Answer Teams; A-Team’s are county exclusive direct referral networking, professional groups of POWER CONNECTORS comprised of non-competing professional business people who meet regularly to share information pertaining to doing business as well as exchanging strong hand-shake style referrals. Each network team is comprised of one representative for each industry in order to encourage the free and easy exchange of communication among the members. We meet to build strong relationships that aid in our ability to pass direct referrals. When thinking of what being a part of an Answer Marketing Direct Referral Group means, think “Power Connectors mixed with a whole lot of PR”! Not to be confused with a ‘leads’ group the A-Team is designed for accountability, visibility, and profitability!
Professionals of all industries are out there hustling trying to make new connections and once made capitalize on those connections. Problem is the majority of said professionals are just spinning their wheels, not making solid connections, or once made not cultivating them correctly.
Let’s try and remedy that! Here are my top ten (10) professional networking pitfalls to avoid when building your professional contact list.
Do not go for the jugular: This is a sign of a desperate professional. When you first meet a new connection, ‘DO NOT SELL’ anything. Even if asked turn the conversation back to the connection you are making. No one even if they ask, want to be ‘sold to’ when they first meet someone new.
KISS: Keep It Short & Sweet (yes, there are a few more variations of this acronym). Know who you are and what you offer. When asked about yourself, keep it short and sweet, then turn it back to them. People love to talk about themselves and will remember you more if you do not dominate the conversation.
Be Prepared: Have a pen, extra business cards, and most importantly know your schedule. When making a connection if done right they will want to meet again. Initiate a follow-up meeting – this is where the magic happens! But, if you do not know your schedule and respond with, “I’ll call you when I am in front of my calendar”… be prepared for a game of phone tag.
Avoid the obvious: Have a plethora of current topics you can engage your new connection with. Hint – the weather is not one of them unless you are at a Meteorological Society convention.
Rotate your thinking: To be successful, it’s important to know what you want and to be able to articulate how you can help others solve problems with your services in a way that is educational and not as a solicitation.
Make it easy: Your connections are busy—aren’t we all? It’s up to you to make it easy for them to stay in touch with you. Hint – do not offer an email address if you do not check it often.
Stranger Danger. Even though our social networks allow easy access to distant contacts of contacts, you should focus your interactions on contacts who know you well. Unless a connection is very close to you, or you have a warm introduction from a first level connection, don’t bog them down with numerous requests.
Be Patient: Making a solid connection that will reap you numerous rewards takes time and sincerity. Hint – try to help them first before asking for something you need.
5-4-3-2-1: Amplify your efforts every week by practicing the 5,4,3,2,1 technique. Send 5 thank-yous, schedule 4 catch-ups, make 3 recommendations, offer 2 referrals, & write 1 hand-written note. Training yourself to be a giver will help you more than I can describe in your quest for creating valuable connections.
Track and Follow up. No one likes to feel used; be sure to follow up with contacts who help you and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Send a handwritten note to follow up after a meetup. Send quick postcards with written links to articles they may appreciate, and touch base even when you don’t need anything.
When you start to treat making connections as one of the most valuable parts of a business, you’ll create relationships that extend beyond your immediate business needs.
Most professionals see their business cards as a simple formality, rather than the powerful sales, networking, and marketing tool that it is. Implemented correctly, business cards can embed you and your brand in customers’ minds, motivate callbacks and generate sales.
I am Michael Schoepf, owner of SchoepfNet designs. With over 20 years in the printing and design industry, I have the ability to help you ditch your ugly business cards. Let me show you how easy great design can be with these top tips.
1. Maximize You.
People do business with other people, but many business cards spend more space on the company and brand than the person handing them out. Your company may have a format for business cards that is set in carbonite. You, mere peon, cannot change it. Offering to pay for your own cards will usually allow you to make a break for it from the rest of the crowd. Take that freedom and make sure your name is big and bold, along with your contact information to help establish customer relationships.
2. Ditch the Mug Shot.
OK, so your assistant finally wrangled you in a corner for that mug shot your designer has been asking for, and you look like a raccoon caught in a garbage can. If you want to get a mug shot taken, break the law. If you want to convince customers to do business with you, take a shot of you in action, in a positive light. Don’t constrain it in square borders; instead, have it take up half of your card or the entire background. No photo at all is better than a pre-coffee photo snapped in a dim corner of your office.
3. Poor Printing will destroy your business.
Considering printing your business cards on your desktop printer or local copy center? Think again. Not only is the quality of ink and paper suspect – and as such reflective of your own quality – it’s more expensive. You can print premium business cards on professional paper stocks cheaper than doing it alone, and you won’t have any of those perforated edges cheapening your brand – and personal image.
4. Explore exciting options.
If your business cards look like everyone else’s, you’re missing the boat. Experiment with different sizes and shapes: square, oval, slim, ultra thick and custom die-cut business cards. Foil accents are a hot trend and my new raised foil option will certainly grab your customer’s attention. Try contrasting colors, bold text and different textures like silk laminated for a soft, velvety feel. SchoepfNet designs can help you make your business card stand out and command attention. Let me show you how easy great design can be.
The Power Connectors are a collection of professional groups designed and managed by Answer Marketing Inc. (AMI)
AMI is a marketing media agency, sales strategy and business support firm located in Bay County, Florida. Specializing in Business Acceleration! We understand the power from word of mouth referrals, new customer acquisition, customer retention and the benefit of a professional appearance through presence and marketing materials. AMI brings to you the training and support services to create an enduring sales foundation to grow a prosperous business from. We are currently assisting local businesses of all sizes that are benefiting from AMI’s innovative marketing strategies for today’s market.
What we offer:
PROFESSIONAL ACCELERATION GROUP FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES
OUTSIDE SALES CONNECTIONS – FOR VIP CLIENTS
PARTIAL TO FULL MEDIA MANAGEMENT & ADVERTISING SERVICES
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS – FOR VIP CLIENTS
COUNTY EXCLUSIVE POWER CONNECTION TEAMS
SOCIAL MEDIA GROUP MEMBERSHIPS
BUSINESS BY THE BOOK
DYNAMIC SALES TRAINING
STRATEGIC ACCELERATION SERVICES
BUSINESS STAFF TRAINING (SALES & ADMIN)
MARKETING TRAINING OR SUPPORT:
BLOG, WEB, SOCIAL MEDIA, NEWSLETTERS, RADIO, MEDIA, MAGAZINE, DIRECT MAIL, OUTDOOR ADVERTISING, NEWSPAPER, BUSINESS TO BUSINESS
Answer Marketing Inc’s mission is to give to every professional that comes to us with a true desire to uniquely build their business the knowledge, visibility, ability and comfort to share their services or products in a way that allows them to personally and professionally accelerate. We are committed to always providing our clients the kind of relationship marketing that builds economically powerful communities and provides a foundation of sustainable entrepreneur development. Answer – Adding Needed Solutions Working Every Relationship!