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23 Replies Latest reply: Dec 3, 2008 4:37 PM by Autumn2008 RSS

Event: Turning your contacts into connections

SBC Team Master
Currently Being Moderated
Do you want to turn contacts into contracts? Take your business to new heights by:

  • Mastering the 30-second introduction
  • Turning interactions into transactions
  • Understanding how to build strong personal connections with others
  • Inspiring your clients to buy from you and not your competition

eWomenNetwork, Inc. is first and foremost a loyal, dedicated community of women-owned businesses, corporate professionals, and entrepreneurs who want to support and network with other dynamic women. With their exclusive trademarked brand of Accelerated Networking events occurring in cities all across the United States and Canada, they have pioneered a whole new way for women to build relationships and transact business. They have also created a safe and secure Internet environment that allows women to connect and network with each other across cyberspace..

 

Sandra Yancey is a networking expert who teaches others how to create relationships that harness great dividends. She is the Founder and CEO of eWomenNetwork, the #1 resource for connecting and promoting women and their businesses worldwide. Starting with just 20 women in her personal database in 2000, she has grown her organization to now have 113 chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada and a database of over 500,000 women business owners and professionals. Ranked #1 by Business Women's Network as the best online community for women business owners and professionals in North America, eWomenNetwork.com is the most visited women's business website on the World Wide Web, receiving more than 200,000 hits daily. http://www.ewomennetwork.com

 

 

Post your question here and then check back on December 2nd at 2:00PM EST for Sandra's response. You can also pose a question to Sandra anytime during the event.
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
    Autumn2008 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    This past year I started a MLM business (Shaklee distributor) in additon to my full time position. I'm finding that although I believe in the philosophy of the company and the value of the products I'm not very good at expressing the value of both. I also am finding that because of my work schedule, it doesn't allow much time to devote to this business. I have done a great deal to learn about the products and stratigies but when I attempt to share it, it never comes out right. I'm starting to resent my full time job because I truly want this business to get a good foundation. I know it is possible by the individuals I've talked to.

    Do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you,

    Rita
    healthygreenoptions@shaklee.net
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      My first question is, "Are you a product of the product?" While it is important to learn about the products and strategies, nothing can beat your own experience! It is equally important to learn about the experience of others, so that you can convey their success stories too. For example, how did a certain product solve the problem the user was having? This is what people buy - an answer to an obstacle ... it less about the ingredients and testing-although I do value products that are "green." But, people won't just buy "green" if it doesn't solve their problem! From my experience, one of the other mistakes people in networking marketing sometimes make is trying to sell/recruit others into the business before understanding what is important to them and building a solid relationship.

       


      If you aren't creating the sales you want, you have to be willing to examine why it is that people aren't buying from you. Understanding why someone is saying "no" is as important as understanding why they say "yes." So, perhaps you can get someone you trust who can be honest with you to shadow you on an appointment or listen to you on the phone. Practice the theory of "plan, do, review." First, "plan" what it is you are going to say (including how to overcome obstacles), then "do" it, then "review" what went well, what you would do differently the next time, and capture your lessons learned. Refine, refine, refine. Remember, before you ever talk about your product, you should know beforehand what your prospect's challenges are and what they are trying to improve. In my book I talk about starting conversations with the "X" words. For example, "Give me an Xample of what your biggest challenge is?" or "Xplain to me what you do to maintain your energy and vitality." Or, "Xpand on the products you are using today to ...." Garnering this information early in your conversation will allow you to tailor your message to the needs of the prospect, which will undoubtedly increase your odds to close the business.
      • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
        Autumn2008 Newbie
        Currently Being Moderated
        Thank you for the advice. I have attended several training sessions with others in the business that have shared many of the things you suggested. The one point you did mention that I haven't heard is the idea of asking what someone's problem is. That is a great approach and something I could use to start a conversation. My biggest obstacle is time to devote to talking to people by the time I arrive home from work. The relationship issue is another although I have only approached people I already have some kind of relationship with which is mostly at work. Eventually I will need to seek people elsewhere.
        Thank you,
        Rita
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
    Vince Novice
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Sandra,

    I noticed you have some very high profile national marketing partners/sponsors. How did you form those relationships?

    Thanks for joining the SBOC!

    Vince
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      The first thing I did was show up at events that they were participating in. I made it my business to understand first what was important to "them." I would introduce myself and my focus was always on gaining a greater understanding for the reasons they were participating in the event and what they hoped to gain from it. By focusing on "their needs" primarily, it provided me with the insights I needed to create a strategy and collaboration that would be win-win. More than anything, the most important aspect of this was the face-to-face interaction. What I valued most was those informal times when I could interact with my potential sponsors. The greatest form of interaction is to be armed with questions where they could tell me about their customer, their products and services, what their value proposition was, and their definition of the ideal partnerships. It was less about me talking about myself and more about them and learning what they valued. By delivering on what they valued, many of my national partners/sponsors introduced me to other national partners/sponsors that they had relationships with.
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
    Interpreter Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Sandra,

    Is there a tactful way to drum up old contacts without it seeming like I'm only reconnecting because I need more business? Can you help me with an approach?

    Thank you, Interpreter
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      First and foremost, in order to be in integrity, your behavior needs to match your intentions. It's hard to not "'seem like' your reconnecting because you need more business'" if, in fact, you are doing just that! This is a good time to perhaps honestly re-think your approach with your customers and make a genuine shift to "giving without expecting anything in return" (one of my mother's favorite sayings, by the way). Using bank terminology, start today by making "deposits" into these important and valuable relationships. While Thanksgiving is over, it is still the season to give thanks. Start by sending cards with a handwritten note of how much you appreciate them. Follow up with a good article or book you've read by forwarding it to them with a post-it that says "As I read this article, I thought of you and wanted to make sure you got a copy. Enjoy!" Perhaps at Christmas you can send a little something that reinforces how much you have enjoyed the relationship you've shared the past year. Next time you go out to dinner, perhaps you can invite them to join you. At the first of the year, reconnect and tell them some of the ideas of how you have been thinking about how you can help them with more client acquisition, market share, sales, etc. I think you get the picture of what I am saying. As we say at eWomenNetwork, "give first, share always." Even if they don't give you any more business, perhaps they would be willing to refer you to someone else who can become a new client. In today's market, put an extra emphasis on the little things. I've long learned that little things often turn out to be big things!
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
    Tori Novice
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Sandra,

    Can you share a little about your radio talk show? What sort of topics do you cover and how and when can SBOC members tune in?

     

    Thank you,
    ~Tori
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      This is an easy one! The radio show is on ABC and is heard across 70% of households in the US every Sunday from 7-8 pm CST. The show is also streamed live over the internet. You can listen to your radio by tuning to 820 on your AM dial. Or, you can listen to the show by going to http://www.ewomennetwork.com/ and clicking on the link on the left-hand side of our Home Page that says "Our Radio Show." From there you can either click on the link that says "Listen live from anywhere in the world" or if you missed the show, you can click on the link that says "Listen to replays of past shows." We have this second option because we archive all of our shows for 30 days after they air. This way, you can listen at a time and place most convenient for you. I have been on the air for seven years now, and I truly believe the success of the show has very little to do with me. Rather, it is because of all the incredible guests! We not only showcase our members, but we also spotlight the incredible products and services offered by our sponsors, like Bank of America! The content of the show is to illuminate the tips, techniques, and strategies for success that can be universally applied to all small business owners; to inform the listeners of great products and services that can aid small business owners grow; and to give access to the listeners information and resources to apply in their own business, much like this Bank of American Community Interview.
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into contracts
    mannmadepro Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    Question hopefully to be answered:

     


    I have a plethora of email addresses and phone numbers of those that I have personal contact with that are BIG in the entertainment industry. My only downfall is that I have never really done any tangible work for them to be able to obtain an earned endorsement. What do I do to make this happen?
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into contracts
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      I am not sure what business you are in or what type of endorsement you need, so I apologize if my response is limited. The most important thing you need to do is to prioritize your contacts and embark on the journey of turning these contacts into connections! At the risk of sounding self-serving, that's exactly what my book is about. In fact, it is called Relationship Networking: The Art of Turning Contacts into Connections. (If you are the person who sent in this question, get with Bank of America and I will be happy to send you a copy - my compliments, of course.) Remember, great relationships take time and you can't be all things to all people. In the book, I explain the journey and process of developing rapport with strangers-just because you have a business card doesn't mean they know you; then shifting to a relationship of "giving" by supporting their passion and/or projects (yes, you need to find an area to help them be successful); then watch your relationship bloom to a valuable one of reciprocity.
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into contracts
    flex_00 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sandra,

    Who do you consider to be your competitors? How does eWomenNetwork stand out from the compeition? What makes it unique?

    Thanks for reading,
    flex_00
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into contracts
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      I think I am unique in that I look at any company or organization that is trying to help women small business owners become more successful as a potential collaborator and alliance (versus competitor). I believe in the value of "more" and have been very successful-especially in the current economic condition-in developing supportive relationships with other organizations and companies in cross-promoting each other. I know that my sponsors appreciate this too as it helps to further pollinate their message to an expanded audience. A specific example is the launch of our new movie, The GLOW Project (http://www.glowproject.org/) which showcases 15 of some of most successful-and happy-women in business! They are both corporate executives and multi-million women entrepreneurs. They share some of the greatest setbacks and obstacles you can imagine. More importantly, they reveal how they overcame these seemingly insurmountable odds and hurdles. Yes, it is a full-length movie (78 minutes). I believe this message and format is unique, creative, and desperately needed! And, it has proven to be a real positive outgrowth of the otherwise negative economic downtown. Women's organizations have embraced this movie because of its powerful message. They are holding movie premiers across North America; they are endorsing it on their websites; they are booking the ladies featured in the movie for speaking engagements, etc. The key point that I want to illuminate here is that the best way to gain a competitive edge is to offer and implement breakthrough thinking by embracing transformational opportunities. Expand your vision of what will appeal to your customers; then go after it! You will be amazed at the results! (We even just got back from New York ringing in the opening bell at NASDAQ where The Glow Project was projected on the huge screens on Time Square! Who'd a thunk?!!!) You can do the same thing! Just be the first to market to implement a new idea and/or approach ... and you will have to hire extra help to answer the phones from new customers!
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into contracts
    SBC Team Master
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Sandra,

    Thank you for participating in the SBOC!

    In your experience, what are the top 3 challenges women face in business? How do you suggest business women overcome these obstacles?

    Thanks again,
    The SBOC Team
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into contracts
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      Great question! We actually recently completed a research project on this very question. Here is what our respondents said:

       


      The number one challenge is obtaining new business. According to 36%, client acquisition ranked as their primary concern, while 29% listed marketing and promotion and a distant 12% worried about cash flow. Clearly, businesswomen are losing sleep over increasing new business and promoting themselves, which combined, add up to 65%. The survey also revealed issues like work/life balance (3%), staff retention (2%) and staying inspired and motivated (1%) weren't much of a concern.

       


      How do you close more deals, gain more effective promotion for your business and increase cash flow? Simple, you network. We've all heard the saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know." In my book, "Relationship Networking: The Art of Turning Contacts into Connections," I say that "Networking is the art of creating connections and building relationships." Strong relationships close deals and will get you the marketing and promotion you need to grow your business.

       


      Great networking is giving without keeping score. It's focused on giving first and receiving second, which means, you may not get business right then and there, but the relationships you develop help connect you. Carefully cultivated relationships require an investment of genuine interest, time and energy. You want to market and promote your business. You don't want to pass out business cards- you give a card when you can give a lead. Any business owner will tell you there's nothing more powerful than referrals. In the end, networking is a lifestyle. Learn to make it part of every aspect of your life.
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
    VelvetSuit Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    There's a huge trend for businesses to go green. Have you made the move towards being green? How do you suggest women entrepreneurs introduce green initiatives into their small business?
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      Absolutely! I have a personal philosophy that even if it doesn't always have an economic benefit, I believe we have a moral obligation to keeping our planet as healthy as possible. My real hope is that we leave our planet better for our children ... and their children ... and the rest of those who will live in a future we will never see. The resources and website today are plentiful. There is a great book out by my friend, Elizabeth Rogers, entitled "The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time." The changes can be both small and large. An example of a small one is the recyclable Conference tote bags that all our attendees get when they attend our international Conference. Not only was the fabric "green friendly" but they were re-usable as grocery bags long after the Conference was over. We have also shifted many of our reports to online versions in order to eliminate the use of paper. We have switched to larger containers of water to eliminate the unnecessary use of so many small plastic bottles. We are currently investigating new copier equipment and gathering "green" benefits. We are running the dishwasher at the office only when it is full. We are increasingly using recyclable paper for program guides, brochures, marketing collateral, etc. These are but a few examples where little things over time will make a big difference.
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
    SBC Team Master
    Currently Being Moderated
    All truly great responses Sandra!

    Community, we're half way through the live event. Get those questions in now to ensure Sandra has a chance to answer!
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
    caffeinated Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated
    How important is it for a small business to support a charity or non-profit group?
    • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
      eWomen_GLOW Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      Ok, I'll try not to be over-verbose here. I have to control myself a bit on this subject because it is a personal passion of mine. I suppose you could argue that this is a philosophical decision. But, I would argue back that this is a responsibility. I was so passionate about this, that when I started my business in 2000, I also started a separate company, The eWomenNetwork Foundation. This was before I even knew that they needed to be registered differently by applying for a 501(c)(3) status! It was my Bank of America banker, by the way, who took the time to listen to what I wanted to accomplish (when I naively showed up to open the bank account) then guide me towards the appropriate resources to set up everything correctly the first time. Early on, even as my core business struggled, I never gave up my fundraising and grant-giving activities. While the initial grants were small ($3,000) today they have grown to as large as $30,000 for a single grant. To date, I am most proud that The eWomenNetwork Foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash grants and in-kind donations to nonprofit organizations that help women and children in need. We were even recognized as an American Hero by Anderson Cooper's 360 Show for the aid we gave to the girl's high school basketball team of Pass Christian, Mississippi in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina devastation.
  • Re: Event December 2: Turning your contacts into connections
    eWomen_GLOW Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    It has been an honor participating in this Bank of America Industry Expert event. As parting words, let me say that as an entrepreneur I hold firm that your future and fortune is in "seeing what you believe" not in "believing what you see." Don't let the economic situation hold you back. Instead, capitalize on the opportunities it provides. Interest rates are low, so now is the time to get that new piece of equipment you need to transform your business. It's true, the weak will not survive and their market share will need to disseminate elsewhere. Why not YOU and your business? If you are struggling, quick working harder. You will end up like the fly on the windowsill trying to get to the other side - beating your head up against the window until you pass out and your dream dies. Instead, look for transformational opportunities! Identify new obstacles and provide the solution. Approach competitors and look for win-win solutions where you will both benefit and watch your customers jump up and down! Finally, get out more ... meet more people ... network more ... help others be successful. As my wise mother used to say, "Sandra, give away what it is you want the most." In other words, the best way to have a friend is to be a friend; the best way to get love is to give love; and the best way to be successful is to help others gain success. Hold on to your dream, your passion, your GLOW! It is the foundation of every great business - yours included!

     


    Sandra Yancey

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