Business Networking – Making the Most of Face to Face Time

Since no one has figured out how to make more land, it is considered by many to be the best investment money can buy.  But is it really?  There is at least one thing that has the potential to yield a virtually unlimited return on investment – your time.  Let’s do the math. 

  1. Suppose you have determined that your average revenue from each client is $5000 a year.
  2. Suppose you attend a two-hour networking event with a ticket price of $25.
  3. Suppose you chat with 10 people and have a meaningful conversation with two of them.
  4. Suppose one of those people becomes your client.

Would a net income of $4975 be worth the investment of two hours of your time?  Wouldn’t it be worth it even if the ticket cost $100?

Do your homework

Before you begin re-arranging your calendar so you can attend 30 networking events this month, consider the following to be sure you are getting the best return on the investment of your time.

  • Be sure you know the average revenue impact each client has on your business.
  • Evaluate how well the group attracts people who fit your ideal client profile or share it as a target market and could therefore be a good source of referrals, if not actual customers.
  • Learn what you can about the mission of the group and the people in leadership roles.
  • Once you’ve found a group that is a good fit, show up regularly and participate.  Consider volunteering in some form.  It’s a great way to build relationships fast.

Size doesn’t always matter

The percentage of ideal clients that the group attracts is far more important than the number of people it attracts. Using this formula, I have found groups with fewer than a dozen regular participants that have been excellent sources of ideal client relationships. 

Keep your eye on the big picture

If you find yourself calculating the value of an event according to the quality of the cheese or chicken, you’ve lost your business bearings and have strapped on your consumer cloak.  To borrow a line from Cher in the movie Moonstruck, “SNAP OUT OF IT!” and get back on business track.

These principles can be applied well beyond the realm of face-to-face networking.  Once you understand the dollar value of a client, you can apply this same method of evaluation to anything that calls for an investment of your time.  Choose wisely because you only get 86,400 seconds each day and every one is a nonrenewable resource!

Clueless – Do You Need a Marketing Makeover?

Cher thought it would be fun to give new transfer student, Tai a makeover, because she knew that in high school, it was all about “how you market yourself.”

How do you market yourself? Are you one of those “I’m available people?” An “I’m Available Person (IAP),” is someone who calls everyone he/she knows and leaves a message that he/she is available. If you’re an extreme IAP, you also let people know you’re available on Facebook, and tell people whom you’ve just met, that you’re available.

Here’s what happens when you’re an IAP: people hear you, know you’re available, but don’t have anything for you. This makes them feel uncomfortable so they don’t call you back, don’t respond to your FB post, or end your conversation. Being an IAP is outdated. It’s time to get current on your marketing. Here are 3 ideas for you from the business world, which haven’t saturated the entertainment industry… yet! So get started now, because once everyone’s doing it, you’ll be outdated again.

1. Create a newsletter. People read newsletters because they find value in them. Therefore, start out with a quick intro about what you’re up to and then give them some value. Write an article or re-publish someone else’s that you found valuable, that would interest the people you’re reaching. Make recommendations. Write reviews. A newsletter keeps you on their mind, the same way an “I’m Available” call does, only people get something out of a newsletter.

2. Write a blog. Instead of posting to 1000 of your closest “Friends” that you’re available, post a link to a blog where they can get to know you better, interact with comments, and get valuable information. Once people get to know you better, you can reach out to them personally when you’re out of work and ask for referrals or set visits.

3. Look for creative ways to create a campaign around what’s currently happening in your life. Successful clients of mine have created behind the scenes videos for YouTube, teaser postcards/emails, and generated press by tying their entertainment position together with a unique hook on a current event, then sent the press around. Campaigns are extremely underused by entertainment industry professionals, even though so many of us are involved in the making of them for other people.

I’ve only touched on these marketing ideas, so if you have questions, send them my way. Like Cher, it’s important to have someone who has a “clue” to help make you over.

And Action!

1. Decide which one of the 3 marketing strategies you want to start with. (I know you overachievers want to do them all, but better to master one at a time)

2. Break it down into manageable tasks
a. If you’re doing a newsletter, come up with 12 topics that your readers would find interesting.
b. If your doing a blog, find your hook (like Tristin’s “Daley News” a tie-in to her last name). Then tie your hook into 52 subjects, so you have a plan for one per week.
c. If you’re starting with a campaign, design your plan for audio, video, copy, and photographs.

You’ve got to be competitive to stay in the game!

How to Connect Quickly at Networking Events

Have you ever been forced to go to a networking event with the sole purpose being to mingle with total strangers and pray for a connection? Did you feel odd sitting at a table during the dinner and not know with whom to talk, or what to talk about? Well now you will have three simple steps to help you become more efficient than 99% of the others that are also attempting to make quick connections. Follow these steps and you will easily and quickly find similarities between you and those that are like you!

First, you must realize that you are not the only person who has had these feelings. Chances are that most of the other people in attendance have had similar experiences. Clammy palms, nervous knees and dry mouth are not exclusive symptoms to you. Once you realize these side effects are only temporary, you can use them to your advantage. I often take these feelings, these symptoms, as a sign that I am normal, in touch with life, and use them as motivation to perform. We are all human, and even the most accomplished people get butterflies. The key is to make them fly in formation. Every great athlete and performer gets a little nervous. Often it is these nervous butterflies that help make them compete to be the best! Cher, in her “Sonny & Cher” days, would get so nervous at the thought of performing live, that Sonny would have to go on stage with her to give her the emotional support she needed to perform. However, once able to step on stage, she was able to shine. She overcame her anxiety and continues to this day, some four decades later.

Second, at the event go up to anyone that looks like they might be alone and bored. Chances are that they would rather make small talk with someone friendly enough to introduce themselves, rather than sit alone and stare at their plate. Keep in mind that you are at an event where the main purpose is to network and socialize. It may be a little disconcerting at first approaching people, trying to make some connections, but that is why they are there too. Recently while at a fundraising event, I was in the same situation. I did not know one soul, but my goal was to come away with one personal connection. The primary goal was simply to make a friend and it was my only goal. I was fortunate enough to make that connection. I have not made any sales or received any meaningful referrals from this contact, but that is okay. I gained a friend, and who knows, maybe someday we will be able to help each other in some way.

The third and final step is to have fun. If I had set a goal to obtain a new client or a new referral source, I would have failed and failed miserably! You and I certainly don’t need that sort of pressure. Any preconceived ideas of what to expect before you even arrive will show through in your efforts. Remember to just have fun with the people and the event itself. You should introduce yourself to a few different people and get them to talk about themselves. How do you do this? Ask them about their favorite movie or movies. It works every time. Movies are safe. Sometimes you will both have seen the movie, and if not, there probably are similar movies that you have both seen. I’ll explain in my next article which movies should be on your must see list to quickly spark conversations and make the best potential connections. Also, you will learn how to determine how people think based on their favorite movies!

Wealth Creation – If I Could Turn Back Time

In arguably one of the greatest comebacks of our time, in 1989 Cher’s number one hit ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ caused quite a stir, both for the success of the song and the controversy of the skimpy outfits in the film clip. I’m no great fan of her music (or dress sense), but you have to give credit to Cher as a great example of perseverance and longevity in an industry which is fickle at best.

What does this have to do with financial planning? Not much, except the title ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’. This phrase is often heard in meetings we have with clients, either wishing they had done something sooner, or said no to something that turned out to be a disaster. Pondering ‘what would I do if I could turn back time’ could easily be written off as useless daydreaming, but I beg to differ. Ok, unless you are Michael J Fox with your own Time Machine, you can’t go back in time, and you can’t change the past. But what can be learned from looking back?

Firstly, it is worth pinpointing those key ‘turning point’ moments in your past, the sort of moments that called for action or decisiveness, and the outcome would be vastly better today if the choices you made had been different. Be honest with yourself, and try to get to the bottom of why you didn’t act. No doubt there was something at the time that may have been a good reason, but with the benefit of wisdom and hindsight, you now realise you should have just found a way, or looked harder for a solution.

An important part of learning is constructive critical reflection. Having insight from hindsight can put you in the right frame of mind for future decisions, the kind where you can look back on in five, ten or twenty years and say ‘that was a fantastic idea, and I’m so happy we did it’.

One of the best things about working as a financial planner is that we get to listen to the incredible life stories of dozens of very successful people. Collectively, our clients have much to teach us, and importantly, no matter what your stage of life or situation, chances are we have clients who have been down that road before, and come out on top. Through the reflection of these wonderful people, we can learn so much. It is this collective wisdom that empowers us to give our ‘upâandâcoming’ clients a head start by learning from the mistakes of others, without having to make too many themselves.

Unfortunately a sad reality of interâgenerational relationships is that there is often a reluctance of younger people to listen to their elders. On the other hand, because many of our older generations did it very tough in past decades, much wisdom is also lost because many older people don’t always know how to tell the difference between giving a younger person good advice as opposed to giving them a lecture on how much tougher things were ‘in our day’. A wise mentor knows the difference. I think it is very grounding to hear about the adversities faced by people, and even more inspiring is hearing how they triumphed.

Seeing as you can’t turn back time, the next best thing is to find out what other people would do if they could, and ensure you don’t have the same regrets. Don’t wait too long to get your insurance organised. Too many people end up paying far more than they would have if they were underwritten while still young, fit and healthy. Don’t put off your debt reduction or savings strategy, where time is simultaneously your worst enemy and your best friend. And don’t be someone who tries to save a few dollars by cutting corners on good advice. Be it with your choice of accountant, lawyers, or financial planners, what may appear to be a large cost may in fact result in far greater payoff in terms of savings or gains made through the application of sound knowledge and experience. As they say, you get what you pay for.

So don’t be afraid to scrutinize your past, but make sure you are applying constructive criticism. How empowering would it be in ten years time to say ‘I’m glad I did that ten years ago’ rather than ‘I wish I had’.

Public Speaking: How Mindset Creates Opportunities – Part 1 (Conditioned Self’s Job)

How a Public Speaking Mindset Creates Opportunities

Mindset creates opportunities because you’ll see your visions come to life when you believe in them. When I’m working with professionals to present information successfully, it comes down to a critical asset: mindset. First and foremost you need a foundation that begins in your own mind. That’s where confidence ultimately resides. It moves from your mind and manifests into your physical world as you start believing in yourself. Here are 4 ways that confidence (residing in your mind) manifests into your physical world in the form of opportunities related to public speaking.

4 Ways that Confidence Manifests

  1. You begin taking risks. As you believe in your potential for success, you are able to visualize yourself taking risks. Because you can visualize it happening, you take the steps necessary to make it happen. You join a networking group. You send emails to service organizations to speak about your topic. You begin writing copy material to advertise your service or product. You plan workshops to present your topics.
  2. Your network of people expands. Because you are becoming more visible, you are associating with more and more people. Those people become more familiar with what you offer.
  3. Your client base expands. You receive direct or indirect referrals for your service or product.
  4. You receive compliments on your product or service. Because you are confident, others see you as confident. They are attracted to confident people. Your confidence ultimately creates better results with your clients.

Mindset Tip #1: Your relationship with your Conditioned Self is Powerful

Get to know your conditioned self as it relates to your beliefs about your public speaking. Be aware that your conditioned self will sometimes try everything in the book to stop you from changing or being vulnerable even when it’s in your BEST INTEREST. Public speaking makes you vulnerable. It puts you in front of others who have the potential to disapprove of you, criticize you, disagree with you, or dislike what you have to offer. Inside each of us is a very important critic. It is also known as the conditioned self.

The Conditioned Self’s Job

It’s job is to protect you from any pain, which includes emotional pain. When you were growing up, you may have experienced criticism from others in an unhealthy form. Others may have tied worth to performance. Perhaps you were judged and criticized for making mistakes. You may not have been commended for effort, taking risks, trying new things, or trying to express yourself in new ways. You internalized this criticism and judgment as a reflection of your worth.

This judgment from others taught your conditioned self that it’s best to judge your performance as tied to your worth. On the outside, it seems obvious that this is unhealthy. However, just because you know it’s unhealthy, doesn’t mean you can readily begin to change it. By learning the truths of this lie that your conditioned self tells you, you can begin changing it. In Public Speaking: How Mindset Creates Opportunities-Part 2, you’ll discover YOUR new job in empowering your belief in yourself as it relates to your conditioned self.

Summary of a Public Speaking Mindset

Know that the relationship you have with your conditioned self can create or hinder your opportunities for public speaking and visibility. Become familiar with it’s job and the reason behind its job. Know it’s job is to protect you yet that you are capable of protecting yourself.

To your success in getting to know your conditioned self,


Public Speaking and Writing: How to Expand and Impact Your Audience: Part 1 (Stepping Into Your Powe

Are you Embracing your Power?

Expanding and impacting your audience requires mindfulness. Techniques and experience are powerful tools, yet as powerful is BELIEF IN YOURSELF. You wish you could get your message out to a bigger audience. You want to reach more individual clients. Perhaps you hope to speak to groups of people. Maybe you desire to speak to influential individuals. You want more people to engage on your blog articles. Imagine for a moment the following. You know there is one person that can help you achieve those goals. You realize that one person is you.

Lack of Tools

You may be writing your blogs and copy, and yet not reaching your audience in the way you are meant to. Not having the effective tools can lead to lack confidence. Gaining the adequate tools can better connect you with your audience. It can mean crafting your message in a way that more powerfully connects you with your reader. When your readers feel that connection, they’re more likely to want to seek you out for your services.

Our Own Worst Enemy: Fear

In many cases, we hold ourselves back from creating the very opportunities we seek. There’s a reason for this. That reason is fear. We fear that we don’t have what it takes to make that impact. How do we move beyond that fear? We prepare. How do we prepare? We step into our power. How do we step into power? We first believe. We step into power by believing in our potential. You have the potential to reach a bigger audience, to engage your current audience more readily. We then act. You have the power to act in whatever ways are necessary to prepare yourself to succeed in the face of fear and even procrastination.

Embrace, Believe, Take Action

  1. Embrace your Power and Vision. Only you can create your reality.
  2. Believe in your Potential. Move beyond your inner critics that tell you you can’t.
  3. Take Action using Tools. Implement the recommendations of experts you trust.

In the case of growing your followers, -your audience, your call to action is learning how to impact people with your spoken and written words. The first step is embracing your power to make this happen. In the remaining parts of Writing: How to Confidently Expand and Impact your Audience, you’ll discover specific language, wording, and organizational techniques to make this happen.

To you embracing your power to connect with your audience,


Recruitment Manager Strategies – The Power Of No

Last weekend I attended an amazing training course that was pretty full on for the entire weekend. All good news that I will tell you about another time. Sunday night arrived and I just wanted to unwind. The next thing is I am watching the X-factor and marvelling that Cher at 67 years of age is crooning away; in tune, with a number from her latest album; apparently her 25th. Yes you read that correctly 25th?!
With the average commercial ‘life span’ of a pop star being around 4 years I am then truly impressed. As if by magic the question I am asking in my head suddenly pops out of the presenter; Dermot O’Leary’s mouth: “Cher what advice would you give to the contestants who want to be as successful as you are?” A woman of few words Cher then gives a simple answer. “Don’t take no for an answer!” That was it. I sense for the majority of people in the studio the impact of her response was lost. Not in a certain house in Edinburgh though.

On top of processing what I had learnt all weekend I was now reflecting on the power of what she had said. No. A simple word of just two syllables that is one of the hardest to say on a consistent basis; unless you are two years old, when it becomes incredibly easy!
No and how it plays out in our life contributes to our success or not. Luckily for the majority of recruitment managers and consultants I have trained taking no for an answer from clients or candidates is not the issue. Saying No to others most certainly is.

Rarely easy to say to someone unless it is an activity that is likely to have us thrown in jail. Generally as human beings we want to please. It is nice to be liked. Though we have a great time saying no when we are two years old, we soon learn that it isn’t really acceptable behaviour. When we hit employment we are well versed in ‘proper’ responses and often no isn’t one of them. Usually by this time we are so full of our own insecurities that we don’t want to be thought bad of or compromise our employment possibilities in the future. Saying yes seems to feel good and be the, ‘right’ thing to do. In other words, “no” often seems like a failure, an admission of weakness, or just an overall not good thing to say. If this is resonating with you then you need to STOP and take stock. A significant amount of recruitment managers I come across live their lives with a feeling of “overwhelm” that either runs them or at least gets in their way from time to time. Unless you want this to continue to dominate your life you need to learn how to say no.

Saying No to other people is incredibly empowering in our life and the sooner we start ‘doing’ it in an authentic way the better. When you start saying No when appropriate and Yes when you mean it can completely shift how others perceive you. Strange as it might seem you will be more relaxed in yourself and people will ‘get’ that about you. The knock on effect is your trust rating goes through the roof and this in its self makes you stand out as the confident, honest approachable recruitment manager that you are.