When we talk about how My Pinnacle Network is different than other networking groups, there several obvious reasons why that go beyond being a monthly group for B2B professionals. The not so obvious differences typically come in the form of observations from guests.

One of the most common things we hear is how members and guests get a chance to talk without interruption/gong/bell, etc. That’s not to say we don’t have to use a timing device when we have a large group. We let members and guests know how long they have to speak and most of our members have been doing the networking thing long enough to deliver their verbal brand in a timely fashion.

Another is our speakers. We ask that members who speak focus on an issue in their industry rather than do a commercial about their business. That lends to some very interesting topics (e.g. ransomware at this week’s MPN-Westborough meeting), typically followed by even more enlightening q&a session.

Back to our verbal brands, we do ask that members go about it a little differently than most networking groups. We ask for members to start with a thank you to members for any of the following: new business; lead/referral; introduction; or simply a one-on-one. Then members talk about how their business is different or better using a client example. But what has made meetings memorable for many centers on our themes.

Themes are a little extra thing we ask members and guests to add to their verbal brand. At this week’s meeting in Westborough, we ask for an example of where each business owner gave value. The beauty of these themes is that sometimes they grow a life of their own. Like at this meeting. One member thanked yours truly for an introduction to John Adams. That led to the next several verbal brands mentioning unique names they encountered in their travels:

  • Charlie Brown
  • John Paul Jones (who was from Iowa and got sea sick; long story)
  • Jack Rabbit

The point you hopefully see is that the conversations and discussions at a My Pinnacle Network are of an organic nature but with the framework of an organized meeting. Most visitors leave feeling they learned something.

All in all, that’s not a bad way to start your day and build your network.For more information, visit our website.

Last week, we shared a link to a column by Carol Roth entitled 65 Tips for Getting Business Referrals. Yours truly was number 58. If you did not read those, check it out. There’s one common theme that leaps off the page throughout the article:

Ask for the referral.

It’s simple enough. Yet how many times do we do it?

Do you have a client/customer who really appreciates your work? If you have been in business for any length of time, you should. Have you ever asked for a referral?

I know what you are thinking. You do quality work for a customer or client and that should speak for itself, right?

Maybe.

But think about your own busy work life. Think about how many things are on your plate. Is what’s front-of-mind with you to refer a vendor or better serve your own customers, business partners and staff? Even if you want to pass referrals, the latter often takes a backseat to the former. By taking the bull by the horns and asking for a referral, you are putting it front-of-mind for your customer/client. Nine times out of 10, it’s something your customers/clients have wanted to do, been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten to it.

For the full article, click here to read 65 Tips for Getting Business Referrals.

One of the most popular pointers ever run in this space had to do with observing the habits and practices of the best networker you know. While that pointer was written with people in your business circles in mind, you could probably find the best networker you know in your personal life. Namely, your mother.

Think about when you were growing up. Who got you to all those practices, games, rehearsals, recitals, field trips, scout meetings, etc.? Was it Mom or Dad? Maybe, for the most part. But if you really think about it, Mom probably looked to her network for help.

Think about that for a second. Who was part of your parents’ network? How did they meet and where? For many, it probably involved having a child around the same age and involved in the same activity. Yet there were other folks in their network that might have come from other walks of life.

Being in business gives you something in common with virtually everybody you meet in b2b circles. The real task of networkers is finding that commonality beyond that where you can enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. For Mom (or Dad), it probably started with an offer to drive and/or pickup. That goodwill gesture usually resulted in the other parent offering for the next time. From there, the connection organically grew.

This is not to suggest you develop car pools to networking events-though that’s not a terrible idea. But growing your network can be as simple as looking for commonality with others in the business world and making that first step of introduction.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Your Mom probably knew that. Consider your business your child. Nurture it and be willing to accept the help of others in the village. Then, watch that child grow.

My Pinnacle Network has a full slate of networking meetings for b2b professionals:

My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, May 2, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA 01581.

My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, May 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 20 Cabot Blvd., Suite 300, Mansfield, MA 02048.

My Pinnacle Network – Marshfield, Thursday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 165 Enterprise Drive, Marshfield, MA 02050.

My Pinnacle Network – Newton, Thursday, May 11, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 160 Gould Street, Needham, MA 02494 (either in the conference room of the Bullfinch Group or the Cafe in the same building).

My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, May 18, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 100 Grandview Road, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Braintree, MA 02184.

NEW TIME – My Pinnacle Network – Bourne, Thursday, May 18, from 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., 550 MacArthur Blvd. (Route 28), Bourne, MA 02532.

Photo of Steve Dubin, founder of b2b networking group My Pinnacle NetworkMy Pinnacle Network recently announced a full slate of business-to-business networking meetings for May. My Pinnacle Network meetings are as follows:

My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, May 2, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA 01581.

My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, May 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 20 Cabot Blvd., Suite 300, Mansfield, MA 02048.

My Pinnacle Network – Marshfield, Thursday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 165 Enterprise Drive, Marshfield, MA 02050

My Pinnacle Network – Newton, Thursday, May 11, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Social Restaurant at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 320 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02458. Social is on the ground floor; parking available at the hotel garage.

My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, May 18, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 100 Grandview Road, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Braintree, MA 02184.

NEW TIME – My Pinnacle Network – Bourne, Thursday, May 18, from 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., 550 MacArthur Blvd. (Route 28), Bourne, MA 02532.

Only one B2B professional will be selected for each category. Those categories can be found at bottom of http://www.mypinnaclenetwork.com. Prospective members are encouraged to attend a My Pinnacle Network meeting before committing to join.

If you are interested in attending a meeting in your area, please contact Steven V. Dubin at SDubin@MyPinnacleNetwork.com or 781-582-1061 to RSVP. There is no charge to visit a My Pinnacle Network meeting.

In the real estate-related world, it is all about WHO you know. And we want to know YOU!

Starting in June, My Pinnacle Network will launch a Real Estate only group that will meet on the second Thursday in Plymouth. The first meeting is on Thursday, June 8, 7:30am to 9am at the Keller Williams training room, 91 Carver Road, Plymouth, MA (Exit 6, the Plaza includes such other illustrious tenants as Job Lot and Papa Gino’s).

The focus of this group is strictly professionals in the real estate industry. Some of those are b2c, which is why we created this special group. Membership is $250 for the year ($20.83 / month via PayPal recurring payment system).

To apply for membership, go to the Visit a Network page and fill out an application. Select “Plymouth” as the group you want to join. For a list of available categories, see list below:

Accountant
Advertising Agency
Advertising Specialties
Architect
Asbestos Removal
Bank
Beverage/Water Cooler Services
Bookkeeper
Cabinetry
CFO (for hire)
Chimney Sweep
Cleaning Services
Closets
Coffee
Contractor – Builder
Contractor – Remodeler
Custom Home Builder
Digital Media
Driveway/ Paving
Dry Basement
Electrical Contractor
Employee Benefits
Estate Sale Business
Fencing
Financial Planning
Financing – HECM
Financing – Private
Flooring
Fuel Provider
Furniture
General Contractor
Graphic Design
Handy Man Services
Hardscape/Mason
Home Inspection
Insulation Services
Insurance/Aflac
Insurance/Benefits
Insurance/P&C
Interior Design – Staging
Internet Services
Irrigation Services
IT Services
Landscape Contractor
Legal – business attorney
Legal – estate planning
Legal – real estate
Long Distance carriers
Marble & Granite
Mold Remediation
Mortgage broker
Mortgage – Reverse
Mover
Oil
Organizer
Painting Contractor
Payroll
Personal Project Manager
Pest Control
Plumbing/HVAC
Photographer
Printer
Property Management
Public Relations
Radon Remdeiation
RE Agent
RE Agent, Commercial
Retirement Consulting
Roofer
Security – Alarm Systems
Solar Design/Installation
SEO
Siding
Signage
Social Media
Storage
Title Search
Travel Agency
Tree Surgeon
Truck Rental
Waste Management
Web Development
Window Replacement

What’s on your Kindle?

Next time you’re at a networking event, try starting a conversation with that very question.

“Hi, I’m Steve Dubin of PR Works. What’s on your Kindle?”

Most likely whomever you ask that question will be stopped dead in their tracks. After all, you’re at a networking event. People don’t want to know that. It’s all about what do you do, here’s what I do, can we help each other, right?

Yes and no.

Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to, but what you really to get out of a networking event is a connection, not just a business card. To connect, it’s important for you to make an impression, AKA to be memorable. Is your opening line currently achieving that objective?

This not to cast aspersions on anybody. The vast majority of us go to networking events and start a conversation with “What’s your business?”. Sometimes that may work out. More likely, you will be just one of many said person meets that day. Chances are, however, if you have a memorable starter that’s a little different, you become more memorable and so does your business.

And if you don’t have a Kindle, there are plenty of other ways to start a conversation without going down the “What’s your business?” path. Here’s an article that offers a few suggestions.

Networking isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense, common courtesy and bit of effort.

To get the most of any networking effort, you should:

  • Show up early. Get there 15 minutes prior to start time. Show commitment and have a chance to connect with other early birds before the whirlwind of the meeting begins.
  • Tune in. Turn off your cell phone. Turn on your focus. Takes notes on how you can help others.
  • Your turn to speak – differentiate. Client stories are more memorable and compelling than a punch list of your services.  Tell a recent client story that underscores what you do well.
  • “How you can help me” – When it’s your turn to speak, include key phrases to listen for, the specific niche and demographic of your best prospects, best referral sources for you, the best way to introduce you.
  • Be genuine. Don’t overstate your capabilities. Don’t overpromise next steps.
  • Be a connecter – Be the reference desk.  Every connection has a ripple effect. Ripples lead to waves.
  • Keep your antenna up? Look for opportunities for others. Listen for “hot buttons” for your colleagues.
  • Recruit members to strengthen the group – Who could add more energy and introductions to the group? Who do you know that seems to be everywhere, knows everyone? Encourage them to check out the group.
  • One on One meetings – Try to meet with each member of the group to create a more personal link and to better understand their business. Prepare for this meeting. See if you can bring one introduction to the meeting.
  • Make it a “Rolodex” meeting. Bring your smartphone, laptop or tablet with your personal database information – conversation may lead to an immediate introduction.
  • Follow up, follow through. Respond to introductions within 3 working days. Show a sense of urgency and sincere interest.
  • Keep in touch. Make sure all group members are on your e-newsletter list, Holiday list, business event/seminar list, etc.

My Pinnacle Network-Bourne is hosting a mixer this Tuesday, March 7. 3 at 5pm in the bar at Mezza Luna, 253 Main Street, Buzzards Bay. This is a very informal gathering for members of My Pinnacle Network-Bourne to get together, share some beverages, food and laughs—and perhaps work in some networking. We welcome other b2b networkers and members of other networking organizations. Please feel free to invite other businesses as well.

You can bring business cards and collaterals if you want. Mostly, bring a fun attitude as we are really looking to have a very informal, fun time.

My Pinnacle Network recently announced a full slate of business-to-business networking meetings for February. My Pinnacle Network meetings are as follows:

My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, February 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 20 Cabot Blvd., Suite 300, Mansfield, MA 02048.

My Pinnacle Network – Marshfield, Thursday, February 2, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 165 Enterprise Drive, Marshfield, MA 02050

My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, February 7, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA 01581.

My Pinnacle Network – Newton, Thursday, February 9, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Social Restaurant at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 320 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02458. Social is on the ground floor; parking available at the hotel garage.

My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, February 16, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 100 Grandview Road, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Braintree, MA 02184.

My Pinnacle Network – Bourne, Thursday, February 16, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m., 550 MacArthur Blvd. (Route 28), Bourne, MA 02532.

Only one B2B professional will be selected for each category. Those categories can be found at bottom of http://www.mypinnaclenetwork.com. Prospective members are encouraged to attend a My Pinnacle Network meeting before committing to join.

If you are interested in attending a meeting in your area, please contact Steven V. Dubin at SDubin@MyPinnacleNetwork.com or 781-582-1061 to RSVP. There is no charge to visit a My Pinnacle Network meeting.