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Keith – I feel let down

November 15, 2010 6 comments

I’ve thought long and hard about writing this post. I feel that I’ve been let down by someone on the very outskirts of my Personal Network – but it’s still disappointing (maybe I’m just too sensitive).

Regular readers of the blog will know that I’ve read and reviewed two books by Keith Ferrazzi – and more recently created a post talking about and recommending a free webinar he was offering to preview his Executive Relationship Management Course.

Well since, the point of recommendation, I feel that I’ve been spammed. I’m not bothered for myself – but I feel let down that I’ve

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recommended and passed on my trust to others (and if they’ve signed up, they might feel spammed too). I’ve had messages like:-

-> Emergency…Keith is going nuts on the webinar…
-> Okay, so maybe we miscalculated…maybe a LOT…
-> Don’t you need more sales and bigger revenues?
-> Your last, last chance for the program…
-> 13 hours and 25 minutes

All emails in that “old style” direct marketing format of calls to actions, links – and PSs!

I feel like I’d met a guy who I liked a couple of times who was an insurance salesman – then invited him to a dinner party with friends and he proceed to dole out business cards and try to sell insurance to my pals.

I can understand why it’s happened. The numbers give a clue – only 250 places, Premium Plus places at $3,988 and Premium places at $1,988. So that’s either a $1m or $500k sales target! We all have to earn a living.

My favourite quote on Personal Networks is from Mick Cope (who wrote the FT book, “Personal Networking”)

“By professional networking I mean a set of close contacts or associates who will help deliver my value to market. The key thing is that these are people who will ‘help’ you in the market, THEY ARE NOT THE MARKET. Sorry for the full-on letters, but my definition of a network is ‘people who will help amplify my personal capital in the market’, not a bunch of friends and colleagues to whom I try to sell under the guise of giving them a great opportunity. Active management of these people is not networking; it is client relationship management, a whole different ball game and one deliberately not covered in this book.”

It’s a great mantra – and you can see why Keith’s actions make me feel let down.

I am sure all people who have signed up for the course will learn a lot (I think no less of Keith’s professional abilities), I hope that Keith has made that $1m sales target (his talent does deserve reward) – but the outcome that I wish for most is that Keith reflects that in the process he’s drifted in to becoming the “Networking Jerk” (chapter 6 – “Never Eat Alone”). Keith’s changed from being the Farmer to the Hunter.

The reason I still like the books – and think well of Keith (even though today I feel let down) is that in both his books his ability to recognise and acknowledge his mistakes shows his humanity.

It’s also a lesson for me. I’m just about to launch a commercial venture alongside my passion for Personal Networks. I am sure that in my enthusiasm, eagerness (and maybe a little greed) along the way I will make mistakes too. I now realise there is a very sensitive line in my relationship with my Personal Network.

Gentle Networking

October 15, 2010 4 comments

As you will know from previous posts – I really like the work/blogs/books of Chris Brogan. He’s just launched a new blog called Escape Velocity – and one of the first blog posts he has created is about “Gentle Networking”.

I can’t think of a better term to describe “how to” develop a Personal Network. His post is full of popular themes:-

GIVING

“it’s not what people can do for you; it’s what you can do for others.”

“That’s the secret. If you can do a lot for a lot of people without needing

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the money, then the bigger ticket paybacks end up being amazing, and you end up having a strong and powerful network.”

“you MUST do these things without EXPECTING anything back. This is the super secret (and really really really hard to learn) part of this.”

This mantra is called “Pay it Forward” by Neal Schaffer, “Giver’s Gain” by Dr. Ivan Misner, “Don’t keep score” by Keith Ferrazzi and “Love Cats” by Tim Sanders.

FARMING – NOT HUNTING

“However, you can’t rush networking. You can’t rush friendship. You can’t rush the serendipity effect that happens from these experiences. Just like you can’t dig a hole, throw some seeds in, and wait a few minutes for the apple to fall into your hand, you have to grow your network slowly, and feed it value. You have to find opportunities to tend it, to give it light (by promoting others), and you have to give it plenty of water (or potential deal flow) to make it worthwhile.”

“We’ve connected each other with others in our networks. THIS is the longer value yield of gentle networking.”

Again, Dr. Ivan Misner’s puts this forward in his book “Networking Like a PRO” – and others follow the theme.

Chris is keen on “a face to face connection”. I’m also a fan of “real-life” relationships – and find that on-line networking is a poor substitute. However, I would take the view that with distant contacts (weak ties) on-line is an effective way to “ping” and keep in touch. I’m coming to the conclusion that the Pareto principle should be prescribed to networking time – 20% on-line (communicating efficiently with the many) and 80% real world (building deeper relationships with the few).

Chris’s “Gentle Networking” pulls together many of the key principles of Personal Networking so neatly. Do subscribe to Chris’s Escape Velocity blog and newsletter – it’s a good read (and hopefully a healthy supplement to this blog!).

Keeping Score?

October 10, 2010 2 comments

There’s a small news story in today’s FT Weekend about BNI (Business Network International) making an award to the UK’s most successful networker. Step forward 36-year-old Simon Johnson, who is a flooring specialist from East Anglia. The story is on the FT website – but you will need to register to get access.

The story says that over the past 12 months, Simon has generated his contacts £634,233 of business after creating 102 money-making

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referrals for his colleagues in the King’s Lynn BNI Chapter. It certainly shows the value of Personal Networks that are well managed – Simon seems an expert.

I am not sure whether Personal Networking is just about referrals (especially the measured and recorded type). In previous blog posts I have supported the view of people like Keith Ferrazzi (author of “Never Eat Alone”) that networking is not about keeping score. Also, one of my favourite quotes on networking is from Mick Cope (who wrote the FT’s book “Personal Networking”) – he puts forward the view that a network is about having contacts who support you, NOT that you sell to.

I find the BNI model interesting – but it does challenge my views on networking. The BNI’s “Handbook” – “Networking like a PRO” by Dr. Ivan Misner – makes a strong point about being a “Farmer” not a “Hunter”. I struggle to see how you are a “Farmer” when you keep score on a day-to-day basis. Does BNI – or Simon – get a “cut” of the referrals? Is this a “sale” to friends – or just the generosity of a good networker (with a small “thank you” attached).

I’m going to track down Simon in King’s Lynn – and ask him for his comments/thoughts. It would be good to meet an excellent personal networker – and I’d like to get his views on “keeping score”.

Farming NOT Hunting – “Drop the Gun, Grab the Plough (Plow)”

July 2, 2010 1 comment

When setting out on this Personal Network journey – I was surprised to find that there was very little about networking stacked on the bountiful business bookshelves of the US or UK. The two publications I did find were “Networking like a Pro” by Dr. Ivan Misner and “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi.

Being a Brit (and these titles being off the US bookshelf) it was immediately apparent the very different cultures of our two English speaking nations. The principles stay the same – but us Brits are so much more uptight/shy! Maybe that’s why I like Americans and being in the US so much?

There are some real gems in both books – and today I want to deal with a crucial topic in Dr.Ivan Misner’s book – a personal network grows

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for the long-term with a farming approach! The wham-bam style of the hunter is not going to work if you seriously want to develop a valuable personal network.

Here’s the key section of “Networking like a Pro” (quoted with permission) that resounded so strongly with me:-

“If we could impart one piece of wisdom regarding networking and getting more referrals, it would be this; networking is about farming for new contacts, not hunting them down. It’s a point that needs to be made, because most business professionals go about networking the way our cave-dwelling ancestors did when hunting for food – aggressively and carrying a big stick.

You will see them at any gathering of businesspeople. They’re so busy looking for the next big sale or trying to meet the “right” prospect that they approach networking simply as an exercise in sifting through crowds of people until they bag the ideal client, the big customer who can turn their business around. They don’t have time for regular people like us; they’re stalking the director of marketing, chief operating officer, or other high-octane connection looking for the big kill.

“Farmers” take a different approach They don’t waste time looking for the right person; instead, like those who plant seeds and patiently nurture their crops, they seek to form and build relationships wherever they can find them. If they get an immediate payoff, that’s fine, but it’s not their principal goal. They know that the effort expended upfront will pay off in a rich harvest later on – much richer than the hunter’s quick kill – and that truly profitable relationships can’t be rushed.”

Thank you Ivan for this insight (and permission to use this quote) – it must be in the top 3 mantras for anyone serious about building their personal network.

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