Tag Archives: network

Not for Profits Need to Network Too

Business Networking & Fundraising

Business Networking & Fundraising

All things being equal people want to do business with people they know, like and trust.  That includes Not For Profit Organizations.

I am speaking a the AFP or Association of Fundraising Professionals on Friday.  I am the opening act in a line up of highly professional speakers on the topic of Social Networking, or Web 2.0.

I will be speaking about how Online Networking enhances your Face to Face networking and builds stronger networking relationships.   But, I am a little perplexed, I am not sure that many Fundraising or Not for Profits really do face to face networking.  I have met very few of them at a BNI meeting or at a Rainmakers meeting.  Thinking of the chamber events I go to, I meet few if any of them there.  So, I ask myself why don’t I ever meet them?  Where are they networking?  Do they network? Are they meeting the Small Business Owers, or are they just looking for the big guys?

Gleaners Food Bank is an example of a Not for Profit that networks face to face and does it well.  They are active in BNI and have even taken leadership positions in their chapter and in the region.  Because of their participation, many BNI members have taken tours, BNI Indiana does an annual fundraiser for them.  We learned that Gleaners does not just feed the hungry,  they help pantries around the state feed the hungry.  Not just the hungry but children who get backpacks of food and senior citizens who get food delivered to them.

They have gotten volunteers, like Stacie Shipley with JNS Electric who delivers senior boxes for them every week.  They have create positive word of mouth when the had Aaron Prickle of Lushin Associates take a tour so he could understand what they really do, and he now clears up a lot of misconceptions that he and many of his associates were once under.  Victoria has educated a lot of BNI members about the organization all because she believes in face to face networking.  Unfortunately they have embraced less of the Social Networking.

The Indianapolis Human Society has done a good job with social networking, I see them on Smaller Indiana and on Twitter, but I have never met anyone from the humane society at networking meeting.

If you are a NFP or a Fundraising Professional it is important to understand that people want to volunteer and donate to people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST.  Getting out to business networking events are important activities, it allows people to get to know you and your mission, to build a relationship, to volunteer, to spread word of mouth and to be advocates.

Using Social Media to amplify those relationships is the icing on the cake.  It is a new economy and everyone is holding on to their dollars, it is time for Fundraisers to come out of the offices and board rooms and meet the small business people in the community.  After all small business owners want to help, they are the fastest growing sector of the economy, but they also want to know who they are helping and why.  They want to meet you face to face.

If Referrals are Important, Why are they Random?

I am always interested in learning how people generate referrals for their business.  So, when I am networking I will ask the people I meet the following questions;  How much of your business is  by referral and the response is often 50% or more.  That always leads me to my next question, do you have a tracking system or is that a good guess?  It is usually just a guess.

For most networkers, referrals are completely random and go something like this:

If someone calls me up and ask me if I know someone who can help them, and if I can remember if I know someone who can help them and if I can find the number of that person and give it to the person who just called me, and if they will pick up the phone and call the person I recommended, then they got a referral!  The average networker is very excited because they believe that their network is working.  But it is completely random and reactive.

Do you have a system for generating referrals?  If referrals are important to your business, shouldn’t you have a system that you can count on?

Shouldn’t you know who you best referral sources are?

Shouldn’t you know how and when your referrals will show up?

Shouldn’t you have a system to track your networking activities?

Shouldn’t you have a system in place for thanking your referral sources?

Really, why are your referral random?

Organizations like the Referral Institute have created programs and software to help business professionals get out of the “If” referrals to developing a system that generates referrals consistently.

If referrals are important to you then why are they so random?  With organizations like the Referral Institute and books like The 29% Solution they do not have to be.

Spend Time Working Your Network

Have you ever asked a referral partner to introduce you to a contact they have only to be put off or not introduced at all? Did you wonder why? You might be surprised to know, that your referral partner did not have the same level credibility as the level referral you were asking for.

I once had a referral partner who boasted a very large database, we decided to sit down and do a little identifying out of each other’s databases. He had great contacts in his database but when I began to rate the level of referral I was looking for against the level of relationship he had with the contact, there was great disparity.

He quickly realized that his network was wide, but not very deep and he had some work to do to build higher levels of credibility with some of the people in his database. You see he spent most of his time networking, very little time working his network. Once, he had done some of that work, he became a much better referral partner.

Having a very wide network that is only an inch deep does not make you a solid referral partner. If you spend time, working your network instead of being out there networking you will create a much deeper network. One that will produce results for both you and your referral partners.

2009 Do These 5 Things

Happy 2009

Happy 2009

As you prepare to move into 2009 take the time to do these 5 things.

1.  Reflect on your 2008 achievements.

2.  Write your Goals for 2009, keep them balanced, Personal, Physical, Spiritual and Professional.

3.  Commit to your education.  YOU are the most valuable asset your company owns so invest in your education.

4.  Nurture your network, your self and your loved ones.

5.  Commit to doing things that make you a little uncomfortable this year.  When you are uncomfortable, you are growing!

Regardless of what you hear or what you read, 2009 can be one of your most successful years.

You are responsible for your success!

Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places

 Do you remember the old country western song about the guy going from place to place lookin for love? “I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, lookin’ for love in too many places.”

Frankly, this should be the theme song for many of the business professionals running from networking event to networking event. Unfortunately, it is a poor way to find love and an even worse way to find good referral partners.

 Many business people spend their time attending one networking event after another, looking for leads, prospects and connections. Collecting cards, adding names to their Rolodex, their mailing list and their email list. They repeat this activity over and over again because it’s the best plan they have.

 Before you go to your next networking event, make a plan. Here are a few things you may want to think about before you head out the door:

  • Set 3 Goals you want to achieve at this networking event?
  • Who is your target market and will they be at this event?

  • Who are your best referral sources and how will attending this event help them?

  • What is your follow up system after the event?

  • What activities will you use to build trust with your network?

  • What activities will you use to give to your network?

Instead of looking for new people to build referral relationships with, take a look at who you already network with. Maybe your time would be better spent digging deeper into your existing network and building stronger relationships instead of adding additional people to your network.

Love takes time, so does building a strong network of people who will refer business to you regularly. Before you walk out the door to do more networking make a plan, you may find that the love your lookin for is already in your network.

 

Investing in Your Sales and Referral Education

Ok, we know that the economy has gone south, credit is practically unavailable, businesses are drawing their spending back and so is the consumer, so what are you going to do as a business owner or sales manager to make sure that your business is not one of those that will be gone tomorrow?

The two places that most business want to cut back are not the wisest choices:

Training – A successful sales team or business owner stays involved with continuous training, keeping their prospecting, and sales skills sharp. This is the one place that the small business owner pinches their pennies, finding no value in quality training. It is important to keep new material in front of both the business owner and the sales teams.  Now is not the time to stop learning more about how to be a more effective sales person, how to implement referral systems that will generate higher referred prospects and how to close more deals.

Memberships –  Business Owners and Sales Managers alike begin to pull back on the networking groups and organizations where their teams have been spending time. A better result would be to diversify the organizations and make sure that you and your team are spending time in the right places with the right people and measure their results. 

After completing our course many of our clients are amazed at how much time they have invested in  networking activities that are not productive or effective.  If you and your people are out there networking then it is impotant that they be trained to do more than create visibility.  They must be able to effectively leverage their networks that become profitable for both parties.

Now is not the time to pull back, now is the time to become more strategic and more effective. 

 

Never Eat Alone

A must read for networkers

A must read for networkers

If you have not read it, you really should.  Never Eat Alone is an excellent book for those of you who are out there networking regularly.  Keith Ferrazzi is the consummate networker and takes networking to a whole new level.  One the first things I put into place after reading this book is “Pinging”.  Finding ways to reach out and touch those who are in my network.  I have made it my habit to Ping my community in multiple ways, I make it a habit to mail one handwritten note to someone in my network daily.  Secondly, I make phone calls and leave messages for people in my network, lastly I drop them emails with links or information that they may find valuable. 

Nurturing my network this way has allowed me to build stronger relationships with them.  All to often we get busy and forget about people until we need something or we run into them somewhere.

Take a some time and read the book, you will find a lot of great information that will help you develop a great network. 

Hazel Walker, Referral Strategist