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Network Value Add (NVA)

Network Value Add includes the four activities that add real value to your network.  Without all four these activities, it's not likely you'll have amazing success networking.  Embracing all four and your business will never be the same!

*Reporting Introductions Given and Inviting Guests are both coming soon.

Introductions!

Introducing vs. Referring DOWNLOADABLE PDF Over the past few training topics, we’ve been learning about a crazy concept I call Network Value Added (NVA) and how we can add value to our network both in and out of Bold Networking.  There are literally dozens of ways to add value; however, we focused on a few…

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Showing Up!

Showing Up – Adding Value to Your Network Printable Training Topic Worksheet I get asked a lot about Bold Networking’s attendance policy, so I thought I’d share a little, and let’s discuss why showing up matters so much for your networking events. A lot happens when we show up every week to network.  Ultimately, people…

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Inviting Guests!

Inviting Guests DOWNLOADABLE PDF One of the greatest ways to add value to your network (aka Network Value Added, NVA), is to be constantly and consistently inviting other professionals to Bold Networking events in your area.  Why Invite Guests to Events So, how does inviting guests to your area events add value to your network? …

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Connect Meetings!

Connect Meetings – Adding Value to Your Network Printable Training Topic Worksheet One of the most effective ways to get to know your networking partners is to have Connect Meetings, which are essentially face to face, getting to know each other appointments.  By getting to know our networking partners, we will be better equipped to introduce them…

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Connect Meetings!






Connect Meetings – Adding Value to Your Network

Printable Training Topic Worksheet

One of the most effective ways to get to know your networking partners is to have Connect Meetings, which are essentially face to face, getting to know each other appointments.  By getting to know our networking partners, we will be better equipped to introduce them to their ideal prospects and perhaps even deepen relationships based on knowing them better, liking them, trusting them, and valuing what they offer to their clients.

Following are a couple of tips that might help you maximize the value of your connect meetings, a few things to avoid when having effective connect meetings, and a handful of great questions to enrich your connections.

If you’d like to take connect meetings to a whole new level, please consider work that has been done over the past couple of decades by Dr. Arthur Aron at the University of New York in the area of accelerating closeness.  Dr. Aron concluded that the fastest way to closeness included staring into the other person’s eyes for four minutes uninterrupted and both in complete silence.  Through several additional studies, there are another 36 questions that accelerate trust, closeness, and authenticity.  Individually or combined, these two exercises have proven to start and improve relationships.  If you and your connect partner are both Bold enough to try either or both of those exercises, please share the outcomes with me!  I’ve attached a worksheet with the 36 Questions.

Six Things to Avoid For Effective Connect Meetings

  1. Pitching – the point of a connect meeting is not to sell anything.  By pitching, you’re likely to put the other person on the defensive and you are likely to stifle any future introductions.   By building this relationship, you are likely to get introduced to their entire network vs. trying to sell the one person in front of you.
  2. Recruiting – nor discussing business opportunities without your Connect partner’s advance permission.  As excited as you may be about your opportunity, if you don’t have advance permission, you are likely to make the other person uncomfortable and not get the result you are seeking in the first place.  If you have their permission, in advance of the meeting, or they ask you to share any opportunity, it’s totally okay to discuss.
  3. One-sided conversations –  connect meetings are conversations between two professionals to learn more about each other and their ideal prospects.  The only way to learn something about someone else is to ask meaningful questions and then actively listen to understand and clarify their answers.
  4. Timing Issues – postponing, being late, or canceling (especially last minute) convey that we don’t respect their time or our own and may convey that you don’t value the other person.  Also, it may reflect on how we will treat any referrals given in an unprofessional manner.
  5. Open-ended meeting length – it can be very easy to have longer than necessary connect meetings.  Let’s face it, hanging out with a new friend is typically a lot more fun than working.  So, unless you are having a connect meeting outside normal productive time, it is best to set a start and stop time and respect each other’s time and productivity.
  6. Emotionally charged topics – some topics can be abrasive and perhaps aggressive.  Avoid talking about politics, sex, religion, and other emotionally charged topics.  Such topics, while great for debate, can quickly derail an otherwise great relationship.  With this, include the use of profane language unless both parties are totally comfortable, as well as others within earshot.

Seven Secrets for Great Connect Meetings

  1. Curious Mindset – you’re getting to know someone and being curious helps us convey we care enough to be curious and ensures that we ask great questions.  Even though you may know someone in a similar profession or even in the same company, your new friend may have a completely different perspective and definitely has a uniqueness.
  2. Be prepared – research your new friend using social media.  Learn what you can about them on social media and elsewhere on the internet including reading articles about them and what they do.  If appropriate, do a little homework on their company and interests.
    • Learn what you can about their DISC personality traits (Dominant, Interactive, Stabilizer, or Cautious), so you can ask better questions.
    • Learn about their hobbies and interests and what drives them when they aren’t working.
    • Learn anything you can that will add to the conversation and communicate that you invested the time to learn more about them.
  3. Actively Listen – listening is the most fundamental component of interpersonal communication skills. Mastery of this one skill is absolutely critical to success in all of our relationships.  An earlier article on Active Listening might be helpful.
    • Minimize distractions – nothing conveys you don’t care as much as checking your text messages, playing with your smartwatch, or sending emails during a connect meeting.
    • If you’re easily distracted, like me, position yourself with distractions out of view like TVs, picture windows, doorways, etc.
    • With permission, take notes and clarify details.
  4. Safety – keeping your new friend feeling safe and non-judged helps them to openly communicate and connect.  By communicating with our “Nurturing Parent”, as discussed in our earlier training topic Keeping Your Prospect Safe, we can nurture better conversations.  The manner in which we ask questions, our body language conveys judgment, and the words we choose can greatly impact our conversation.  This is the companion mindset for not selling or recruiting during a connect meeting; however, this is much deeper and requires a greater degree of empathy.
  5. Use Mutually Agreed Agendas with Outcomes – it is easy to get off on the wrong foot if we aren’t on the same page.  By clarifying the time, both start and stop, what their agenda is and then ours, and finally any needed outcomes like scheduling our next meeting, connecting on social media, and any follow-up can be super helpful.
  6. Have Extra-ordinary Grace – most people aren’t trained in Bold and probably haven’t learned most of these mindsets and techniques.  In fact, they may try to sell you or recruit you quite aggressively.  If you’ve set a Mutually Agreed Agenda, it will be much easier to redirect the conversation; however, a little grace goes a long, long way.  It’s okay to keep them safe and remind them of why you are getting together and that includes getting to know the problems they solve and their ideal prospects so you can actively connect them with others in your network that might need to know them.
  7. Continue to Add Value – Following a Connect Meeting, you can continue to add value in many ways.  For example, you might consider:
    1. Providing introductions or referrals, resources, and additional connections within 24-48.
    2. Connect on and leverage social media like LinkedIn and Facebook.  Like each other’s personal and business pages and profiles.
    3. Post a selfie of the meeting and share their ideal clients or testimonial.
    4. Create a Facebook Live promo video.
    5. Send a thank you card.

Great Questions for Connect Meetings

  1. Profession
    • Of all the things you could do, why did you choose to do what you’re doing now?
    • What do you want to be when you grow up, if ever?
    • What’s required to be in your career?
    • If you could change one thing about your profession, what would that be?
    • How do you measure your success in your profession?
  2. Interests
    • What do you do for fun?  Hobbies, charities, etc.
    • Are you from this area?  Typically a pretty safe question
    • What brought you to the area?
    • Family questions – are you from a big family?  Where are they from? Any kids?  Grandkids?
    • Do you belong to any interesting organizations or groups?
    • Do you have any exciting plans on the horizon?  Vacations, cruises, trips?
  3. Ideal Prospects
    • What problems do you solve for your ideal prospects that your competitors might not do as well?
    • What can you tell me about your ideal prospects?  Specifics?
    • How will I know when I’ve met when of your ideal prospects?
    • What is the best way for me to introduce them to you?

Printable Training Topic Worksheet

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Inviting Guests!





Inviting Guests

DOWNLOADABLE PDF

One of the greatest ways to add value to your network (aka Network Value Added, NVA), is to be constantly and consistently inviting other professionals to Bold Networking events in your area. 

Why Invite Guests to Events

So, how does inviting guests to your area events add value to your network?  Clearly, there is a self-serving interest I have in your helping to market Bold Networking, as I’d like Bold Networking to expand internationally and impact as many lives as possible.  However, it is definitely a win/win, as you…

  • Can easily prospect for your ideal clients in a very low-pressure method of simply inviting them to meet the professionals you network with.
  • Expands your influence by adding Centers of Influence (C.O.I. from an earlier training topic analogy of COI ponds vs. KOI ponds.)
  • You also expand the influence of your fellow teammates by expanding their associations
  • You are able to solve bigger and more diverse problems through the strength of your growing network
  • More referrals are possible
  • You look cool in front of your friends because you have a lot of other friends

 

Just this evening I was visiting with one of our team’s coaches about the topic of inviting guests and what makes for amazing teams.  It is actually quite simple when it comes to growth, get 2 to 3 teammates inviting a couple of guests each and every week.  And, if at all possible, get everyone invite a single guest every week (two if they are being wild and crazy).  A team like that cannot be stopped and will experience explosive growth!  That’s it, nothing fancy.

Who to Invite

So, if you’re on board with the idea of inviting every week, and I really hope you are, who might you consider inviting?

  1. Those professions you are most likely to give an introduction to.  For example, a realtor may be sending a ton of referrals to a heat and air, roofing, handyman, home inspector, and mortgage person.
  2. Those professions you are most likely to get introductions from.  For example, a realtor may typically receive introductions from a credit repair company, apartment leasing manager, and a disaster restoration company.
  3. Those professions most likely to be in a networking group.  For example, Financial Advisor, P&C Insurance Agent, Life and Health Insurance Agent, Mortgage Lender, Health and Wellness, Accountant/Bookkeeper/Payroll, Voluntary Benefits, and Marketing Services (Web, Print, Promo).

Where to Invite

Now that you know who might make for a great invitation, where do you find them?

  1.  Other networking events – chamber of commerce, coffee with friends, Meetup.com, Eventbrite, Professional Associations etc.
  2. LinkedIn – this is my number one preferred way
  3. Search Engine to cold call
  4. Referral from other professionals in your network
  5. Facebook – request a recommendation

Making the Invitation

Personally, I just come out and ask.  I may say something like, “Bob, this may not be a fit for you and that’s okay, a few of us are actively seeking a __________ to send referrals to.  Do you know anyone that might be open to coming to lunch to meet some of the professionals I network with and perhaps gaining more referrals?”

Once the invitation is accepted, I recommend sending a calendar invitation, following up, and perhaps even confirming the day of.  Some people I’ve followed up for months before their schedule and business need would even allow them to break free for lunch.  Others, were a one call cold call and they showed up, joined, and have both given and received dozens of referrals and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business.

DOWNLOADABLE PDF

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Showing Up!

Showing Up – Adding Value to Your Network

Printable Training Topic Worksheet

I get asked a lot about Bold Networking’s attendance policy, so I thought I’d share a little, and let’s discuss why showing up matters so much for your networking events.

A lot happens when we show up every week to network.  Ultimately, people only do business and introduce people that they know, like, trust, and value (K.L.T.V.), and your weekly meetings are a great place to start and nurture those relationships.

Six Things Showing Up Increases

  1. Know – over the course of several networking meetings your teammates get to know you and the unique problems you solve for your ideal prospects.  Also, your teammates, through repetition, learn most of your 60-second commercial and can often utilize parts to help you prospect and pre-qualify your prospects.
  2. Like –  shared experiences and contact helps grow how much we like each other.  If you contrast that with someone you rarely see, how much does “like” grow?  Not much right.  In fact, the people we typically care about most are the people we meet with regularly.
  3. Trust – learning of the stories where our teammates have helped their clients and have done the right thing for them adds to that trust as does the consistency of them showing up week after week.
  4. Value – again learning of the stories where our teammates helped create unique value for their clients by solving their problems, and as we learn what problems they solve their value increases to the market.
  5. Dependability – by showing up each week your teammates learn that you are dependable.  If you only show up when it’s convenient your teammates may wonder how you show up for clients.
  6. Team Value – more possible referral partners increase the perceived value for visitors making it easier to rapidly expand your network.  If half the team doesn’t show up for an event, visitors will likely lose interest in a small team with little commitment; however, having twice the number of professionals engaged helps to add value.
  7. Face to Face referrals – many of our teammates will bring your ideal prospects to networking meetings to introduce you in person and if you’re not there it may be very difficult to introduce you in person.

Six Tips for Showing Up and Adding Value

  1. Make Showing Up Every Week a Priority – while we do have a relaxed attendance policy, you’re still expected to show up 3 out of 4 meetings.  My suggestion is to seldom miss barring major catastrophes.  Act as if this is the most important meeting of the week or a class you signed up for at college and had to buy a $1,000 textbook.
  2. Show up early and stay late – the extra time and commitment to your teammates will grow and deepen relationships.  Plus, you’ll have a chance to meet visitors and help them feel welcome.
    1. Block off the time in your calendar and make your meeting time non-negotiable.  Clearly, we are all very busy people and get even busier as referrals grow.  Those that make their meeting time non-negotiable, typically receive far more referrals.
    2. Not showing up and not showing up on time may signal to your referral partners that you may be unreliable and you may miss introductions.
  3. Be prepared – being prepared helps add to the quality of each event and increases the amount of interaction
    1. Print, fill in, and study the weekly training topic.  This adds value to the meeting as a whole and possibly to your personal growth.
    2. Prepare for your weekly presenter – review their social media accounts and web pages to learn more about them, their company, and industry.  Formulate a couple of questions about them and their business to ask following their presentation.
  4. Actively Listen and Participate – it’s one thing to be at the meeting and yet another to be engaged in the meeting.  By being prepared and actively participating, you’re more likely to have fun and get noticed.
    • Minimize distractions – nothing conveys you don’t care as much as checking your text messages, playing with your smartwatch, or sending emails during a weekly meeting.  Turn off your electronics, kill notifications, and be 100% present.
    • If you’re easily distracted, like me, position yourself with distractions out of view like TVs, picture windows, and if online, turn off pop-up notifications.
    • Actively listening also means not actively talking.  Avoid like the plague talking over your teammates including 60-second presenters, gratitudes, team leaders, and 6-minute presenters.
    • Ask questions and add dialogue to the training topic when possible.  Training topics are intended to be completely interactive and immersive, so please participate in your team training.
  5. Be Strategic and Intentional – I find it is incredibly effective, whether they be Bold Networking events or not, to have an intentional strategy.  For example, if I intentionally seek one new visitor for each meeting, actively seek at least one introduction for a teammate, and schedule one connect meeting following each meeting, I’ll add enormous value to the meeting and my personal network.  If, on the other hand, I show up and hope something happens, I’m far less likely to add value and far less likely to grow my personal network.
  6. Invite Guests each and every week – inviting guests is one of the most productive activities possible when it comes to professional networking
    1. Enables you to prospect for your own clients in a very low-pressure manner, as you are simply inviting your ideal prospects to meet some of the professionals you network with to grow their business
    2.  Provides prospects for your teammates
    3. Expands our network enabling us to connect our network to more solutions
    4. Adds vibrancy and appeal to accelerate the growth of your team and adding teammates exponentially increases everyone’s network as each new teammate may have 100’s or even 1,000’s of connections in their network.
    5. When your guests show up it makes you look super cool in front of your friends!  It only takes 2-3 teammates intentionally inviting guests each week to make for a steadily growing powerful networking team.
    6. Plus, if you have guests coming, you are far more likely to make it a priority to show up too.

It’s one thing to be at the meeting and yet another to be engaged in the meeting.

Printable Training Topic Worksheet

PS  Call To Action:  Take action now to add value to your network and invite at least one professional to this weeks meeting by email, text, phone call, Facebook private message and LinkedIn In Mail.  Extra Credit:  Invite 3-5 every week for the next four weeks.  You’ll like to be amazed by what can happen to your network and sales in just a handful of weeks!

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