Some people have mentioned that they didn’t know that they could become a member of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group. So I thought it may be a good idea to bring it up in this month’s newsletter. Yes, we do offer memberships in the group. Here are the major benefits of membership:
2. Personal introductions to potential clients and partners to help you grow your business.
3. A 15 minute interview on the Friends of Kevin Radio show.
4. Members receive their own page on the Friends of Kevin website which helps with SEO
5. Membership is limited to 300 clients to better help you market your business.
6. Low membership fee of only $200.00 per year.
No other networking group offers this combination of services to help you grow your business. If you would like to learn more please call me at 978-995-1743 or email me at Kevin@friendsofkevin.com
As a Small business owner, I was lucky enough to know the importance of networking prior to starting my business. Starting a business is easy, continually Growing your business is not. Advertising is a great tool, but it cost a lot of money. Advertising gets your Company name out there, but it does not get your reputation out there. Networking is the easiest and cheapest way I have found to keep my business growing. Kevin Willet has been instrumental in helping me to continually grow my business. Three years ago when he asked me to invest in him and his Dream, I didn't hesitate. October is my month to renew my membership, with out hesitation I renew because I know Kevin is out there every day working for me! Just one referral from Kevin pays for my membership for the year and then some.
Getting a referral from Kevin is always easier than the normal "Found you on the Web" client. They have already been recommend by Kevin so the only thing they want to know is "How soon can you Start ? " It always amazes me how easy it is.
The other Great thing about having Kevin Willet on your team is I always know who to call when I need anything. From where to Donate a winter coat, to finding a Plumber, a dog walker or an extra employee for the day.
I appreciate all the work he does and I am Grateful to be a " Friend Of Kevin "
Owner of Cinderella's Dust-Worthy Cleaning
I have always been a strong advocate of networking. I truly believe it is the backbone of my business! It is so much easier to get your foot in the door if you have a personal contact within a company. In today's busy workplace, people's time is limited. Although I do cold calling, it has always been more productive for me when I can contact a company and refer to a networking contact to help reach the person I want to connect with. I believe people feel more comfortable when there is a mutual contact.
Although I have been in the job placement industry for several years, I worked in direct sales for 18 years. I was one of the top sales people in New England. I contributed my success to networking. I would always ask for referrals and these referrals ultimately brought me more business. One must realize that "no" does not always mean "no forever". I learned to keep the door open, and would always ask permission if I could follow up again in a few months. The majority of the time, people welcomed a second phone call.
Patience is a key factor in networking. It takes time to build relationships. I do not feel comfortable giving referrals to people until I get to know and trust them. If one walks into a networking meeting and expects "instant referrals", they are setting themselves up for disappointment. I facilitate a networking group called Business Supporting Business out of Nashua. We pride ourselves on relationship building first....in time the referrals will come and they do come!
As a career counselor with New England Career Services LLC, it is so important for me to be able to reach out to a networking contact when I need help. Not only do I assist people finding employment, I also work with individuals who are trying to determine a new career path. Informational interviews are a big part of my business. Being able to sit down with someone and learn about what they do, what a typical day is like in their business, what training/education is necessary and what are the pros and cons of their industry have helped many of my clients make a more informed choice when deciding on a career path.
Friends of Kevin has been a great resource for me. I know I can call Kevin and feel confident he can come up with a referral for me whenever I need assistance. In today's world, unfortunately it is "who you know versus what you know" that can help people find a job. For anyone in the job market, network, network, network every day! Let everyone know you are looking for work. Your bank teller, you hairdresser, your financial adviser....it doesn't matter...just letting people know you are seeking a job can do wonders.
It is important to look at networking as a partnership. When I approach a networking event, I always walk in to a group thinking "how can I help someone? According to Dale Carnegie, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
Friends of Kevin Online Networking Event - August 1st at 7pm
The Friends of Kevin Networking Group will be hosting an online networking event on August 1st at 7pm. Space is limited to 9 people and you must pre-register to attend.
What you need to participate:
You need to have a Google+ account
You need a computer or tablet with a camera and microphone
You need a Headset to eliminate background noise.
How it works:
Each participant will receive 5 minutes to speak. Please send me 3 questions to ask you about your business. We will then have 15 minutes for questions at the end. The event starts right at 7pm so please sign on at about 650pm to make sure that you don’t experience any technical difficulties. The event will be recorded and posted to youtube, facebook, twitter and linkedin to help promote your business.
The cost to attend is $10.00
Link to register http://friendsofkevinonlineaug1.eventbrite.com/
Things to remember
Please remember we are recording the event and that you are always on the screen so please don’t leave the room.
Be cautious of what is behind you when you attend the online events. You want to make sure that it looks professional.
Please be cautious of your family and pets making noise in the background. I really need you to find a quiet place to attend the events.
At Merrimack Analysis Group, our business success depends in large part upon word-of-mouth. Although we are developing software, and also offer consulting services, our primary function involves delivering seminars about online identity and online safety to groups, associations, and organizations, such as schools, libraries, senior centers, parent groups, and business groups. The value-add that these seminars provide is hard to capture in traditional marketing material, but word-of-mouth can do something more powerful than any promotional material can -- it enables people who already know and trust each other to promote us.
A typical sales cycle involves the three stages of (1) Know, (2) Like, and (3) Trust. For entrepreneurs attempting to reach a large audience across a wide geographic area, individually replicating that cycle with each customer is impractical, if not impossible. However, entrepreneurs can leverage the power of networks by building relationships with key individuals, who can then serve as amplifiers for your brand, and as force multipliers for your efforts.
To give a real-life example, we delivered a seminar to a job seeker group at the Danvers Library in May. The Program Director, who greatly enjoyed the presentation, reached out across the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium and a separate North Shore group with an e-mail emphatically recommending us as speakers. Now, when we contact MVLC Directors, the call is not entirely "cold" because they have a baseline familiarity with what we do -- and because someone who THEY know, like, and trust has recommended us. Many of the North Shore libraries who are not MVLC members belong to NOBLENET (North of Boston Library Exchange Network), which reaches into entirely new areas for us. As we continue to expand our reach west, north, and south, we are constantly learning about new networks that we can leverage in order to help us expand our brand power.
Each time, we are finding that we do not need to cultivate relationships with every single targeted customer; instead, we can build relationships by demonstrating our value to key network members, who are then able and willing to open doors for us that expand our reach across the network.
Networking and Community Values Advertising
In the year 2002, the month of June, I started my Community Values Advertising Magazine. The same month I also joined my first networking group.
What this means to me is I meet up with a group of people that I have come to know and trust as friends and we help each other grow our business by asking for the type of client we would like to have. I can ask for specifics. The person in charge of adverting at a particular restaurant or gym. The person I ask might have the opportunity to contact this person and let them know that I will be contacting them. When I make the call to set an appointment the contact person knows that I will be calling and accepts my call. My closing rate on these referrals is very high. In return when someone in the group asks for a referral I do my best to return the favor to a friend.
This week I attended a Friends Of Kevin breakfast meeting and my daughter in law came along. One of my accounts was also present and introduced me to someone she feels would benefit from advertising in my magazine. My daughter in law was so impressed with the group and Kevin that she is going to join.
Here is a quick rundown of what happened. I show up with my daughter in law. We have coffee and pastries. We talk a little bit with other members who I know fairly well at this point. I have a great opportunity for a new client thanks to a current client. Kevin gets a new member and my daughter in law see’s a great opportunity to kick off for her “ Dream of a life time, business that she has wanted to do for a long time.
Ok. What is wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing. Come and check out the next Friends Of Kevin event and see how it works for you.
A little about Community Values. My wife has been a publisher for 17 years and myself for 10. We publish 5 times a year and are delivered by the Post Office so it is free to the resident. What is most important to our clients, in most categories, we offer exclusive advertising so your business is the only business of its type in the magazine. You have no compition. We put your ad on our www.commuityvalues.org and .mobi sites so people can print your ad for redemption or redeem it on their smart phone. Also a link to your website. If you are interested it advertising in our magazine contact Kevin Willett and get a firsthand look on how networking works.
Kevin & Evie O’Rourke
Community Values Advertising Magazine
About Dan Splaine- Photographer and Educator
Dan Splaine is a commercial photographer, workshop leader and photography teacher. He creates original photography for corporate communications in his Nashua, NH Studio and in locations throughout the Northeast. Along with his photography services he presents a program of photography workshops and photographer tours.
His client assignments range from creating custom business portraits for individual entrepreneurs to building comprehensive image archives for large companies. In his over thirty years behind the camera he has photographed tens of thousands of people in locations throughout the nation and all over the world (over 40 countries). He is a specialist in live action and on location photo assignments and his images illustrates countless editorial, public relations and marketing productions.
Since 2010 more then 2,000 photo enthusiasts have come to one of his photo workshops or traveled on his photo tours. The photography education program is a growing part of his enterprise with many exciting expansion plans in the works.
For more information about his services or to discuss how you can use photography in your company communications please contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website www.dansplainephot.com and add your name to his email list.
Networking advice from Dan Splaine- Photographer and Educator
The biggest lesson I learned about the value of networking is to put the time in to really get to know folks. Forget about closing sales at networking events - build relationships instead because you never know where a lead might come from and how it will develop. Be friendly, be patient and be open to the possibility of less than direct connections.
The best example of this is a networking experience I had. Over two years ago I met a person at an event that operates a business that really had no common ground with mine. Despite that we took a few minutes to describe each other’s businesses and to begin a relationship. We kept in touch and built rapport over multiple event conversations. About six months passed and he was seeking a gift for his photo hobbyist wife. He recalled that I taught photo classes to adults and he gifted her with one of my photo workshops. She came to a couple of my photo classes and I was happy to gain another customer which was a fair return or a few minutes of networking and some waiting.
That was a good experience on its own but the story does not end there. Last fall, out of the blue I was contacted by the director of development of one of the biggest not-for-profits organizations in the state. She had heard about my photography and capabilities from her friend who had taken my photo workshops (the wife of my causal networking contact). Because of her friends endorsement she sent me an RFP for their advertising and marketing photography that they were putting out to bid. I won the bid and last month was awarded a contract for a high value, very large photography project. Put the time in. Get to know folks over time and networking will pay off.
You can reach Dan at Dan@testoftimephoto.com
I have operated my business for over 20 years and the one major regret I have is that I didn’t grasp the importance of networking a lot sooner than I did. Networking can not only help you get more business. It can help you find a job, find the best doctor in town, get tickets to a sold out show or maybe head off a major problem before it becomes a problem. Networking can open doors that otherwise would be completely closed to you. Ever hear of the saying it’s not what you know, it’s who you know? Obviously if you plan on being successful you have to know your profession, but I don’t think you can succeed in business without having a strong network of friends, clients, prospects, family, vendors, acquaintances, etc. Look at any field. Your most successful people have the strongest personal networks.
Of course, in my case, the light didn’t go on immediately. I initially built a fairly strong business just by sheer hustle and ‘making the calls’. But it wasn’t easy and it took longer than I wanted it to. And then the economic collapse of 2008 happened and I was faced with having to do a major rebuild of my customer base if I planned on continuing in the promotional products business going forward. Believe it or not, it was a book by Harvey McKay – Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need that made me realize I was missing the boat on this little secret that top producers in any field know is one of the fundamentals of success. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone in business. It’ll be the best $12 you’ll ever spend.
Ever since the day I first opened that book, I’ve dedicated myself to growing my own personal network. When you buy into this, not only do you meet lots of cool and interesting people – you find out that it’s fun. And yes it opens doors. However a key point to keep in mind is that to really grow a network you have to give before you can receive. None of us can do business with everyone we meet. But maybe we can offer a lead or give a referral. Or maybe mention a tool that helped improve our own business, give a tip on a great restaurant or just be friendly at a networking event with lots of strangers present. I love when Kevin Willett does one of his How Can I Help You Today? posts on Facebook. To me, that’s what networking is about in a nutshell. Of course when I meet you I also want you to know that I’m in the business of ‘Branding via Promotional Products’. I want you to remember me when that guy you met at the golf tournament says he wants to get some embroidered shirts like the cool one they handed out to everyone.
Networking certainly isn’t easy. You have to commit to it, keep at it and resist the temptation to stay home instead of heading out for a 6:00 PM networking event on a cold night in January. But what I can tell you is it works…and has been a key ingredient in the business success I’ve had the past few years.
Networking Success Story – Amy Pozerski
I recently joined my husband, Scott to run our Junk King junk removal franchise together. When I left my full time job in Construction Management, I didn’t know a whole lot about networking. Scott was part of a BNI networking group and while he occasionally mentioned to me what he was doing and what was involved with the networking, I never really paid close attention.
Since we no longer had an extra income coming in each month, I realized one of the first things I would have to focus on working for the company was bringing in more jobs. My first experience with networking was attending a Friends of Kevin event back in November 2012. I found myself enjoying the experience of meeting so many new people and spreading the word about our company. I had also decided I was going to join a BNI group but wasn’t sure which chapter so I started to visit different chapters in the area. Over the course of about 3 weeks, I had attended 6 or 7 BNI chapter meetings – yes, this was a lot of days getting up early but if I was going to be serious about building our business I was willing to get up early however many days it took.
I finally settled on joining the BNI group in Winchester, MA. I complimented that membership by belonging to the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce, Merrimack Valley Chamber, and Friends of Kevin. My current goal for networking is to attend 1 or 2 events a week in addition to my BNI meeting that is held every Tuesday.
Overall, networking has done wonders for our business, not only doing jobs directly for the people we meet, but those people referring/recommending us to others. In terms of advertising costs, every customer we get through a referral or a repeat customer is substantially cheaper to obtain than using direct mail or other advertising avenues.
Besides getting more business, my favorite part about networking is all the amazing people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve been able to build. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to so many successful business owners and learn from their experiences. It’s for these reasons that I feel networking is an indispensable part of our business and personal growth plan as well as reaching the goals we set.
You can reach Amy at Amyp@junk-king.com