Friday, March 16, 2007

Using Knocking down Silos as a Business Development Tool

On April 23, in Mississauga, we are running another "Knocking Down Silos" and inviting the Life Science Community to attend. Many of the industry associates I know use "Knocking down Silos" as a business development tool. Can I show you how to do this as well?

It may help you get more sales or receive that great job offer. If you have been to a "Knocking down Silos" event, you know it is an interactive evening that reviews the basics of proper networking behaviour. Hundreds of people show up to learn how to increase their effectiveness in the business (and personal) world.

Every 20 minutes, people have to turn to the person next to them and ask key questions (e.g. "what's your biggest challenge and how can I help you?). Here is a video preview. Who would you like sitting next to you when they ask you that question? Then invite them!

1. Download the PDF of the April 23 Event.
This event is filling fast, please ensure you have registered.

2. Send the PDF to people you either know or wish to get to know better. These could be clients, prospects, key industry people, potential bosses. Many people in life science know the importance of networking but have never been shown how to do it.

You can simply forward the email with your endorsement.

Here's an paraphrased email I saw come across my desk from Peter West:

Normally I don’t send out these types of flyers to marketing events, but I will make an exception for Howlett’s talk on networking skills called “Knocking down Silos”

Here's another on a bulletin board by Jim Love - another "good guy!"

If you haven't seen Howlett on Networking, you have missed something . You may still be able to get seats. Mention my name. It might help.

OR You can ask a few clients to come as your personal guests. Of course, you will need to pick up the entry fee.

3. Sit next to your key people and watch what happens.The best part of this strategy is that even if your people can't make it to KDS, getting an invitation from you lets them know you were thinking about them. (it keeps you top of mind). And that's one of the best ways to get great word of mouth...offering value when you touch someone... being an "A" friend!

Below are a few emails that you may get from your clients afterwards.

I really enjoyed Dave's talk and I learned some very useful ways of thinking about how I interact with people. Thanks for sending me the invitation.

I am writing this email to thank you for inviting me to Dave's Talk. It was a wonderful, professional, and enthusiastic presentation in McMaster University last night. Networking has always been a little scary for me. I always have a hard time knowing where to start and what approach to take. I am definitely going to be giving out more compliments now!

Thanks for bugging me to go. That was an amazing speech Tuesday night. Man, it was as long as a feature Hollywood film! It's amazing that he can find enough content to keep people engaged like that.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Don't use my name - how would you respond?

Sometimes the danger of networking is that it reveals some hidden truths or mysteries...

Two years ago, I approached a friend of mine to find out whether he could introduce me to the president of his company. I had know P. for about 8 years in a variety of capacities (sports, Toastmasters) and felt we had a good enough rapport for me to ask him for a referral. I had just started working for my current company and needed to make some connections.

My take on word-of-mouth networking is that it's all about your personality, not your company or product. If you have proved your worth as a "good guy" or "nice person" then your friends and associates know you won't embarass them or endanger their relationships by introducing you to their contacts.

This is how the conversation went:

Dave: You work for ______________, don't you?

P: Yes.

(I asked a series of questions about his company, their products, their challenges etc)

Dave: You know, I would really like to do business with your company, is there a chance you could ask your boss to if he would take my call and give me a few minutes of his time? I don;t expect you to sell me or my product, but is it possible for you to give me an introduction?

P: I don't feel comfortable doing that.

Dave: Oh. Is there a reason why not?

P: I don't feel comfortable doing that.

Dave: OK

Today, I lectured at Seneca College and afterward had a student ask me a similar question. She mentioned she had asked her friends if they would introduce her to their bosses and their response was: "Sure, you can call them, but don't use my name."

How do YOU interpret the "don't use my name" response?

(I'll give you my answer after I read a few of your responses)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Some Straight Talk

Sometimes, we all need a friend who can be a little direct with us. Here's an email sent by an associate to a friend who had requested a warm introduction and then didn't follow up.


Dear ________,

I apologize if I sounded harsh today. I just wanted to you get the reality of networking which includes soliciting for help from others.

People will often go out of the way to help you because you're a nice guy with whom they like to hang around. I' m sure you get this from your friends as they have worked with you for many years and knows that you are a really talented, nice human being. Because you are always in contact with your friends, there will be many opportunities where you help them out, and the favour is returned. A nice circle of good deeds being circulated continuously.

But then you will meet people who don't know you as well. You will have to do more to prove to them that you are also reliable, and will do what you say you will do.

If you do not follow up on their help, eg you forget to call the person they refer to you , you forget to offer to help them back, or forget to show your appreciation... they may not help you the second time or ever again. When this happens:

1. Your initial contact is disappointed that you have not kept your promises and they are now reluctant to help you again.

2. Your credibility is questioned. If a 3rd person approaches your contact and asks about what kind of person you are, imagine what your contact will say.

3. The referred person that you were supposed to contact will also question your credibility as you have never contacted them.

You may feel that I'm over-analyzing the situation. I am a big believer that the world is small and you never know who you meet.

Word-of-mouth is a powerful yet unpredictable force.


These are great words of wisdom from a straight-talking friend. So if you ask someone for a referral or introduction, make sure you follow up. And then thank everyonne involved.