The Reluctant Networker Blog by Greg Peters

We all know that networking — or word-of-mouth — is one of the best ways to grow a business. But what if you don’t know where to start? What if you don’t know what to say? What if the other kids laugh at you? We can help.

  • When They Ask, Tell! I had something kind of amusing happen last month. As many of you know, I spoke at my friend Bruce Webb‘s Educational Breakfast. As a part of that presentation, I had the audience work on specifying their target market. We went through a process of examining their current clients and from that determining a specific ...
  • Event Review: Abundance Forum I’ve been meaning to write up this event for a while now. The last time I attended the Abundance Forum was back in October. I decided to wait until now, though, as Joe, Mike, and Rich decided to take a hiatus over the holidays. Now that the new year is here, I’m assuming they are ...
  • Rewarding Referrals A few days ago I talked a little bit about rewarding referrals with gifts or some other sort of acknowledgment. Of course, the point I wanted to make was that these were gifts only if they weren’t required or expected. That being said, what sort of things could we use for gifts or rewards and ...
  • Relationships or Sales — By the Numbers, Part 2: Quality Yesterday we talked about the relative value of seeking sales versus seeking relationships when we attend networking events. After a little bit of math (and a fair amount of hand-waving) we kind of figured out that pursuing sales might net you around ten people whom you might successfully sell to. At the same time, seeking ...
  • Relationships or Sales — By the Numbers, Part 1: Quantity Warning: This post may contain some math. Remain calm. Do not panic. Some people view networking events as opportunities to sell and others look at them as opportunities to start new relationships. Neither one is really right or wrong. Either can find some measure of success. Let’s take a look at the numbers, though, and see ...
  • Unwanted Expectations We’ve talked in the past about gift-giving. It’s a wonderful way to show the people in your network that you know and care about them — so long as the gift we give is selected with the specific recipient in mind. There is another kind of “gift”. This one is more a reward specifically designed ...
  • More Lessons from Kroger How many of these go into a good networking relationship? Yesterday I talked about the lesson of relationships being important to continued success in business. The example was our local Kroger store. Lisa and I had to start shopping there when the one we’d gone to for years closed down. This new (to us) place just doesn’t ...
  • The Value of Who Lisa, Kaylie, and I went out for a family grocery run this evening. We go to the Kroger store nearest us. We started shopping there last year when the store just up the street from us closed. As we were leaving tonight, we both commented on how we don’t really enjoy grocery shopping like we ...
  • Listen for the Why What’s my motivation? My wife taught me this one. She uses it a lot in business meetings, but it works just as well in lectures, one-to-ones, or any other situation where we are listening to someone else speak. The challenge is that most people will listen to what the other person has to say — and that’s ...
  • Make Them Special I’ve had a couple of instances in the last few of weeks reminding me of the importance of keeping the focus on the other person. The first was Shawne Duperon‘s presentation at the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Regional Chamber‘s lunch event, “Networks!“. During her speech, she talked about looking for the person in the room who the ...
  • Awkward New Tools Apparently I was a good boy this year, because Santa left me a very fun gift under the Christmas Tree — an iPad. Yay! I’m using it right now to write this post. Of course, the challenge is that it’s a completely new platform for me and not all of the tools that I’m used to using ...
  • Feeling Guilty In the past we’ve talked about re-connecting with members of our network whom we haven’t seen in a while. I’ve always maintained that your feeling guilty about not having been in touch shouldn’t be an excuse for not contacting them. You really have no reason to feel guilty. After all, they haven’t contacted you, either. That ...
  • When Gray Skies Loom I know we entrepreneurs have to be our own best cheerleaders. When the tough times come, we have to have the strength of our convictions to help us muscle through any obstacles. What rot. OK, it’s not completely wrong. It is true, in general, that we have to have self-confidence in order to start and run a ...
  • Joyful Gatherings I’m upstairs getting changed for Christmas dinner. Down below I can hear kids laughing and screaming. The adults are chatting and catching up on the latest news. My mom is working in the kitchen, as usual, but there are many hands to help out. I pause a moment and reflect on how happy this boisterous family ...
  • Children’s Prayers We went to the Children’s Christmas Mass at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church this evening. Our Pastor, Father Jim McDougall, has a tradition each year where he asks all the children to come up and sit around him in front of the altar. He incorporates them into his homily and everyone has a good time. Then comes ...
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Networking ‘Twas the night before networking And all through the town, The networkers were stirring All moving around They set out their toolkits Preparing for lunch When connections they’d make Gath’ring cards by the bunch Business cards and holder A notebook and pen And especially their schedule For you never knew when That person you met While waiting in line Might be that connection To business, so fine. They lay out their ...
  • What You Can Learn I stopped by Best Buy today to pick up a mounting bracket for our new TV. On the way through the checkout line I struck up a brief conversation with Lori, the cashier. With a few questions and in a surprisingly short amount of time, I found out quite a bit about her, including her ...
  • Networking Group Overload Not long ago I wrote about dealing with networking overload, especially during the holidays. One of the things that can lead to this condition is over-committing to the number of groups in which we participate. I’ve spoken with people who are members in five, six, or even more. All I can think is “How?” We all ...
  • Working Your Goals Through Your Network We’re coming up on the time of year when people start thinking of resolutions. The new year always seems to be an opportune time to consider how we want to live our lives in the upcoming year. Personally, I don’t like to think of resolutions so much as goals. In fact, today Lisa and I ...
  • “Merry Christmas” Follow-up Yesterday, I wrote my opinion to the “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas” controversy. When I referred to it as “world-shaking”, of course, I was engaging in a bit of hyperbole. There are those who want to avoid giving offense (almost impossible these days) and so they stick with “Happy Holidays”. Then there are the folks ...