Name Recognition Is a Great Place to Start

By Jeff Beals

I once volunteered on the political campaign of a local businessman who was running for city council.

During the campaign, I attended a number of political events with him, but one candidates’ forum stood out in my mind. Candidates from each district gathered in a high school gym in front of an audience comprised of community activists, neighborhood leaders, local busy-bodies and a smattering of other interested persons. Each candidate had a couple minutes to tout his or her candidacy.

An odd-looking fellow – a long-shot, political newcomer who ended up losing in a landslide – had the most unique speech. He stood at the podium and said, “They tell me that political campaigning is all about name recognition. If that’s the case, my name is…” He proceeded to repeat his name over and over again in a melodic/rhythmic way. He would say a couple sentences of substance and then once again repeat his name over and over.

It was cute. People laughed. I’m not sure how seriously the audience took him, but he made an impression. I vividly remember that stump speech many years later.

While this nontraditional politician didn’t win (he had no money for commercials and yard signs), he was right about one thing – it’s all about name recognition.

At the very basic level, a politician running for office must focus first and foremost on establishing name recognition.

The same thing applies to any professional working in any field. If you are going to market yourself, and reach your goals, you must establish a recognized name among members of your personal target audience.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Networking as Your Sole Marketing Vehicle

By Jeff Beals

As people realize we like them and respect their opinions, they share information about themselves that can be helpful in analyzing whether they can use our products or services.

So says Canadian businessman Michael J. Hughes, who is known as “THE Networking Guru.”  Hughes runs a highly successful Ottawa, Ontario-based consulting business that works with Fortune 500 companies and international associations across North America.

The most interesting thing about Hughes’ business? He built it using networking as his sole marketing vehicle.

Networking is simply one of the most important activities in which professionals engage. As Hughes says, the opportunity to create, nurture and develop relationships is one of the most rewarding processes of human activity. If we capitalize on networking opportunities properly, they can be quite profitable for us while making the world a better place for everyone else.

The problem with networking is that too many professionals don’t do it very well. What’s worse is that some people are terribly intimidated by the process.

That’s where Hughes comes in. He breaks networking encounters into six logical steps. To succeed in networking, you need to master all parts of the process:

1. The first five seconds

2. The next 20 seconds

3. The next two minutes

4. The last five seconds

5. The next 24 hours to seven days

6. The final outcome

At the beginning of the networking encounter, Hughes believes the key is to make your discussion partner comfortable. After all, most people are stressed by networking events. You will make a great impression if you take charge, smile, listen carefully and “pretend you’re the host.”

In the next 20 seconds, the key is to build rapport and make your networking partner feel “safe.” Active listening is crucial, because “wanting to know more about a person is one of the biggest compliments we can pay,” Hughes says.

The most important part of the networking process occurs in the next two minutes. Hughes says this is where the real test occurs for both partners. The more you structure the discussion around your partner, the more earnest interest you show in him or her, the more you develop trust.

Once you have trust, your discussion partner is open to your ideas. This is when you present your message, your unique selling point. But don’t get preachy, because as Hughes says, “the objective of networking is to create a relationship, not make a presentation.” The value comes over time.

Trust is especially important if the purpose of your networking efforts is ultimately to make a sale and land a deal. “Selling is a people business, not a product business,” Hughes says. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

When the networking encounter is coming to an end, Hughes recommends you take control in order to transition out of the conversation and help the person bridge to another conversation. In the last five seconds, try to create an opportunity. An offer to keep in touch or a scheduled appointment makes the conversation much more productive.

Finally, be sure to thank the other person for conversing with you and for giving you their precious time.

Lest you think you are done, remember that networking is a process. Follow up with the person or you will eventually be forgotten. That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Find a legitimate reason – one that benefits the other person – to stay in contact. Not only does follow-up keep you front-of-mind, it makes an impression in other ways. After all, “following through on commitments and promises goes against the grain of how the world works today,” Hughes says. In other words, you will shock people if you’re one of those rare professionals who actually returns email and voice mail messages.

When it’s all said and done, good networking can lead to career-long relationships. This means you might take care of clients together, create referral opportunities and find complementary products. Gaining exposure to others’ networks will increase your opportunities.

By the way, if you would like to learn more about Michael Hughes, go to NetworkingForResults.com.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Confidently Stand Up to the Legend

By Jeff Beals

The young upstart and the living legend clashed in battle back in 1979.

It wasn’t on the field of play, rather inside a high school guidance counselor’s office.

The young upstart was Jim Donnan, a brand-new assistant football coach at Kansas State University. The living legend was none other than Paul “Bear” Bryant, who was fresh off winning his fifth National Championship at the University of Alabama.

Both men were recruiting the same star high school football player. Donnan was hoping to lure the kid to Manhattan, Kan., while Bryant wanted him to play in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Donnan had an appointment with the player and the high school football coach and was just about to sit down in a small conference room to begin his pitch. But before he could start, the high school coach nervously shared some news.

“Coach, Alabama just called and said Coach Bryant wants to see this guy, but he doesn’t have an appointment. Would you mind him going before you?”

Whoa. This was an awkward situation. Donnan wanted to make a name for himself in his new coaching career, and Bryant was someone every young coach wanted to impress. Disrespecting the Bear was not good for a young coach’s career. But Donnan had things to do to. He took a deep breath and protested.

“I gotta go somewhere else after this,” Donnan said. I have an appointment with a kid at another school. It’s not my fault that his secretary didn’t make an appointment.”

The high school coach went back to the phone and told Alabama they would need to find a different time to visit. Problem solved. Conflict over, or so it seemed. Just as the conversation was warming up, Bear Bryant walked through the door.

Donnan stood up, shook the Bear’s hand, and said, “Coach, you know I respect you, and I’ve always admired you, but I had an appointment with this young man, and I gotta go to another school after this. I won’t keep him long.”

Bryant wasn’t too happy. After all, this meeting was taking place inside the state of Alabama where most people bowed down and traffic halted whenever the legend passed by. The Bear was not accustomed to waiting.

“Well, that’s okay,” Bryant growled in his famously deep voice, “but doesn’t make any difference. I’m gonna get him anyway.”

Sure enough, Bryant was right. The kid enrolled at Alabama and starred for the Crimson Tide.

Donnan referred to it as a “bitter reality pill.” It’s hard to compete with a living legend, especially in his own back yard. While he lost this battle, Donnan benefited from the experience. He showed confidence. He stood his ground. He didn’t lose face or compromise his pride as a coach.

In the long run, Jim Donnan had a very successful career as a coach. His success never matched Bryant’s, but nobody has had a career like the Bear. Nevertheless, Donnan would go on to become a head coach, leading Marshall University to the Division I-AA National Championship and the University of Georgia to four straight bowl victories. His success landed him a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Today, the 66-year-old Donnan works as a television broadcaster and travels the nation speaking about football and leadership. The confidence he showed in the face of the legend 32 years ago has served him well.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.