How Not To Be Rude When Contacting New People

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Sales and Influence
Reading time: 2 min.

In sales, business development, and networking, our first goal is to open a conversation. That conversation will flow naturally–perhaps in one sitting or many–from getting know each other to exploring each other’s situations, to seeing how we might help each other, and then, if it makes sense, to making some form of agreement.

If this is the flow, how many times should we try to open such a conversation with someone new?  How many calls, emails, or warm introductions should we try before we give up, before we assume we’re being rude? Once? Twice? Three times?

Some of the best in sales and networking will tell us that we should give up only after 10 or 11 tries. If we are genuinely interested in forming a relationship, learning about them, and seeing if we can help them out, then we’d be remiss if we stopped reaching out too soon. We assume they don’t want to hear from us. While that’s true for some, for others they haven’t responded yet because they are busy, unsure, or cautious.

Imagine someone new is trying to get in touch with you. How would they have to behave so that you would appreciate their persistence? Why not be like that?

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit:
alexkerhead
cc

Take the Meeting

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

Networking done well is a highly effective way to change careers, get a job, get advice, and make sales. But what about when we are on the other side of the table? How do we benefit from giving the advice and making the connections?

First, it’s flattering because people see the value our experience, knowledge, and network. Second, if feels quite good to be helpful. Third, we can extend our own network. The people meeting with us are also meeting and can connect us with other interesting, helpful people. And fourth, it feels good to pay it forward (for future benefit) or pay it back (from when we were well treated and supported in the past).

Go ahead and take the call or the coffee. Everyone benefits.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Sharon Hahn Darlin cc

How to Avoid All The Awful When Networking

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

A networking event, symposium, or conference can be both wonderful and dreadful. Wonderful for the information, connections, and camaraderie. Dreadful for the small talk, the networking leeches, and the difficulty making a connection with the one person you had hoped to meet. Of course, such events are even worse if we are cautious, awkward, or introverted.

The solution? A wingman.

Buddy up with a like-minded colleague. Each of you can set your own objectives to meet so many people or just certain people, learn about some new trend or company, and sample the fine finger foods. You may agree to split up but come to each other’s rescue, when needed. Or you can stay together. Either way, you help each other get the benefits of networking without the awful bits.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Kevin Dooley cc

The Best Way to Land a Job These Days

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Job search, Sweetspot
Reading time: 2 min.

Job boards, applications, resumes. Oh. My. Stories from the front lines tell us that the traditional way of finding a job is pretty well broken.

The best way to land a job today is to a) become a “killer candidate” and b) grow our network until it includes our next employer. Growing our network is how we will find the opportunities. Read more about that here.

Becoming a killer candidate is not about ticking boxes. It is not a form of beauty pageant; it is not about becoming someone we are not.

It is about clarity.

It is being clear about who we are and what we offer. I suggest people figure out their SweetSpot and use it to target appealing industries and companies and to hone their personal marketing content (elevator speech, resume, cover letter).

It is also about clear conversations with potential employers.  We do not start off talking about our qualifications nor do we jump through hoops in some attempt to match what we think they want from us. Instead, our conversations focus on understanding what the hiring manager is trying to accomplish overall. We explore next how this role–if it is done well–would contribute to that hiring manager’s and the overall company’s desired results. Only then do we talk about us. Only then do we tell stories that demonstrate how our talents, passions, perspectives, and experience line up to (help) deliver those results.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: None of this is difficult. It is just different.

 

Today’s photo credit: Canadian West Coast Fishing via photopin (license)

networking

Networking? Ew!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

Many of us cringe when we hear the word, “networking.” We think of slimy people gathered to be slimy. We think of levels of (usually imagined) social rejection that rival a middle school dance. Or we imagine getting trapped in a fruitless exchange by some desperate soul. Despite the supposed benefits of networking, we strongly feel we’d rather not.

But there is something better. Instead of fleeing, we can insist upon an honest, natural way of networking.

Natural networking means being our kind selves, inviting others into a conversation, taking interest in others’ work- and home lives, sharing something of our own, offering to explore a topic more deeply (now or at a later date) should both parties sense the possibility of a win-win project or partnership, and gracefully moving on.

With natural networking, we get the benefits without the “Ew!”

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Mark cc

quid pro quo

Networking Quid Pro Quo: What To Give In Return

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

We’ve heard that good networking is a two-way street: we are supposed to give and get, not only one or the other. Makes sense; sounds fair.

We usually know what we want to get from a networking conversation (e.g. connection, insight, guidance, or introductions). But what can we give? We don’t want to be unfair. We don’t want the others to feel put upon. Until we know what we can give, we probably will hesitate or avoid networking.

We can give our networking conversation partner any of the following. All are valuable.

  • The joy of knowing that they have helped us.
  • An honest, “Thank you.”
  • An honest and specific compliment.
  • Showing them that we heard and appreciated what they are up to, generally, and what they want to accomplish at work.
  • Silently appreciating/honoring them as fellow humans.
  • An introduction to someone we know who may help them.
  • News or insights we know that may help them.
  • Encouragement and, with their permission, coaching or advice.

We can so do these.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Elliott Brown cc

network

The Networking 20-60-20

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Hiring, Job search, Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 2 min.

Many of us fear networking. We often think people will feel put upon or even angry if we ask them for help. And that may be true for perhaps 20% of the people out there. For various reasons, they just don’t want to be bothered.

That means that about 80% of the people out there want to help you.

Around 20% of the people out there are excited to help. They are honored that you asked. They will happily introduce you to others. They may even follow up with you to check in and offer more insights or connections.

The remaining 60% are also happy to help if you make it easy for them. Here are some “make it easy” steps you can follow. Instead of asking when they are available, give them a list of specific times to choose from. Pick a location (including over the phone or video chat) that is convenient for them. Promise and follow through on your promise to keep conversations focused and brief (say, twenty minutes for a phone call, thirty minutes for a coffee, an hour for a lunch, or whatever works for them). Be prepared to go over that time if they wish. Prepare your questions prior to the meeting. Catch up with them; learn what they are focused on this quarter and this year. Offer any information or connections that they might find helpful. Be warm and friendly.

Above all, plan on most people wanting to help you.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Because we likely can’t know whether a person is in the first 20%, the last 20%, or the middle 60%, use the “make it easy” steps for everyone.

PPS: When you bump into someone who doesn’t want to help, just graciously thank them for their time. No need to burden ourselves with judgements of them or us.

 

Today’s photo credit: Jun cc

land

The Simpler Way To Land A Job

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Job search
Reading time: 2 min.

Landing a job can be a hard and unrewarding endeavor. We can waste time and drain our psyches by trolling job boards, sending out résumés, attending networking events, going on dead-end interviews, and hoping.

Yet there is a simpler way to land a job. First, we become killer candidates. Second, we grow our network until it includes our next employers.

We can all become killer candidates. It is not about becoming someone we are not, gussying up our resume to fit what we think employers are looking for. It is not participating in a form of beauty pageant, looking just so, doing the right things, and putting on our best, fake behavior. It is being crystal clear about who we are, who our ideal potential employers are, what they really need, and how what we offer will help them.

You can start by figuring out your SweetSpot (and more here).  Use it to know which types of people or organizations you want to work for. Use it also to craft an elevator speech, a résumé, and a cover letter that resonate with those people and organizations.

Next have conversations (interviews) with your ideal potential employers. Focus neither on how wonderful your qualifications are nor on jumping through hoops to please. Instead, focus on understanding what the hiring manager is trying to accomplish overall and how, if this role is done well, it would contribute to that hiring manager’s and the overall company’s success. Only then can you explain how you and what you offer can help.

To have those conversations, grow your network. Read this to learn how. Start with the people you know and trust. As you proceed, pay a bit of extra attention to the people you meet who are really good at networking including the mavens and the high-integrity professional recruiters.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Even when we do them well, job searches can have us feeling bad at times. Remember to take good care of yourself and to feel good, then act.

 

Today’s photo credit: Frans Zwart via photopin cc

jobs

Top 5 Hiring Errors

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Hiring
Reading time: 3 min.

To hire well, we want to ask the question,”Will this person fit, contribute, and perform well here?” But there are five common hiring errors that get in our way.

1. Hiring for skills. Hiring someone based, in part, on their technical skills (e.g. proficient in Ruby on Rails, knowledge of regulatory environments, budgeting) is actually fine. The hiring error is overvaluing technical skills. There is an adage that applies here: “Hire for skill and you’ll fire for attitude.” We must focus on fit and attitude or pay the price in turnover. Certain professions aside, it is usually easier and cheaper in the long run to hire for fit, attitude, and deeper personal talents (e.g. self-management, personal accountability) and to train for skills.

2. Hiring for experience. We cannot be sure someone will do well here if they have performed (and even succeeded at) a similar role in another organization. Our organizations are different; our mileage will vary. Let’s also use caution when tempted to specify that a candidate must have so many years of experience. This is code for either, “we don’t want to train you” (see above) or “we really need you to have certain signs of workplace maturity.” If it’s the former, let’s double check that training wouldn’t be more effective. If it’s the latter, let’s take the time to specify the specific maturity traits we wish to see in our ideal candidates.

3. Hiring people like us. We tend to be biased about how jobs are meant to be done; we think it’s best done our way. This bias quietly leads us to seek people who think and behave as we do. Brilliant as we are, we’d do better to seek the traits ideally suited to deliver the role’s desired results. See Error 4, below.

4. Hiring for the wrong job. One of the most common hiring errors is hiring for the wrong job. We usually define a role with a job description. Job descriptions are laundry lists of tasks (sometimes called ‘responsibilities’), pay, level, & benefits information, and required traits. Job descriptions are inadequate because they don’t answer the most critical question about any role: “How will we (all) know–what results will we see to say that the job is being done well?” We can end up hiring someone who appears to match the job description and who fails in the role. Instead, let’s specify roles by a small handful of key accountability statements.

5. Hiring strangers. It’s not that strangers couldn’t do the job. But the resources it takes to find and hire strangers are way less effective and efficient than networking.We often rely on job boards, classified ads, and industry publications to advertise the roles we want to fill. Then we are flooded with resumes; huge work with no assurance we’ll find a good fit. Or, we get few resumes and wonder why we can’t attract quality people. Instead, let’s allow our network attract and focus on the great people we need. We can use honest networking to grow our network until it includes our next hire.

With a just bit of focus, we can clear these errors and make stronger hires.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: photologue_np via photopin cc

eiffel net

Do You Get Good Networking?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

There are those of us who get good networking. We understand it as a natural, powerful way to find work within our SweetSpot, clients who want what we offer, employees who really fit, insight, help, and resources we need, and other business partners with whom we make wonderful wins happen.

And there are those who don’t get networking. Either they abuse it with ick and selfishness (sending others fleeing) or (fearing the abuse), they avoid it.

Some of us who don’t get it, can get it. We didn’t know that there is a comfortable, honest, powerful, great-feeling way to network with others. We didn’t think we were the type of person who can network. We didn’t understand that we could invite others into the club so that more and more would enjoy wins as we have.

And we didn’t realize that starting this powerfully effective networking is as easy as caring, being curious, and being ourselves.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: wackybadger via photopin cc