Business Etiquette Practices and Tools to Connect

Practices that will keep you connected in the right ways with your market!

New Year New Attitude January 4, 2010

With all of the New Year Resolutions you set, how is your attitude to go with them? Have you ever heard the expression “attitude is everything”? Well, it most definitely is!  If your business is not reaching the results you want and people are not responding to you in a positive way, maybe it’s not your business model. What you express to others is generally what you receive in return. Over the holidays, I experienced numerous people complaining, whining and just down right negative about their business and life in 2009. Even though I listened and was empathetic, I’m not sure I will hire them for any future projects or purchase their products. Face it, most of us are facing the same struggles so what is the difference in our success and failures? In my opinion, it is the attitude on which we face them. There are all kinds of expressions I can give you: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” or  “Fake it til you make it” but my all time favorite is “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it”.

Challenge yourself for a week to look at everything with a positive spin and see what you get back. Even if you think you are positive in public, do you have the same attitude in private? Let me know what your results are after one week of this challenge.

I truly wish you all a Happy New Year and hope all your obstacles are turned into successes.

 

Would you network with you? November 23, 2009

Filed under: Better Business Practices,Networking,Uncategorized — Kay Wallace @ 4:19 am
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Have you ever asked yourself the question “Would I network with me?”. I am making the assumption that you understand the importance of networking  for your business.  Every networking event I attend I meet at least one person that I have no intention of building a relationship with and here’s why.

Which networker are you?

Talker or Listener? I am a huge talker and am always one of the most visible at an event. I do that by design because visibility attracts business. However, when I meet someone new I make sure the conversation is completely focused on them. I use the 80%/20% rule. I listen 80% and I talk only 20%. My goal is to learn more about them than I tell about me. I am actually testing them on how they handle our first encounter. If they are more focused on handing me their card and being a “Vomiting Vera” about their business then I will probably trash their card and not follow-up. I want to connect with people who I can build a mutually beneficial relationship with.

Dress up or Dress down? There is some leeway on this subject depending on the type of event you are attending BUT consider branding yourself by what you wear. I see a lot of the same people at events and I identify them as professionals because they are always dressed for business. Of course, there are typically a few dressed in jogging suits, baseball caps and baggy jeans. These are people I would probably not do business with or refer to my clients. Consider standing out at these events with your attire. I have a business associate that attends every networking event with a fedora type hat. He is in the promotional products industry but can be identified across the room. As for myself, I wear bright colors because that makes me easily identifiable.

Eye contact or eye wanderer? Making eye contact during your conversations indicate you are focused on what that person is saying. There is nothing wrong in looking around the room but keep it to only 20% of the time. Concentrate 80% of your attention on the person or group you are speaking with.

Stander or Mover? You may not have an outgoing personality but don’t stand in a corner or sit in one spot and wait for people to come to you. Moving and working the room allows you more visibility and the ability to end a conversation more gracefully when it is time to move on. Moving helps you meet more people. If you want to be a stander then stand by the food table because everyone will coming to that area eventually. The idea is to keep the flow of people going.

Next time you attend a networking event, ask yourself “Would I network with me?”

 

Are You Respectful of Others Knowledge? October 20, 2009

What do I mean by that? Call it knowedge, training or just plain business know how. We all know doctors, lawyers and other professionals that have spent years earning their credentials. When we use or hire these professionals we expect to be charged for their services. If you met a doctor at a party or event, would you ask them for medical advice on the spot or would you mention your concern about a particular issue you are having and ask if it is something you should make an appointment for? As a general rule, we are respectful of their time and knowledge as we should be.

On the other hand, what if you met an author, business coach, trainer or another professional that has knowledge that was helpful to you? If you have questions for a business coach that you just met , would you ask for an appointment and pay for their time or would you  ask as many questions as you could get answers to? From my experience, people will attempt to gain as much information as possible with no respect for that person’s experience. Why do we have a tendency to take advantage of these professionals? For those of us that are not “certified” or “degreed” in our professional fields, does that make what we do any less valuable? Next time you meet someone that is knowledgable in a field that interests you, respect their time and intellect. I’m not saying you can’t have valuable conversations about your businesses; just be respectful of others knowledge.

My challenge to you is this: when you meet a professional and want to pick their brain, tell them you respect their time and knowledge and would like to know if you cross the line from conversation to business. We all want to learn as much as possible to help our businesses that we sometimes forget to set boundaries for ourselves as well as others.

 

Be Kind, Opt Out October 8, 2009

Filed under: Better Business Practices — Kay Wallace @ 11:04 pm
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Do you get tired of receiving so many emails every single day? What do you do with them? Do you delete them, unsubscribe or report them to spam? Are you a small business owner, entrepreneur, sales person or work on a commission structure that requires client communication? Why am I asking so many questions?

For those of us who attend networking events, belong to our local Chamber of Commerce or make face to face sales calls, we all have a collection of business cards that are probably put into a contact management system so we can follow up with those contacts.  If you have ever given your business card to someone that you would like to stay connected to, then you may have received an email newsletter or announcements from that contact. After 100’s of these contacts you start getting frustrated with so many emails. You may have given verbal and sometimes written permission (this is best business practice) to receive email but in frustration you report them as “spam”.  What you may not know is that most contact managements systems only allows an average of  only 1 spam report per 1000 emails. If a business gets 4-5 spam reports out of the 1000 emails, the contact management system shuts them down. Why should you care?

Let’s take a quick look at the other side. If you are that individual that has a collection of business cards and have been given permission to send information (should always be written permission) and you get those 4-5 spam reports and your service shuts you down, you suddenly find yourself starting over building your database again.

Whether you are on the sender or receiver side of this story; or maybe both sides, someone’s business is possibly affected in a negative way. We have all heard the old Blockbuster commercial asking people to “Be kind, rewind”. My suggestion is to “Be kind, opt-out”. By simply opting out of someone’s database, everyone wins. The sender isn’t shut down for spam and the receiver will no longer receive unwanted emails.

We are all trying to build our business and get our message out to those who want to read it and the intent is NOT to spam people.  Let’s all be a little more empathetic to the small business owners we meet along the way and simply select the “opt-out” link. Remember, you might be the sender next time.  What would you want the receiver to do?

BE KIND, JUST OPT-OUT