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Master Networker Tips

by Stacey O’Byrne, Pivot Point Advantage

 

  1. Listen to the Client  The most important skill to close the sale is simply to listen! When communicating with a prospect, ask them open-ended questions to learn more about their needs. This makes them feel like an individual, and shows that you find their business important.  Then, be sure to ask relevant follow up questions to show you are listening to their needs.
  2. Sell the Outcome, not the Process  On paper, many businesses look similar. Ask yourself: What makes my business unique? Assess your business’ best features. Be ready to share the experience of what your service provides with prospects so they can see why you are the perfect professional to work with.
  3. Be the Best Value, not the Lowest Price  Potential clients want the very best service that they can afford. This does not mean that they will always choose the lowest price! Quality of service is very important. Emphasize the value YOU provide and the quality of your service in order to stand out as the best value for their money.
  4. Recognize Buying Signals  One of the biggest mistakes professionals make is that they don’t ask for the sale when a prospect is providing buying signals. Key buying signals include: asking about payment options and checking availability.
  5. ASK for the Sale It may seem obvious – but it is very important to ask for the sale!  Let your prospect know you would like to do business with them, and ask if they are ready to move forward  with a contract or payment. If they don’t buy right away, don’t forget to follow up.  Don’t be afraid of a “no” and come up with response for common objections.

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  1. Interrupt yourself, not them.
  2. Smile warmly, tell them what a pleasure it’s been to talk to them about [fill in the blank… whatever it was you were talking about], and that you could just monopolize their time all night.
  3. Say, “But if you’ll excuse me, I need to…” And then offer an excuse. Try: Catch up with my friend from college over there. Grab a bite to eat; those cookies are calling my name. Go help my husband take care of the kid. Go thank the hostess.
  4. You may also want to offer your hand for a handshake, which most people understand to mean, “It was nice meeting you, good-bye.”

The point is to leave a conversation knowing that you made someone feel better because they’ve talked to you. Making it clear that you were paying attention, enjoyed the conversation, and are leaving for a reason (rather than because the person is boring) all help.

by Matt Byrom

If you often find your mind wandering at work, or you’re prone to getting stuck in a YouTube cycle—don’t worry, you’re not alone. The Internet is a vast rabbit hole that can lure even the most focused away from the task at hand.

There are tons of bad habits that kill productivity, and we’re all guilty of at least one of them.

In this article, we’re going to list five of the worst, but also include solutions so you can kill those bad habits and be productive once more!

1. Being Tempted by Technology

Most of us need access to the internet, and maybe our smartphones, to do our jobs. However, with that constant access, it can be very tempting to Google the name of that song that’s stuck in your head, or quickly scroll through your Instagram feed.

Although it can feel harmless at the time, these little interjections of procrastination can be harmful to your productivity. One minute here and two minutes there may feel harmless. But all of this wasted time adds up.

According to a recent survey, 39 percent of employees spend one hour or less browsing non-work related websites every week, 29 percent spend two hours per week, and 21 percent waste an entire five hours per week.

Solution

To avoid being tempted by technology, try writing a list of all of the things you were going to search for online. This way, you can get them out of your mind and focus on the task at hand.

It may also be a good idea to turn off your smartphone’s WiFi during working hours (unless, of course, you need it to complete your work!)

2. You Don’t Eat Right

Skipping meals or hitting the drive-thru may make you feel more efficient, but the time you save will only be wasted later in the day as you become less and less productive.

The truth is, junk food gives you an instant energy spike, but this is very short-lived and is followed by a long slump. In contrast, if you eat healthily all day long you are 25 percent more likely to have a higher job performance.

Solution

No matter how far behind you are in your work, you should always make time to have a healthy lunch. Lunch is always best eaten away from your desk too. A change of scenery can have a huge impact on productivity.

If you want to know more about exactly what you should be eating to boost your productivity, check out this infographic.

3. Putting off Difficult Work

This is one bad habit that is hard to overcome. After all, it’s human nature. Think about when you were a kid: if you had a chocolate bar and a banana in your lunchbox, the chocolate bar would most likely get eaten immediately, and it’s likely you ate the banana when you got home and faced questioning from your Mom.

We tend to get easier tasks out of the way first — at least that’s what we tell ourselves. But researchers have found that people have a limited amount of willpower, and it decreases throughout the day.

Solution

The only solution for this is to grab a strong coffee in the morning and get stuck into your most difficult tasks.

You can also further improve your productivity by creating a routine for yourself. This way, you’ll know which tasks need to be completed when, and you’ll be less likely to put work off.

4. Hitting the Snooze Button

This is another bad habit that we are all guilty of. Five more minutes may seem like a good idea at the time, but many studies have found that fragmented sleep is much less restorative and leads to sleepiness-related daytime impairment.

So, by breaking up those last thirty minutes of sleep, you’re more likely to perform poorly during the day. You can learn more about the science behind the snooze button here.

The truth is, to be at your productive best you need a good seven or eight hours of sleep a night. A 2015 study of 21,000 British workers found that people who slept less than six hours a night were significantly less productive than those who slept for seven or eight hours.

Solution

The solution for this is simple: go to bed earlier and set your alarm later. By setting your alarm for the time that you actually need to get up, you will not only reduce your need for the snooze button, but may even eliminate your use of alarms altogether.

Getting up at the same time is great for your biological clock — and you may end up waking naturally every morning, instead of waking up to a horrible beeping sound.

5. Multitasking

I know what you’re thinking:

Multitasking doesn’t kill productivity; it’s great for productivity!

Actually, multitasking is not what it’s made out to be.

By focussing on multiple tasks at one time, we only give partial focus to each task. Our brains push the main focus towards the ‘multi,’ rather than the ‘task,’ meaning we drain our mental resources by constantly changing our thoughts. This makes multitasking surprisingly counter-productive.

Solution

The solution for multitasking is quite simply: stop. Or at least try to. You can break your routine of multitasking by creating a to-do list at the beginning of your day. Allocate a certain amount of time to each task and try to focus on only that task during the allotted time.

This may seem daunting, particularly if you think you have too much to do in your day. However, you will find that giving your full attention to a task will boost your productivity, and more often than not, get the task completed quicker than planned.

 

Final Thoughts

We all have bad habits — and being productive isn’t easy. Our minds are ticking away all the time, and we are expected to juggle more tasks than ever at work. But hopefully, these tips will help you kill those bad habits and focus on being more productive than ever.

Think we missed anything? Let us know your best tips to increase productivity!

While a dynamic presence in a meeting can win you professional acclaim from your peers, the truly successful know that it’s how you interact outside of the office that will make or break you. Creating and maintaining a great rapport with your fellow professionals, even your least favorite ones, is something one can’t learn only by reading. It is a fine art, one that can only be mastered through practice and diligence…and a healthy amount of patience. There is no better place to practice your inter-office rapport building than a company cocktail party or business mixer. Read on for some quick tips to refresh your etiquette and keep you working the room.

Know Your Role
The business mixer has it’s own unique dynamic, and knowing just what type of event you’re going to be attending is key to your social strategy. Is this an informal occasion with a few Hors d’oeuvres and a small, limited bar? Check your invitation, but it is likely this type of event will not require any formal dress, and the purpose behind it is to simply allow guests to mingle. Consider the more formal style of business mixer, one with seating arrangements and a full bar as well as entrees. The invitation should specify, but it is more likely formal dress and a full evening are expected. Generally these types of corporate gatherings are reserved for the end of a business season or making a big announcement.

Look the Part
This may apply more to the men in the audience than the women, but business casual does NOT mean nice jeans and a polo. Opt for slacks and compliment them with a sports jacket or a classy button down shirt. Leave the jeans and Tommy Bahama shirts at home. When in doubt, ask the host if the invitation does not specify. Also, its usually best to err on the side of caution and over dress a bit. Taking off an item of clothing is better than showing up without it, and as the old proverb goes, “it’s never a bad thing to be the best dressed person in the room.”

Have a Goal and Execute Accordingly
You should walk in the door knowing what it is you want to get out of the event. Whether that be impressing the boss with your clever, witty banter or getting on a first name basis with the special guests in attendance, you must focus your energy on achieving these goals in the appropriate way. Working the room with a purpose helps to project a positive, driven persona to those you’re speaking to and will leave a lasting impression. Make a point to introduce yourself to others and never stay with a “safe” group of friends too long. Don’t forget your goal, and remember that while it is never a bad idea to schmooze accordingly, no one likes a brown noser. Act accordingly.

Be Modest and Mingle Appropriately
It goes without saying, but getting drunk at a business party may not do too much immediate damage, but can follow you longer than you ever thought. Leave the boozing for the plane ride home. It’s best to limit yourself to one alcoholic drink per hour to keep your wits about you and energy level high. Don’t feel comfortable standing around without a beverage? Order a coke on the rocks, or a tonic water with some lime, the only person who will know there’s no alcohol in the cup will be you. On the same token, when there is a buffet available, it’s best to patiently wait your turn and sample lightly. Most people will never notice if you make multiple trips, however, everyone will notice your tiny plate stacked precariously with every appetizer on the table. Keep food and drink in your left hand to allow you to confidently shake hands with new acquaintances without having to make an awkward movement. Ask open ended questions of others that require more than a simple yes or no. Listen attentively and when you’re ready to move on, don’t make a show of looking around the room trying to escape, simply wait for a pause in the conversation and offer an “it’s been a pleasure meeting and talking with you, I hope we get a chance to meet again.”

When it’s time to head home
Make a point to thank everyone around you, we emphasize the importance of thanking the host. Seek them out and say it in person every time. Your exit does not end there, however, and the truly elite social strategist knows the key to being a show stopper with your manners takes only a little bit of extra effort. Send a handwritten note to the host the next day, personally thanking them again and letting them know what a great time you had. It’s likely you may be one of very few, if any, who take this extra step and the couple seconds it takes are well worth the spectacular impression it will make. Also, any new contacts you may have made should be sent an e-mail to letting them know it was great to have met them and you look forward to staying in touch. Again, nothing special given how easy it is to send an informal e-mail to multiple people at once.

Keeping these tips in mind the next time you’re ready to attend a company sponsored mixer will keep you looking and feeling good while projecting an image of class and success that will have others dying to do business with you.

from Josef Schein, Northridge Power Partners Chapter of TEAM Referral Network

by Melissa Thompson

Are American workers as productive, or more productive, than they used to be, with the burgeoning amount of apps coming out daily?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the answer is, no. In fact, they say that nonfarm productivity hasfallen 0.6 percent during 2016.

Now, there are a bewildering number of productivity tools and apps that promise to increase your performance and productivity.

Yet sometimes all you really need to better your focus at work are a few quick changes in environment and working habits. Try these uncomplicated off-line tips for increasing productivity at work and improving your next performance review:

1. Take Out the Trash

Take a few moments at the end of each day to straighten up your working area. Never leave a mess behind at the end of the day, thinking, “I’ll take care of it first thing when I get into work”. Psychologically, you’ll feel more like getting right to productive work if you don’t have any leftovers or trash from the previous day to deal with first.

2. Have a Favorite Color Scheme and Some Plants

You don’t need to call in an interior decorator for this. Just put up a few random scraps of your favorite color to rest your eyes on occasionally. Don’t turn your cubicle into a hothouse, but have a few green plants around your work environment to keep it from feeling completely sterile. Succulents like cactus and aloe vera are ideal plants for the office; they thrive on neglect. Once your workspace reflects your own personality, you’ll feel more confident and relaxed, and be able to work better.

3. Speaking of Personality…

Diplomas, family portraits, awards; these are the kind of workplace decorations that make you feel appreciated, successful and motivated.

4. Get It Over With

There’s always that one task that seems to be the most difficult and unpleasant, so it gets put off until the end of the day, and then put off until first thing tomorrow. Meanwhile, the stress of thinking about how unpleasant it’s going to be, works as a distraction to your current task. Decide each day to get the most unpleasant work done first the lift you’ll feel once it’s over with will make all your other assignments seem that much easier and pleasant and you’ll work better.

5. It’s a Pyramid

Prioritize your work, so that the most important task sits at the top of your mind like the point of a pyramid. Then work on the next level, and then the next, and so on, until you’ve reached the bottom, where the least important work should always remain as the base of your pyramid. Oxagile CEO Dmitry Karpovich, who happens to be a big proponent of the waterfall method of software development, says “consider delegating your least important work to someone else, if you’re high enough on the food chain to do so. Micromanagement can be dangerous to your efficiency”.

6. Don’t Let Email Become Your Boss

Never interrupt your work schedule because of an email notification. Instead, turn off your email notification and only check it at certain scheduled times. Anyone who comes by to ask, “Did you read my email yet?” will get the polite reply that you will read it at such-and-such a time. Stick to your schedule and you’ll discover much more time to work on your priority assignments without being unduly distracted.

7. Short Breaks

Take several 10-minute breaks each day, instead of just one or two long ones. This may seem counter-intuitive since it appears to break up your day more often with distractions, but in reality, a brisk walk around the block or quick nosh in the break room will revive your focus much better. Longer breaks tend to make you sleepy and remain unfocused. The important thing is to physically leave your workspace for a few minutes, so you can come back refreshed.

8. Move It

A moderate workout either before or after work will keep your mind sharp and focused during business hours. More and more people are walking or riding bikes to work. And have you noticed? Such people are never the office losers. Never sit at work for more than an hour at a time; get up and stretch a little. Break the routine for just a few seconds; it’s better than a shot of Red Bull.

9. Music Motivation

You listened to it when you did homework in high school and college. So do it when you have a particularly difficult assignment to complete on deadline. Your music, whatever it may be, can help you remained focused while filtering out the distracting sounds around you. Plus, the headphones will indicate to co-workers that this is not a good time to come visiting about their love lives.

10. Move It: Part Two

When you start to feel stale in your normal workspace, it’s time to relocate temporarily. Try the local library, or a coffee shop, or even a public park if the weather is nice. Or, find a quiet, comfortable spot at work that is not your cubicle/office/workspace, with lots of natural light, and set up there for a few hours. The change in environment is like a micro-vacation without the hassle of airports and passports.

11. Makin’ a List and Checkin’ It Twice

The politician Hubert Humphrey once said: “A goal that is not written down is no goal at all; it’s just a daydream.” Take a moment at the start of each day to specifically write down each assignment you want to finish. And remember the pyramid from earlier; start the list with the most important task of the day. As each one is done, check it off. Sounds childish, but there truly is something satisfying about physically marking a task as done. You’ll stay more focused, plus you’ll have a daily work diary to consult when it’s time for your performance review.

12. The Myth of Multitasking

MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller says our brains were never meant to multitask. Our sense of accomplishment diminishes steeply as we attempt to multitask for any length of time and with that diminishing sense of accomplishment comes discouragement and worry, and that inevitably leads to less work done. So concentrate on doing one thing at a time. When it’s done you will naturally feel good about yourself and want to reinforce that feeling by getting on to your next assignment, so you can get some more of those good vibes. It’s a simple and effective way to remain self-motivated.

 

by Joydeep Bhattacharya

Enhanced connectivity and improved telephony have blurred the line between a staff working on a physical premises and one who is working remotely from home.

And it is transforming the culture, for good. As per the Small Office Home Office (SOHO) workers report 2016, a majority of 60 percent people, feel happier when working from home and 57 percent think that they manage to get much more work completed, as compared to the office environment.

Working from home has various benefits but sometimes employees lose motivation and enthusiasm. Follow these tips to make your remote working, more productive:

1. Start Early With a Detailed Routine Which Is Actually Enforceable

It is a widely advised idea to get up early in the morning. It optimizes human efficiency exponentially. But it is not always practical. Rather:

2. Utilize Tools to Minimize Distractions, Save Time and Work Efficiently

The Internet is replete with tools to manage your working hours and resist temptations:

3. Use Keyboard Tricks for Faster Typing and Browsing

Windows and Mac computers keep infusing keyboard shortcuts in their systems. While all such tricks make working faster, here are the ones you should start using right now:

4. Choose a Dedicated Working Area Free From Interruptions

Many of us would choose to work from home because of the level of comfort, but a mind which is too relaxed may not be the most productive one:

5. Set Micro Targets Do Timeboxing and Rejuvenate With Stand-Ups and Walking Meetings

A colossal project can overwhelm even the most experienced professionals. It is a smart strategy to break it down into smaller targets and time them strictly:

Working from home is the new trend amongst businesses. It helps in trimming down traveling time and other expenses but many employees struggle to keep their heads above the rising tide of targets. It can act as a test to check self-discipline, focus and productivity. While many may argue that a strong resolve is the key, but the above mentioned simple tips can substitute it with ease, for a better work output.

by: Michael Goldberg

Top 10 lists are great. It’s been a thing for David Letterman probably since he was dropping watermelons from rooftops. But the concept is definitely a trend. It’s why The Book of Lists is so much fun to read – Top 10 Tallest Buildings, Biggest Bridges, Most Popular Movies, and so on. Of course, The Book of Lists may not be in the Top 10 Best Books to read but perhaps it should be. A different story for a different day.

Then there are lists that speak to the top 3, Top 5 or whatever the number is.

And are the top 10 really the top 10? Or top 3 or 5? Or is this just clever marketing, knowing people will click on numbers.

Follow me?
Well, a client that just hired me to speak at their event wanted to pass around a Top 10 business networking tips sheet to give them a jump start on some approaches they may take at their upcoming conference. Here they are. And yes, they are my top 10.
10. Understand What Networking Is
Networking is a proactive (although sometimes reactive) approach to meeting people with the intention of learning about and potentially helping them, but it doesn’t have to happen right away. Get to know them over time and build a mutually beneficial relationship. (Can you say “mutually beneficial relationship”?) If you help great people get what they want, they help you right back. That’s networking!

9. Determine Your Specific Purpose
There are really only five – more business, land a job, social reasons, learning, and solving a specific problem. That’s it! But it’s important to be specific. For example, what type of business are you looking for? Or what are you interested in learning? What industry, profession, market segment, niche, dynamic, geography, height, weight, perimeter, area and flavor reflects what you are after? If you can define your intentions right down to the flavor (kidding on the flavor thing of course but you catch my drift!) then you’ll know where to go, what to say and with whom. See below!

8. Go to the Right Places
Networking groups, chamber mixers, conferences, conventions, trade shows, product shows, professional associations, industry events, golf outings, sporting events, business lunches, coffee meetings, service groups, fund raising events, entrepreneur round tables, mastermind organizations, women’s groups, men’s groups, social groups, cyclist clubs – the list goes on and on! Pick your particular group and get involved. Make things happen, don’t just show up and expect things to happen. By the way, you don’t need to be a part of a group to be an effective networker but it helps. A lot!

7. Meet the Right People
Who are your true prospects? (Those that can hire you and have told you they are interested in doing so at some point). Really be specific here. Now, who are your best referral sources? (Those that come in contact with your true prospects all day, every day.) Again, specifics! Do you already have relationships with some of them? Can you connect with those you know and those you want to know through LinkedIn? Do they frequent regular events? If so, see above!

6. Say the Right Things
Know how to introduce yourself – “Hello, my name is…” Start off by asking great questions about them. About their work, hobbies, who they know, who they want to know, goals, accomplishments and fun things they’re up to. (Hint: Ask questions that you would want them to ask of you. Very often, they’ll answer your question and then ask, “How about yourself?”)

5. Never, Never, Never, Sell!
As in, never. I have a million stories about sales people and business owners looking to pitch their services to those they meet at events. Don’t be one of them! Those you meet at events are potential referral sources. Over time, some may become prospects but those you meet at events are not your prospects. Unless they tell you they are. This is a very fine line so be careful. Savvy networkers smell “hunters” a mile away so again, don’t be one of them.

4. Make It About Them
Make almost everything you say and ask about them – not you. I find the less you talk about yourself, the more interested people are about you. Effective networking is a WE thing, not a ME thing (or YOU thing). Stick to the right pronoun.

3. Have an Elevator “Speech”
This is a prepared (not rehearsed or memorized) response to, “What kind of work do you do?” My favorite approach focuses on a 4 step model called PEEC: Profession, Expertise, Environments, and Call to Action. So in essence, give an overview in about 20 seconds on what you do and who you help, your background, target market (those “environments” you want to work in or with, and who you ultimately want to meet or what you want to accomplish (your “call to action”). You can have a one minute version if you need to give a “commercial” at your next mixer.

2. Follow Up
Without follow up, it’s like you’ve never met anyone you networked with. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to follow up with everyone you meet, just when there is a good reason to do so!) Serious networkers know how to follow up and follow through. This should be established toward the end of your conversation. If it makes sense to reconnect and get into a more in-depth conversation, then ask them about next steps. “Seems we have a lot in common and can potentially help one another with … Let’s exchange business cards and I promise to reconnect with you tomorrow so we can coordinate next steps. Does that work for you?” Just make sure you do what you say and say what you will do.

1. Stay in Touch
After getting to know one another, if it makes sense, brainstorm on ways to stay in touch, learn more, develop the relationship, and create added value to the partnership. If you want to. If you’re into that sort of thing. Remember, out of sight is out of mind.

Well, while there are 7 Deadly Sins in Event Planning, there are exactly two types of people who do the planning – they either love it or hate it.

Those who love it embrace experts’ advice, know when they need help, and they generally pull off great events without the appearance of any hard work.  You know how the event will go if the person in charge of planning it isn’t happy about planning it!

Now, that being said, you can guess what kind of people we are – we love it!  Every event is different and all the variables make it truly challenging and exciting to pull it all together into a seamless affair.  Of course, we’re professionals at it, so that’s how it’s supposed to be.  For those of you who are planning an event for business, though, there are a few key pointers that we’ve arrived at that will absolutely help you to make it painless and fun:

Being Flexible

This is a tough one.  Every event starts off in the mind of the planner with a certain image, and in some cases, that image may be forced to be changed.  A venue may not be perfect, the caterer may not be able to deliver certain items (perhaps out of season?) and, of course, the weather can impact even an event held indoors.  The truth is that any event is going to have some changes that have to be made – some early, some on the very day of – or during – the actual event.  If you are too set in your mental image of how the event should flow, versus how the event will have to flow, you may find yourself fighting a losing battle and disappointing your audience as well.  A truly worthwhile goal is to adapt your opportunities while you can still control them and manage the rest to the best of the circumstances.

Ignoring the Obvious

While there’s nothing wrong with optimism, failing to acknowledge obvious problems while they are still small can jeopardize your entire event.  No one person or company is good at all things and no matter what your budget may be, not planning properly – or making poor assumptions – can run your event right off the tracks.  If you are right at the capacity of the room or venue, then hoping that some guests don’t show is truly poor planning.  (As a rule, leave an extra 15% of total seating for last minute guests, just in case).  A room that seats 100 with 150 guests on the confirmed list is asking for your event to fall into disaster.

If you don’t acknowledge the obvious, you won’t know when it’s necessary to supplement your skill set by engaging with experts.  Also, it is important to make sure that you are comfortable in the roles that you will have to play for the event.  If you dislike the limelight, then getting an MC – versus you doing it yourself – needs to be a part of the planning.

 

Being a Perfectionist

Striving for excellence isn’t usually a bad thing. But when it comes to event planning, perfectionist tendencies can hinder more than help.   Remember – the day of the event will be here no matter what you do, and waiting too long or holding out for the perfect venue, season, keynote speaker, etc… means that many of the critical pieces will be put off until the last second.

The pursuit of perfection can be especially problematic in company events.  Most companies have certain times each year, and budgets, to plan events.   For best results, strive to create a simple, elegant, and workable solution to the event that you are planning.  You don’t need the Boston Pops, you need a great band that plays standards.

 

Choosing the Wrong Venue

Savvy event planners can source a large selection of venues for any occasion.  In this way, no matter the event, they have a solution for their clients.  If you are forced into event planning for your company, you need to do the “small” version of this by not settling for the first or the least expensive venue.  Encourage competition between potential sites and make sure that the “best deal” is really a deal – and make sure that you have a contract for the venue as well.  There are various venue sourcing services that you can use to alleviate the stress and pressure of this piece and make sure the agreement protects you properly.

For best results, research your audience before booking a venue – will there be catering, alcohol, technology, a block of rooms, transportation. The goal is to ensure you have your audience and their use in mind when you choose a venue.

 

Skimping on Marketing

No matter how strong your game-plan is, not letting guests know about it, or going cheap on the invitations, will doom your event to failure. After all, with today’s busy and interconnected lives, people have and make plans at a moment’s notice. At the very least, you should consider not only traditional mailed invitations, but also digital invites – and often several of them – to make sure that your target audience “gets” the message. Anything less is likely to get lost in the shuffle. And while many of today’s marketing avenues are technically free (e.g. search engine optimization, social media, content marketing), you may still need someone knowledgeable to handle these responsibilities – either in your company or, even better, in that business.

Don’t be afraid to spend money on solid and traditional event marketing to connect with attendees. If you lack the skills to handle print or electronic marketing, don’t be scared to find and pay the experts – no amount of apologies can make up for botched event marketing.

Wasting Money on Resources

Now here is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you want to put on a premiere event. On the other hand, you don’t want to blow through money like a sailor in port. Balance is the key, and if you have to be the expert, there are some things to remember.

First of all, look for places to get the most “bang-for-your-buck”. Most venues have relationships with event companies that can handle everything from the catering to the invitations. Make sure you ask!

At the same time, don’t be scared to simply ask for some help. If there is a cost, you’ll quickly find out and with that, you can ask and negotiate what services or amenities you’ll actually need. Valet parking may be nice, but if the majority of the attendees will be staying in the hotel where your event is hosted, it may be a waste of money for the actual return on the investment. Always remember that the goal of the event is to have a wonderful experience, and the most important experiences are often the ones you don’t pay for.

Picking the Wrong Team

No matter if you have the luxury of an event planner and their team or you have to pull it all together alone, you need to make sure that the team you have is in the right seats on your bus.

With funding for many events being difficult to secure to begin with and nearly impossible once the planning is started, the smart money is always spent on the right team.  You have every right to thoroughly vet even volunteers for your event – so do it!

In light of this fact, hiring the wrong companies for your event can be a serious—and potentially costly—error.   Don’t just look at the low price options – make sure you invest in the low-risk options.  Use smart people and companies that can complement the skills needed, not just empty suits that provide you lip-service and follow their own agenda.

 

There really is not reason for an event to be a painful experience to plan, but when you don’t divert around these seven problem areas, you will find yourself in trouble of one kind or another.  On the other hand, forewarned is forearmed, so when you start your event planning, take these lessons to heart and make it an easy and memorable event that is executed without a hitch and within the budget.

By Sachiko Nuila, TEAM Director/CEO of Nuila Events

Sachiko Nuila gets the privilege to network with some incredible entrepreneurs and businessmen and women who are thriving! As a Managing Director, I hope to create as much value as possible for TEAM members and prospective TEAM members in the Orange County area. Together Everyone Achieves More!

“WOW, I just had the best experience ever!”

We’ve all used a phrase similar to this when we’ve been to a great restaurant, had a wonderful massage, or found that perfect CPA to trust with your taxes. You want all your friends and family to have the same experience; so you share your fortunate find with everyone you talk to for the next couple of weeks and even memorialize it on social media. Did you know you are creating referrals for those businesses?

In my previous blog, Relationship Marketingwe talked about building relationships with your customer base; so let’s take it one step further and build a foundation forReferral Marketing. Where we hope for referrals to grow our business, “Hope is not a strategy.”

Here are three ways to market your business through referrals:

#1 – Develop a loyalty program, frequent buyer or use coupons

Consider using a text service to offer coupons during slow business days or offer cards that can be stamped on each visit resulting in a discount or free “widget” upon the 10th visit. In my business, I offer a free annual membership renewal for every 10 referrals resulting in new members. If you can implement a “thank you” for your referrals program, you can create additional business to increase your bottom line.

#2 – Join a local Chamber of Commerce (Grapevine is the best!), a meetup.com group, a referral networking organization or all three!

In a Chamber of Commerce, you have the ability to develop community relationships that result in other members referring business but remember this goes back to building those key relationships. If you’re not familiar with meetup.com, there are groups for everything you can possibly imagine – from sailing and dog walking to technology and singles. You name it; you can find it on meetup. A referral networking organization is designed to help your business grow through referrals. The goal is to educate your fellow members about your business so they know how to refer people to you. Think of it as being part of a sales team for each members’ business. Our motto is, “Don’t Hire a Sales Team, Join One!”

#3 – Become the resource for your family, friends and business network

There’s nothing like being the one everyone comes to and asks, “Who do you know?” This is important because your name comes up regularly in conversations, which keeps you top of mind for your own business. Everyone wants to do business with people they know and trust, but most people aren’t networked enough to make this happen. This is your opportunity to become that trusted resource.

Lastly, defining the difference in a lead and referral is important. I consider a lead a cold call. There are tons of lead generation tools available to collect contacts of potential customers, but they leave you selling your product or service to strangers. I consider a referral an introduction. When I refer someone, I make sure I send an email or call introducing both sides; so they know why I think they should connect. Recently, I thought I received a referral but when I called, the business told me they weren’t interested in my services or know why I was calling. Telling someone to call a particular business is NOT a referral; it’s a cold call. Both parties should understand the nature of the introduction.

Develop a referral marketing strategy that works for your business and become a trusted resource!

About the Author | Kay Wallace, TEAM Referral DFW

Kay Wallace - TEAM Referral DFW - Relationship Marketing - Grapevine TexasKay Wallace is a speaker, trainer, social media strategist and has a referral networking organization, TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) Referral DFW. TEAM combines the best of face to face and online networking through exclusive category relationship marketing to help your business grow. We offer virtual, business & executive chapters, online memberships, community outreach and much more. Referrals are the best way to market your business so “Don’t Hire a Sales Team, Join One.”

Visit TEAM Referral DFW online at www.TEAMReferralDFW.com