|Those words of advice came from My Pinnacle Network-Westborough Member Paul Cronin. This was in response to several members at our last meeting bemoaning the fact we could not meet in person. His contention was that by fighting it we were actually making it worse. Then he offered this other sage piece of advice:
“I now think of myself as a farmer.”
He went on to explain the analogy. He works at home (the field), his kids are educated at home (much like they did centuries ago), and every so often he ventures into town for necessary supplies.
Now, our ancestors didn’t have the creature comforts of home and Al Gore had yet to invent the Internet, but you can see the point. In terms of work, a farmer does not plant a crop and then harvest it in a month or two. It takes several months. Wanting that crop to be ready for sale today does not make it so. It takes time, just as it will take time and compliance for this pandemic to pass.
So, what can today’s farmer do in addition to tending to this year’s crops? How about cultivating other skills and interests. My Pinnacle Network and other organizations are offering a number of complimentary webinars to provide information and help you learn other ways to grow your current crop or perhaps supplement your harvest. For example:
Our Sales Coach is offering one entitled “How to Get More Virtual Meetings with Decision Makers”. You can download the flyer here and register by clicking here. My Pinnacle Network, along with Rockland Trust and South Shore Networking Professionals Group, is offering another put on PR Works entitled Leverage Podcast Guest Appearances to Boost your Business. To register, click here.
Yes, we would all like to be back in our offices and meeting face-to-face with clients, prospects and those in our networking circle. Taking advantage of current opportunities is one way to make productive use of the current time and get to a bountiful harvest.
My Pinnacle Network recently announced a full slate of business-to-business networking meetings for May. Currently, all those meetings will be held online via Zoom. My Pinnacle Network May meetings are as follows:
My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, May 5, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m, https://zoom.us/j/2385118922, Meeting ID: 238 511 8922, 312-626-6799.
My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, May 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., https://zoom.us/j/2385118922, Meeting ID: 238 511 8922, 312-626-6799.
My Pinnacle Network – Pembroke, Thursday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., https://zoom.us/j/2385118922, Meeting ID: 238 511 8922, 312-626-6799.
My Pinnacle Network – Needham, Thursday, May 14, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m., https://zoom.us/j/2385118922, Meeting ID: 238 511 8922, 312-626-6799.
My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, May 21, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. https://zoom.us/j/2385118922, Meeting ID: 238 511 8922, 312-626-6799.
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.
The current situation has negatively impacted many small businesses. As a sign of support, an unofficial campaign has taken place where small business owners encourage others to leave a positive Google review for their fellow small business owners. My Pinnacle Network supports this effort and includes links to each member’s Google My Business page in the summary e-mail sent after every meeting.
But did you know you can leave a Google review for just about any of the heroes we hear about on a nightly, really hourly, basis?
You can leave a review for a hospital, medical practice, police or fire department (see image above).
In addition to giving up to five stars, you can leave a comment and express your gratitude.
It may not seem like much. But if you’re not in a position to help beyond staying in your home, it is something you can do. And judging by some of the Google My Business pages this writer has seen, they could use some positive feedback as many of these first responders only get negative reviews during ordinary times. Think about that one, folks.
So, how do you find a Google My Business page for first responders and medical professionals? Same as with a small business. Google it. You will see the Google My Business page on the right hand side of the screen (again, see the graphic above).
Actually, it shouldn’t be that much different than a regular one-on-one. You just need to bring those documents electronically.
What could some of those documents be? Down below we list some of those documents with links to examples. Those examples are what PR Works President Steve Dubin brings to his one-on-ones. Those include:
- Ideal Client Profile
- What to Listen For sheet
- Company Product or Services (e.g. PR Works Podcast offering).
For more on what to bring to a virtual one-on-one, list to this week’s podcast on our YouTube channel.
This is something that’s not only important for you to know.
It’s also extremely beneficial to people in your networking group and contact
sphere. That’s why we recommend developing a one-page sheet outlining your ideal
This one pager can contain as little or as much detail as you desire. An Ideal Client profile for our sister company, PR Works can be downloaded by clicking here. Feel free to copy and paste to create your own Ideal Client profile.
So, it’s been a while since you received a referral. Now what? Leads and referrals happen for a reason. Usually due to the work you do in presenting your business to your network to make it easier for them to refer you.
Over the next several newsletters, we will explore several steps you can take to end the dry spell. Step one is to target the people in your sphere of influence. Those are the folks who are most likely to pass you a lead or referral and make a simple introduction.
The first step is to define who those folks are.
Do you know who is in your sphere of influence? Do the people in your sphere know that?
We often take things for granted. The CPA may assume the bookkeeper will pass them leads and referrals and vice versa. Most probably do. Yet the conversations still need to be had on a fairly timely basis. At a minimum, once a quarter. During a dry spell. It should be more frequent.
Conversations with your sphere of influence don’t have to be anything more than answering a few simple questions:
What are you working; what new business have you recently received?
What referral source did that piece of business come from?
You would be amazed how providing answers to very basic questions can trigger possible introductions.
For example, let’s say the bookkeeper just started doing work for a pet store. The CPA may have done work for a pet store in the past. Perhaps he/she could arrange an introduction for the bookkeeper?
Let’s take it a step further and state the referral came from a financial planner who set up the 401(k) for the pet store. If the financial planner is making that type of a referral, is it a leap to think he/she could refer the CPA? Probably not.
So, what would it look like to make that introduction happen? Ideally, people in your network and sphere of influence are looking to ways to introduce you and pass business. But that’s a very conscious effort. With people as busy as they are it might not be a top-of-mind thought. That’s why the CPA should ask the question:
“Would your financial planner be open to an introduction?”
Simple question. The bookkeeper might not have been thinking of it. Or maybe he/she was but wanted to be more established with the client before making the request.
By having a regular dialogue with your sphere of influence, you can ask these types of questions. This minimizes the likelihood of misunderstandings (e.g. “Jim the Bookkeeper hasn’t passed me any business.”). It will also increase the possibility of discovering additional introduction possibilities.
My Pinnacle Network recently announced a full slate of business-to-business networking meetings for March. My Pinnacle Network meetings are as follows:
My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, March 3, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA 01581.
My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, March 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Mansfield BioIncubator, 241 Francis Avenue, Mansfield, MA 02048.
My Pinnacle Network – Pembroke, Thursday, March 5, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., ACTSmart Training Center, 70 Corporate Park Drive, Suite 1225, Pembroke, MA 02359.
My Pinnacle Network – Needham, Thursday, March 12, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Bullfinch Group, 160 Gould Street, Needham, MA 02494.
My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, March 19, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 100 Grandview Road, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Braintree,
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.
One part of a My Pinnacle Network meeting is our Two-Minute Drill. A recent one—Dress for Success—sparked a lot of different stories and views on how your attire plays a role in your own personal success and success in winning over current clients and prospects. This included a story about a somebody wearing an AC/DC t-shirt to a client meeting and one member’s experience of birthing a baby shark! Let’s call that a topic for another day.
One prevailing thought on the topic of dressing for success was how it has evolved over the years. Conventional thought was that men wore a suit, shirt and tie, or a sport coat at the very least and women similarly were attired in business dress suit or slacks, with proper sweater or blouse. Yet many of the stories shared spoke to a new theme of dressing for the occasion or the person.
Several people shared stories where clients told them “not to wear a tie the next time.” Or when the member didn’t wear a time for a client visit and were told, “I’m glad you didn’t wear a tie.”
The more you hear these stories, the more you realize how what you wear impacts you and the person you are visiting. Some clients or prospects want to keep things casual. Others may appreciate the importance you place on a meeting by dressing more traditionally. You really do have to know your audience and dress accordingly.
Yet perhaps the most important audience you need to dress for is yourself.
A sub for one of our members in Westborough illustrated that point by sharing a story about playing competitive hockey in high school. Shirt-and-tie was mandatory dress for games. In college, he played club hockey. Come-as-you-are was the code. When the team didn’t get off to a great start in his first season, they internally adopted a dress code. No more sweats or jeans. Button-down shirts and nice pants were required. Almost on cue, the team began playing at a much higher level.
As you can see, dressing for success can play out in many ways and is very subjective. For example, one rule of thumb yours truly learned a long time ago: it’s much easier to take off a coat, undo a tie and a button then it is to convert a t-shirt and jeans into a suit or even business casual attire. Like I said, everyone’s experience in this arena can be very different.
This one is an oldie but goody for almost all networking groups:
Arrive 15 minutes early. Plan on staying at least 15 minutes after the meeting ends.
There are many benefits to this strategy. Here are a few:
- Being one of the first gives you time to network with the meeting host or early attendees. The host will typically be a well-connected person.
- Other people arriving early are also guests or people you might have not met before, each with an address book of names of people you may not yet know.
- It establishes your commitment to the group. It’s human nature but people do notice who is usually early or just on time.
- During somebody’s verbal brand/elevator pitch you may have thought of a possible lead or intro. Planning on staying late gives you time to follow up.
- One-on-ones – Set them up at the meeting. Waiting to set up a one-on-one until your back in the office leaves opportunity for it to slide through the cracks.
- Staying later gives you the opportunity to catch up to talk to people who may have showed up as meeting/event started.
The time before and after a networking event provides a rare window of opportunity to learn more about people, set up meetings and increase your exposure to like-minded B2B professionals. Sure, you can call, text or e-mail the people in your networking group in between meetings. But more often than not, you will get the most out of these folks when they are right in front you—either at the meeting or at a one-on-one.
The tip here is leave yourself enough time before and after the meeting—at least 15 minutes—so you have the best opportunity to optimize the real-time human resources you have in front of you.