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.

  • Share Your Excitement Lisa and I went to a Mud Hens minor league baseball game tonight down in Toledo. It was part date and part networking (the U of Toledo Alumni Association organized the event). We met a number of lovely and interesting folks including one gentleman named Bob. Bob was a lot of fun. He had retired about ...
  • The Golden Rule in Networking If you think about it, good networking really comes down to the Golden Rule (you know, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”). If you are contemplating doing something in a networking venue, how would you feel to have that same thing done unto you? Would you like to have a business ...
  • Keeping It Upbeat You probably know someone like this. You say hello. They say hello. You say “How are you?” They proceed to tell you exactly how miserable their life really is. At first you have sympathy for them. Then you desperately try to change the subject, which just reminds them of something else which is going wrong ...
  • Business Cards — Why They Are Important OK, some who’ve been reading this blog for a while might be under the impression that I don’t think business cards are important. That’s not true. I just don’t think they are important for the reasons that everyone else thinks they are important. Most people think that business cards are designed to bring in business. The ...
  • Wear Your Flair OK, for those of you who are fans of the movie “Office Space” will chuckle at this idea, but wearing a little “flair” can make attending events a little more fun. If you also have a hard time starting conversations, a little flair can help break the ice. Now, I do not recommend wearing suspenders with 37 ...
  • Remember Them OK, this is an easy one. When you meet someone at an event, remember their name. Specifically remember their name as they gave it to you, not necessarily as it is on their name badge. If he introduces himself as “Bob”, then call him “Bob”, not “Robert”. If she says “Elizabeth”, don’t assume she responds to ...
  • Associate Good Feelings When someone decides to use a networking event for selling, one of the things I will often see them do is use an “elevator pitch” to ask probing questions designed to uncover specific needs. The problem with this is that it is effectively asking the other person: “So, tell me about this pathetic excuse you ...
  • Targeting a Community We’re visiting my folks up in Manistee, Michigan for the Independence Day holiday. This town really does it up right for the Fourth of July. In fact, they have a full insert in the paper with the schedule of events from Thursday through Sunday. I want to draw you attention to one of the activities ...
  • Who’s Your Next Golden Connection? See if this scenario sounds familiar. Not for you, of course, but I’m sure you can think of someone to whom this applies. You are attending a networking mixer. You’ve already figured out that your target market is real estate agents in the local area (within 30 miles). You have a service that could really help ...
  • Money is the Echo of Value More golden nuggets from the Bob Burg “Endless Referrals” event on Wednesday. Bob had a great saying: “Money is the echo of value.” Value is the lightning, money is the thunder. You can’t get the thunder to show up before the lightning. For us, “money” is any benefit we hope to gain from networking. Whether it ...
  • I Have a Networking Dream While this post is a bit tongue in cheek, I hope the underlying goals still speak to your heart. I have a dream. It’s not a particularly grandiose or profound dream as some others you might have heard. Still, someday, I hope this dream comes true. This is a networking dream. I have a dream that someday I ...
  • Social Media as a Crutch Lisa and I attended Bob Burg‘s “Endless Referrals” presentation in Southfield on Wednesday morning. As usual, Bob put on an amusing and educational show. He has a polished repertoire and rarely did his commentary fall short of expectations. I thought one of the points he made was particularly important. He was talking about social media — ...
  • Interaction or Interruption Thinking about it, which do you remember more clearly, the last television commercial you saw (interruption) or the last phone call you had with a friend (interaction)? How about the last billboard (interruption) or the last coffee with a networking contact (interaction)? What about the last piece of direct mail advertising (interruption) or the last ...
  • Lose the Jargon I’ve mentioned in the past that the best thing about a 30-second commercial is that it’s short. You don’t run the risk of boring people too much. Personally, for networking events, I prefer something that is shorter than ten seconds. Even keeping it that short, though, won’t keep their minds from wandering if you cram ...
  • Yes, But What Do You Prefer? I’ve talked, repeatedly, about the importance of having a target market. Having a specific target market helps your networking connections help you better. It gives them a mental picture of what and whom you are seeking. It also helps you focus your networking activity to put you in touch with either members of your target ...
  • You Think You Know Me? You know? I really love pushy telemarketers. Through their inept efforts at establishing rapport in order to sell me something, I can almost come up with a lesson about good networking practice. The star of this particular object lesson was “Robert”. Robert was calling me because he wanted to sell me some sort of “4G” phone/Internet ...
  • Get There Early I read somewhere about territorial behavior among felines. As I recall, it basically said in cats, whoever is in the spot first, owns the spot. I can see this in my cats. When Luke is lying in the window seat, Ray has to almost ask permission before he’s allowed up in the same area. If ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 6: Actually Asking This is the sixth and conceivably final part in this series. Needless to say there have been a few other parts. Feel free to read them if you want, but you won’t need them to understand the concepts addressed here. So, over the last five days we’ve talked about specifying your target market in order to ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 5: Making It Personal This is part five in my series on asking for referrals. I’d recommend that you read the other parts, but you can probably get by without them. Yesterday, we covered some of the other business referral requests we could make beyond asking for more clients. Today I want to remind you that networking isn’t just for ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 4: How Else Can They Help? This is part four in a continuing series on asking for referrals. You may want to check out parts one, two, and three before you continue, but that’s up to you. So in the previous parts we spent some time refining our description of our ideal client. We took a look at our former and current ...