Welcome To Relax Consulting's Blog

Transparent thoughts and ideas from Administrative Consultant (aka: Virtual Assistant, Crystal Casavant of Relax Consulting.

Relax Consulting - Let Us Help, So YOU Can RELAX!

Phone: 920.645.7529

Email: Crystal@RelaxConsulting.com

Friday, April 27, 2012

Stop Selling Your Business

As soon as you stop selling your business, you'll see sales increase. Jeffrey Gitomer said this best: "PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO BE SOLD! PEOPLE WANT TO BUY!"

Concentrate more on your business and yourself and less on selling anyone something. Here's an analogy before I get into the explanation:

You are in a room with 30 other professionals. You have each been asked to stand up and tell the group about yourself, your business, and what you are passionate about. You have just a few seconds to accomplish this. As others are introducing themselves, what are you concentrating on? Human nature says you aren't totally comfortable with public speaking so you are concentrating on what you are going to say, how you are going to get out of your seat to stand up without spilling anything, and you are wondering if there is anything in your teeth. Your brain is quickly figuring out how you get the biggest bang for your buck. If I use my full name I won't get to tell much about my business, maybe I'll just use my first name so I can emphasize the business name and what it is I'm selling/doing or providing.

Whew...glad you got that figured out, it's your turn. So you stand up gracefully, introduce yourself quickly and you feel great as you sit down feeling like you accomplished a great feat. In this scenario, you likely didn't hear very much about the others in the room. Those who went before you were playing second fiddle to your planning of your own introduction and those after were only whispers to the voice in your head that was congratulating yourself on a smooth presentation.

You just lost out on a networking opportunity as well as 29 potential sales - because you weren't listening. You were in sales mode and it's highly unlikely that this mode is going to help you make any sales in this day and age.

If you really want to increase sales, you need to actively listen and identify a need. Had you been listening to the 29 people in the room, you would have heard "Hi, I'm Sharon from Company XYZ and I'm filling in because so and so is out on maternity leave, but I usually work in the _______ department" which would have been a great lead for your friend Betty who runs a staffing agency. Passing along that referral to Betty would have opened up the door for dialogue about how your business could help her business and you might have ended up scheduling an appointment to meet the CEO of a nation wide staffing organization who is ready to sign a contract with your company. You also may have heard "Hi, I'm Lisa - formerly of Company XYZ and I'm looking for an administrative position with a local office" which is exactly what your office is looking for. 

You miss too many opportunities when you are selling your business. You also don't seem as genuine as you should be. Concentrate more on the following aspects of business:

*Get in front of people through networking
*Be an active listener
*Identify needs

For more bits of wisdom from me, follow the Relax Consulting blog or call and take me out for coffee and I'd be happy to chat with you. For more bits of wisdom from the business guru himself - Gitomer, subscribe to his FREE weekly blog: http://www.gitomer.com/articles/ThisWeeksColumn.html

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lack of Compassion Equals Lack of Customers/Clients

Yes, I'm a stickler when it comes to customer service. It's not really that difficult to impress me, but if you have a culture not focused on customers and compassion you will DEPRESS me very quickly. I have not shopped at a particular retail store for five years because a supervisor treated an employee badly and when I gave that feedback to the manager, he didn't come up with a solution. Similarly, a friend of mine was treated poorly today and it cost the business over $1,300 and when I called to give them the feedback, they apologized but didn't provide a solution. I'm sorry goes a long way, but here's what is even better:

"I'm sorry, we would like to make this right. What about ___________________? or ____________? Would either of these options turn this into a positive experience for you?"

If you cannot show compassion to your customer, clients, or staff I refuse to spend my money at your business and I refuse to refer anyone to your business. It's just really that simple in my mind.

Now tell me about what makes or breaks your customer service experience - I want to hear from YOU!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Perception Simplified

I learn something every day and I usually learn the most during life's unexpected moments. This morning I spent quite a bit of time at the post office figuring out how much postage I would need on my wedding invitations. At first the postal worker was gruff and only moderately pleasant. I flashed her a smile and showed her my gratitude for her patience (she was politely explaining to me why my invitations would cost $0.65 cents based on weight, size, etc...). When I showed her that I cared, SHE CARED! By the time I left, she was asking when the wedding was, where the reception was, and she congratulated me like we were family. 

then...to reward my little wedding planner (my 3 year old son) for his patience, we ran to McDonalds for a smoothie. I pulled ahead so he could pay for and receive his own smoothie from the drive through window. The woman who waited on him simply said: "is this for you?" and when he replied and said Thank you, she said "you're welcome, have a good day" and that was all Andre needed. As we pulled away, he said: "Mommy, that really was a nice lady!"

If you want people to like you, act the way your mother taught you:

*Be appreciative by showing gratitude
*Be polite
*Treat others the way you want to be treated

Yup...it really is just that easy. It's not about the kind of car you drive, the designer clothes, or what side of the tracks you grew up on. Anyone can be nice, it doesn't matter what your social status is. A smile costs nothing and is catchy....if you help one person to smile, it's likely they'll pass that smile along to many others.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Understanding The Fair Credit Reporting Act

Do you think that the Fair Credit Reporting Act doesn't affect you? If you've ever bought or sold something, or plan on buying something in the future, you need to know a few things. The Fair Credit Reporting Act was established to protect consumers, but it also helps legitimate debt collectors do their job effectively and efficiently too. A reputable debt collector/collection agency wants to get things right too, and sometimes there can be a disconnect between an original creditor and the debt collector you may be working with. This usually is NOT an error on the part of the debt collector or caused by the debt collector (or maybe I'm just biased because I'm so fond of the debt collection industry).

Billing errors and balance problems can happen if a payment is made and not applied correctly, made to the original creditor but not reported to the collection agency who then reports to the credit bureaus, etc...and another common balance problem occurs when a judgment is taken on a past due balance. The reason for the balance problem with a judgment is that additional court costs, attorney fees, filing fees, satisfaction fees, etc...are added to the amount that was originally due. A consumer cannot simply take the original balance and subtract the payments and assume that they have proper accounting.

Regardless of the situation or the reason, if you feel that your balance is inaccurate, the Fair Credit Report Act allows you the opportunity to view your credit report (you can do this free each year by logging in at: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index ). And you can dispute any balances you think are inaccurate or any accounts that you are unfamiliar with. Your credit report comes from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion but is available to you at annualcreditreport.com - inaccuracies should be disputed at each individual credit bureau and annualcreditreport.com has an online process for disputing. Also - don't be surprised if your information and your credit score is different at each of the credit bureaus. Each bureau has their own policies and methodology, so they should have similar information but it may not be identical.

Before you dispute a debt, make sure you have the following information:

*A summary of what it is you are disputing ("not mine" isn't nearly as helpful as "I've never been to Texas so I'm not sure how the bill for Texas State Emergency Medical could be mine"

*The specifics of what debt you are disputing (from a copy of your credit report either pulled yourself from annualcreditreport.com or given to you by a lender) - including account number, creditor name, amount, etc...

*Your identifying information (full name, address, social security number, date of birth...and previous addresses if you've moved often in the last seven years) to confirm that it is YOU who is requesting the information

After you dispute a debt under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the collection agency or creditor (data furnisher) that placed the account on your credit file will be notified and will need to conduct an investigation to look into your dispute and verify the balance. Once they have reviewed your dispute, they need to report back to the credit bureau (credit reporting agency). If the data furnisher is not able to provide proof of the debt or proof of the balance, the item will be removed from your credit file.

Keep in mind that in the opening of today's blog, I said: The Fair Credit Reporting Act was established to protect consumers, but it also helps legitimate debt collectors do their job effectively and efficiently too. That being said, know that the Fair Credit Reporting Act does not look favorably upon frivolous disputes. do not waste anyone's time being vague. If you do not provide sufficient information to support your dispute, the data furnisher may not be required to investigate your claim. If you have made the same dispute before and your information hasn't changed, they may not be required to investigate (ie: if you didn't like the answer the first time, don't send back the same dispute).

For more information, see the ACA "Ask Doctor Debt" website: http://www.askdoctordebt.com/13611-Dispute-a-debt

Or Contact the credit bureaus directly:




Saturday, April 21, 2012

Build Your Network Ladies - follow the Best Business Blogs for Women!

There are a few different ways to learn and I try to learn from others although my skinned knees and scars (and my mother if you call and ask her) will tell a different story about my pre-disposition to taking the long way around. I have often told others that it's important to network with other successful people and learn from them. Sometimes that can be hard based on busy schedules, location, work environment, etc...and if that's the case, I highly recommend finding a blog, blogger, or website that aligns with your goals and objectives and then subscribe to follow. You don't have to agree with everything and you don't have to follow forever. It's just a nice passive way to network and align yourself with successful people (and it's usually free)!

Here are some suggestions I found at: http://shetakesontheworld.net/ (and P.S. it's my goal to be included in this list someday)

The 30 Best Business Blogs for Women

topblogawardMillions of women write blogs but only a small fraction write blogs about business. The majority of blogs on topics relating to business and entrepreneurship are written by men yet women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of our male counterparts. While there are many great business blogs written by both men and women, women often have a different perspective on entrepreneurship and business. For this reason She Takes On The World wants to recognize outstanding business blogs for women. These 30 women mean business:
Susan GuneliusWomen On Business -Reading Women On Business is a like having your own personal mentor. It is written by powerhouse entrepreneur and author, Susan Gunelius, along with other guest contributors.
lindasmithLinda’s Business Blog -Linda Smith is a content Queen and I love her style of writing. I have learned a lot from her posts since I started reading her blog last year and I’m sure you will too.
sabrina parsonsMommy CEO -Sabrina Parsons writes about business and life as a mom and CEO. If you want to learn about running a company and work-life balance, she is who you want to learn from. Read part 1 and part 2 of my interview with Sabrina.
bossladiesThe Boss of You -Co-written by successful entrepreneur duo, Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears, The Boss of You is all about learning to run a business doing what you love. The Boss of You is also a book, published by Seal Press.
yvonne divitaLipsticking -Lipsticking is always a great read. Owner and author, Yvonne DiVita, is an expert on publishing and marketing. She was one of the first women to reach out to me when I started She Takes On The World (then called Taking On the World in 4 Inch Heels). Thanks Yvonne! This blog has come a long way since then.
laura westJoyful Business Blog -Laura West fuses smart business practices with the law of attraction in her unique approach to starting a small business and breaking through personal barriers.
toby bloombergDiva Marketing Blog -Pro marketer and owner of Bloomberg Marketing, Toby Bloomberg navigates marketing in the 21st century with charm. I love her fun approach to marketing online.
kelly king andersonStartup Princess -Founded by Kelly King Anderson, Startup Princess is a network of business women and features a wide variety of articles. The Startup & Grow section is particularly useful for women entrepreneurs.
laurel delaneyEscape from Corporate America -If you dream of being an entrepreneur but need a push, you have to read this blog by global small business consultant and author, Laurel Delaney.
liz straussSuccessful Blog -Liz Strauss delves into one of the most important parts of building a business –building a base of loyal customers. This woman has heart and is known for responding to the thousands of comments left by her readers.
laura riesRies’ Pieces -Laura Ries, co-founder of the consulting company Ries & Ries, is a power marketer, branding strategist and bestselling author. She explores branding strategies of top companies.
leigh householderAdvergirl -If you don’t already have Advergirl by Leigh Householder in your Google Reader, add it! Leigh discusses branding, social media, and marketing. I guarantee you will have at least a few “AHA” moments.
simone brummelhuisThe Next Women -This online business magazine, founded by Simone Brummelhuis, features businesses that are led by women and profiles a “Female Internet Hero” each month. It’s always nice to read stories about women making it big and getting recognized.
denise lee yohnBrand as Business Bites -Branding expert, Denise Lee Yohn, is a sought after consultant and public speaker. She will help you build a power brand from the ground up.
coree silveraMarket Like a Chick -Pro marketer, Coree Silvera, tells it like it is and examines marketing from a female perspective. She focuses on internet marketing but also writes about business and interviews top women in the marketing industry.
Shawn DriscollLead the Way -Shawn Driscoll uses her blog to coach entrepreneurs on how to overcome challenges that prevent business growth. Shawn gets you to ask yourself important questions that will help you be more successful.
kelly watsonOne Woman Marketing -Kelly Watson is a marketing consultant and copywriter who coaches businesswomen on finding the right way to market themselves both online and offline.
cecilia edwardsCecilia Edwards’ Blog -Cecilia is a former rocket scientist (yes, rock scientist!) turned value creation expert, consulting with entrepreneurs around the world. She writes about strategies that will get your business results.
pam slimEscape from Cubicle Nation -Pam Slim is certified as a master coach and shares her expertise on making the transition from corporate worker to thriving entrepreneur. Pam’s passion shines through her posts.
Michele MillerWonder Branding -Marketing goddess, Michele Miller, shares her views on female consumerism and how to connect to your female customers. She is an author, international speaker, and partner in an advertising consulting firm that works with major brands across North America.
ali brownAli Brown’s Blog -Ali Brown shares her secrets to success. She is a successful entrepreneur and on a mission to help women make all their dreams come true through entrepreneurship.
beth harteThe Harte of Marketing -Beth Harte is a professor and speaker with over 15 years of marketing and communications experience. She is not afraid to speak her mind and share her opinions, which are usually spot-on!
carrie wilkersonThe Barefoot Executive’s Blog -Carrie Wilkerson has built several successful businesses and now coaches others to do the same. Her blog is a must read for work-from-home women.
nina kaufmanMaking It Legal -Award-winning business attorney, Nina Kaufman, helps entrepreneurs to navigate through all sorts of legal barriers and issues you may face as you grow your business.
wendy piersallSparkplugging -Wendy Piersall is the founder and main author at Sparkplugging, a must-read for solopreneurs. She is a passionate expert on blogging, new media, and starting micro-businesses.
erica brooksA Woman in Business -Erica Brooks, a small business owner and mom of two, shares her experiences and business resources to help women start, manage and market a small business.
kami_watson_huyseCommunication Overtones -Kami Watson Huyse is a public relations expert and founder of the agency, My PR Pro. She writes about marketing, public relations, and social media for businesses.
lynn terryClickNewz -Lynn Terry is a full-time internet marketer who has started or been involved with many successful online businesses. She posts daily about creative strategies and tips to help you grow your online business.
ardath albeeMarketing Interactions -Ardath Albee is a customer service and marketing expert who uses her blog to connect “the process and the people.” She is the CEO of her marketing company, Marketing Interactions.
Do you have any favorite business blogs by women that you don’t see on this list? Tell us in a comment below.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Know Your Target Market Instead of Pulling Out Your Hair!

Knowing your target market is vitally important to the success of your business. I have a recent example I would like to share: A client/friend came to me with the following frustration (ready to pull her hair out): "I do all the right things, I follow up when I should, I call when they ask me to, and yet these potential customers don't take my calls or when we schedule a meeting they are ill prepared. What am I doing wrong?"

Truth be told, my dear friend isn't doing anything wrong. What happened to her happens to all of us from time to time. She took on a particular client as a favor. The person was nice enough, but they didn't have the budget to really afford the product/service they desired and their well-intended referrals produced the same bad results because the referrals were to similar customers with the same budget constraints. Basically, if you are selling Cadillacs, your target market is someone making over $____/year who is looking for comfort and prestige. Selling a $49,652 car to someone with a $20,000/year salary is a recipe for disaster. It reminds me of the saying "champagne tastes and a beer pocket book".

My friend needs to figure out who her target market is and advertise to those people. The advertising will bring in new business and a quality referral from someone in your target market group ensures that the referral is of the same caliber. I am encouraging my friend to set up a Facebook page for her business so she can reach more customers and also recommending that she join local professional organizations to network with other business owners, managers, and successful members of the community.

Do you have other ideas? We want to hear from you!

~Let us do the work, so you can RELAX!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why Consistency is Profitable

Do you associate consistency with profit? Let me tell you who does:
*Starbucks http://www.starbucks.com/
*McDonalds http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/home.html
*Subway http://www.subway.com/subwayroot/default.aspx

There are others as well - and please don't get me wrong, this isn't about big business smooshing out the little guy. I love buying local and shopping local, and small businesses can be just as successful as the big boys if they take a moment to be consistent.

Whether I go to Starbucks in the Detroit airport, Starbucks in Manitowoc, Wisconsin or the Starbucks in Seattle, Washington I can order a Venti non-fat caramel machiato with no whip and I will receive the same tasting beverage. There is no question about what it is that I want or what ingredients will go into it. The staff is trained as to what ingredients will be used, what the menu design will look like, what order to do things in, exactly what to say to each customer, etc...and personalization is encouraged, however variation is not.

I have lived and traveled in many cities and I know that regardless of who owns the Subway I am in, I will have the same choices, the same level of cleanliness, and the same healthy options. A Happy Meal at McDonalds will be the same, whether I am hitting the drive through on my way to the O'Hare or on the way to get my hair done in downtown Two Rivers. I could take a chance at driving through "Joe's burgers to go" but there is a 50/50 chance that the food could suck and I'm just not a gambler. I may not be totally in love with McDonalds, but I know what I'm in for and I know what to expect - I am comfortable and therefore, that translates into loyalty and money in Ronald's pocket (Ronald McDonald - get it?).

If you own or run a business, please keep in mind how important consistency is if you want to build your clientele/customer base. What does your business stand for? Do you want to be the restaurant that is only clean when ______________ is working, or whose cheese curds are only good if ______________ is cooking AND in a good mood? (here's a pet peeve for me - don't burn the cheese curds - I did NOT order air filled pockets of burnt breading...I want cheese). Know what you want for your business, know how to achieve it, and share share share - share your vision with each and every member of your team and then share your vision with your customers and ask them for feedback so they feel comfortable letting you know when things aren't quite right. Once your team knows what is expected, monitor monitor monitor to make sure the entire organization is headed in the right direction!

Just my thoughts for the day - for what that's worth!


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Question of the Day - Finances

Today's question is about personal finances. Not something in the Relax Consulting suite of offerings, but given my background in credit and collections - a fair question.

I'm struggling with divorce debt and life debts, my unemployment is about to run out, all I have is a part time job that doesn't pay well, and I am stressed out and cannot afford groceries. What do I do?

That's probably a feeling we all have from time to time. the person I was talking to is considering bankruptcy and is getting all sorts of advice about maxing out credit cards, buying a new car, etc... the bankruptcy reformation that took place in 2005 changed the bankruptcy landscape and made it more difficult for people to cheat the system. Bankruptcy is still an option, but get your advice from an Attorney in your area and not from a friend or family member. In the case of legal matters, legal advice should come from a reputable and proven Attorney with a good track record. Many Attorneys have websites and offer a free initial consultation. One for instance is: Macey Bankruptcy Law who has a local office in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Fine them online at: http://www.maceybankruptcylaw.com/wisconsin/green-bay-bankruptcy-attorneys

You can retain their services for as little as $100 down and a payment plan. they will help with explaining the bankruptcy requirements, counseling requirements, and they will help deal with your creditors when it comes to that.

If bankruptcy is not the choice for you and you still have the need and desire to get your finances in order, there are free services that can help. The first step is to know exactly what you are looking at by obtaining a free copy of your credit report. A truly free way to obtain your credit report is by visiting: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp

You can also use Doctor Debt as a tool and guide: http://www.askdoctordebt.com/ Doctor Debt was created by ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals.

There are plenty of tools out there, and Dr Debt even provides an excel spreadsheet you can use for monthly budgets. Know that you are not alone, more and more Americans are struggling with their finances and living paycheck to paycheck. Align yourself with a trusted professional to help get things back on track. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and if your credit score is low, there's no place to go but up!

may your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, and sunshine!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Now Accepting Clients World Wide


Relax Consulting is now accepting clients world wide. Our office is located in Wisconsin, but we are ready to serve clients remotely. Our ideal clients would be:

Dental Offices looking to increase their client base through marketing, advertising, and social media networking.

Chiropractic Offices looking to increase their client base through marketing, advertising, and social media networking.

Small Businesses looking to increase their customer base through marketing, advertising, and social media networking. (ie: gift shops, restaurants, service organizations)

Small Businesses who have always wished for the time needed to set up and maintain a website and stay in front of customers as well as bring in new customers.

Business Owners who want to continue with revenue generating tasks but who see the value in blogging, writing, and staying in front of clients/customers/peers.

The Consultation is free - so call today, or refer a friend today. No risk, no obligation!

Here's a snapshot of what we offer...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Now THIS is Customer Service

David's Bridal has a fabulous customer service program.

Seriously, top notch. Here's what I can tell you:

*Their Search Engine Optimization works - I found their website first, because I queried plus size wedding gowns

*Their website has a fabulous selection (whether you're little, big, pregnant, young, old, etc...)

*Their website is user friends (easy to create an account, save favorites, schedule an appointment, etc...)

*Their call center staff is prompt and courteous - a woman called me within 24 hours of my first website visit and she scheduled my appointment, gave me clear instructions, welcomed me warmly, congratulated me, and made sure I knew everything I should know prior to my visit

*Their follow up/reminder call is personal - I received a call 48 hours prior to my appointment to again review any questions I had. The individual I spoke to encouraged me to invite my 5 year old daughter to the appointment, and she was upbeat and again very encouraging and congratulated me!

*Their in store service is exquisite - I felt like a princess and each and every staff person interacted with our group. They were welcoming to me, my toddler, and my photographer. It was personal and they referred to me by name and asked questions to put me at ease.

*The check out process was easy and they gave me dates and details while also encouraging me to complete the online survey (which was also quick and easy)

From start to finish I have been very happy - they even pinned my dress and explained alterations on the first visit. It took less than two hours to find a dress for myself and a dress for my daughter. It was a fun experience and the prices are more than fair.

Customer service is ultimately about treating each customer as if they were the only customer. Today I felt like the only bride in the store, and in reality there were 1/2 a dozen ...David's Bridal gets it right!! I wouldn't think of shopping or referring anyone anywhere else!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Become a Career Networker, Your Future Depends on It

Let me know your thoughts on this article - it's a recent Ezine submission and I'm crossing my fingers that it's helpful

There are certain people who look comfortable in any situation and they seem to be able to talk to anyone. If you want to have that same confidence, it can be yours with a little preparation and a lot of positive thinking.

Do you hear the word networking and feel a sense of panic at the thought of having to introduce yourself to strangers? Would you rather floss your teeth than go to the cocktail reception prior to the symphony? Many people feel the same way about networking that they do about public speaking. It’s understandable to be nervous, but your future in business depends on your becoming a ‘career networker’. Whether you are the business owner, business representative, or a job seeker, you need to be comfortable meeting new people and finding out what they are all about. So put your worries aside, and use these tips and tricks to help transition that stage fright into your new title of a career networker. You CAN do it! (Remember, you are not alone.)

Walk into the room as confident as you walk into your favorite restaurant or shop. Whether you know every person there, or not a single soul, walk in like you own the place. Hold your head high, shoulders straight, and walk with purpose and poise. Tell yourself that everyone in the room is looking at you because they want to meet you. You’re the celebrity they came here to see; you are respected and admired. As time goes on, this will be true. You will have the confidence everyone else wishes they had and they will want to meet you to find out the secret.

Grab a name tag and don’t be sheepish about it. More people will approach you if they know your name. People who recognize you by face will come up to you instead of avoiding you because they forgot your name. Write your name loud and proud, because remember – everyone wants to talk to you.  Your name tag should be worn on your right so it is easily visible to anyone shaking your hand. This way, they can see your name as they make eye contact.

Walk up to any group of three or more (groups of two are more intimate and may feel like you are an intruder, groups of three or more are more welcoming) and extend your hand to the most interesting person, look them in the eye and introduce yourself. End your introduction by asking “and you are?” and be prepared to ask them one or all of the following questions to break the ice:
“Where are you from?”
“What brings you here?”
“Do you have a favorite vacation destination; I’ve been thinking about a trip and am looking for ideas?”
“Tell me about your hobbies…”

People love talking about themselves and answering your questions. Be prepared, they are going to ask you questions too. Have your ‘elevator pitch’ prepared ahead of time. No one has time for a long and drawn out story or explanation of what you do or who you are. You should choose a few sentences that describe you quickly. Think of your elevator pitch as an extension of your mission/vision statement (personal or professional).  Humans are interested in immediate gratification, so make sure your pitch includes something that answers ‘what’s in it for me?’ to the person you are talking to. For example, if you sell cosmetics, be sure to tell them that your line of cosmetics can save them time and money and help them look years younger. They’ll be more intrigued by that sentence than they would be if you touted how wealthy you are because of the great line of cosmetics you sell to customers around the globe.

Don’t linger too long. This is the basic supply and demand theory. Chat for a bit, set the ground work for a meaningful relationship, but then move on. The more people you talk to, the more opportunities you will have for yourself and your business. If you spend a short amount of time and leave them wanting more, you make yourself more valuable.  Continue these techniques as you mingle around the room. Set a goal to meet X number of new people per event. This number should be a percentage of attendees and the key word is NEW. Do not spend the event talking solely to people you already know. This is a chance to meet new people. It may be more comfortable to talk to your circle of friends, but comfort is not the key to success (unless you’re selling shoes or mattresses, but that’s a story for another day).

Last but not least, when you go to these type of events you should go alone (see why I saved this one for last?). Yes, I said go alone – as in, all by yourself. If you go with someone else, your tendency is to stick together and chat to one another. Remember the instruction before about not approaching groups of two? If you go to a networking event with another person you just made yourself 50% less approachable. Going alone will force you out of your comfort zone as well as encouraging others to chat with you. They’ll see that you came in alone and will happily welcome you into their group. It also sends a very clear signal that you are confident and self-assured.
Now go get them! The more people you know, the better chance you have at being successful as a business owner, professional, or as a job seeker. Start with your elevator pitch today and then sign up for the next networking opportunity in your area. Practice makes better, so give yourself a break if the first time is a little uncomfortable. Don’t give up. Each opportunity you’ll get more and more confident until YOU are a career networker!