Category Archives: Firecrackerology

Networking without Business Cards

Today’s article is networking without business cards.

We are in the holiday season & if your family is anything like mine; taking business cards would get a disapproving look.

Have learned even if in your wallet, jacket, back pocket etc is never good when we are in “regular person mode”. Make sure you remove them & leave at home.

When we are in business, our eyes are always open for networking & leads.

I’ve said before much networking is in casual settings when around close contacts.

So, how can we do Networking without business cards?

The seasoned networker knows they can go to networking without business cards as most people know them by face & name.

When I was new, went to networking a lot; people eventually recognized my face.

With our private lives; we don’t want it to look like we’re networking or prospecting during conversations. Uncle Bob’s friend Jimmy who you meet at dinner sells printing & you need new brochures. Do you hand him your card across the table?

Cousin Mark’s new girlfriend Sally just started a catering business that provided tonight’s meal.

You’re holding a dinner party next month & been looking for a caterer.

What do you do?

Most people have a cell.

If during conversation; product/service of interests comes up; store their contact in your phone, same as you would if you were making friends.

What if one or both of you doesn’t have a cellphone or it’s in your car or the battery is low?

Phone battery charging or not near you? They can text or email their contact to you.

No cell?

Firecrackerology Tip – Go Back 2 Basics like we teach in Word Of Mouth Masterminds.

Grab a piece of paper or napkin & a pen – write it down!

Firecracker-ology Slogan ~Be UnProfessional and UnConventional ~

Volunteers - Are they staff that doesn't get paid?

Volunteers – Work for free?

There’s a saying: Volunteers aren’t paid because they’re worthless, but because they’re PRICELESS.

There are those who refuse to volunteer because it doesn’t pay “cash”.

Then those such as myself who have spent a lifetime doing so & enjoy it.

Never thought about how or why it started until a friend of a friend asked when we were attending a fundraiser & it made me think.

Helping the less fortunate is the principle this company was built on.

Volunteering for me started out of courtesy.
When I was eleven; my older sibling was a volunteer in our community.
As we waited for him to be finished with his volunteer duties, I’d sit there bored.

As people came in/out of the entrance carrying items in their arms, were elderly or disabled; would hold door open for them. I still do that to this day when out in public as a sign of courtesy.

After a while; one man suggested why not become volunteer officially.

Starting in my teens years continued by helping out nonprofit fundraising initiatives.

Helped build great skills put to use in a career setting as well as references when needed.

This is both pre-VYA & now.

Do volunteers work free?

Few years back at a conference; attendee passes by as she’s leaving.

Remarks she should volunteer next time to see everything for free.

That person could’ve used manners or a smack. Our company was a sponsor but offered to help if needed.

Secondly, volunteers are usually so busy they don’t get to see view whole presentations.

Have done everything from checking people in, greeting presenters, giving their name tags, grabbing lunch, taking payments, processing credit card orders & handling registration desk for organizers while they deal with important matters.

Many organizations & causes would be lost without volunteers.

Firecracker-ology Slogan ~Be UnProfessional and UnConventional ~

Two Conversations Networking

Two Conversations Networking

Have heard a few people talk about two conversations networking. Whether at a business group or in our regular lives; it’s what leads to our purchases, ideas or learning about a useful resource.

In fact, they can happen anywhere. most times these conversations don’t happen just at business networking but in a casual setting. Have read many articles about networking while in line at the grocery store. It’s not “pitching” it’s conversation; same as we have online or in our personal lives.

That’s how we gain knowledge, where ideas start & how purchase decisions happen.

These conversations can be online, in person or by phone.

Often times, it’s the “problem” that people mention that leads to networking. Car won’t start? Door is a little wobbly? Cable TV not working? Who made this delicious plate of cookies?

These are commonly heard types of conversations that lead to “networking”.

Many times ideas for our blog articles topics come from Two conversations networking in daily life.

Couple of years ago was with a Tech Trainee in a coffee shop. Fellow patron overheard me say Open Office and Microsoft Office are 98% similar with slight feature compatibility differences.
The patron said excuse me; overheard you mention Open Office. Says how much he loves it.

The Business Volunteer articles recently written had been conversations with others who were new in business or experiencing slow season.

Last week mentioned how many people still don’t know Facebook changed their messaging system & they miss messages from people not on their friends list.

Said we’d written a blogpost about that tech issue. The person asked to be sent the article.
During the course of conversation, they mentioned another minor tech problem.
Told them how to solve it & thanked them as this ended up inspiring a future blog article!

Firecracker-ology Slogan ~Be UnProfessional and UnConventional ~

Set your FollowUp

Timed Sales FollowUp. It’s said that it takes three to six times before we buy.
Know this quite well as there have been times we’ve seen newspaper advertising or online advertising, then finally contacted them about our services & client projects we’re working on.

It is said upto 80% of sales are made after the fifth FollowUp.

Also, read some sales articles this week that said with cold emails; if you don’t hear back then to try them again. To wait a week between each contact attempt until you hear back.

That’s the new plan in our office for all requests.

Last week discovered that a few introductions we’d offered to other business owners since last winter.
Well, as it turned out nothing ever panned out.

So, we introduced them again as now might be a better time or at any rate introducing again (with permission) is never a bad thing.

Then came yesterday, a most interesting day.

Planned to put the charitable fundraising prospecting & future follow ups on hold. Have set our follow up list for January (It’s almost Christmas & people are about to get super busy).

Well, we saw online ads & posts shared about services or fundraisers. Then on the evening news last night was information on a food bank experiencing high client usage & expects it to double.

That was one place I’d cold called in the past. This morning emailed them first, then followed up with a call since we’d spoken before.

In a past article, mentioned a resource called FollowUpThen.

Another person had shared it online saying how she couldn’t live without it.

Decided to try it out & we love it!

Set your follow up appointments; even if in the future & keep asking until you get an answer.

Various people have admitted, this is where they lack & potential money is lost.

VolNetworking Conferences

Finding VolNetworking Conferences

Find conferences or seminars – We call Business Volunteering – VolNetworking

You want to go as a volunteer but don’t know how to find conferences until it’s too late.

Here’s a secret, please don’t tell anyone this. There’s this search engine called Google.

When you type words into it and press enter it brings up results!

Many business groups have weekly or bi-weekly events. You can also check online ticket websites such as Eventbrite, check classifieds such as Craigslist & Kijiji. Many also list events on Facebook.

Check for a topic that interests you & where your target market will be.

Friend once mentioned that his target market attended big charity fundraisers & wished he could afford to go. I told him to contact them in advance & go as a volunteer. That way he’d get to meet them.

Make a list of what you want to attend & contact the organizers. Wait two days for a reply. In the months of Dec-mid Jan & Aug-Sept wait four days before you follow-up.

One weekend seminar I’d emailed thru their website & that week they were giving a talk.

I decided to meet with them in person. Told them I’d emailed two days but just letting them know. I was asked how did I find out they needed help?

My reply was: Just took a chance & asked. Reply was Smart Thinking! And was given contact info of the coordinator.

Missed out asking for this year’s big conference? Ask to be put on next year’s list. Even if full, you’ll get put on the waitlist & be notified when others drop out.

That’s a way to attend conferences & seminars you want when on a tight budget or to gain work experience.

VolNetworking at my first conference; met prospective clients without trying & after the third time was sent paid work by the organizers.

Holiday Season Networking

Holiday Season Networking – Leads

Holiday Season Networking isn’t just attending business groups.
The same as with regular life; leads are everywhere.

Dr. Ivan Misner Founder of Business Networking International (BNI) & otherwise known as my Business God, says Word Of Mouth is the oldest & strongest form of marketing.

He’s absolutely right. Look at our daily lives & buying decisions influenced by those we know or wanting the same products as them.

When it comes to special occasions & “spend days”; we are inundated with advertising. Flowers, chocolates, candy, soft drinks & ice cream in the summer. While in the winter; it’s about helping the less fortunate.

Our casual holiday dinner conversations bring up what we bought, where we went etc.

They say more leads happen casually than they do at networking.

I have what I call the Commission Story that I’ll share in future.

Think about this way, how did you hear about Facebook or Craigslist? Why did you buy that phone?
The last restaurant you went to, why did you decide to dine there?

Word Of Mouth is everywhere & so is advertising.

Sometimes it’s just a need revealed in a phone conversation or when out having a relaxing time.

Friend of another said to me once that those who aren’t in business network MORE than those of us who are.

This past summer when our slow season hit; was working outside in a famous tourist area.

I cannot tell you how many vendor booths, car advertising, ice cream truck, marketing companies giving away freebies & people that I knew from networking that I ran into.

Gaining leads is about who or what we think of to help solve a problem.

In our business; the clients we seek are overstressed small business owners with no regular office support staff.

What is YOURS?

Firecracker-ology Slogan ~Be UnProfessional and UnConventional ~

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