Thursday, August 3, 2017

Focus on Membership Retention

Never underestimate the value of a member.
Your Retention Strategy for your business networking group members starts on DAY ONE! 

You are establishing a silent agreement with that each member - a value exchange on the first day they join your group.

That agreement says, "I will work hard at creating a valuable way for you to get more business with referrals... and in exchange, I would like you to continue to be a valuable member."

When you form a new relationship, it is often energized by the discovery of getting to know them. That's the easiest part of any relationship.

It becomes harder after the "bloom falls off", when you have to work at keeping and growing the relationship

Once blooms finish flowering on an orchid, they fall off plants to leave bare stems in their place. Proper plant care after flowering determines the continued health of orchids and ensures future blooms.

Once the bloom falls off a new relationship you need to work on the continued health of that relationship in order to retain that member in your referral group. At Gold Star Referral Clubs, one way we spend time with our members and get to know them is by doing one-to-ones. 

Consistently nurturing the health of each individual member's relationship with you and with the Club is the best Retention Strategy. You can do that with intentional times of connection, conversation, acknowledgement and recognition in your meetings and outside of them as well.

Best of Success,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Engaging Your Business Networking Members

The lazy, crazy, hazy days of Summer is here. All of us are busy with family, vacations and summer chores. During the hot days of Summer, you may find that the members in your business networking group are struggling to stay engaged.

Here are some helpful tips on how to get members to engage in the Summer:

  1. Have a Social of some kind. Tighten up on friendships by having a little fun. Perhaps a get together at someone's house or a BBQ at a water park. Be creative and re-connect.
  2. Pick a different seat. As members and guests arrive at your next meeting, ask them to sit in a seat that isn't at the table they usually sit at.
  3. Have a Shoes & Underwear week. Invite all the members to bring a good pair of used shoes (or new) and packages of only NEW underwear to the meeting. Fill up a huge box and give it to your local homeless shelter or favorite charity.
  4. BE A STAR! Go to a party store and buy big shiny gold stars. Have your Gold Star Referral Club members take a selfie of them in front of a local business or site holding the star. Or the Grand Canyon.

Have a great Summer!
Beth Davis

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Just Because You're The Leader...

Just because you're the leader  doesn't mean you have to do all the work. If you lead your Referral Group perhaps these four rules will help.

Here are my 4 rules for leading:
  1. Delegate - It's not about you and doing everything your way. It's about leading others. That is why... wait for it - they call you the Leader. Delegate or you just might start looking like the lady in the picture above.
  2. Recruit - Good leaders understand that recruitment is part of the job. Always be on the look-out for new blood - folks with fresh ideas and energy.
  3. Empower - Give people the power and title they need to do the job. It will inspire them to be great. Then once you empower them - shut up. Let them do it as best they can. Unless of course you want to do it. (Yah, I didn't think so.)
  4. Appreciate - Nothing rewards a good job well-done more than honest appreciation. If fact, lack of appreciation is the number one reason people quit.
At Gold Star Referral Clubs, our nationwide Business Networking and Referral Marketing organization, we change leaders on August 1st. They serve for 6 months at a time. If you are thinking about stepping up to the position of leader at Gold Star or in any capacity, remember to delegate, recruit help, empower your people and appreciate them.

I hope this inspires you to be a better leader.

Best of Success,

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Referral Seeds Guarantee a Harvest

Antonio Delacerda
When Antonio with A-Team Plumbing, joined Broken Arrow Gold Star Referral Club in 2014, he really didn't know what to expect. Maybe a few jobs here and there.

However, every time he stood up and gave his 60 Second Presentation, it was like planting a little referral seed in very rich soil.  He tried to never miss a meeting. 

Today, he can say that the full harvest is in. Three years of planting referral seeds as brought him so much business that he has to give some away to other plumbers. That is a true Go-Giver! 

Joe Stumph likes to use these Magic Words when planting a referral seed:
Magic Words
"Isn’t nice to know you now have a friend in the business who you can feel comfortable introducing your family, friends and neighbors to help them with what they want?"
Here are a few more ways to plant referral seeds in your business networking group:

  1. Let your referral friends know that you are always happy to take their call.
  2. Let your clients and business friends know that you enjoy working with referrals.
  3. Bill Cates, The Referral Coach says: Give them a couple of your business cards to carry. Tell them, "One is for you in case any questions come up. The other is for a friend who might want to learn more about how my work might benefit them."
  4. When meeting a client tell them who referred you and how thankful you are.
  5. Promptly send a thank you for referrals given.
When you consistently plant referral seeds, you are guaranteed a harvest of business. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I Have A Parole Officer

You probably know this -  life isn't fair.

Well, I got a traffic ticket for going through a yellow light... really! A yellow light. A possible $150 fine and 2 points.

When I saw the police car lights twirling behind me I'm thinking, "He must be after that blue car." Except the blue car kept going and it became obvious that it was ME he was pulling over.

OH MY GOSH! I haven't had a ticket in over thirty years. My tail light must be out.

Dead serious, like I robbed a bank serious, the officer comes to my window and asks for my license. He was a little scary. I asked permission to go into my purse to get my license and insurance.

"I'm sorry... but what did I do?"

"You went through the yellow light." He said.

I answered, "And.......?"

"Haven't you been watching the news? We're giving out citations for yellow lights. It's been all over the news."

A hot flush of anger hit me in seconds. I said, "Really? REALLY! You're giving me a ticket because I went through a yellow light? REALLY!" I was seething mad and it took a ton of will-power not to say anymore. AND I had a lot I wanted to say especially when he proceeded to lecture me.

Fifteen minutes later I was sitting with my husband Todd over lunch with a traffic ticket in my hands. I was so offended. Poor Todd, he patiently listened to my story over and over again until I wore myself out talking.

"NO, I'm not going to pay it. I'm fighting this bugger."

By early afternoon, I had called my attorney and emailed him a copy of the ticket.

Now, I'm telling you this story for a reason. Not just to sound off.

Like me, you may have found a time when you were offended or you were criticized or penalized for something you did or did not do.  It happens - in our personal lives and in business.

When it does, you have some choices to make. Do you confront the person? Do you argue your case? Do you tell them what-for? Do you silently seek revenge?

In my case, I went to court to fight the ticket. The officer's vehicle camera showed that the back end of my vehicle was barely in the intersection when the light turned red. His Sargent was in the car at the time and I understand that he ordered the officer to pull me over and give me a citation. Which meant that there were two, not just one, but two eye witnesses to overcome in court.

My choices were... continue to fight the traffic ticket and come back to court in about a month or agree to "no contest", pay the fine plus court costs and go to a six hour Defensive Driving Class in order to get the points on my record dropped. I decided on the later.

Here's the reason. This whole business was stealing my joy. Yes, I feel that I could have won the case. I even thought about calling the local news station and making a big deal out of the unfairness of it all. The anger about the whole ordeal was waking me up at night.

As I stood by the jury box waiting to step in front of the judge, I silently asked God to help me with the ridiculous anger. I reminded myself that life is too big to be little. And this was a little thing.

I said, "Beth, get over yourself. You're too blessed to let this steal your joy. Take the penalty and get on with what's wonderful in your life."

I pleaded no contest. I have to report to my parole officer when I've completed my defensive driving class. I will pay a fine, some court costs and fifty dollars for the driving class.

But I'm good now. In fact, I think it's kind of funny. As soon as I "gave it up", my joy came back.

We have choices to make every day. Some days are worse than others. However in the end, we can choose to fight for joy by not fighting. Save your energy for the big battles. Don't let little things steal your joy. It's not worth it.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pushing Past Fear Into Business Networking Success

Are you a business owner who just naturally loves to network with others? Is it easy and fun for you to speak in public, meet new people, and enjoy new experiences? If that describes you, then that innate strength has helped you more than you might realize. Because it’s not that easy for everyone!

In fact, Jerry Seinfeld did a comedy skit about the fear of public speaking where he noted that it’s the #1 fear for Americans – with fear of DEATH coming in second!

So let me confirm – yes, it’s a real thing, that fear of networking! If you’re someone who finds it very hard to have networking conversations and you shrink away from making your 10-minute presentation, you will need to stretch out of your comfort zone bigtime in order to become great at networking for business success.  The great thing to know is that you can learn and grow your skills in this area. While you may have to push yourself a lot at first, you can learn to love meeting people and speaking in public!

I’m a person who loves talking in any group, and I sail along easily in business networking. When I started Gold Star Referral Clubs, an early club meeting experience helped me understand that not everyone felt this way. 

In 2007, we had a real estate inspection company join our local group; their representative was Erynne. She came to the meetings and never said a word, shyly sitting apart from others. When it was her turn to introduce herself and talk about her business, she stood up and apologized for her fear – and then spoke about 15 seconds! When she sat down, her eyes were teary and she had to take huge breaths to calm herself. I saw that Erynne would have some work ahead of her to get comfortable sharing about her business.

Realizing how paralyzing business networking could be for Erynne and others like her, I put some thought into creating a few simple tips to help those a bit introverted among us battle their fears, push through their anxiety, and grow their skills to promote their businesses until it comes naturally to them.

Beth’s Basic Tips to Grow Your Conversational and Presenting Skills

1)  Start with arriving early and greeting others as they come in.

a.  Look for a smiling, kind face and walk up to that person with your hand out to shake theirs. Introduce yourself with something like, “Hi, I’m John Wilson, with Wilson Plumbing. What’s your name?”

b.  Nod when they say their name, and mention you’re glad to be at the meeting. If the other person responds to that, or begins a conversation, just follow their lead. See where it goes!

c.   If they don’t get a conversation going (maybe this is hard for them, too!) you can use a conversation-starter question to head off that awkward moment. Something like: 
 “So – what got you into the _____ business?”
 “What kinds of trends are you seeing in your industry?” 
 “Besides business networking, what kind of marketing is working for you   right now? Got any great tips?” 
AND my two favorite conversation-starter questions:
“What kind of person or business is a great referral for you right now?
"And if I know someone like that or meet them, what are the most important things I should point out about you and your product or service?”

d.   Whenever the conversation feels done, just say something like, “Well, I’m sure glad to meet you – I'll connect with you again soon so we can talk more.” – and move on to the next friendly-looking person. Try not to sit down until you have to.

e.   All of these pre-meeting connections help to calm your anxieties and they form the foundation of a growing comfort level with talking to others and promoting your business through public speaking.

2)   Set a goal of making just one good connection at each meeting/event. If you can have any sort of meaningful conversation with one person, whether in the early, pre-meeting time, during or after the meeting, that’s you growing your skills! Now you have a name, a face, a little info about their business, and you’ve got a start on making a new friend – and potential business referral source, too.  And you can work to send referrals to them!

a.   Follow up with a little note (an email or a handwritten card sent snail mail, using the address on their business card) when you get back to your office – that helps them remember you! Set up a time to meet again over a quick cup of coffee.

3)  Next time, look for that familiar face and then you’ll have that connection to help you get through the pre-meeting moments, as well as repeating the process to meet another new person.  Once you’re good at this, set your goal higher.  Your confidence level will grow!


Guess what happened with Erynne? Within a month, she was doing a full presentation with smiles – and eventually she became the group's Official Greeter!

I promise you – it will get easier! And as it does, it will become fun and you’ll get to know many new colleagues. You’ll get better and better at giving them good referrals and they’ll pass referrals to you, too. I’ve watched many business owners grow their conversational and speaking skills, and when they do, Success Follows!

My best,

Monday, May 1, 2017

Little Things That Affect Your Business in a BIG Way!

The “Little Things” Matter

For most of us, the “little things” in life make a big difference, both in our personal lives and in our business life. 

Today, I’d like to talk about the little things we do that affect our businesses in a bigger way than we may even realize. I’m talking about the basic courtesies in life that can smooth our way to help a colleague, friend or client choose to “let us in”. 

Some of these things can influence someone to want to do business with us or refer to us. Small courtesies help us avoid waving any red flags that could make others not interested in getting to “know, like and trust” us. Let me give an example.
How do you feel when someone is often late to meetings or for an appointment?
   Recently, when I was visiting a local business networking meeting, about 20 minutes into the meeting, while the group was just finishing up their 60-second presentations, a member walked in late. As he walked over to sign in and put on his name tag, I looked around the room. Two other members’ eyes locked with each other; one raised her eyebrow, the other rolled her eyes.

 That made me think this might be a regular occurrence. And that made me wonder if this one action, if it’s a habitual thing, could affect how many referrals this late-arriving member gets from his group? Does it reflect the value he places on keeping his word, his commitments? Would networking club members be quick to refer people to him? Is this “red flag” costing the member some business?

I believe the ripples from this one action were effecting his business in a BIG way and could cause others to hold back on trusting that club member. That’s because an important thing about “little things” is how they are tied into our character, reflect on our integrity, and get to the point about whether others feel like they can “know, like and trust” us. Here are some other “little things” to think about when considering your interaction with your Referral Group or Gold Star Referral Club.

·    A business is only as good as its word. If you make a commitment to a client or a colleague, keep it. You’re developing a relationship and reputation of being trustworthy. If you agreed to become a member of Gold Star or another networking group, you committed to attending meetings and being on time.

·    People notice how you treat them – and they respond accordingly. Everyone is valuable; each person is worthy of respect and consideration. When we feel valued, we’re much more open to listening to what you say and considering what you have to offer – and it makes us want to help you.

·    Scheduling and actually completing one-to-ones demonstrates your commitment to your networking club; it’s what you agreed to do in your induction. Following through and actually taking time for those meetings matters to other members – they’re watching, checking out your integrity. Do you do what you say you’re going to do – or do you just never make room for these meetings in your week?

·    Paying attention to what other members are looking for in a good referral that week is a great way to show respect to them. Taking a few moments to think through how you can refer to others shows that you value them and will complete follow-through on their behalf.

·    Using “social courtesies” always conveys value on the receiver. Say, “Please” and “Thank you” often to other members as well as to clients. Notice when others give you referrals or are working on them for you – “use your words” either in person or in a thank-you note to make sure they know you appreciate their help. Then work to reciprocate!

·    Give full attention to each person who speaks in your networking meetings – sending text messages during this time or talking to the person next to you sends a clear message that you are not willing to give your colleagues your time or attention. How would you feel if they did that to you when it’s your turn to speak?

I hope that’s a little food for thought – we can always choose to do the “little things” to INTENTIONALLY honor others as part of a smart, solid business strategy. Let’s continue growing in our willingness to be known, to be likable, and to be trustworthy!

My best,