Saturday, May 26, 2012

Networking is Getting to Be a Lot of FUN!

I've been attending various networking meetings lately, learning new things and meeting some truly terrific people.

I started visiting a networking group (very tentatively) back in October or November. Back then, I simply put my toe in and watched for a while,except when required to stand and say what I offer as a businesswoman.

I'm not a gregarious person by nature (or if I am, it was trained out of me at an early age--those of you who have been reading my blog for years know all about that!)so deciding to start networking was traumatic and scary at first. I read BOOK YOURSELF SOLID by Michael Port before setting out so I'd be going in for all the right reasons and so I'd know what to do and how to behave when I got there.

Now (after several months) I feel a lot more comfortable and can be myself, for the most part, and contribute at these things. And because I am, I'm actually forging some great strategic partnerships and an extended referral network that is beginning to mutually bless us in several ways.

I've had the big tree in our front yard trimmed back by Rafael Contreras (R&S Construction in Federal Way) after hearing a testimonial about his integrity and diligence from Phyllis Kaplan (Stimulate Your Economy). He did a fantastic job and I feel completely comfortable recommending him to anyone else who needs a great contractor. Everyone else who has ever used him in the networking group gives him similar high marks. To hear us tell it, the man walks on water... He really is a terrific man to have taking care of your contracting needs. (Tree trimming is a sideline service. He's usually busy building and remodeling homes, erecting gazebos, and doing other outstanding work.)

Phyllis Kaplan (Stimulate Your Economy) is a vivacious, engaging individual who appears at trade shows, county fairs and other large public forums as the "face" of various companies. She also offers relational training to individuals and companies whose employees need to interact with their customers and clients face-to-face. She always wanted to be an actress, so she's completely in her element when she's meeting and greeting people and demonstrating wares, techniques, or anything else. She even teaches canvassing, cold-calling, and how to transform gatekeepers into allies. She's worth her weight in gold to the companies she serves and advises. Her tagline ("Face-to-face matters, because you can't shake hands with a screen)" perfectly mirrors what she offers. She offers quality representation and representational training.

And this week I took a 90 minute class with Joyce Singleton (Referral Institute, Tacoma) that covered the differences between a lead and a referral, and much, much more! I want to take some of her other classes, too. She is a wealth of valuable insights and knowledge.

Another Joyce--Joyce Joneschiet of Aging in Place--helps Baby Boomers and their parents stay in their homes longer by showing them how to adapt their residences to make them elder-friendly, safe and accessible. She loves what she does and adores older folks, so she is living out her passion, too.

And there are others, too numerous to mention in a single blog entry. Perhaps I'll throw a spotlight on more of them as the weeks pass.

All of these people are passionate about what they do; as passionate as I am about what I do. Having 1-on-1's with each of them and getting to know them better makes all the difference in the world. And hearing other peoples' "shout outs" about what others in the networking group have done for their own businesses helps us feel good about referring our own friends, family and neighbors to them. (A referral is someone you're willing recommend to others; your own integrity is on the line when you make a referral. A lead doesn't always meet that standard.)

It's just after midnight on Saturday morning. I haven't made much money this week, but I have had a truly successful week in a lot of other ways. The money will come as a result of it.

I'm just days away from presenting at Casey's school (Hunt Elementary in Puyallup). I'm creating a mental outline so I remember what I need to say to encourage the young writers in her class. Wendy will videotape the event so I can use it later. (I mentioned this in an earlier log entry, I think.) Looking forward to it... but I'd sure like to find an appropriate, good-looking, writer-type outfit to wear that day that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I think I'll visit a thrift store and see if I can find something "artsy" or avant garde that will still be "me"...

Got any ideas? Let me know. Wanna take me shopping (if you're local) and dress me? I could really use a wardrobe consultant right about now!


Fairday Morrow said...

How wonderful that your networking group is turning out to be so interesting and that you are able to share more now. I loved reading about the people you spotlighted. The groups sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Best of luck with the school visit. :)


Kristine M Smith said...

Thanks, Jess!