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Snowmageddon, SnowJam, or Snowpocalypse

Normally, this time of year I’m thinking about how to move forward with my goals, achieve my business plan and accomplish all the great things that I’ve set out to do. However, this year has been a little different.  Many of my friends and clients have had some challenges this year. Many of those challenges are related to business taking a hit from all the snowstorms and ice storms that have hit North Carolina and Georgia.  So, I started looking at my own numbers and realized that my own business is off significantly due to the weeks missed during the holidays and the couple of weeks missed related to ice and snow storms.  This was an unnerving realization.  After recognizing this and before the last big storm, my nine year old approached me and told me that he was so excited about the storm and he couldn’t wait to be out of school.  By the way this is his first full week in school since mid December.

My son and I making a huge snowman!

My son and I making a huge snowman!

It’s interesting how our priorities change as we grow older.

I responded very pragmatically and basically told him that I hoped it didn’t snow at all. He looked at me in disappointment and asked why. I let him know that severe weather was very bad for our business. His whole outlook about the storm changed. Then I remembered how excited I used to get before a snowstorm when I was little. Have I become so focused on business that I have forgotten about some of the joys in life? It occurred to me that I really can’t change what the weather does, but I could control my response in dealing with it. That said, I called my little boy back into the room and said,” Hey, I hope it snows a foot so we can play and have an awesome time.”

I realize that for some businesses the storms have been a good thing, but for most of us it has been a challenge. All this got me thinking about the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it. The book says that great leaders always confront the brutal facts so I presented the brutal facts to my team and asked them what we could do to regain our momentum. They came up with some amazing ideas ranging from a sales contest to programs and systems to help our clients make more money. The whole conversation was not about pulling back. It was about pushing harder. It was very inspirational!

Choice Determines Outcome

Choice Determines Outcome

So, here is a idea that I pulled from a blog I wrote last year. It can help any business person who is struggling from Snowmageddon or some other business slowdown. It’s a great exercise to do every year and it begins with a question.

What do the most successful people you know have in common?

They have built a network of contacts that provides support, information, and business referrals. They have mastered the art and science of networking, and business flows their way almost as a matter of course.

Don’t be misled by all the networking hype: It’s not the number of contacts you make that’s important—it’s the ones you turn into lasting relationships. There’s quite a difference between the two things. Try making ten cold calls and introducing yourself. Okay, how well did that go? Didn’t go well? Then try my simple plan for networking success.

To get started: Create a list of 25 new clients you are targeting for 2014. I’m in the process of doing this myself.

Now, call ten people you already like, know and trust. Tell them you’re implementing a marketing plan for the coming year and that you would appreciate any help they can provide in the form of either a referral or new business. Share with them the top 25 list you created. They will likely know someone on the list or they will know a related business. Better results than the ten cold calls, right? Of course! You already have a relationship with these folks, and depending upon how deep it is, most of them should be glad to help you.

So, here’s the question: How can you deepen the relationships with people you already know to the point where they might be willing to help you out in the future? Here are three quick steps to get you moving in the right direction:

1. Give your clients a personal call. Find out how things went with the project you were involved in. Ask if there’s anything else you can do to help.

2. Make personal calls to all the people who have helped you or referred business to you in the past year. Ask them how things are going. Try to learn more about their current activities so you can refer business to them. Remember “Givers Gain.”

3. Put together a hit list of 50 people you’d like to stay in touch with this year. Include anyone who has given you business in the last 12 months (from steps 1 and 2) as well as any other prospects you’ve connected with recently. Make it a goal to reach out to one or two of these people each week. If they’re past clients or people you’ve talked to before, let them know you are actively growing your business and could use their help. How can they help? Ask them for a referral. If they’re prospects, perhaps you can set up an appointment to have coffee and find out if their plans might include using your services. See how easy that was. After a few weeks, you’ll have more than enough social capital and business to tap into for the rest of the year.

This is one simple idea that can have a huge impact. Looking for more ideas with a big impact?

Big Announcement!

We are launching two new open enrollment Networking Like a Pro All Stars classes as a advanced training program!

Have you had the following questions?Dollar Sign

How do I get more referrals?
How do I inspire others with my vision and passion?
How do I become more connected in my community?
How do I work less, make more, and have fun doing it?
How do I become a well connected business person and never make another cold call?

This training is based on my bestselling book, Networking Like a Pro! Register now, we are limiting registrations to 25 students so we can have plenty of personal interaction. We have not even begun to market this yet and the spots are already filling up. To sign up as a blog subscriber, visit www.nlpallstars.com and enter the code “REFERRAL” for a 50% discount. If you are in BNI, go to www.bnisoutheast.com, click on events, and search for “Advanced Training.” You will get an additional discount and all participants will get a complimentary autographed copy of the book!

These are a few testimonials from past students of our training programs:

“I have increased my networking to the point where my revenue has gone up at least 50% while completing this course. It was amazing to uncover the simple steps which helped increase my business and my bottom line tremendously.”
Derek Sutton, Atlanta, Georgia

“David Alexander has changed my life. David proceeded to lead a lively discussion about the goose and the golden eggs. It was a turning point in the way I market my business and ask for referrals. The very next day, I got three referrals, and one of them was the person I had named! I could not believe it. Since then, I continue to ask for, and receive, referrals to my referral sources. That has helped me build relationships with several realtors who continue to refer their clients to me. Talk about a recession buster! Those referrals are golden!”
Patty Chakales, Asheville, NC

“The results have been fantastic. The year after I completed that program my BNI generated business more than doubled from $15,000 to $36,000. Please bear in mind our average sale is $300. Last year the total was $67,000. Through September of this year my total BNI business is over $67,000 and we still have the last quarter to go. BNI supplies over 60% of my business.”
Walter Willson, Charlotte NC

“I found myself attending any number of networking events and a large stack of business cards with little prospect value. The past 7 weeks participating in the “Networking Like A Pro” training class has been a game changer for my business and as a result, my life…….I have participated in several training sessions during my 30 year career covering a myriad of topics. I cannot think of one which will have a greater, positive impact upon my future than this session.”
Jim Clark, Atlanta, GA

Choose powerfully, join us for this training. I believe in the power of this program so much that I will personally guarantee it. If you register for the full program and attend all the classes, you can receive your money back if you do not grow your business as a result. Again, to sign up as a blog subscriber, visit www.nlpallstars.com and enter the code “REFERRAL” for a 50% discount.

See you in class,
David Alexander