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.

  • 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 ...
  • Networking When It Doesn’t Matter The thought of actually attending a networking event fills many people with dread. After all, you are basically putting yourself in a place where you will be talking with strangers — in direct contradiction to the instructions your mother gave you from the time you were three. So how can we take some of the ...
  • Is It Just You? I was having lunch with my friend Steve Owsinski of Igadea today. We were talking about networking and he mentioned that a lot of their clients were also friends. In fact, the clients are more likely to say “Let’s talk with Steve about our Web site” rather than “Let’s go to Igadea”. I’ve been thinking ...
  • Personal Networking: Debra Power I had a wonderful coffee-less coffee with my good friend Debra Power today. She’s the President and founder of Power Marketing and Research. She also serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce and is one of the Co-Founders of the Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw. So, she’s ...
  • But I Don’t Own a Business! A lot of networking advice is aimed at small business owners (and salespeople) who use the skills to get more work for their business. There are those — and I know you might find it shocking — who actually do the work in a larger company — who never have to bring in the signed contracts. ...
  • Doing the Math I’ve not been able to track down the origins of the quote, but it goes something like: Every person knows on average 250 people who would show up for their wedding or their funeral. I don’t know how accurate that is, but remembering weddings and funerals I’ve attended in the past, that seems about right. The ...
  • Constructive Avoidance I’ve advised one or two people on good networking habits now and I’m beginning to see some recurring themes. One of the biggest is “constructive avoidance”. It’s easy to recognize because I tend to do it, too. This is the process whereby we avoid what we know we should do by claiming that we first ...
  • Personal Networking: Timothy Wells Householder This is another in my series about networking tips, techniques, and systems that I learn from my conversations with my own network. In this case, I was chatting with my friend, Tim Householder (aka Timothy Wells Householder), over lunch and he told me about some of the networking practices that he follows. Tip: Take advantage of the ...
  • Help Find the Bullseye Every once in a while when I’m chatting with a new networking partner I run into a little problem. I ask them who their target market is and they respond: “Oh, we can help anybody.” As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is not a helpful statement. Specificity is your friend in this case. If they can’t ...