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.

  • Networking Lessons from a Bad Break: Lesson #1 With a mighty “Hiyaa!”, I drove my foot toward the waiting planks of wood… … and bounced off. As one of the tests for my next belt at Keith Hafner’s Karate, back in the Spring, I did a board-breaking — actually a triple board break (three at once). If you check out the video, it wasn’t a rousing ...
  • Sometimes You Get What You Need Sometimes we need to hear it. If the emergency sirens start sounding that severe weather is near, perhaps it’s time to set aside your plans for the family picnic. Heck, if the weather forecaster is telling you that there’s better than a fifty percent chance of thunderstorms, you might be better off trading in the picnic blanket ...
  • The Personal Message In a post from a while ago, I talked about some bad behaviors regarding communicating with your customers through a form letter. My friend Victoria Kamm, President of Obviously Brilliant, commented on the post and wondered about how one would actually go about creating a personalized snail mail piece. It’s an excellent question and I ...
  • They May Still Hate You “This is rubbish.” That was how a comment from a reader began to a recent article I posted on AnnArbor.com. She then went on to cast aspersions on my business style, location, credentials, and, yes, even my wardrobe. This is the payment you will sometimes have to make when you try to give back. AnnArbor.com does not pay ...
  • Good E-Introductions You wouldn’t ask a recent acquaintance to help you move. No matter how nice it would be to have them help, the time and effort involved exceed the levels of that relationship. The same is true for asking them for a personal, face-to-face introduction to someone in their network. It’s a lot of work and ...
  • Being a Good Networker Neighbor If he lived next to us, my wife would already have cleared the cars for him. Networkers have to have a split personality. They have to be strategic about putting themselves at events where they will meet the people who will be able to help them succeed in their goals. Then they have to forget being strategic and ...
  • Referrals and birthday cakes Let’s suppose you like cake. Oh, not just any cake. What you want is that deep chocolate cake with the chocolate chips baked into the batter. You don’t want the buttercream frosting (except for the decorative roses on top). What you want is a chocolate ganache. Between the layers? You want a raspberry filling. Got the picture? One ...
  • Networking Impatience Leads to Frustration She can get away with being impatient. You can’t. “Daddy, I’m ready to go swimming!” I opened one eye to see the smiling face of my daughter, Kaylie, already decked out in her swimsuit. Then I tracked over to the clock next to the bed. 7am?? Have you ever tried to explain to a four-year-old why, on vacation, 7am is most ...
  • Check the Character of the Event Do you fit in with the character of this group? “Well, this certainly isn’t the crowd we’re used to.” My wife and I were watching the crowd of rambunctious teenagers roughhousing in the hotel pool. We’re on our family vacation this week up in Traverse City. Ordinarily we’re here in October for the Fall colors, but we thought we ...
  • Open the Toolbox If you had a hammer in your toolbox, why in the world would you use a rock to pound in a nail? You wouldn’t. So, why do people treat their network like a locked toolbox? Networking is the process of creating a resource for future success in both your personal and professional life. I believe this ...
  • Five-Minute Rule, Part 2 In the last post we talked about the little things businesses can do — things that take less than five minutes (sometimes even less than a minute) — which solidify their relationship with the customer. Essentially, they take that short amount of time to make the customer feel like a person not a potential sale. If ...
  • Five-Minute Rule, Part 1 I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but an article I read today regarding Best Buy’s uncertain future (at least in that author’s view) has me feeling motivated. I’ve written several times now about how good customer service is a strong component of networking when you run a business. After all, your ...
  • Retro Post: ‘Twas the Night Before Networking Thought this one might be fun to send out again. Originally from December 24, 2010. ‘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 ...
  • They’ve Got It Backward Doing what I do (teach people about good networking habits), I keep an eye on articles written about networking. This time of year I see a lot of articles about networking at holiday parties. I also see a lot of grouchiness about that concept. For some folks, they bridle at the idea of following the advice of ...
  • So That We’ve talked a lot in the past about what networking is and isn’t.We know it isn’t selling, or taking advantage of other people (without them knowing about it). The best definition I’d heard was networking is the process of developing long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships. As definitions go, I’d say that wasn’t bad. Lately, though, I’ve been ...
  • The Lie of the Rugged Individualist Lone Wolf The Rugged Individualist, the Solo Artist, the Lone Wolf — they bring to mind images of romance and admiration. Self-made and not depending on anyone — sprung fully formed and armored from the brow of Zeus, as it were — they are the success stories we follow and cheer. The news media and Hollywood love that ...
  • Stop Selling at Me Repeat after me: Networking is not selling. If I ever do decide to create a networking event, I may have that posted over the entrance and make every person who walks in repeat it before walking through the door. I’m out in Anaheim at the National Speakers Association annual conference. This is my first time here and it has ...
  • What If I Really Want to Meet Them? I’m guessing that they don’t want to be interrupted A question came up during one of my recent presentations about how to break into a conversation. Of course, we’ve covered some of the techniques here in the past. The main point was that we have to be observant of the body language of the participants. If their ...
  • You Lost Me at “Hello” Feeling a little faceless? I’ve written before about the fact that your clients are a great place to start your networking. Making friends out of them can go a long way toward building a successful web of connections for your business. That being said, Customer Service (or whatever name you might use for the process of ...
  • Email Fail Email can be a valuable tool in your networking practice. It’s a great way to maintain a light touch with members of your network. It’s asynchronous nature means that they’ll receive your communication whether you sent it at 2pm or 2am. While not a personal as a phone call, a well-crafted email message can still ...