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.

  • Giving Write Back, Part 1 One of the underlying precepts of good networking practice is the understanding that our success in our life is dependent on how much we can help others to succeed in theirs. While, of course, this includes making referrals, recommendations, and introductions in order to help our connections directly, we also have numerous opportunities to give ...
  • Good Networking Behavior is about Us Don’t blame him for being a bad networker. At the end of each class down at Keith Hafner’s Karate, we get to listen to the lesson of the week. Now, in general, these are lesson that all adults (should) know — goal setting, making friends, conquering fear. I always love it when the topic of good ...
  • The Sales Superstition I’ve always been intrigued by B. F. Skinner’s experiments with pigeons to try to replicate the process of developing superstition. The experiment is remarkable in its simplicity. Basically, the pigeon is fed at completely random intervals. Neither the bird nor the person running the experiment have any control over when the pellet will drop. What ...
  • Good News, Bad News What color is the sky in your conversational world? While I don’t believe that it is the be-all and end-all of networking, Facebook does have its uses, so I tend to spend fifteen minutes or so each evening checking up on friends who hang out there. Recently I’ve noticed something interesting about the interactions between different folks ...
  • The Stuff in the Back of the Refrigerator Don’t make this a part of your networking. OK, we’ve all experienced this, so don’t even bother trying to deny it. You know how sometimes you make dinner and it turns out pretty good — not great, but not bad, either? The recipe makes way more than you can eat in one sitting, so you put ...
  • A Level of Risk One of the things we talk about with respect to referrals is that the higher the risk associated with your business, the longer it takes before your network begins to take off. The classic example of this is just about anyone who works in the field of financial services. When you are recommending someone to ...
  • The Newest Reluctant Networker Abigail at 90 minutes If you’ve read this blog over the last year and more, you know I get a lot of inspiration from my daughter, Kaylie. Well, as of this morning at 7:58am, I now have twice the inspiration. Please welcome the newest member of our household, Abigail Cecilia Peters. Mommy and daughter are both healthy ...
  • Patience is More Than a Virtue The wait isn’t fun, but try to skip it and you’ll miss the ride. Those who have friended me on Facebook know that the ideas of patience and waiting are very much on my mind right now. In particular, I’ve been thinking about how difficult it is to be patient when you’ve done everything you can do to ...
  • Lack of Preparation Means Opportunities Lost I think we’ve covered my lack of perfection in sufficient depth that we all know that I can occasionally be used as an example of what not to do when it comes to networking. Monday morning would be a case in point. But what can you expect from a Monday? My good friend and sales coach, Joe Marr ...
  • Hearts and Happy Valentines I’ve written many times in the past about how networking is not just for success in our professional lives. In fact, with Valentine’s Day just past, it’s a good time to reflect on how that same web of relationships which helps us bring in profitable referrals can also smooth over rough spots in our personal ...
  • Professional Networking You need more than a suit to make you a professional. I’ve been re-reading Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art” lately. I liked the section where he differentiates between the Professional and the Amateur. He listed a number of qualities specific to the Professional, but one of the ones that stuck out for me was, in fact, the ...
  • Target Market, Get the “We” Out I’ve worked with a lot of people to help them refine their target market. The target market is one of those concepts that people tend largely to ignore. Bad idea, since they are the basis for focused, powerful networking. We’ve talked in the past about being more specific when we tell people about our target market. ...
  • Haven’t I Seen You Everywhere Before? One more reason to focus I’ve always taught that you need to focus your networking efforts in order to limit the number of venues that you attend. We all only have so much time in our lives. We can’t spend it running from event to event trying to drum up more business. Or even just form more ...
  • The “Proper” Networker OK, now, which fork do I use? I made it out to Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing (LA2M) again this week. I had been missing it for many months and it wasn’t until I happened to drop in recently that I remembered how great the presentations can be. Now, I felt particularly compelled to attend this week’s ...
  • One-to-Ones: Where? Part 3 OK, for the past couple of days we’ve talked about some good locations for one-to-ones. We’ve ranged from the obvious (the coffee shop) to the less so (the grocery store?). Now let’s look at some other options that might not be the best choice. Golfing. Now, I know a lot of people network on the golf course. ...
  • One-to-Ones: Where? Part 2 Continuing our series on good places to meet for one-to-ones, here are a few which you might not have considered. Bookstore. Many bookstores now have cafes or coffee shops where you can meet and chat. The nice thing is that many folks don’t think of bookstores when they are searching for their caffeine fix. This means that ...
  • One-to-Ones: Where? Part 1 The old stand-by If there is one activity that is really the center of good networking practice, that would be the one-to-one meeting. This is just an opportunity for two people to get together for thirty minutes to an hour in order to learn more about each other and how they can help each other. Obviously, ...
  • Are You Happy? Just a quick note today. I was walking past my wife watching “Oprah” the other day and they were doing a show on happiness. At the point where I walked in the room, they had just asked the audience to choose from four different professions, which was the happiest: Clergy, firefighter, special education teacher, or travel ...
  • What an Invitation! It doesn’t have to be an engraved invitation, just a clear and personal one. My good friend, Jacki Hollywood Brown, expert organizer and founder of J-organize, told me about an experience she had recently. The director of a women’s networking group in her area contacted her, inviting her to a “guest day” for the group. OK, that’s not ...
  • When to Use the Golden Rule in Networking No, not that Golden Rule. “Do unto others, etc, etc” is a great rule to apply to networking — in general. Believe it or not, it doesn’t work in all situations. Here’s what I’ve noticed. When it comes to networking technique or how we treat others, the Golden Rule actually works out pretty well. I think a lot of ...