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.

  • Event Review: Networks! As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I attended the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Regional Chamber’s “Networks!” event on Thursday. Thought I would do a quick review. Introductions at the Corner Brewery Name: Networks! Organization: Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Regional Chamber (aka A2Y Chamber) Location: Various hotels, banquet halls, restaurants, golf courses, and country clubs around the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Date: Usually the second Thursday of the month, skipping August Time: 11:30am-1pm Format: Open ...
  • Targeting Success I’ve been thinking a lot about target markets lately. They are such an important aspect of networking that it’s almost impossible to develop a good networking practice without spending some time focusing on exactly who you would prefer to serve. We’ve spoken before about the various benefits of a tightly specified target market — most ...
  • All New Networker for the Brand New Year Don’t try to lift too much with any of your New Years resolutions. It’s a whole new year and it’s time for the resolutions. Some folks are going to lose some weight. Others are going to read more. Still others set goals to call their mom more often. I’d imagine there might even be a few out there ...
  • Look for Friends, Not Free Advice Sometimes you just have to pay I was reading a post over on the Motivated Networker blog. They talk about a recruiter’s difficulties with people who probably thought they were networking, but in reality were trying to get free advice and work without bothering to even establish a relationship first. This is a danger for every ...
  • Being Present My lovely wife Lisa loves to observe human behavior around her. Being a scientist, she attempts to draw conclusions based on those observations (and then test those hypotheses and, eventually, write up a lab report). I learn a lot from these observations as she often notices patterns I don’t always see. The other day she ...
  • Another Kroger Revelation I was at Kroger again tonight and while I was pushing my cart around the store, gathering the ingredients for this evenings dinner, I was thinking about my other posts regarding the difficulties we’d been having developing an attachment to this new store and how that struggle mirrored similar struggles in networking. Then, as often ...
  • Prevent Reverting with Results Tracking My daughter, Kaylie, turned three a few months ago. I can’t believe how tall she’s getting and how much of a big girl she’s become. “Sesame Street”, which used to be the center of her life has been replaced by other things — mostly singing and dancing to her latest favorite movie (“Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang” ...
  • 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 ...