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.

  • At the Bottom of the Cycle Our strength and focus in networking runs in cycles. There are times when we are really revving and we’ll attend three events in a day, contact thirty people on our tickler list, and throw in a one-to-one meeting or three on top of it all. And then there are those other times when you just want ...
  • First Impressions are Not Unfair We’ve heard the statistics. Depending on who you believe, you have between two seconds and a minute to make a good first impression.  Or, more to the point, when you meet a new person, they will make a snap judgment about the kind of person you are within that same amount of time — good, ...
  • Why We Do What We Do, Part 4: The Art of the Story So, we’ve about beaten this dead horse into the ground now. We’ve talked about why you should understand your underlying reasons for doing what you do, how to uncover them, and when to use the information you obtain. Now we just need to talk about what form it will take. Before we go on remember that you should give this ...
  • Why We Do What We Do, Part 3: Your Emotional Origin Story In the previous two posts, we talked about why you should know your reasons for what you do and then how to uncover them. Now comes the “what”, as in, what should I do with this now? The underlying emotional reasons are good to use in casual conversation. They reveal that you are a deep thinker ...
  • Why We Do What We Do, Part 2: Digging for Discomfort Yesterday we talked about the importance of knowing why¬†we were doing whatever it is we are doing. Those underlying reasons — almost always emotional and sometimes painful — are our human connection to the path we’ve chosen for ourselves. In sharing these reasons with others, even in part, we allow them to connect with us ...
  • Why We Do What We Do, Part 1: Why Know Why? One of the parts of the INFER process is the idea of finding out the other person’s “Epic Journey”. This is where you get to find out how they got from where they were to where they are now. This is the series of questions you are going to ask which allows them to be ...
  • The Two Faces of Networking Good networkers must almost maintain a dual personality. The first personality is the strategist and the manager. That personality figures out what the ultimate goal of the networking should be — more business, a new job, contributions to a cause, etc. It then determines which groups and events to attend based upon these goals. The determination ...
  • Start the Timer! I’ve been networking now for more than fifteen years with the goal of increasing my business and I’ve had a certain amount of success doing it. The question arises, though about how much time I spend actually doing this networking thing on a daily basis. Let’s take a look at my activities and how much ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Strong-Arm Salesman This is the another in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Slimy Strong-Arm Salesman Environment: Hovering vulture-like while hunting or blocking their latest victim from escaping the corner. Behavior: The Strong-Arm Salesman attends events in order to generate revenue for himself. He knows how to probe for needs, block objections, and make a close like nobody’s business. He ...
  • The Trouble with “Givers Gain” Before we go any further, understand that I think that BNI (Business Network International) is a great organization. I know many people who either are or have been members of a local group and have met with great success as a result of the connections they’ve made within the group. For those who are unaware, BNI ...
  • Network Like a Toddler As of this writing, my daughter, Kaylie, is two and a half years old. She is full of excitement and curiosity about the world. One of her favorite things in the world are playgroups. At playgroups she gets to:Meet and play with other kids. Play with toys she’s not seen before. Gets a snack. Has someone read a ...
  • Asking for the Referral My sales coach, Joe Marr, has a great system for asking for referrals, called CAPS. The general idea is that you focus on some particular aspect of your target market which, when specified, is sufficient to trigger a listener’s associative memory. Asking “Do you know anyone who needs a house?” isn’t likely to stimulate any ...
  • Track the Origins If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how much I am a fan of metrics. I track calls made, notes sent, events attended, etc, etc, etc. As far as I’m concerned, those things that get measured, get improved. In particular I try to track the results of my networking ...
  • Put on Your Own Mask First We are all familiar with the airline instructions about what to do if the oxygen masks should suddenly pop out due to cabin depressurization. If you are with your child, you put on your own mask first, then assist them. The general idea is that you can’t take care of someone else if you can’t ...
  • How Equal? Bob Burg has a series of posts over on his blog about the old saying “All things being equal, people will do business with, or refer business to, people they know like and trust.” The general consensus is that the “equal” part is the tricky thing here. It’s fairly obvious that if two different vendors ...
  • Pick Up That Hammer, Part 2 Yesterday, I wrote about the idea that joining a networking group and expecting that to start your phone ringing is akin to buying a hammer and expecting it to build a house for you. In both cases, you have to be the motivating force to achieve the desired outcome. All else is just a tool ...
  • Pick Up That Hammer, Part 1 I gave a presentation at the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce yesterday talking about the benefits of the many networking opportunities they offer. One of the points I always try to emphasize is the importance of showing up. I often relate the story of one of the former Chamber members whom I knew. Let’s call ...
  • Word of the Week Networking With all the talk of tickler files, scorecards, and the rules of networking, some might get the feeling that networking is no fun at all. Heck, with all this drudgery, you might as well be making (shudder) cold calls. Well, I would like to introduce you to my wife, Lisa, who, with her executive assistant, ...
  • Just Like Us This morning my daughter, Kaylie, and I stumbled downstairs, still in our pajamas a bit earlier than normal. She played happily with her stuffed Mickey Mouse while I tried to shake the sleep out of my brain. After I finally got myself awake, I called out to her, “Kaylie, would you like some breakfast?” She ...
  • Long Term Relationships We were out tonight celebrating with friends. One of the group had his birthday recently and our tradition is to treat the birthday boy or girl (and their spouse) to dinner. It occurred to me that we have known most of these people for anywhere from five to fifteen years. We’ve seen each other through ...