Are Your Dreams Big Enough?

Kevin Willett reminds you that your dreams are important.

I have been working on some new ideas for networking events, such as Speed Networking. I am amazed by how many people tell me “nobody wants to attend speed networking events, it is a horrible idea”. What I have found is, if someone does not like my idea, they will expand their opinion from they do not want to attend to nobody wants to attend.  Well, the first two speed networking events have sold out. So far, so good.

When someone offers me an opinion, I typically listen to it and then ask myself do they have any valid points? Just because someone does not like your idea does not mean that it is not a good idea.

I learned this lesson teaching entrepreneurship this semester. A student would tell me their idea and right away I would hear another student say ‘no, that is never going to work’. But they said it because; they personally, don’t need or wouldn’t use the idea. Please remember not everyone is going to like or need your idea. So don’t be discouraged when someone jumps in right away and puts it down.

I think there are two parts to this tip. First, please do not let people discourage your ideas simply because they don’t like your idea. Secondly, be careful with your words. Please do not discourage people. When someone tells me an idea they have for a product or service, I try to start with why I like the idea and then I mention concerns I have about it, to see if they have considered them. In some cases they have considered these concerns and do not feel it will be an issue. In other cases they have not, so we talk about how we can make sure their ideas will be successful. No matter what, keep dreaming.

Watch my YouTube Channel  for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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 Really All Set?

Kevin Willett reminds you that the person you are speaking with may not be a potential client , but may have connections that could be.

My friend tried to start a conversation this week with one of his referral partners at a networking event and the person told him ‘thanks, but I am all set. I am happy with the person I am working with’. We all have business relationships that we are happy with, but when you say you are all set, it hurts your chance to develop a referral relationship with the person you are speaking with. This happens all the time.

Rather than just saying I am all set, how about saying something like ‘that is not a match for me, but tell me more about what you are doing in case I meet someone who needs your services’. This simple approach will help you to build a relationship with that person.

It is important to remember that when we are networking we are selling through the person, not to them. Using myself as an example, I don’t have a lot of needs but I do have a good size network of people that I can introduce you to.

I have many friends who are not members of my networking group, but they have introduced me to many people who have become clients. Please give some thoughts to this next time you are tempted to say I am all set.

Watch my YouTube Channel  for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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.

Will You Marry Me?

Kevin Willett reminds you not to skip the initial phases of building your business relationships.

If a stranger walked up to you and asked you to marry them, I am guessing that you would say no, simply because you do not know anything about them, they are a stranger. Most people would not walk up to a stranger and ask them to get married.

However, many of us do this in business all the time. We connect with someone on social media and then immediately ask them to do business with us, skipping the whole building a relationship part and the getting them to know, like and trust us.

Last week I had a person connect with me on social media. I asked them if they would like to attend networking events and they said they were not interested. I asked them why they chose to connect with me and they laughed and said ‘you know it’s a numbers game, you need to connect with everyone hoping that they will need your goods or services’. I emailed them back and asked how this approach was working for them and of course they said badly. Please remember for the most part you cannot skip the whole know like and trust part of the relationship. This is extremely important!

Social media has been awesome for me. It has allowed me to grow the attendance at my networking events and make great connections. I have noticed that my relationships grow stronger after I have met people a few times and worked on building a rapport with them.

So please remember that it takes time to build relationships. Try to do your best to strengthen your online relationships by actually meeting the person in real life. Let them get to know, like and trust you and you might be surprised by how it changes your business.

Watch my YouTube Channel  for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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.

Asking For Referrals (2)

Kevin Willett says not to be shy about asking for referrals, but to be respectful when you do.

Asking for referrals is something that I am horrible with. I rarely ever ask anyone to refer me. Often people will attend events and tell me how much they enjoyed the event and the format. Now, I know I should say thank you and ask them to tell their friends about me, but I usually just smile and say thank you for the kind words. I am just too cautious and I do not want to make people feel uncomfortable.

If you simply say ‘if you like the service I provided, can you please tell your friends?’ this is keeping things super casual and most people will tell you that of course they will spread the word.

I have offered to start a referral program with some people and I have received a referral from time to time. However, I have had people get upset with me if I offered them money for their referrals. They said they want to refer me because they like me and do not want my money. So please be careful with this idea. Paying for referrals can have its own set of problems.

Lastly, I am not a big fan of putting pressure on people and asking them to give you the names of five people you can call. With this technique, someone gets a call saying “your friend Kevin bought my product and he said you might want to buy it too?” No one wants this call. No one likes high pressure sales. So please do not put people in that awkward position by asking for lists of people.

Watch my YouTube Channel  for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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.

How To Say No

Kevin Willett says that saying no, does not have to be unkind.

The simple answer is to say it nicely.

Let me give you two examples. A few years ago I sent an email to a person asking him to attend one of my networking events. He responded by saying he does not want to attend my stupid events and to never email him again. Wow, what a jerk! There was no need for his hostility.

Fast forward a few months, I received another response that said ‘wow thank you for asking me to attend, I really appreciate it, however I just do not have time right now. It is nice that you thought enough about me to invite me.’ Wow, now that is the nicest rejection I have ever seen.

Both of the answers are no, but the second person was smart enough to do it nicely to keep our relationship open. If the second person called and asked for a favor, I would do my best to help him.

In my business I have to reach out to people I do not know and invite them to attend networking events. That is the only way I can host twenty events a month. So please do not be offended when someone reaches out to you with an unsolicited offer. They are simply trying to make a living. Simply and nicely respond that you do not have a need for what they are offering.

You never know when the person you are responding to might turn into a future client simply because you showed them respect.

Watch my YouTube Channel  for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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.

Do You Still Need Business Cards?

Kevin Willett says that business cards are not out of style in today’s online universe

Do you still need business cards? The short answer is yes, you do.

I am seeing many people request that you just connect with them on social media rather than exchanging business cards. The challenge with this idea is many people are simply not active on social media, so connecting with them will not help you build a relationship with them.

I am also seeing people use fancy business card apps to download people’s information into their phone. This is a cool idea; however, not everyone uses these types of apps. Even if you do use these apps, you still need to have business cards for them to take a picture of and then download.

I think that it is important to remember that some people still want your business card and you have to respect that. Be sure to carry some cards with you at all times, to make sure you are not missing out on potential business opportunities.

Watch my YouTube Channel  for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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 to engage someone by not letting them use a yes or no answer.

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 and other Business Networking Tips

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.

I Am Proud of You

Kevin Willett says to make someone happy with these five simple words

I had two really cool experiences at the University this week. As part of a class I teach, my students have to develop a business as part of a group, and then pitch the business idea to the class. I have a student in one of my groups that really hasn’t said much in class. When I asked his group members who would be pitching, he said he would be, which made me smile. The group he was in has some upper classman in it and it would have been super easy for him to let one of the other students pitch the idea. I honestly did not know what to expect from him and was a little nervous for him. Of course his pitch was awesome and he did an amazing job. I could not have been more proud of him. It reminded me that you never know how truly talented the students are until you give them a chance. I saw him on campus last week and I explained to him everything I just said, and his smile made me smile. He told me how much he appreciated my confidence in him.

I have a second student who is also amazing. He is working on two projects with the DifferenceMaker Program on campus. I saw him at the DifferenceMaker event last week. When I told him how proud I was of him and that he has no idea how much potential he has, he smiled at me. He had a woman with him, who I am guessing was a family member, who looked at me and almost cried because of what I said to him. Now that is pretty cool.

I was on the receiving end recently of a friend telling me that he was proud of me. He had attended my first ever networking event, but I have not seen him in a few years. Out of the blue, he emailed me to tell me he has been watching my growth and that he is proud of me. I very rarely ever look back and think about what I have accomplished. I am just super focused on my next challenge. His simple email made me smile.

So my question to you is who are you proud of and have you told them?

Watch my YouTube Channel  for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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.

Do It Anyway

Kevin Willett says to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and good things will happen.

I am really proud of my friend Bob. This past weekend he did his first video upload to LinkedIn.  I have been encouraging Bob to do videos for a while now, but it is way out of his comfort zone. In my opinion, Bob is an excellent writer and does a great job offering career advice on his blog.  However, many people will never take the time to read a blog post. That is why I am a big fan of combining blogging and videos to promote your business.

Whenever I suggest this to my friends I often hear ‘Kevin I am not you, I am not comfortable recording videos’ or ‘I don’t like the way I sound or look on video’. How do you think I got comfortable doing videos? I just kept doing them and each time it became a little easier.

I also always find it interesting when the lessons I am teaching in the classroom apply to my business friends. This semester I spoke about the importance of knowing what your customers want and not focusing on what you want to sell them. You need to remember just because you are a great writer that doesn’t mean your customers will take the time to read your blog post. You need to get out of your comfort zones and use videos to help promote your business. I can assure you that it does get easier.

Last week I uploaded a video to LinkedIn called Be Where You Are Supposed To Be. That video has been viewed over 3,000 times and I gained 10 new connections. Would they all have taken the time to read my blog post? Maybe, maybe not, stop missing out on chances to grow your business because you are uncomfortable recording videos.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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 Where You Are Supposed To Be

Kevin Willett says you never know where opportunity will knock.

Last week my friend asked me to speak to her class at the local community college. While I was there I met a student who is trying to become an apprentice in the one of the local unions. In the small world of things, I happen to know someone in that union. So I called this person and asked him if he could help the student out, and he did.

I am not sure why I am still amazed when this happens, but I am. I find that whenever I am asked to speak to a group of people, something good comes from it. Often, I will get whiny when I take on too many activities, and wish that I had said no. I always try to remind myself that if I skip the event I will miss out on whatever opportunity I was suppose to receive.

Think about the example above. My friend had to reach out to me and ask me to speak. I had to say yes to the opportunity. And finally, the student had to ask for my help. If I had said no in the beginning, I wouldn’t have been able to help the student receive that interview.

Please think about this tip the next time you consider skipping an event you committed to attending or turning down something you think may not benefit you. You might be missing out on a great opportunity.

Watch my YouTube Channel for more on this and other Business Networking Tips

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.