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Rainmaking Blog

Rainmaking is the not a dance you do around a fire to make it rain. It is, however, the art of bringing in new business. Whether you are a lawyer, real estate agent, sales person, or other professional, rainmaking is a skill that you should acquire and perfect. This blog is intended to provide tips and answer questions to help rainmakers perfect their art.

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Maximizing Your Networking Efforts
Thursday, March 17th, 2011

By Janice B. Gonzalez

The key to taking advantage of significant networking opportunities is to improve your interpersonal communication skills. Knowing how to start, how to continue and how to end interesting and sincere conversations will help you circulate among people with ease and confidence.

Try the following suggestions the next time you’re invited to a function. Keep in mind that every event can be made productive if you give it a little thought before you go. Planning in advance will enable you to approach any business or social function with enthusiasm and purpose.

1. Who, What, When & Where:  Prepare for the event in advance by knowing who will be attending, what the purpose of the event is, and when the networking starts and ends.  This will allow you to prepare some short briefing notes for yourself prior to the event and ensure that you arrive early enough to network.

2. Think specifically about the benefits of attending – both professional and personal.  Clarify in your mind how you might benefit prior to attending.  i.e. Exposure, referrals, new contacts?

3. Develop and practice your self-introduction. It should be clear, concise, distinctive and engaging. It should be tied into the event in some way with a connecting statement. For example, at a business chamber function: “Hello! I’m Janice Gonzalez with JBG Communications.”  This will break the ice and have the other person respond in the same manner, creating a conversation about what each of you do for your respective companies.

4. Practice your handshake. It should be a firm clasp that joins palm-to-palm, not finger-to-finger.  Not excessively firm or weak.  Keep in mind that your handshake always makes an impression on others. It is a significant indicator of competence and confidence.

5. Prepare your small talk in advance. Read up on local and national issues. Come prepared with at least three pieces of conversation. When stuck for something to talk about, positive comments about the function, the facility or the food will always be appropriate.

6. Listen to others actively – not passively. Look people in the eye when talking to them. Nod, smile and ask relevant questions. Focus your full attention on the reactions, feelings and words of the other person and not on your own thoughts. Be in the moment with them!

7. Adopt a mind set that willingly offers help to others – without expectations. Incorporate the important questions, “How can I help you?” and “What can I do for you?” into your regular conversations. Think about what strengths you have to offer others.  Networking is about building relationships with others.  Give people what they want and you’ll get what you want when you need it.

8. Have your business card ready to hand out, especially when asked for it. Make sure that you bring enough cards for the event.  Also remember to bring a pen.   If you run out of cards, offer to write your information on the back of their card.

9. Regularly collect business cards from new contacts. Write relevant comments on the back as soon as possible regarding date, conversation and follow-up strategy. Then make sure you follow up.

10. The value of networking contacts is diminished if you neglect to implement an appropriate follow-up procedure. Whether by phone, fax, personal appointment, or a hand written note, make sure to follow up on your networking contacts. Keep accurate records of contacts by using a personalized documentation method that works well for you.

Remember to approach every new contact with an open mind and an open heart. You never know where each new relationship may lead. Doors will be opened . . . friendships gained . . . your life will be greatly enriched.

©2011 Copyright JBG Communications.  For more information and Marketing & PR Tips, visit www.JBGcommunications.com


The Time is Now!
Monday, January 17th, 2011

 

2011 is here.  If you’re still waiting for the New Year holiday spirit to wear off before you decide what your goals are for the year…..you need to reconsider. The time is now!

You wouldn’t start researching your vacation destination on the day your vacation started would you? Of course not!  First you would decide on the destination, then set aside the time and money, come up with a plan on how you are going to get there, and then reap the benefits of all your planning.  Well, if you haven’t set your goals for 2011, then you just started your journey to a vague destination, with no plan on how you are going to get there. 

Setting your goal is only the first part.  You need a plan on how you are going to reach that goal.  While most people “think” they have a plan, it isn’t really a plan unless it is in writing, is specific, and has a plan of action. Having someone to do this for you is ideal, but for those of you who don’t have a marketing person, there are 5 questions that you can ask yourself that will help you get started - “What, How, When, Why, and WIFM (I’ll explain this one). Here are some examples to help you develop your own starter plan:

1- Set your business goal for 2011 and write it down - your “What”: “I want to make $XX” or “I want to double my clientele”, etc.

2 - Write down your strategy - your “How”: “I will attend networking functions at least once a week and will hand out at least five business cards.” “I will create a monthly newsletter and send it to my clients and prospects.” “I will commit to $XX of advertising.” “I will hire a PR agency to promote my business.”

3 - Set a deadline for meeting your goals. - your “When”: Break the year down into quarters and set benchmarks for each of your goals.

4 - Write down the benefits of your goal - your “Why”: If you don’t know why you are doing it, then why do it? Why do you want more money? Why do you want more clientele? Why, why, why? Knowing your “why” is the basis of your motivation. When you are networking on a Thursday night rather than being home, you can remind yourself why you are doing it and get back on track to reaching your goal.

5 - Make a commitment and set a reward - Your “WIFM” (What’s in it for me). Commit to your plan and reward yourself with something for keeping your commitments. For example, if you have committed to networking at least once a week - you MUST do so - it is a commitment to yourself. If at the end of the month you have networked at least 4 times, then you’ve earned your predetermined reward. Maybe it’s dinner at a specific restaurant, or a new pair of shoes, or tickets to a show. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s a treat. Think of it as your personal carrot on a stick.

6 - Keep Score. Measuring your results is key. If your goal is to add 10 new clients to your roster, then keep track of it. This will let you know if you are doing enough to achieve your goal or not. If you are - keep doing steps 1 through 5. If not, then go back to your strategy and your commitments to see if you have been doing what you set out to do. If you have and still don’t have the results that you want, then start tweaking your plan and make the necessary adjustments until you get it right. Once you have that formula down - keep the ball bouncing.

Asking yourself these questions and implementing these simple steps will at least get you going in the right direction and will help you gauge where you are in your career path.


“If a Tree Falls in the Forest and No One Hears it, Does it Make a Sound?”
Friday, September 12th, 2008

Getting the Word Out

By Janice B. Gonzalez © 2008

“If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?”  Perhaps the most important topic this riddle offers is can something exist without being perceived? - e.g.” Sound is only sound if a person hears it”.  For the sake of argument, and this article, let’s just say that the answer to the riddle is, “no”.

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Who Are You?
Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Identifying Your Brand
By Janice B. Gonzalez

If I said, “Hand me a Kleenex™” you would know that I meant “a tissue”. If I told you to “Google™” someone, you would know that I meant’ “search for them online”. more >>


Holding on to What You’ve Got
Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Finding clients isn’t easy. It takes a lot of effort and money, which is why keeping your clients satisfied is as essential as finding them. It costs much less to keep existing clients than it does to constantly compete for new clients. So it makes good business sense to include methods for client retention in your marketing plan. “Clients” refers to people who provide you with business - and this can mean referral sources as well.

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Catch Any Fish Lately?
Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Creating a Marketing Strategy –
By Janice B. Gonzalez © 2008

As a strategist, I see marketing as a science. There is more to it than just creating pretty ads, or sending out press releases or even networking. Albeit, those are all essential components of a good plan, but unless they have a strategy behind it – you may end up with the impression that none of those methods are effective at developing business.

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