How To Forever BAN Yourself From Building Professional Relationships

Boy, this really ticked me off!

Recently, a business colleague referred a guy to me for some copywriting work. I love referrals because when I talk with the potential new client, it’s an easy sale to close. Our mutual acquaintance has already primed the prospect by talking about my work and what a nice guy I am. 🙂

When I called this referral, I quickly discovered he had no intention of hiring me for copywriting – he had something much more sinister on his mind…

See, he had heard about me – how I used to work for Russell Brunson at DotComSecrets, how I write for GKIC and Dan Kennedy – and he determined that I must be “well connected” in the info and online marketing business – a business he wanted to “tap into”.

Now, normally when I speak with a potential client for the first time, I ask them all about them, their business, and what their copywriting needs for the project are…you know, I build trust and rapport (the foundation of any business relationship!)

But this guy didn’t even let me get that far because he began interrogating me on how he could get connected with Russell…did I have a direct phone number, what’s the secret to getting past the receptionist, would I talk to Russell for him…

…Seeing where this was headed, I politely declined to provide any information and wrapped up the conversation…no need to spend any more time with him.

A couple of weeks later, he was at a seminar where I was speaking. Once I finished, he approached me and, again, began asking me for “insider” information on Russell and GKIC. Though there were other people waiting to speak with me, he had no intention of letting this “face time” end. Professionally annoyed, I wished him well and moved on to the others who were patiently waiting their turn.

In contrast, a year or so ago, I happened to meet a guy in Starbucks. On several occasions, we had noticed each other working there in the middle of the day, whiich opened up a light conversation about “you must be a freelancer, too” and “what do you do?”

His name is Tyler and he is a marketing guru that focuses on graphics to promote products (not just your average graphic designer!)

Our first few conversations were very short and we shared just basic information. Our meetings in Starbucks were just “by chance” and it took several times of chatting for us to have enough information to determine we could help one another in our businesses and even provide referrals.

The more we talked, the more he shared his expert tips on how I could use graphics to promote my new product that was in development. I could tell he knew his stuff and, when the time came, I hired him to create the covers for “Effortless Sales Letters.”

I’ve also referred my own clients to him because I completely trust him and his work now.

So, what did Tyler do that the first guy didn’t?

To begin with, Tyler built rapport with me. He did not ask me for anything. He let our professional relationship gel over time, knowing that each time we met, a little more information would be revealed and confidence would build.

Then, Tyler gave me value. He gently shared his expert tips for my product without being pushy or even asking me to hire him to do the graphics work. I appreciated his insight and that got me thinking about hiring the work out rather than using canned, free artwork (which is what I might have done on my own since I’m not a graphics expert).

And finally, when Tyler did suggest I hire him, he didn’t ask for any “favors” in return. He didn’t come across as a “user” like the first guy did. By the time Tyler and I were ready to transact business, I knew, liked, and trusted him.

So much so that I’m now referring all of you to him! His name is Tyler Archer, he is a very talented designer, and you can find him here: Tyler Archer

Be sure and tell him I sent you!

5 Ways To Get More Bang For Your Buck From Networking Events

I’m very picky when it comes to attending network events.

Even though most of the marketing I do for my freelance copywriting business is done by direct mail and Pay-Per-Click ads, I also like to attend live, local networking events. It gets me out of the house to meet local business owners and entrepreneurs, build relationships, and get some business.

As a freelancer, I have to carefully balance getting client work with doing client work. I find I have to be picky about what events to attend because that means time away from actually doing work. I have a few guidelines I go by for networking events and I thought you might find them very helpful.

1) I Do My Research

My science background has taught me to be a thorough researcher. Research is the foundation of my copywriting success and networking events are no different.

When I see an event I might want to attend, I spend some time researching the organizers and speaker. If there is a Facebook page or other online networking resource, I may chat briefly with others who normally attend. I ask about the format and how many people are usually there. This helps me know what to expect if I decide to go.

Now I’m not a snob, but through the years I’ve figured out which types of events ultimately yield work for me and which don’t – I’m careful to attend only those that I think will be valuable.

Depending on my workload, I may wait until the last minute to RSVP so I don’t lose the event fee (if there is one) if I suddenly get swamped with work and can’t go (the life of a freelancer!)

2) I Prepare Myself

There’s nothing worse than someone asking you for your business card and you don’t have any!

I try to never run out of cards but if I am short, I’ll come up with a quick alternative until I can get more. For example, I’ll write a mini introduction and sales letter (half-page) to hand out.

This little gem can actually be more effective than a business card because I have a chance to provide information about me and my copywriting and consulting services. I can even include a special offer specifically for those in attendance at the event.

Many times, business cards just get thrown into a pile or, worse, tossed into the trash so it’s always good to do something that gets you noticed…you might want to hand out a pen or other promotional item along with your business card.

3)  I Practice My Elevator Speech

Now, if you’re not familiar with an elevator speech, it’s a very short “verbal blurb” about what you do. It’s called an elevator speech because you want to be able to tell someone on an elevator what you do by the time the elevator stops on the next floor and you lose your captive audience.

Because not everyone understands what copywriters do (some people think copywriting has to do with “copyrighting”), I have a well-honed elevator speech. This way I can help others understand, very quickly, not only what I do but, more importantly, what I can do for them.

If you don’t have an elevator speech, I highly recommend you create one, write it down, practice it out loud and try it out on your family and friends. Don’t worry, it may take you several revisions to get it just right.

4) I Set A Goal For The Event

I’m a goal-setter by nature but I’m also a bit of an introvert. It’s easy for me to attend an event and only talk with the people right around me.

Before arriving, I always set a goal that I’m going to talk to a certain number of people. That might be 10 or 20 depending on how much “open networking” time is allotted.

Having a goal helps me move around and introduce myself to new and different people. The goal is not strict and I always keep in mind that events are to build relationships. If I start talking to a potential client then the goal may change.

The point is to challenge myself to meet as many people as possible while taking the time to build rapport. That person may not need a copywriter (yet!) but they might know somebody that does.

5) I Follow Up After The Event

You may hear advice from some people saying you should follow up with everyone you meet at an event. I know that can be overwhelming!

I set a goal to touch base with just a few people from the event – either through a personal note or e-mail. If I’ve committed to calling someone, I definitely will. This keeps it simple and doesn’t bog down my daily “to-do” list.

I also evaluate how the event was and decide whether or not to return to that event. Some experts say you should go to an event several times before deciding whether to stick with it. I do go back if I feel there is potential for work. If not, I move on.

I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules – you just have to find what works for you.

I hope these network event tips are helpful to you. I find I enjoy events much more if I plan ahead and set goals for them.

Share your network event experiences below – I’d really like to hear your comments.

Keep it up,

Kevin
“The Professor of High Response”