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Jan Copley
Certified Practice Advisor
Atticus, Inc.

530 South Lake Avenue, Suite 250
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 696-3145
(626) 421-6747 (fax)

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Stupid Networking Mistakes – Part Two

November 16, 2012

Filed under: Networking — @ 8:00 am

In my previous blog posting, I wrote about being subjected to a serious network mistake: brazenly asking for business. It’s unfortunate, but at the same meeting, I was exposed to another networking technique that served to annoy me and drive me away from working with that person.

Mistake No. 2: Talking Too Much. After I disentangled myself from the woman who told me I should send my clients to her, I spotted another woman with a badge that indicated she works with a senior living facility in the area. I walked over, introduced myself, and told the woman I had had a couple of clients who were very satisfied with the care their parents received through that facility. Nice of me, right?

The woman thanked me for passing on the compliment, but then she made a serious networking mistake: she wouldn’t stop talking. She launched into a long exposition about the superior way her facility cares for people, and then about the planned Christmas party, and then about how she would invite me to the party, and then how I should bring younger family members to the party. She didn’t see my eyes glaze over because I really wasn’t interested in any of this, and she wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise (and I did have a couple of questions for her). She finally shut up when I pointed out that our youngest family member lives in South Carolina and isn’t likely to travel to Southern California to attend the party.

So, the end result of all of her talking was that she offended me. It prevented me from starting the kind of relationship I need to know, like and trust her. I still think the facility has value, but if I were to refer any clients to it, it would certainly be through a different marketing person.

Please let me know how this helps you!

Stupid Networking Mistakes – Part One

November 14, 2012

Filed under: Networking — @ 8:16 pm

I just got back from the monthly meeting of the Fiduciary Round Table of the San Gabriel Valley. It’s a nice organization composed of private fiduciaries, home healthcare service professionals, financial advisors, attorneys, accountants, appraisers — people that help other people in fiduciary or semi-fiduciary capacities. I’ve been a member for fourteen years now, and it’s been a source of business, and also a source of help for my clients.

Of course, one of the reasons everyone attends the meetings is to network to generate business. This morning was no different. But, I was subjected to two serious networking mistakes, and I thought I’d blog about them.

Mistake No. 1: Brazenness is Offensive. After I walked into the meeting room, a woman I didn’t know marched up to me, handed me her card, and said, “Hi, my name is Jane Doe. I’m a private fiduciary. Send your clients to me.”

Now, really, why in heaven’s name would I want to do that? What this person succeeded in doing was offending me with our very first contact! I don’t know her; I don’t know if she’s any good at what she does; and I’m not going to trust my clients’ care to a total stranger, especially one with bad manners like that! Rather than building a relationship, this woman made sure that I will never send work her way.

Don’t make this woman’s mistake. People refer work to other people they know, like and trust. This takes time. So, be patient. Don’t bludgeon someone with your requests for business; rather, get to know the person, learn about his/her concerns, and build a relationship. Only then will you be in a position to work together.

Please let me know how this helps you!

What Do I Say? – Part 2

June 15, 2012

Filed under: Networking — @ 1:18 pm

In my previous posting, I wrote about how to start to establish a relationship with someone you meet at a networking event, even if you’re not comfortable working a room. You’ve taken my advice and now you’ve set a follow-up meeting. Good for you!

What’s next? You may be wondering what to say at your scheduled meeting. Well, I have a hint for you. Use what we at Atticus call, “The Interview.”

Know, like, trust. Because a successful referral relationship depends upon the parties knowing, liking and trusting each other, The Interview is a technique you can use to build that knowledge, like and trust. We suggest you ask people about the frustrations he/she experiences in his/her business. Then, consider floating some of the following questions:

  • What are some of your frustrations working with lawyers?
  • If you refer someone to a lawyer, what do you want to happen from that referral?
  • What’s a good client experience?

Does this sound hard? If you’re uncomfortable with this, consider trying out The Interview with someone you trust. In that situation, you can get more personal with your questions:

  • Is there anything I can do to improve my interactions with you or your clients?
  • Did your clients feel comfortable in my office?
  • Did we give them our full attention?

Why it works. People will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to learn about your concerns, and they’ll be touched by your desire to improve. If you get negative feedback, don’t be defensive — just acknowledge what you’ve heard. Be sure to thank the person for providing you with that valuable information; it takes vulnerability on that person’s part to answer your questions.

How would you feel if someone asked you these questions about your business? You’d be flattered, right? And you’d be more likely to like and trust them — and trust them with your clients.

If you’d like more information about The Interview, check out a recording about it on the Atticus website.

Please let me know how this helps you!

What Do I Say? – Part 1

June 13, 2012

Filed under: Networking — @ 1:03 pm

If you want to build your business, you have to meet people. You want to meet potential clients, and you need to develop relationships with people who have the ability to send those clients your way. In other words, you have to network.

Networking doesn’t come naturally to all of us. It’s hard for me to work a room. It’s not one of my natural abilities. I attended a large conference last summer, and my job was to work the room for the purpose of developing business. The first day of the conference I did fine; the second morning of the conference was harder; the second afternoon of the conference I was so tired I gave up and took a nap!

Apparently other people have similar difficulties, as evidenced by a Harvard Business Review blog article, “An Introvert’s Guide to Networking.” But, as the article points out, even though you may find entering a roomful of people intimidating, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the opportunity to successfully build relationships. The trick is to think small. Give up the idea of meeting and charming everyone there.

So what do you do? Rather, network on a micro level. Find someone you think will be interesting to speak with, and reach out to that person. You might prepare a couple of standard questions in advance to get the conversation going. But, if you show some genuine interest in that person and what he or she does, you’ll have the beginnings of a relationship.

After that, you can work on that foundation through follow-up meetings to create a relationship that will be beneficial for both of you. And, if you think about it, isn’t that the result you want from a networking opportunity? So, even though you may admire the people who seem to have no trouble chatting it up at a party, you, as the introvert, may ultimately have better results.

Please let me know how this helps you!