Category Archives: Building Relationships

Real Connections Matter!

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I have known the one-of-a-kind Paul Castain for over three years, and had the pleasure to speak with him on several occasions.

Long ago when I started writing, did not have a blog yet, and was “stuck”, I started to research the sales profession and stumbled across a website. They had a blogroll (list of blogs that they followed) and Paul’s blog – “Your Sales Playbook” was one of them.

I had clicked on many of the other blogs and moved on shortly after, but something made me dive deeper in to Paul’s content. He even had a link to a music playlist to help pump everyone up! Any sales website that has content on music (one of my passions) is going to get more of a look than the others.

From that moment, I made a point of supporting him on my “regular run” of the social media circles. I commented on his posts, listened to podcasts, shared content and interacted with him on a more personal level. I really connected with him, and at any moment felt like we could go grab a drink and shoot the breeze.

Over a year and a half passed and I was finally ready to launch my blog in January of 2012. It was a honour early on to have Paul stop by and comment to wish me well. Like many bloggers, my first two or three posts had limited traffic beyond family and friends. I did not totally understand “the blogging thing” yet, and was not driving traffic to my content.

Then came February 13, 2012 –  the day I will never forget.

I walked in to my office like any other morning to check email. I was stunned to see so many new emails related to my blog. My first thought was “What did Castain do”?

http://yoursalesplaybook.com/2-newnewer-sales-blogs-worthy-of-your-attention/

I share this not to be cocky or arrogant, it was just the first thought that came to my mind. I had a feeling that Paul was responsible.

I still remember my heart racing as I realized what had happened.

To this day, no matter how hard I try, I cannot surpass the number of daily page views that I received when Paul gave Bruce Zimmerman and I a “shout out” on his blog. I am forever grateful for the gesture, and what he has done for me and my business.

I never expected anything in return from Paul. I just wanted to help because of his incredibly content, passion to make others be better and his love for life.

Our relationship has now developed to where I help run his music group on LinkedIn (a subgroup of the highly successful Sales Playbook) called the Daily Music Sanctuary http://linkd.in/1g45rW0 .We try to talk at least 2-3 times per year. I was invited to attend one of his webinars free of charge, and had the distinct pleasure of doing a testimonial for his awesome Ebook “Paul Castain’s Social Networking Playbook” http://bit.ly/Mw7YOI 

If you reach out to others and build relationships you never know what might happen. If your intentions are not self-fulfilling, you might get an incredible surprise like I did that day!

Paul has become my mentor and motivates me to move my consulting business forward every day! As great as the mention was on Paul’s blog, the best part is I now have an incredible friend who will be there when I need him, and that means the world to me!

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The Connect and “Barf” Method Rarely Works!

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I love to discuss this scenario when speaking about networking with anyone who is interested in hearing my take….

You are at an after work business mixer – a cocktail party per se. You meet somebody for the first time, shake hands and exchange business cards. What would their body language be, and what would they say if the next thing you did was try and sell them something?

So why do so many people think this is ok to do when connecting online?

I could rattle off many examples when this has happened to me. I am stunned and bewildered every time.  I am now less and less surprised because it is becoming more prevalent online.

Relationships take time to develop, and people typically only purchase from those that they know, like and trust.

Somebody can’t possibly have a hot clue what you are all about after you have just said “hello”. Most people would think you were an alien trying to connect for the first time offering your products and/or services.

  • Thank people for connecting when they confirm your “request to connect” via social media
  • Provide value 
  • Get to know them, and actually listen to them
  • Connect them with like-minded people in your network

People will see right through you if you are only in this to sell. But if you put the focus on them, and show that you actually care about building  long-term relationships, you will be much more successful when it comes time to present your offer.

Don’t just “barf”. That is just plain lazy!

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Tim Mushey – Would You Shut Up Already?

I love to talk. I used to talk anyone’s ear off who would listen to my long-winded babble!

The best man at my wedding described me to a “T” in 2005:

“Tim is like a remote control. All you have to do is say hello to him and he is off to the races. He changes topics quickly liked changing channels on a remote control.”

But I had to change. I had to change big time! People in business and personal lives don’t want to hear you blow hot air all day. They want to be engaged  and get talking. They want to talk about themselves and feel like others are really listening to them!

That was me for the longest time. I still struggle with this every day. But I am getting better, and certainly focus on others taking the lead in conversations now with my open-ended questions.

Every time I get off track I think of Frank Tyger’s fabulous quote,

“Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.”

A Special Guest Post – Networking Is Pointless

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I am so excited to introduce one of my best friends, Roger Demas to everyone. I have the distinct pleasure of posting his first writing online. He picked my blog to post on before his even launches! His take on networking is entertaining and provides lessons that we can all learn from. Enjoy!

Networking is pointless!

…. Or is it truly the basis of almost every long lasting personal and business relationship?

I was inspired to write this by a recent online discussion. I saw a question about networking and whether it was effective. One of the first responses was a bold “all caps” –

“Networking is a waste of time.”

Ironically, this discussion was on a social networking site!

Not only do I completely disagree with the statement, but I feel that networking can and does happen all the time.
We network every day. Speaking on the phone, sending email or other electronic communication, engaging through social media and traditional face to face dialog – it is all networking.

Networking situations can have positive results, if you want them to. When I introduce myself to a new neighbor and ask what they do, I am networking. When I am riding my bike and say hello to a passerby, I am networking. When I post or share something on social media, I am networking.

It is ultimately what you do next that makes the networking worthwhile. If I introduce my neighbor to someone else that they might be able to do business with, that is effective. If I stop and engage in casual conversation with that passerby and find out more about them, that is effective. And if I take the next step to introduce myself and offer help to a fellow social networker, that is effective.

Every person that I meet and learn about can become part of my network. It really comes back to the age old theological principle of “give and you shall receive”. The more I put myself out there and the more I can provide positive sentiment to others, the more likely I am to receive positive sentiment in return. Those budding relationships become the friends, loved ones and potential business relationships or referrals that we have now and in the future.

I can say with pride that I have met and conversed with many people in different social networks that I now consider friends (even though we may have never met in person and may never do business together). I was fortunate enough that many of these people either reached out to me or responded when I reached out.

Taking that extra step to be “social” on social networks and not just “broadcasting” makes all the difference. Now I am able to connect with great people from all over the world which confirms that networking is NEVER pointless.

You can connect with Roger at:

Linkedin http://goo.gl/vsgkq
Twitter http://goo.gl/2uaSl
Google+ http://goo.gl/lBae2
Facebook http://goo.gl/4GgKM

His blog is coming soon if you want a sneak peak at: http://www.sunnycanuck.com

Why Follow Up Is A Waste Of Time!

  • bigstock-No-Time-to-Waste-BESTIt’s time-consuming
  • It can start a series of telephone tag or long email correspondence
  • It may dig up potential issues that you don’t want to deal with; feels like you are becoming a complaint handling department
  • Don’t want to bother people
  • Don’t know the right amount of time to wait if you need an answer
  • Would rather focus your efforts on getting more business if in a sales role, or fulfilling other more enjoyable business activities in general

TOUGH LOVE MOMENT – Suck it up!

Imagine if all of your competitors thought this way! You should be embracing follow-up and becoming your customer (or prospect’s) go to person!

Customers will respect you because your relationship with them is not complete after the purchase order number is given. They have put their hand up and said “treat me special“. Don’t take your current customers for granted and follow-up regularly.

  • If you have quoted a prospect, be sure to follow-up. Don’t expect that they will magically call you and give their decision either way. It may only take a brief clarification to secure the business
  • If you are following up to check on a previous issue, it may help prevent future issues
  • If it is follow-up after a sale, it may take care of minor issues before they escalate in to bigger ones

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a project stalls with somebody in the organization, due to the fact that others have not responded to them. That is always unacceptable. If you need to follow-up frequently via email, phone, or in person, get the answers that you need to move things forward. Never use others as scape goats for things being held up by you.

Successful sales and business people do things that they do not like to do every day to continue to grow and achieve a cut above the rest.

If you are not ready to “get your hands dirty” the time to change is now. If you are already a master of the “circle of follow-up“, congratulations!

I really enjoyed this post today on making sales communications more engaging. I hope you do too! Have a great day

Automatic “Disconnect”!

 

Twitter has an “unfollow” button which many people use when necessary. Unfortunately LinkedIn does not have a “disconnect” button, where you can “relieve yourself of the burden” of networking with somebody who just does not get it! You can remove a connection, but it takes some work.

I recently had a request to connect from a gentlemen on LinkedIn, which I accepted. I sent a personalized thank you note, and made mention of the other places that he could connect with me.

To my surprise, I was then sent a generic email (with my name inserted) promoting their business and asking me to get involved. There was no acknowledgement of my personalized reply, just them “barfing out” their sales pitch. Usually I let this type of interaction slide, but I had a little “bite in my step” that day, and wanted to give them some friendly advice.

My exact response was:

“I appreciate your connection, but I don’t think that you should be “flogging” your products the moment that we connect.

Just a friendly suggestion to change-up your approach as you attempt to attract partners.

Thank you,

Tim”

I thought this was going to go one of two ways. I would either never hear from them again, or they could come back with some defence of their sales strategy. Instead I received:

“Dear Tim Mushey. Thank you so much for your reply”…

Followed by a canned sales pitch being “barfed” on me a second time, but now TWICE AS LONG!

Did I mention that he also sent me one of those generic LinkedIn invites ? Yuk.

At the end of the day, those who are engaging online, specifically for business purposes, should know better. This is networking 101! Would you try to sell somebody your products and services from the moment that you met them in person? I would hope not! So why should it be ok online?

Network “virtually” like you would “personally”. Show up, be responsive and care about your connections. The last thing you want is for people to “unfollow” or “disconnect” with you soon after accepting your requests.

That would be a huge red flag that you need to adjust your approach.

Four Tips For Introverts Going To Networking Events

I enjoyed this post from Bob McIntosh earlier today. These tips should be very helpful for those “introverts” as their heart races when they enter the room at a networking event.

 

Things Career Related

Eric Qualman

And how not to arrive to an event unprepared.

I was once given a ticket to a guest-speaker event put on for a group of young professionals in my community. I was excited and grateful for the opportunity because I’d be seeing Erik Qualman speak about social media—Erik wrote Socialnomics and is a great speaker. I would be able to sit comfortably and listen to an expert on social networking entertain me. So I thought.

When I arrived at the event I discovered there would be a networking hour preceding it, and that I was woefully under-dressed. My vision of kicking back and listening to a great speaker was dashed when I entered a hallway full of people dressed to the nines engaged in conversation. I promptly went to the men’s room, looked at my sad self in the mirror, and exited the building.

I needed air. It took me a few…

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Lessons for Sellers from the Unsocial Media

Paul McCord from TheSalesandManagementBlog.com has an incredible post today discussing social media. If you don’t go about it the right way, connecting with somebody can become “unsocial” in a big hurry.

Enjoy his post at the link below:

Lessons for Sellers from the Unsocial Media.

How To Increase Your Sales By Earning The Right – Video By Kelley Robertson

Kelley Robertson is somebody in the sales training space that I admire greatly, and is a fellow Canadian if I may add! In this video, he outlines four situations when you can earn the right to move the sales process forward or ask for the sale.

Kelley is very active on Twitter, and you can follow him at @FearlessSelling

He has an excellent blog which can be found at http://fearless-selling.ca/blog/

Enjoy the video and be sure to connect with Kelley!