Women’s Network – Australia
How to Become a Celebrity on a Shoestring Budget
By Jill Lublin (Promising Promotion)
Whether you are a solopreneuer or a major corporation, you need people to know about you. JILL LUBLIN looks at five things you need to do to become a guerrilla publicist.
Do you cringe at the idea of networking at a wedding? Anguish over how to make a memorable first impression or conduct the dreaded follow-up? What about getting your sound bite down?
Jill Lublin — publicity guru, acclaimed speaker, and bestselling writer — talked to top networkers across the country before co-authoring her new book, Networking Magic. In today’s interview, she shares the kind of inside information that can help you both build your practice and enhance just about every facet of your life. (And, yes, you can have fun while doing it and still be your own natural self).
Today’s wide-ranging interview will cover the how-to’s of networking with intention, building a personal team, making the most out of a conference, dealing with the media, how to gain by giving, and even grooming (no coffee breath!).
If you still have hang-ups about networking — what it is and what it isn’t — fret, no more, and read on.
To begin with, could you provide us with a simple definition of networking?
Well, the simplest definition is connection. I give it a very broad definition. I don’t want anybody to get too, ‘This is what networking is.’ It’s really the process of building and maintaining relationships. Of building a team to support your business efforts, and, of course, your teammates help you to reach your goals.
The team concept — could you elaborate on that?
Sure. The thing is you don’t want to build your life by being alone. Who is part of your team — your dream team? It’s created through all kinds of alliances, all kinds of connections. Obviously, generously giving to each other, in terms of helping your team with their objectives and interests while they help you with yours, is really key. But the idea is who’s going to create the next step for you?
Who’s on your dream team?
I have my accountant, my bookkeeper, my business coach, my financial coach, my fitness coach-they’re all essential. For instance, when I’m creating product, my coach interviews every single person I talk to, to make sure they’re a good fit beyond what I think, you know? You want to have them involved as you’re making decisions.
Many people look at networking as just a skills set, something where you just go, show up and do something, and it’s done. But in your book you describe networking as a process. Could you tell me more?
Certainly, if you can spend time with the organization and get involved, particularly with the Chamber of Commerce, you are more successful if you get on committees and get involved and know people. But you don’t want it to be just a once-a-month, nice-to-see-you, nice-to-know-you-again; it’s about, ‘Can you help me or us grow this?’ and you continue the conversation. You don’t just show up at the event; you pursue relationships with people you meet there whose objectives and interests are in some way compatible with yours. That’s actually one of the proficiencies in the Social Capital and Networking Community that I’m a part of — to maximize the breadth and depth of your network.
So, you’re advocating going deeper with key people you meet and see every month at these different events.
That’s right; that’s exactly it.
In your first book, Guerilla Publicity, you focus on publicity, and obviously your new book, Networking Magic, focuses on networking. How can you combine the two to expedite success?
Well, one feeds the other. From a publicity perspective, for instance, I would classify coaches as experts. But how would you know that you’re an expert if nobody knows about you? You’ve got to get some exposure and visibility and build credibility in order to create success as an expert. That’s the big piece of this. Now, how is publicity built? Well, through networking. How is visibility built? Absolutely and only through networking. When you show up at a networking event, that is a visibility/publicity move — people know you, they recognize you. That creates name visibility, and over time it creates trust.
The Guerilla Marketing books talk about how people hire people they know, like, trust, which is what you just touched upon.
Trust is such a key element in networking. That’s what’s great about networking in the community or in cross-promotional opportunities. Networking builds trust and confidence by allowing a lot of interaction over time, face-to-face and otherwise. That’s a very powerful way to create business.
Can you think of anything that might be especially useful for coaches to hear about networking?
Look, most coaches fill their practice through word of mouth and networking. It’s what other people are saying about you — your services, how you provide ore present the value that you give — that will lead your clients to not only come back and ask for more, but refer others to you.
So getting exposure for yourself, visibility, and networking clearly work hand-in-hand?
Absolutely. Most people are networking all the time. Not just for clients, but doctor choices, dentists, school systems, a chiropractor. Jobs, apartments, restaurants, romance. For most people it all comes about through networking, even if they’re not thinking of it that way. One of my friends said to me this morning, ‘Have you seen The Incredibles yet? It’s really fantastic? I probably wouldn’t have seen it if she hadn’t said that. Is that networking? Absolutely.
Many of us attend conferences or are speakers at conferences. How can we make the most out of a venue like that?
First of all, find out who’s going to be there before you go. If it’s a large trade industry, you’re going to mix with your peers — that’s what I call a ‘cross-promotional opportunity,’ where maybe you’re going to go to see clients and get clients. And you need to speak the language that people can hear.
Tell me more about that.
It’s very important to identify your sound bite really carefully, especially at conferences. You don’t want to be going on and on about how you help people, how great you are, how many years you’ve been practicing. Get in there and be quick — here’s who I am, here’s what I can do for you. That’s what people care about.
So it’s about getting across quickly what’s in it for them.
That’s key. Also, the media is key. With the media, you need to speak in crisp sound bites. You also want to make sure you have more than enough marketing materials, more than enough cards. And be clear about your objectives. One thing I’m really big on that we speak about in Networking Magic is to network with intention.
What does that mean?
It means that when you go into a room — at a trade show or a conference, say — be prepared to declare what your goals are. What they are for that week, for the three days, the one-day. Have them written down somewhere in your hotel room. I refer to mine at night; I refer to them first thing in the morning, as I’m getting ready for the day and doing my prayer and meditation. I’m always with my goals. I’m clear about what they are.
So most people go to networking events, and they’re not clear about what they’re trying to accomplish there.
Yes, they have no real objectives. It’s fascinating. Meeting nice people is one thing, but you can go to lunch with your friends, as far as I’m concerned. If you’re going to a conference, do some key preparation on the plane there — it doesn’t have to be a big, long process — and write down your objectives and goals. Make it quantifiable and qualify-able — the same things you probably coach your clients on. How many people will you meet? How much business will you receive in terms of money? How will you serve other people? How much exercise are you going to get that week? Whatever it is, right? It will really increase your chances of meeting your objectives.
But even of you have your networking intentions and your goals set beforehand; I would think it helps to laser in on key priorities.
That’s right. For instance, mine would be to obtain three speaking engagements. I may have no clue how this is going to happen. But just by having that intention in my mind — and all the time, I notice this — someone will say, ‘I really want you to come speak for our organization’. Another thing is to be really clear in whatever request you make. Make sure, no matter what kind of event you’re at, to ask the ‘who’ questions. You have these intentions, and part of fulfilling those intentions is in finding the right network and the right people. So start asking for what you need next. Focus on what you need in the next thirty days to start meeting a goal or objective, whatever it is, whether it’s more clients or writing a book.
Then go up to people and say, ‘Hi, my name is Kim and one of the things I’m looking for is to expand my business. Who do you know with services in___? I’m a coach who specializes in the following areas. It’s the old saying, ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’.
Yes, and the specificity is so important. It comes back to what you said earlier about portraying yourself as an expert. Experts are specialists, aren’t they?
Yes, they are, and they’re people who can support what you need next. And for you to get what you want when you meet people, I think it’s really key to be specific and ask the ‘who’ question — who do you know who can___?
It’s interesting, Jill, that you said, ‘Who do you know who___?’ There’s an implicit assumption in that phrasing that they do know someone, rather than ‘Do you know someone who___?
I purposely phrase it that way, because I do find that people wan tot help; all you have to do is ask the right question. I’m amazed at how many events I do (a minimum of four a month) where I’ll go up to somebody and say, ‘What do you need next? What would help you?’ Do you know how many times people will say, ‘You know? I don’t know.’ Or, they’ll look like a deer caught in headlights. ‘You mean you’re asking me?’ ‘Yes, I’m asking you and I really do want to know.’ It’s important that people get clear on what they want and to put it out to others and to be bold — and not be concerned about judgment.
And when you can offer resources, information, connections in return, that’s a lot of reciprocity; people are willing to meet you halfway and people love to be asked.
They really do. Often, the biggest thing is that they find they can’t help because they haven’t been asked. I can’t stress this enough. There’s a person I work with in a non-profit and he was putting on a major event. He just kept asking — he asked an airline to donate tickets, he asked a hotel to donate hotel reservations. Do you know that every single person said yes? He called up to the CFO of one of the major airlines to say. ‘Thank you so much for donating’ and the CEO said, ‘Well, thank you for asking.’ You can’t give until you know what somebody needs.
That’s great advice. You can’t expect people to be mind readers. What about events like weddings and church functions, where people might be reluctant to talk about what they do?
Well, as far as I’m concerned those are great events to network at.
People are relaxed; they’re having a good time. Look, you’re a coach wherever you go, whether it’s a wedding, a bar mitzvah, a social event, at the beach, or at a networking event; I don’t distinguish. Tell people, ‘Here’s who I am and what I’m up to; what do you do? I have met great people, who I continue to network with, at all of these events you’ve mentioned; people who’ve served me well in my life and continue to be an alliance. I always talk to people about what I’m up to, what my dreams and aspirations are – everywhere I go. I’ve met people in line, on an elevator, in the women’s bathroom. There’s no place that good.
Now earlier, you talked about the importance of having a sound bite, and I’d like to get back to that. Do you have any tips about how people can introduce themselves effectively with a sound bite? I would assume you’re talking about 30 seconds or less.
I am talking about 30 seconds or less, and getting it down to 15 seconds is even better. A sound bite is fast, and it’s your opening — what I call your ‘verbal calling card’. It’s the first part that gets you to stage 2, so you want to be attention grabbing, sustaining and funny, if that’s appropriate. Your sound bit must explain who you are, what you do, and why you make a difference. People have demands on their listening and on their time, so when you get an opening, express yourself quickly, clearly, compellingly and memorably. Most importantly, get clear about what you want to convey. Start at 30 seconds, but work it down to 10 to 15 seconds. It should be condensed version of who you are; a capsule.
Can you give us an example of an excellent 15 or 30 second sound bite?
Well, let’s take a diet book author. ‘I used to weigh over 300 pounds, now I’m a size 8. I can teach you the best diet to lose weight and keep it off.’ That’s something easy.
And it goes right to the heart of somebody’s emotions.
Right. So, if you’re a coach who specializes in certain traumatic events or grief or divorce, just say it. ‘I specialize in executive coaching.’ ‘People over 40 in transition.’ Make it very specific so we can wrap our brain around it. You need to define what distinguishes you.
There are so many different perceptions of what a coach is, and does. And there are a lot of coaches; how are you different and why should we care?
In terms of making a good first impression, what other tips do you have for us?
Well, grooming. I know it sounds obvious, but I’m shocked at how many people have coffee breath. Or, after you eat appetizers, run to the bathroom and look at your teeth. Dress professionally and look neat. Be on time. Or even be early. I find if a networking event starts at 5:30, I like to get there at 5:20. Why? Because then I get to talk to the people who are working the event, who are oftentimes big people in the community. When I go to the Chamber of Commerce events, the bartender is usually the CEO of some organizations, and the person taking the tickets can often be the president of the Chamber. Go early, stay late, and don’t rush in and out. Be present there — fully present.
This is what great networkers do?
Yes, and there’s another thing. When I interviewed the best networkers in the country for Networking Magic, the #1 quality of a great networker — no big surprise — is that they’re great givers. I think it’s really key that what one of your intentions at any networking event is, ‘How can I give? How can I help?’
It’s so much more fulfilling if you’re looking to be of service than to just sell someone. BNI, which is the largest business referral organization in the world, is one of our strategic partners at CoachVille, and the CEO, Ivan Misner, is a visionary for our social capital and networking community. Their primary philosophy is givers gain.
Absolutely! So, let’s figure out how you’re going to serve people, and what can you do when you’re there to help others? If you see someone struggling a little bit or looking shy, go up to them; see what you can do.
I wonder if you can talk a little about following up. I’m continuously surprised at the lack of follow-up in networking. People just don’t do it.
It is shocking, isn’t it? Most people don’t, because everybody’s so busy and going so fast. Here’s a great point: If you do any follow-up, you will stand out in the crowd — I’m not kidding. To just even call someone back nowadays is good follow-up.
Can you think of anything that could help with the follow-up?
The first thing is to make notes on people’s cards when they’re talking to you about what they need or the follow-up that needs to be done — get them information about coaching, send them a great article you read recently. Whatever it is, do it. I don’t write ‘nice to meet you cards’ to everyone I meet, but I might send out an e-mail — preferably within 48 hours of an event.
Any other do’s and don’ts about effective follow-up — either with the media or people at networking events?
Those are two very different follow-up patterns. As far as networking, keep it within a shorter time frame, do what you promised to do. If you said you were going to call them on Thursday, call them on Thursday. They may have forgotten, but at least you kept the agreement. ‘Hi, Joe! You told me to call you Thursday at 1, and here I am.’ Now, if they don’t answer the phone, you leave a message: ‘Please let me know what other time might work for you’ and follow-up with them as much as possible. Get to people and let them know that you remembered and that they’re important to you.
And the media?
When you follow up with the media, what we recommend is what’s called The Rule of Seven. That means to follow up at least seven times with the media. Let them know what you’re an expert on and that you’re following up. Some of them want it by phone, some by fax, and some by email. Just as with everything in life, people prefer different forms of communication. Make sure to clarify how they want to be followed up with. Ask that question — that’s respectful.
It sounds like a small thing can make a big difference.
That’s exactly right. I heard a great story the other day when I was teaching a networking class. A gentleman said to me, I travel five days a week and I say to people on my email, ‘Please do not respond by email; please call me at——-‘ and they don’t look, they don’t listen. Or, on my message machine, I say, ‘Please don’t email me; if it’s urgent, please phone.’ He lets people know consistently, and he’s very frustrated because people don’t listen to what — they want to keep emailing. They want to do it their way. So, follow up, and respect what the person wants in terms of how they want to be communicated with.
This has all been great, and very useful. Any final words?
What I want to put out there is that these relationships can last a moment, or they can last a lifetime, or anywhere in between. Be clear about what you want, be brief, and be bold. A good connection may provide you the exact next step in your career, in client referrals, or in key alliances that will help build attraction and get the ball rolling and keep it rolling.