I hope this post helps with getting you started and puts your networking on autopilot!

Please post your comments and thoughts on this or any other post at www.socialnetworkingmethod.com

Do You Want to Achieve in 13 Months What Takes Others 18 years?

Do You Want to Achieve in 13 Months What Takes Others 18 years?

I was recently listening to a speech by Ori Brafman, author of Click, at Stanford and was really intrigued by one of the things that he was explaining. Where I work they are big on “actions”, you know, the things you do. They will measure them, monitor them and report them. All in an effort to keep us on track and achieving our goals. I’ve proposed a lot of different actions that you as a budding networker can take to get yourself moving in the right direction as well. What Ori was speaking about was however the “effectiveness” of those actions. This is what is sometimes missing from many training programs that teach everything from how to learn piano to how to learn Spanish. They tend to focus on the actions that need to be taken but don’t explain how they can be most effective. 

Being someone who believes very heavily in the 80/20 rule, working to increase the effectiveness of my networking actions I was very interested. Before we continue I’d like you to answer yes or no to the following three questions:

  1. I find it hard to imitate behaviour of other people
  2. I have trouble changing my behaviour to suit different people or circumstances
  3. I can make impromptu speeches on topics even if I have no information
What Brafman explained was the concept of self-monitoring. Specifically that high self-monitors were able to be more effective in social interactions in forming a bond with the person they were interacting with. High self-monitors would have answered the three questions above as no, no, yes. 

His point was that natural high self-monitors are able to form a connection with someone very easily and they do this by modulating their interactions to suit the person they are interacting with. I don’t mean being “fake”, I mean that they focus on commonality, they mirror body language, tone, timber etc. They make themselves seem similar to the other person and meet them where they are.

I was most impressed with the following finding he cited. He explained that it can take a normal person 18 years to reach the center of a network (presumably the best place in a network to be!). For a high self-monitor, it takes all of 13 months. Yes, MONTHS! Not only that but high self-monitors get promoted quicker and make more money.

Alight, so you’re sold on the benefits of being a high self-monitor. What do you do now? Here are a few effective actions you can take:

  • Pay close attention to the person you a interacting with. Focus on how they stand, talk, gesture etc. Try to mirror those qualities. Be careful not copy as that can backfire and make you look odd. You want your body and voice to subtly communicate that you are similar to them.
  • Find commonality with the person you are speaking to. Late night talk show hosts are great at this. They bring a guest on and then they swap stories about something they have in common.
  • Be aware of your environment. Where are you? What is acceptable behaviour there? A perfect example of this is the loud talker at a quiet restaurant. Change your behaviour to suit your surroundings.
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