Archive for the 'Networking' Category

Take Networking to the next level

Vish Kokkonda writes that Networking Is a Waste Of Time. He states that much networking is a waste but it’s not if “you are willing to work at building solid professional relationships.” Absolutely. I’ve written about networking practices, expectations, and objectives for 10 years at MyLinkWiki. Hundreds of other social media gurus have said the same.

This is easier said than done.  How can we look at the networking challenge in a way that brings insight and more importantly results. How can good networkers become even better?

Let me share a few thoughts.

Much networking is weak.

I refer to the kind that doesn’t generate results that Vish was talking about and which encompasses both the networking activity and the nature of the person-to-person connection. This includes:

  • Open online networking
  • Networking events where the primary activity is drinking
  • Connections where there is little communication after the initial interaction

This isn’t your granddaddy’s or even your daddy’s business world.

Today’s technologies have fundamentally changed how we relate and communicate. Before the Internet, executives averaged 150 connections. These were strong personal relationships. Services like LinkedIn now enable networks with thousands, or tens of thousands, of contacts. While the network is much larger, it’s also far more diffuse and difficult to engage. You have permission to contact these connections (sometimes). But that doesn’t change the fact that they barely know you. As a result we vastly overestimate the value of the large network.

It’s just like the Sales funnel

Sales, just like networking, is all about the depth of a relationship. A strong networking connection, comparable to a qualified lead ready to buy at the bottom of the funnel, enables you to reach your objective, whether it’s finding  prospects for your business or a new job. A weak networking connection is at the other end, at the top of the sales funnel. Expecting a weak network to help you is like expecting to close cold calls. It rarely happens.

Building the relationship is just as critical as creating it.

In sales one qualified lead is worth 100 or even 1,000 prospects. That logarithmic value is similar to networking. Yet people spend only a tiny fraction of their networking time, energy, and money in building their relationships.

One Solution is the Un-Cold Call.

Yes, it’s that time of the program for a short commercial pitch. At Revenue Typhoon we applied the Pay It Forward approach of networking to the beginning of the sales process. It’s not longer a cold call. It’s an Un-Cold Call, which effectively moves your prospects down the sales funnel so they’re more receptive to a call or meeting.

The same happens in reverse. In the Networking Un-Cold Call we apply similar marketing automation and sales techniques to effectively build your relationship with your connections. The result – you can have a large network AND expect it to be more responsive to your requests.

Oct 10 Dallas Networking plus Zone Action Park at 50-88% off

Total Wine

NETWORKING.  We had a great Fall networking kickoff last week.  If you missed it, there’s another one next week.  Registration is open for the Oct. 10 5-8pm Power Networking & Wine Tasting at Total Wine in Dallas. The early bird price of only $10 expires today at DallasMeet.com!

Zone Action ParkDEALS. Enjoy Zone Action Park in Lewisville at up to 88% off. Zone Action Park features fun for both young and old. There’s something for everyone in the family with Go-Karts, Miniature Golf, Arcade, Bounce House, and Batting Cages! Choose from three great superdeals.

  1. ZAP SuperPass for just $10 for 3 hours unlimited Go-Karts & Miniature Golf and other action zones.
  2. ZAP Birthday party for up to 16 kids for only $95.
  3. ZAP Annual Golf Pass with weekly golf and soda for 4 for $195, a normal price of $1,600.

ZAP Go-KartGet your ZAP SuperDeals now before our inventory runs out!

Subscribe for the latest Blue news, events, and deals.  Contact DallasBlue for free marketing to offer your own deals.

Influence this, buddy

Wahooly offers online influencers stock in startups to help promote the companies (article).  Sounds like a good deal, right?

Not so fast. The first clue is that Wahooly charges a monthly fee of up to $450.  They’re not stupid.  If you’re a startup, they want your money, not your stock.

Even worse, it’s a sucker’s bet for online influencers.  Multiple the paltry number of shares you would get with the miniscule probability of success of a typical startup divided by the desperation factor of a company that doesn’t have a real marketing plan and sinks to such a program times the reality that dilution makes your stock worth a fraction of what you expected in the miracle event the company has a successful exit.  The average value comes to bupkes.

Do you really want to turn off your friends, business associates, and network and devalue your personal brand for that?

Real online influencers who don’t mind being bought, er sponsored, get cash or a junket to Maui (my operators are standing by).

If you’re not at that level, you’re much better off sticking with the free promotional USB drive, happy hour drink, or steak dinner their PR firm offers.  Failing that, at least get a photo of you and a hot booth babe or boytoy.

I’m not that kind of fella

“Should You Have To Pay To Have Lunch With ME?” That’s Jason Alba’s question below.

I am in the same position as Jason.   It’s a great networking challenge.  And it’s just like dating.  People want to advance to home plate and take advantage of you without first touching all the bases.  I’m just NOT that kind of fella.

I agree to meet in the rare case where I can clearly get something out of it, such as the other party is a heavy hitter or a prospective client.

Otherwise a meeting is an interim, not the first, step.  It’s just like sending a networking introduction.  The initiator must cultivate and not force the relationship, which respect both parties’ time.   There are issues and questions that need to be addressed:

  • Is the initiator showing genuine interest by understanding me, showing common interests, writing a custom personal email and not a form letter, and flattering my zaftig shape in that sexy pink polka dot dress?
  • How exactly can I help him?
  • What do I get out of it?
  • Can I point him to other resources like my LinkedIn wiki?

I don’t put out on the first request.  I’ll start with an email exchange, advance to a phone call, and THEN meet if there is mutual interest.  I’m really not playing hard to get.  I’m building a relationship.

Otherwise if they just want to meet and use you, I agree with Jason.  I invite the other party to come to one of our DallasBlue events where he or she can meet me.  And I can be all his or hers if they want …  for the price of my consulting fee.

Marc

——– Original Message ——–

From: Jason Alba

Check out this post where I tell people why I can’t go to lunch for them unless they pay my hourly rate:

Sound crazy?  Perhaps it is.  But read the 30ish comments and then decide.
And yes, I tend to go off on people who ignorantly leave lame/mean comments … I’m really trying to get better at controlling my keyboard :p

Jason Alba
::  http://JibberJobber.com – Organize your Job Search
::  http://LinkedInForJobSeekers.com – DVD
::  DVD bundle: http://JibberJobber.com/specials
::  http://twitter.com/JasonAlba
::  Review my third book? http://ow.ly/1WhqM
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

LinkedIn culture jabs users

Jason Alba writes a nice piece detailing LinkedIn’s latest user jab in LinkedIn Free Level Losing Steam as LinkedIn Jumps The Shark. Some users no longer see the full names of 3rd degree connections and out of network LinkedIn members. It’s another in a long line of LinkedIn tactics that limit or restrict their users.

LinkedIn has been implementing this new limitation in stages or according to some magic algorithm.  I had this reported to me a few weeks ago.  But I still see full names in my own free account.

I agree with Jason that this change is important, akin to jumping the shark.  LinkedIn’s robust freemium strategy has been a key ingredient in their success, leading to a dominant market share and 75 million users.  The ability to search and view user names is an industry common feature.  Removing it places LinkedIn at a competitive disadvantage.

It will open the door wider for other networks or services that target the LinkedIn user base.  However LinkedIn’s commanding industry presence puts it in a monopoly position.  This is one area where they don’t have to worry about Facebook.  Users have no place to go.  They are not going to suddenly flee to much smaller business networks like Ecademy, Xing, or Viadeo. Lastly, there has been surprisingly little innovation in this space.

The limitation is expressly designed to motivate more users to pay for the service.  Speculation has been that squeezing users is a strategic move to dress up the income statement in preparation for an IPO.

This is likely accurate. Why else would LinkedIn intentionally downgrade their service?  However it’s certainly not necessary.  The company has claimed that’s it’s been quite profitable for the last few years.   Plus LinkedIn has been rumored to in acquisition/IPO play for at least three years now.

In the end it comes down to corporate culture.  LinkedIn is not a tech-driven company like Google.  It does not delight in new and innovative products and features.  LinkedIn has been and continues to be run by and for venture capitalists.  After several years they’re itchy (yet again) for that multi-billion dollar home run exit.  The only surprise is that they rode the free side of the wave for as long as they did.

Ultimate Networking FREE tomorrow!

I invite you to come to Ultimate Networking Wed. Nov 10 at 5:30 and personally experience the difference that intelligent computerized matching makes in generating quality meetings and leads.

I finally convinced the supplier to let us give it away just this one time to celebrate its launch in Dallas and let you test-drive the service. Plus I’m waiving our own DallasBlue fees (yeah, it’s crazy Marc time).  So Ultimate Networking is zip, nada, zilch.  We do ask for a $5 donation for The Hoffen Foundation. If you’re unemployed and can’t afford that, send me an email and I’ll even drop that.

Hoffen benefits children in need.  They’re the beneficiary for DallasJingle, our Charity Holiday party on December 2.  It will be a big event, composed of several groups.  So do put that date on your calendar or sign up now.

Ultimate Networking is typically $40-$60 in other cities.  So free is a rather amazing deal.  Now you have absolutely no excuse not to check it out.  You do want to find new business partners, prospects, services, investors, staff, or a job, don’t you? We’ll even have free chair massages!

So register now and pay your $5 donation. Feel free to invite your colleagues and friends. You MUST register by Tue. 5pm. You’ll be sent the web site url to enter your meeting preferences, which must be completed by Wed. noon.

If you can’t register by the deadline, you’re welcome to do so at the door.  You’ll miss the computer matching and personal schedule.  But we’ll fit you in, similar to speed networking.

More Info: DallasBlue Ultimate Networking is a structured event where our computer matches you based on your preferences and creates a personal meeting schedule.  Your schedule contains full contact information  and the time and location for each meeting.  Every 10 minutes you’ll meet another business executive or professional.   You’ll gain up to 12 high-quality contacts during the evening, all selected based on mutual interest.  It’s science … not luck like other networking events.

“I have attended numerous receptions and networking events over the years and (this) was a pleasant shock to the system. I met more people at the event who were truly relevant to my business than all other events combined this year.” ~ Peter Cunningham, EO Network

Ultimate Networking

Wednesday November 10 5:30-8pm

Bravo Technical Resources, Dallas

Heritage Square I, 4835 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1000

Get Your web site

SPONSORS & PARTNERS. Ultimate Networking is brought to you by Bravo Technical Resources, Park Central Chiropractic, Blue Entrepreneurs, MIT Enterprise Forum, and DFW EStartup. Contact us to add your own group!

Helping Build Your Business,

Marc Freedman

Ultimate Leads from Ultimate Networking – Wed. Nov. 10

IS YOUR NETWORKING NOT WORKING? Success isn’t achieved through luck and random encounters. Yet that’s exactly how you run your business if you spend time and money at typical meetings, mixers, and meetups.

Want to find new business partners, prospects, services, investors, staff, or a job? DallasBlue Ultimate Networking ensures results with unique computerized matchmaking. You’ll meet 10-15 quality business executives and professionals who best match what you seek. It’s science … not luck.

Registration is open. Sign up now for our special low introductory pricing! Plus get free chair massages.

Ultimate Networking

Wednesday November 10 5:30-8pm

Bravo Technical Resources, Dallas

Heritage Square I, 4835 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1000

Get Your web site

SPONSORS & PARTNERS. Ultimate Networking is brought to you by Bravo Technical Resources, Park Central Chiropractic, Blue Entrepreneurs, MIT Enterprise Forum, and DFW EStartup. Contact us to add your own group!


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