Be Approachable and Smile

Kevin Willett says that inviting newcomers into your conversations can lead to great things.

Have you ever walked into a networking event and nobody in the room would make eye contact with you? That has to be one of the most awkward feelings in the world. People want to feel welcomed when they arrive. So smile at them and say hello and welcome them into your conversation. I’ve made some great contacts just by being approachable and being the first person to talk to somebody new at a networking event. I have a friend who always talks about how I stopped in the middle of a story at an event and waved him over to listen and meet my friends because I knew he was new. We became friends that night because I showed him some love.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Be An Advocate

Kevin Willett tells how being an advocate is a powerful referral tool.

People love to use me as their reference. I always go out of my way to be their advocate and tell a story about why people should do business with them. Be an advocate for your clients. It will go a long way towards building your relationships with them. When I meet people, I tell them I run this awesome networking group, but it’s much more powerful when my friends tell them the group is good and they should get involved. We all need advocates, so be one for your clients.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Be First

Kevin Willett says don’t wait for other to give you what you want, make it happen.

When I was a little boy, I used to go to boxing matches. I’d always hear the expression “Be first,” which means punch first. I just realized that this applies to networking also. People often tell me they’re in a referral-based networking group, but they don’t receive referrals from certain members of the group. My first question is, “Have you ever passed them a referral?” Typically, the answer is, “No, I haven’t met anyone who needs their services.” I always encourage them to do three things:

  • First, search hard for a referral for them or introduce them to someone who may be a great referral partner (referral partners are people who can consistently pass references to each other, like a realtor and a mortgage broker).
  • Second, do coffee meetings with those people to educate them about your business and help them find referrals for you. One common answer I get is, “But Kevin, I’m a realtor. Everyone knows what I do.” Not true, my friends. Most of my realtor friends have niches they specialize in. There’s something unique about every business owner, so take the time to meet with those members and educate them about what’s unique about you.
  • Third, don’t be shy about asking for referrals. If you have clients who are happy with your work, ask them to introduce you to their friends who may need your services. I can often be shy about asking for referrals. But think about it. If I meet you, of course I’m going to tell you my networking group is great. What am I supposed to tell you, that it stinks? It’s so much more powerful when members of my group tell you that it’s great. Eighty-five percent of my clients come from referrals from existing clients. Now do you understand why you should ask your clients for referrals?

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Be Able to Clearly State What You Do and Who a Good Referral is forYou

Kevin Willett says the more specific you are the more business you can get.

This sounds pretty easy and straight forward, but often when I ask someone who a great referral would be for them, they tell me anyone with a pulse. My friends, we’re back in the epic fail category. If you tell me financial planners and CPAs are great contacts for you, I can start helping you right away. There’s an expression in networking that “everyone turns into no one simply because people don’t know where to start.” Here’s an example. If you’re a CPA and you tell me everyone is a potential client, I’ll agree with you, but I probably won’t ever give you a referral. If you tell me you specialize in helping people and businesses that have tax issues, then I’ll know to refer you whenever I hear of someone with that issue. Remember, the more specific you are, the easier it is to refer you. I have a friend who’s a painter. If you ask who a good referral is, he’ll tell you the exact size and type of the house he wants to paint, including how many windows the house has. His description makes you visualize this house. If he said anyone who needs painting done, would that make you visualize anything? If it would, it’s probably not too pretty.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Celebrate Your Victories

Kevin Willett says it’s OK to applaud your accomplishments without sounding like a braggart.

Last week I learned that the cable TV show I host won a local award for best talk show. I was excited and happy of course and wanted to tell everyone. But I paused and I have to admit, I was reluctant at first to share it on social media because I didn’t want people to think I was bragging about it.

However, when I thought about it, I realized I am proud that the show won an award, and happy for the all the businesses and non profits I am able to help by having them as guests on the show. Why shouldn’t I announce it to make other people aware of the show so that I can help them too?

I see this happen a lot with my friends. They are often reluctant to celebrate their victories because they don’t want people to think they are bragging or they don’t want to make their friends in business feel bad.

I believe that as long as you are tactful about it there is nothing wrong with celebrating your victories.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Kevin Willett says this is a great way to chat with someone who is not comfortable with small talk.

Many people don’t like to network because they’re just not comfortable with small talk. We’ve all had those painful conversations where we exchange one-word answers. When I’m talking with someone, I always try to find at least one question that will make the person smile and open up to me.

Let me give you an example. I was talking with a CPA at a networking event and, my friends, it was painful. I asked him three questions and he answered each with only one or two words. So finally, I asked him if he ever uncovered anyone stealing. Oh my God, his eyes almost jumped out his head and he went into this rather long and involved story about how he figured out a bookkeeper had been stealing money for years from her employer. I’ve been friends with him ever since, because I invested the time to connect with him. I could have just walked away, saying to myself, this guy has no personality. But I would have missed an opportunity to make a great friendship. So when you meet people, ask yourself one question: What would be important to this person? Then ask them about that. If you’re not sure what to ask, simply ask what they feel is their biggest accomplishment. You’ll learn a lot about someone from the answer.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Use the Buddy Plan

Kevin Willett says you can always get by with a little help from your friends at a networking event.

A client told me that she struggles with networking events, because she has a hard time walking up to people she doesn’t know and introducing herself. So I suggested she use what I call “The Buddy Plan” and go with a friend. This can be a great way to feel comfortable at an event. When you do this, it can be tempting to just stand together all night in the corner. That’s not networking! You have to mix and mingle with others. So if you’re shy, try not to go with someone who’s as shy as you.

I personally like to go to events with my friends and spend the whole night introducing them around. My friends are always extremely appreciative. I always smile because I also receive a lot of benefits from helping. First, my friends are thankful, and second, I get a chance to meet more people who think I’m a nice guy for helping my friends. Typically, when I’m at an event, people will ask me if I can introduce them too, so I’m often helping two or three people at each event.

If you don’t have a buddy, call or email the host and ask if he or she knows anyone who can help. Most groups can pair you with one of their regulars to introduce you around. If you come to one of my events, just come over and stand next to me and I’ll take care of you for the event.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Are You Settling?

Kevin Willett explains why you should never settle for less than 100% of your goals.

This morning I was reviewing the registration page for my event tonight and I saw that 28 people had registered. My registration goal for events is 30 people. I started to say to myself ‘well that’s close enough’ but I caught myself and said no it’s not. As a business owner it is a horrible idea to settle for less than your goal, even if it is just a small amount. Once you do, it’s easy to keep settling for less and soon it will have a negative impact on your business.

If I was being honest with myself, I would have realized that I was being lazy and I didn’t want to put in the work to find two more people to attend. There is never an excuse for being lazy and not working hard enough to reach your goals. So please don’t settle for less because that is exactly what you will get.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Shine Your Shoes

Kevin Willett explains how details in appearance can matter.

Last week I was out at a business networking event and noticed my shoe was untied. When I bent over to tie it, I saw that I had a big stain on it. I have to be honest; this upset me, because I believe that your shoes represent your attention to detail. If your shoes are scuffed up then you are probably not a cross your T’s and dot your I’s type of person. It shows you may pay no attention to minor details, and this might include minor details in business matters which can cause problems. You don’t want to present yourself as sloppy or indifferent, so before you head out to your next event, take five minutes to shine your shoes. It may make a difference on how people perceive you.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.

Don’t Dismiss What You Don’t Use

Kevin Willett explains how you may be missing business opportunities.

A few weeks ago one of the guests on my cable TV show jokingly said that this is a great way to get her group’s name out to the four people watching. When she said it I cringed and she realized that she just insulted me and my show. Now insulting someone who is taking time out of their day to interview you is never a great idea, regardless of how many people are watching or listening, but I know she didn’t mean to insult me so I just laughed and said you may be surprised at who is watching.

I see this happen all the time. People are real quick to dismiss local cable TV, local radio, and hyper local focused town newspapers. Just because they don’t watch, listen or read them, they assume nobody else does. My friends, first I think you are wrong but more importantly; you are taking the wrong approach. The question you should be asking yourself is do my clients use any of these? In most cases the answer is yes, so you should have a presence in these places, if not you are missing out on an opportunity to grow your business.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this Business Networking Tip

Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business  (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon

Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group  and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.