Barry Spilchuk, co-author of A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul® talks about how he learned through Accident, Bankruptcy, Cancer, Divorce and Employee theft and started all over again in a new place where he barely knew people.
“You better get your affairs in order Barry!” Those were harsh words to hear only four months after moving to Toronto. “Welcome to Toronto,“ would have been nice. The doctor was serious however and implied that the cancer he just found was serious as well and it only made sense to be prepared for “WHATEVER” the end result was.
Thankfully, seven months later God blessed me with a cancer-free diagnosis. Hmmm – Now what do I do? How do I re-invent myself? Most of my time in Toronto was spent in a hospital bed, whether at Princess Margaret Hospital or the bed they installed in my apartment when they sent me home to heal and recover. When you add to that, while I was healing, I learned my A,B,C’s. Accident, Bankruptcy, cancer-dance, Divorce and Employee theft. I had to starting all over again…AGAIN!
The only people I knew in Toronto were my amazing Nurses and the caring Doctors from Princess Margaret and the Homecare workers who came to the apartment. How do I meet new people? Business people? People who I may be able to do business with? People who I feel comfortable with and who would recognize a fellow entrepreneur who wants to “PLAY” again.
So – here comes the FIRST LESSON of Networking:
DECIDE WHO YOU ARE and HOW YOU WANT TO SHOW UP IN THE WORLD
The challenge some of us face is CLARIFYING exactly what we want. Whether you are reinventing yourself or trying to take your business and yourself to a new level, you must decide what you want the end result to be. How will it LOOK when you are done? How will it FEEL when you are done? Once those decisions are made – you are more than half way there!
Once you have that clear picture in your mind, then and only then do you decide which networking events you want to go to. If you determine you are going to EVERY event, you will possibly lose focus and waste a lot of time. Pick the events that SPEAK TO YOUR VISION of how you want to show up. That’s where you will find the like-minded souls who can speak the same language and understand your needs.
So, now you are at the event, now what? Here is what you MUST remember -Avoid the temptation to – TRY TO CLOSE A SALE THE FIRST TIME YOU MEET SOMEONE. Consider making your main goal to develop a relationship with people. Why? We usually buy from people we TRUST and trust is the foundation of all relationships. How do you develop the relationship? THREE ways:
A) According to Canada’s Networking Authority, Baldo Minaudo, President of MetroActive, “You have to find the common ground. NEVER start by handing them your business card. That should be the last thing you do. The ideal situation is to have them ask you, ‘May I have your card please?’”
B) One moment at a time! Note every nuance in their words, their mannerisms and their conversation. Follow through with any promises or implied actions that you may have suggested. If you said that you would send an article to them – DO IT. Every contact with them is a MOMENT. Every moment is trust builder or trust breaker. Miss a commitment or implied promise and that’s a trust breaker.
C) Spend your time asking questions about THEM! Their needs, their hopes, their dreams and aspirations. The world famous actor, Cary Grant, (the George Clooney of his time) was approached by the host of a party he was attending. The host came up and shared with Mr. Grant that one of the guests at the party was saying, “Cary Grant is the most brilliant conversationalist I have ever met!” “How do you do it Cary?” the host asked. Mr. Grant smiled and said, “The interesting part is, we spent about thirty minutes together and all I did was ask him a few simple questions about HIS life.”
When it is YOUR TURN to share or speak, talk succinctly and with heart about your vision and how your vision will help the big picture. In very simple terms, GET CRYSTAL CLEAR ON YOUR VISION and ENGAGE WITH WHOEVER “SHOWS UP.”
I asked one Networking group if they knew of anyone who would like to help me save a MILLION MARRIAGES. One man put his hand up and asked for a private meeting. When the man found out I really wanted to save a million marriages he asked me what I needed. “I want to shoot an infomercial and expand the program so we’ll need to raise some money to do that.” The gentleman hooked me up with his friend, David, a family man from Phoenix Arizona. “How is a man in Phoenix going to help me…I live so far away from him?” I thought. BUT…if what I said tweaked a picture in this man’s mind of someone who might help, who was I to play God and deny the connection?
After David saw my business plan he called and asked me to come to Phoenix. Since he shared the same vision, it was not long before I was at his home in Phoenix. I met David, his wife and in-laws. I was peppered with questions and grilled pretty good, “Why do you want to do this? What experience do you have? What if it doesn’t work?” All very legitimate questions.
David then asked his family to leave us alone for a few minutes. He asked me to come over to his in-home hospital bed. David was a quadriplegic because of a serious car accident. He asked me to look him in the eye and then he said, “Tell me you are going to do this.” I smiled and with chills up my spine and a tears in my eyes….I confidently said, “David, I AM going to do this.”
He asked for a week or two to think and pray about it. He called ten days later and said, “We are not going to give you the $100,000.00 you asked for. We know you are going to need a little more to develop the idea and you are raising $500,000 in total, so we are going to give you $200,000.00!”
All I did was ask for HELP with my VISION in that networking meeting 2,000 miles away…I did NOT ask for the money. I asked for help. People love to HELP!
To get my start in Toronto I went to business events and seminars and shared my vision for helping two groups of people:
A) People who wanted to learn to become professional speakers & writers and recently,
B) My inner passion is helping people who have been through tremendous “STUFF” get back on their feet.
For dream “A” – Within seven weeks of sharing my vision, I founded and hosted the first Canada’s Public Speaking Academy. It is now a quarterly event.
For dream ”B” – Within four weeks of announcing it to my networking group, I went “LIVE” with You-Can-Cafe! It is my GIVE BACK to God for His help and to my friends for helping me through two years of “blessings.”
When my friends found out that I was offering one year of video coaching for 10 cents a day…they committed to helping me spread the word. WHY? They were engaged in the concept and vision of helping others and…
I got crystal clear on my vision and I engaged with those who showed up!
It’s your turn. Please remember, what you GIVE out comes back. Who can you help? Then – How to you want to show up? What is your vision? How can you share it in a concise and compelling way? It’s not only your turn – It IS your TIME!
About the Author