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Friday, April 30, 2010

 

J.T. Kirk: Confessions of a Hiring Manager - Author interview



Former hiring manager and consultant J. T. Kirk was kind enough to answer a few questions about his very useful and comprehensive guide to getting a job in today's difficult economy Confessions of a Hiring Manager: Sage Advice for Fearless Job Seekers and Career Changers in a Confused Economy.

The author shared insider secrets, gleaned from his over twenty years of experience as a hiring manager in both the private and public sectors. He described the tools that every job seeker needs, for getting hired in any employment market.

Thanks to J.T. Kirk for his time and for his very informative and insightful answers to the questions.

What was the background to writing this book Confessions of a Hiring Manager: Sage Advice for Fearless Job Seekers and Career Changers in a Confused Economy?

J.T. Kirk: I think the major impetus for writing the book was my repeated frustration over a 20-year career as a hiring manager in several technical fields at seeing candidates fail to get the jobs for which they were highly qualified. They managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I often say.

In the late 1990s, I wrote an article for an industry publication on what hiring managers want—and don’t want—to see in cover letters and resumes. Several months later, a professional association got hold of a copy of that article and asked me to present a workshop on cover letters and resume writing for their annual convention. It was so well received that I began to offer the workshop to regional and local chapters of that association as well as to others. In early 2009, I finally compiled my notes, handouts, and training foils, and committed my experiences to paper, the final result being Confessions of a Hiring Manager.

How is this book different from the countless resume and job finding books already on the market?

J.T. Kirk: Confessions of a Hiring Manager differs in these respects: It’s the first book written on finding a job or changing a career from the perspective of someone who actually has hired hundreds of people and who has spent 20 years going through the grinding process of screening thousands of resumes, conducting hundreds of interviews, and many dozens of salary negotiations. It shows returning U.S. military veterans how to translate military skills, knowledge, and experience into a language that hiring managers understand and need.

It demonstrates to job seekers how to control job interviews and how to negotiate the best possible compensation package. It teaches job seekers and career changers the only strategy that works in this or any economy, which is being sensitive to the issues and needs of the hiring manager, and not how “great” the candidates are.

Unlike the other resume and job-search books on the market today, which only give people a fish to feed them for a day, Confessions of a Hiring Manager teaches people how to fish—how to develop a job-search strategy that will feed them for a lifetime.

Why do so many qualified candidates for a position fail to get hired?

J.T. Kirk: Several reasons: they don’t have a well-thought-out strategy, if they have one at all. They do not grasp that they have seven to ten seconds to grab the hiring manager’s attention before the hiring manager is off to the next cover letter or resume—they don’t know how to seize and sustain the hiring manager’s interest to get him or her to continue reading. They mistakenly think that the cover letter is all about them and their accomplishments, when it’s about the needs of the hiring manager and his or her team or group. They approach job interviews out of fear instead of seeing them as the opportunity to sell hiring managers in person how they understand the issues and concerns facing the organization.

One major hurdle that all candidates must be aware of: they must come across as approachable, likable, and knowledgeable—and in many cases, in that order of importance. To fit into an existing team dynamic, the “likability” factor has to be high because if it’s not—even though a candidate may be highly qualified and knowledgeable—I as a hiring manager don’t have the patience to have to deal with so-called “high-maintenance” people—and neither does a team that has too many projects and not enough people to work on them. The squeaky wheel that has to get the grease is quickly resented by the other wheels.

How is today’s job market different from previous ones?

J.T. Kirk: The job market is always a competitive one, and some industries or fields are historically more competitive than others. More people are changing fields, seeking opportunities in different areas of the country, trying to start their own businesses, working part-time or as contractors. The changing population demographics suggest that post-“bust” job growth will likely occur in the service industry, and that many jobs lost over the past two years will either not return to previous levels or show up in a different form in other industries. In this current job environment, people with impressive education, skills, and experience credentials are seeking jobs well below their capabilities just so they can pay the mortgage, put food on the table, and have some kind of insurance coverage.

Such a jobs environment makes many hiring managers nervous because they fear that when hiring rebounds in the future, there may be an exodus of current employees returning to their former professions, thereby creating a job loss for some industries. I don’t think that fear is well-founded because it didn’t happen to any significant degree during the middle 1980s when the price of a barrel of oil dropped to under $10. At that time, many unemployed geologists took jobs in the environmental sciences field for 30 to 50 percent lower pay.

The fear was that as soon as the price of oil began to rise to more profitable levels, many would exit the environmental sciences in droves to return to the oil patch. That left hiring managers in the environmental sciences reluctant to hire over-qualified professionals for fear of the possible stampede to their former jobs when economic conditions improved. But it didn’t happen for three reasons: first, it took awhile for the price of oil to return to more stable-market levels worldwide; second, ex-oil company geologists were “bitten once, twice shy” about jumping back to the oil patch; and third, the oil companies did not go on a hiring blitz to bring back experienced geologists.

How can prospective employees better package their skills to greatly enhance their employment opportunities?

J.T. Kirk: They need to learn to align their skills with the needs of hiring managers and their organizations. That usually means having more than one version of a resume so that it speaks specifically to that vacancy. Prospective employees must understand how to package themselves in their cover letter, resume, and supplemental information as a potential “profit center” or “revenue generator” for that hiring manager’s organization, because in essence, that’s what a hiring manager is looking for.

No one hires anyone just to “do a job”—it’s the potential to add value to a product or service that enhances the overall value of the organization that makes a job candidate stand out.

You describe the PSKE Portfolio™ in the book. What is that system, and why is it so much more effective than traditional approaches

J.T. Kirk: Most people approach the entire process of getting a job in a disjointed manner, where the cover letter shows no “provenance” or relation to the resume. And any supplemental documentation, other than official documents, adds to the incoherent presentation of an individual’s professional background and qualifications.

The Professional Skills, Knowledge, and Experience Portfolio, what I call the PSKE Portfolio, organizes this information into a coherent, consistent documentation set. It’s more than using the same formatting and font choices for the cover letter, resume, and supplemental documentation; it’s how each document is staged according to purpose to present the candidate as the complete professional the hiring manager needs.

The cover letter is written after the resume is finished because the cover letter includes the highlights of interest to the hiring manager that have been culled from the resume. The cover letter serves as an introductory brochure to get the hiring manager to want to review the resume.

The resume highlights the accomplishments and achievements of a professional career; the supplemental documentation, such as patent awards or a publications list, further attests to the candidate’s being a potential profit center or the hiring manager’s solutions provider; the “leave-behind” documentation, such as copies of industry journal articles, conference papers, or other samples continues to work in the candidate’s favor long after the interview by being yet more reminders of the candidate’s expertise.

It’s all about keeping your name at the top of the short list.

How can resumes be made more useful and effective?

J.T. Kirk: Here are five tips that will greatly improve any candidate’s chances of getting hired sooner than later:

1. Don’t include an “Objective” section on a resume. It’s a waste of valuable resume real estate space and the vast majority of Objectives are obvious and self-serving. A hiring manager reading a resume asks this question: “What can this person do for me and my team?” and not “What does this person want my organization to do for him or her?”, which is how most Objectives read. Sell the hiring manager on your objective, in so many words, in the cover letter.

2. Hiring managers want to know more about what a qualified candidate accomplished, not what they were “responsible for.” We all have responsibilities, so tell the hiring manager what you managed, completed, developed, designed, managed, created, designed, sold, wrote, etc.

3. Hiring managers love to see quantitative information about candidate accomplishments. Nothing says “I’m great” more than seeing on a resume the number of dollars a project generated, or costs avoided by the implementation of a new process or design change, or even percentage increase in efficiency for some procedure or process adjustment. And highlight those accomplishments in bold so they stand out for the hiring manager. That kind of information demonstrates a candidate’s ability to be a profit center or revenue generator.

4. Don’t try to disguise insufficient education with a list of courses, two-day seminars, and week-long workshops — unless they led to certification or some type of license. Don’t put your GPA on your resume, either. While it may impress you, your resume may be screened by others with more impressive education credentials. If you are asked to provide your GPA, do so in your cover letter.

5. Here are some “grab bag” tips:

a. Contact information: name, email address, and phone number are sufficient these days; no need to include a street address (for personal safety reasons, especially for women)

b. Don’t include personal information such as interests, hobbies, children, etc. That’s good conversation after you have been hired and are on the job.

c. Avoid fancy fonts, graphics, and photos on your resume.

d. Limit any job duties to one bullet item for any position older than 10 years; hiring managers are more interested in your most recent experience.

e. Ensure each entry attests to the professional you are claiming to be.

Why are so many cover letters ineffective, and how can they be made to catch a prospective employer’s eye?

J.T. Kirk: I hate sounding like a broken record, but most cover letters smack of a “Hey, look at me!” approach to trying to get the hiring manager’s attention with unqualified assertions of how skilled, knowledgeable, or experienced the candidate is.

Candidates must pull from their resume those specific bulleted items that attest in a demonstrable manner their expertise (the dollars earned on a project, costs avoided by implementing a new program, and/or percent improvements in efficiency) and put them in a bulleted list on their one-page cover letter.

Here’s a sure-fire way to check that a cover letter is on the right track to speak to the hiring manager’s needs: the number of instances of the words you/your/yours should be greater than the number of instances of the words I/me/my/mine. In Confessions of a Hiring Manager, I show several examples of cover letters that fail and succeed with this simple test.

Cover letters should close with a strong statement that says “I will contact you in several days to discuss…” rather than the weak “I hope to hear from you to discuss further my qualifications.” Assertiveness in a cover letter backed up by demonstrable accomplishments on a resume sells. Too many letters take a Cowardly Lion approach to gaining the attention of a hiring manager.

When a person lands a job interview, how can that individual gain control of the interview and land the job?

J.T. Kirk: The first thing an individual must do to gain control of the interview is to be thoroughly familiar with the contents of his or her cover letter, resume, and any other documentation they may have provided, such as a list of patents or publications list, and be able to speak to any item on them at length. For many of the questions that will be asked, this information will form the basis of responses about skills, knowledge, and experience.

It’s also better to respond to a question with “I don’t know” rather than try to bluff a correct response. If you’re wrong, folks will consider that you don’t know what you are talking about, which may call into question your responses to other questions. Best policy is to be honest in all responses.

The interview is not just something to “survive” as many other authors try to portray; it’s an opportunity for the candidate to shine and promote him or herself as that hiring manager’s solutions provider, and in that sense, it’s the attitude of being in control that shifts the “feel” of the interview to an occasion to demonstrate how and why the organization should be interested in hiring You, Inc.

Those candidates who take on the attitude of being in business for themselves when they are interviewing for a job do a better job of promoting their skills, knowledge, and experience than those who are simply interviewing for a job. That kind of self-confidence and assurance comes with adequate preparation and a well-developed skill set.

Negotiating a compensation package is always challenging. How can a person receive a great salary and benefits even in today’s economy?

J.T. Kirk: Most people when they are offered a salary figure either accept it or reject it. Most don’t think of the third option: negotiate. Knowing whether a salary figure is “good” depends on how well you understand your family’s immediate and future financial needs. Therefore, a good salary figure for one person may be unacceptable to another.

Most people leave money on the table when it comes to negotiating a salary because they accept the first number they are given, or they blurt out a salary number when asked. The key to maximizing any salary offer is never to be the first one to volunteer a salary figure. The process of “drilling down” to the best possible salary offer is achieved by answering a question with a question.

For example, many candidates will be asked: “So, what are your salary requirements?” and their first instinct is to toss out a number, but how do you know where that number stands in relation to the number the hiring manager had in mind? Was it higher or lower? You won’t know unless you respond to that question with a question of your own: “Can you tell me the range of the salary for the position?” Even if the job posting included a salary figure, now you are asking for more information that will determine whether that posted figure is in the low end, midpoint, or upper end of the range for the position, and are in a better position yourself to start negotiating for a higher salary.

The people who are most successful at negotiating higher salaries or “perqs” are those with highly valued skills, experience, or knowledge and those in higher executive-level positions. Salary negotiation is much more difficult for entry-level or junior positions.

I have several actual salary negotiation examples in Confessions of a Hiring Manager that show how such a negotiation can drill down through several layers of questions to arrive at a salary level that leaves little or no money on the table.

Career changes are the norm today. How can skills be made more transferable between careers?

J.T. Kirk: People should think of their skills more as areas of functional expertise and less so as specific day-to-day tasks. While some day-to-day tasks may transfer well, such as a proficiency with using spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project, the ability to organize and track multiple responsibilities across different functions suggests a project management functional expertise. While many people know how to use the basic functions of these software programs, fewer know how to use the Visual Basic programming language and macros to customize these applications for specific purposes, which is a highly transferable and marketable skill.

Chapter 10 of Confessions of a Hiring Manager speaks specifically to how returning Armed Forces veterans can translate their military skills, knowledge, and experience into an expertise recognized and valued by the civilian job market by showing how a single task contributes to a core competency, and how several core competencies contribute to a functional expertise that hiring managers need and understand.

The format of a functional resume highlights transferable skills in different functions and should be the format of choice for people wanting or needing to change careers. The functional resume emphasizes in priority what you know, and secondarily where you used that knowledge. The reverse-chronological resume is the format used for folks wanting or needing to change jobs within the same field or profession and combines employment history with accomplishments. Confessions of a Hiring Manager has several annotated good and bad examples of both functional and reverse-chronological resumes.

What is the first step a person should take toward getting that dream job?

J.T. Kirk: Ah…the elusive “dream job”…many people talk about getting one but no one can really provide a hard-and-fast definition because there is no such thing, because most people’s concept of a dream job is based on whimsical notions. A dream job is not one that pays you lots of money to do little or no work, requires no special skills or knowledge, or rewards you handsomely but leaves you stressed out.

A dream job, by any detailed definition, is one that rewards you well for your specialized skills and knowledge, inspires your spirit, and values your contributions, to name just a few qualities. I can sum up the idea of a dream job with this quote: The happiest people are not those who have the best of everything but those who make the best of everything they have.

OK, but back to the question. The first step is to assess how well a person’s current job approaches their ideal job. Next, conduct an assessment of the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to be in that job. Finally, create a plan that addresses how to obtain the required expertise for that position, and keep that plan current with regular adjustments to it. That may involve going to back to school for a different or advanced degree; it may involve significant personal sacrifice on the individual’s part and that of that person’s family.

The book of Proverbs is full of very practical wisdom, and Chapter 22 Verse 3 states “A prudent person foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

What is next for J.T. Kirk?

J.T. Kirk: Besides speaking to audiences and conducting workshops, I also provide one-on-one collaboration with individuals who need my personal assistance with developing their PSKE Portfolio™. I’m also working on my next book, entitled 50 Things You Can Do NOW to Keep Your Job, to be published this fall by Kings Crown Publishing as well as other publishing projects.

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My book review of Confessions of a Hiring Manager: Sage Advice for Fearless Job Seekers and Career Changers in a Confused Economy by J.T. Kirk.

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Confessions of a Hiring Manager by J. T. Kirk - Book review



Confessions of a Hiring Manager

Sage Advice for Fearless Job Seekers and Career Changers in a Confused Economy


By: J. T. Kirk

Published: March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback, 238 pages
ISBN-10: 0981485715
ISBN-13: 978-0981485713
Publisher: Kings Crown Publishing









"Today's job-interview environment demands preparation, patience, and a bit of panache to be successful", writes former hiring manager and consultant J.T. Kirk in his very useful and comprehensive guide to getting a job in today's difficult economy Confessions of a Hiring Manager: Sage Advice for Fearless Job Seekers and Career Changers in a Confused Economy. The author shares insider secrets, and provides the tools that every job seeker needs, for getting hired in any employment market.

J.T. Kirk brings twenty years of hiring experience, in both the public and private sectors, to this valuable and hands on book. Along with describing the critical importance of every step in the hiring process from the cover letter and resume, to the interview and negotiating a compensation package, the author presents the hiring manager's point of view. While many books provide advice on resumes and interviewing techniques, very few examine these concepts from the prospective employer's side of the desk. As J.T. Kirk points out, the view from the company's perspective is very different from that of the job seeker. The author writes about how it is critical to understand what matters to the employer. As a result, this book gives the job hunter a deeper insight into the needs of the company, and how to meet those requirements.

J.T. Kirk shares the same methods that have worked successfully for other employment seekers. Primary among the author's proven techniques is what he calls the Professional Skills, Knowledge, and Experience Portfolio (PSKE Portfolio™). This concept presents the employment seeker's information in a memorable format for the hiring person. The PSKE Portfolio™ takes the applicant far beyond the standard resume and demonstrates their personal intellectual property in a professional, and very distinctive way, that sets a person apart from the other resumes or interviewees. Through the author's descriptions of what hiring managers are really looking for in their prospective employees, and the approach taken by the hiring personnel, a job seeker gains a very large advantage over the competition.

For me, the power of the book is how J.T. Kirk moves beyond the mainstream job hunting advice books, and offers the hiring manager's perspective about what really matters in a resume, cover letter, and interview. Along with the powerful PSKE Portfolio™ technique, J.T. Kirk points out the many mistakes made by applicants, including adding information that is truly detrimental to their hopes of being hired. The author shares tips for creating a superior resume, and also how to craft an attention grabbing cover letter, that can attract an interview on its own. Another strength of the book is the advice provided for people in transition from one career path, including moving out of military service, into another entirely different career. J.T. Kirk shows the prospective employee how to transfer skills learned in one occupation to the requirements of a very different career.

I highly recommend the results oriented and insider information packed book Confessions of a Hiring Manager: Sage Advice for Fearless Job Seekers and Career Changers in a Confused Economy by J.T. Kirk, to anyone seeking a new employment, regardless of what point they are in their career. Whether a person is a new college graduate, a returning veteran of the Armed Forces, recently laid off from their employer, or simply looking for a complete change of profession, this book contains the advice that will work in any economy.

Read the essential job finding book Confessions of a Hiring Manager: Sage Advice for Fearless Job Seekers and Career Changers in a Confused Economy by J.T. Kirk, and learn how hiring managers see you and your resume, so you can put that knowledge to work in your favor. This book, and its powerful results oriented methods, will give anyone an advantage in the job market, by setting themselves apart from their competitors. This book teaches you how to position yourself as the best possible candidate for any employment vacancy, and then helps you to land that job.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

 

Delia Passi: WomenCertified® - Interview



Leading expert on selling and building loyalty among women, sought after speaker and trainer, and Founder of WomenCertified®, Delia Passi was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about her organization.

Delia Passi described the mission of WomenCertified®, as well many of its activities. At the same time, she also discussed what WomenCertified® does not do, as she dispelled some misunderstandings about her company's goals and objectives.

Thanks to Delia Passi for her thoughtful and informative answers.

What is the mission of your business WomenCertified®?

Delia Passi: WomenCertified® helps to bring a better buying experience to women, and men, by improving the skills of sales and service professionals.

How does your site help women reach better informed and more satisfying buying decisions?

Delia Passi: Women can use our database of WomenCertified professionals to locate those businesses that have learned how to give them the kind of experience they want and deserve.

Is honest and unbiased consumer information part of your business objective and how can you helpwomen become better educated about the marketplace and their purchases?

Delia Passi: WomenCertified does not certify the products or services provided by the professionals and businesses in our database. We do train and test the sales and service employees so that they are able to provide a better experience to women. This will result in happier customers who will return to buy again, and will recommend the business to their friends, family and associates.

How can your company help women seeking to purchase products that are truly green and
environmentally friendly?


Delia Passi: WomenCertified does not evaluate the environmental practices of the companies that participate in our program.

How can your company help women find products that are manufactured by workers who are treated fairly, and who don't suffer exploitation?

Delia Passi: WomenCertified does not evaluate the employment or human resource practices of the companies that participate in our program.

How does your concept of communicating effectively and listening to women differ from the usual approach of selling to women?

Delia Passi: Most sales training programs are based on practices that are more effective with men, and encourage sales people to get quickly to the closing of the deal. Women won’t respond as well to these practices, and require more patience and communications skills than needed to sell to men. The WomenCertified program shows sales and service professional how to talk so she will listen, and how to listen so she will talk.



Delia Passi (photo left)

What is wrong with the current buying model for women and why has it not been well addressed until now?

Delia Passi: Not all companies or their personnel practice non-women friendly selling. Many sales and service professionals have learned how to sell to women through trial and error, adopting practices that they have learned the hard way. WomenCertified is where any professional or business owner can quickly learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to selling to women.

What are retailers and salespeople doing wrong when they fail to find real sales solutions for women?

Delia Passi: Often they are not practicing good listening skills and are assuming they know what women want. They go for a quick solution and don’t take the time to understand her needs. She won’t necessarily tell them in simple terms. Women are not as quick as men to make a decision, and look to their friends, family and associates to validate their purchasing choices.

How critical are women to building this current economic recovery?

Delia Passi: Women’s spending will be critical to the recovery. Women influence over 80% of all consumer purchases, and if women aren’t confident in the economy, they will not return to their prior spending levels, with the result being a slower recovery.

What are some of the challenges that your business has faced in reaching your target markets?

Delia Passi: Businesses are not quick to change their marketing and selling practices, even when they understand the importance of their women customers. We are at the beginning of a movement toward appreciating the importance of improving the buying experience of the largest and most powerful segment in the market.

Your company has a Canadian partnership. Are there plans for more international expansion of your business as well?

Delia Passi: Our Canadian partner is only the beginning for us internationally. In the past year I have spoken to a conference in Dubai on marketing to women, and contributed an article on the subject of women’s vs. men’s shopping behavior for a newspaper in Hong Kong. Women are similar in their buying expectations and behavior regardless of geography or culture, and I expect our business to grow all around the world.

What is next for WomenCertified.com and for Delia Passi?

Delia Passi: We want to excite the women of the world about their power in the marketplace, and motivate business to give her the experience she demands when she seeks someone to buy from, whether it is for a car, a plumber, a computer or a hotel room. I won’t rest until women know where they can expect the right kind of experience.

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SEO Basics For Small Business Twitter Chat

I had the privilege of being part of being part of Melinda Emerson's #smallbizchat discussion on Twitter. Melinda Emerson is well known to many independent business owners as @SmallBizLady on Twitter.



Melinda Emerson (photo left) and I discussed SEO for small business, and how search engine optimization basics can boost the rankings of any independent business website. We discussed simple SEO that any small business owner can do themselves to increase their rankings on Google, Yahoo, and MSN Bing.

The overall full length interview about SEO for small business took place on Melinda's Building Your Business website. The interview was then broken into 140 character tweets for Twitter.

Thanks to Melinda Emerson for her gracious invitation to share ideas about SEO for small business.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

 

Casey Hibbard: Stories That Sell - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Founder and President of Compelling Cases, Inc. and author of the practical and comprehensive guide to creating and utilizing compelling stories from customers, Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales and Marketing Asset, Casey Hibbard, shares how capturing and using customer stories will grow your business or strengthen your cause. Casey introduces a proven process for leveraging your current successes into new sales and customers. Learn Success-Story Marketing (TM), follow the Seven-Step Customer Story System, and discover how to build your business with customer stories.

Casey Hibbard is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, April 27, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Founder and President of Compelling Cases, Inc. and author of the practical and comprehensive guide to creating and utilizing compelling stories from customers, Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales and Marketing Asset, Casey Hibbard, shares how capturing and using customer stories will grow your business or strengthen your cause. You will learn:

* The power of storytelling for building your organization's credibility

* How to uncover and draw out the best customer success stories

* How to leverage customer stories for sales, marketing, branding and PR

* How to plan storytelling as part of an overall business strategy



Casey Hibbard (photo left) founded Compelling Cases, Inc.s in 2001 to help organizations capture and leverage the customer's voice for a greater impact in their sales, marketing and PR efforts. Merging more than 15 years of diverse journalism and marketing communications experience, she brings specific expertise in crafting compelling stories aligned with corporate goals. That means quickly grasping complex technology concepts, knowing the right questions to ask, creating highly readable communications, interfacing professionally with all parties, and assisting organizations in navigating success story, testimonial and reference-based marketing processes.

Her career includes serving as an independent marketing communications writer and consultant; as a reporter and high-tech columnist for The Colorado Springs Business Journal; as editor and project manager for a division of the University of California at Davis; as the editor of an employee newsletter for a large home health agency; and more than 400 published news and feature stories. She holds a bachelors degree in communications from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. In her spare time, she hikes and bikes in the Boulder, CO outdoors and volunteers for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado.

My book review of Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales and Marketing Asset by Casey Hibbard.

Listen live on Tuesday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

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To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with Founder and President of Compelling Cases, Inc. and author of the practical and comprehensive guide to creating and utilizing compelling stories from customers, Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales and Marketing Asset, Casey Hibbard, as she shares how capturing and using customer stories will grow your business or strengthen your cause. Casey introduces a proven process for leveraging your current successes into new sales and customers. Learn Success-Story Marketing (TM), follow the Seven-Step Customer Story System, and discover how to build your business with customer stories on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

 

Stories That Sell by Casey Hibbard - Book review



Stories That Sell

Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales and Marketing Asset


By: Casey Hibbard

Published: January 5, 2009
Format: Paperback, 253 pages
ISBN-10: 061518300X
ISBN-13: 978-0615183008
Publisher: AIM Publishers






"If it seems as though you're seeing more customer stories than ever, you are. And not just the age-old customer testimonial, but actual stories of how a product, service, or organization solved a problem", writes founder and President of Compelling Cases, Inc., Casey Hibbard in her practical and comprehensive guide to creating and utilizing compelling stories from customers, Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales and Marketing Asset. The author describes how to leverage the powerful human desire for storytelling to build sales, improve brand image, and develop trust in businesses and non profit organizations.

Casey Hibbard recognizes that throughout history, stories have been used to share information, to teach, and to help learn and remember important and valuable knowledge. Stories help to personalize information and to bring it alive in a way that engages the listener. Casey Hibbard demonstrates how this powerful desire to both tell and listen to stories can become an integral part of any sales, marketing, branding, and public relations campaign. The author teaches business people how to find their best and most successful customers, and through a thoughtful interviewing process, draw out the customer's most compelling and intriguing stories. Through leveraging these wonderful stories, a buyer is drawn into the the customer's experience, and wants to share it as well.



Casey Hibbard (photo left) not only understands the power of telling and hearing stories on a deep human psychological level, but she describes the tools for helping customers become enthralling storytellers. The author presents her Seven-Step Customer-Story System as a road map to planning, uncovering and sharing customer stories to enhance credibility far beyond the standard customer testimonial. The seven steps are:

* Strategic story planning
* Uncovering customer candidates
* Securing customer permission
* Intelligence gathering
* Creating compelling stories
* Story sign off
* Leveraging customer stories

Each of these seven steps are illustrated in detail, and with real world examples of other customer success stories, to bring the concepts to life.

For me, the power of the book is how Casey Hibbard demonstrates the power and relative simplicity of customer story telling as an organizational credibility building technique. The author shows the reader step by step, how to utilize stories to transform everyday sales and marketing programs to great ones, that really connect with the customer on a personal level. Not only does Casey Hibbard point out the many benefits of customer success stories, but she also describes some pitfalls and mistakes that can be made through using the customer story concept incorrectly.

One of the really great features of the book is the sample case studies of real world customer success stories. These examples, of success stories written in different formats and used in different ways, gives the reader a sense of the versatility of the customer success story. The author also provides a handy checklist at the back of the book to ensure that all seven steps in the system are applied correctly.

I highly recommend the innovative and results oriented book Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales and Marketing Asset by Casey Hibbard, to anyone seeking a more personalized approach to sales, marketing, branding, and public relations for their organization. The author shares proven ideas and methods for helping satisfied customers share their success stories with others. At the same time, the seven step system ensures that the stories are presented in the best possible manner, and to the satisfaction of both the storyteller and the company.

Read the essential guide to customer storytelling Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales and Marketing Asset by Casey Hibbard, and let the power of narrative stories increase your company's profits or your cause's profile. Your success will form the basis of a truly engaging story that sells.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

 

Gregg Steinberg: Full Throttle - Author interview



Personal development expert, thought leader, and corporate speaker in the fields of personal and corporate success, Gregg M. Steinberg, PhD, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his insightful and empowering book Full Throttle: 122 Strategies to Supercharge Your Performance at Work.

Thanks to Gregg Steinberg for his thoughtful and informative answers about his book and his system for developing emotional control to achieve top level performance in any field.





What was the background to writing this book Full Throttle: 122 Strategies to Supercharge Your Performance at Work?

Gregg Steinberg: I coach many business executives and realized that they are the same as athletes, so I applied the same principles to business for this book.

You write in the book that mastering our emotions is the X-Factor to success. Why is understanding and controlling emotions so important?

Gregg Steinberg: Emotions are the cornerstone to our success. For instance, if we are nervous and not at ease, our performance will suffer, regardless of venue.

Do many otherwise astute business people find themselves being less effective because of a lack of emotional control?

Gregg Steinberg: There is an old saying, "when you are inside the frame, it is hard to know what the picture looks like". I believe many people I work with do not see the big picture and it has little to do with intelligence.

How does your approach build upon the well known and established principle of emotional intelligence?

Gregg Steinberg: Emotional intelligence dealt with knowing our emotions and controlling those emotions as well as knowing emotions in others and controlling those emotions. My work goes a step further and also speaks to emotional bravado, emotional engagement, emotional balance, emotional drive.



Gregg Steinberg (photo left)

What are some of the most damaging emotions that can do serious harm to a business person's career or company?

Gregg Steinberg: Fear is the #1 emotion which comes across as insecurity and lack of confidence.

You describe becoming more in control of your emotions by mastering six core strengths. What are those six core strengths and why are they critical to success?

Gregg Steinberg: Emotional awareness, emotional bravado, emotional engagement, emotional drive, emotional balance. They are independent but also interactive and you need all of them to be successful in most areas of your life.

You include a number of inspiring success stories in the book. Is it possible for anyone to achieve equal or even greater success than the people described in the case studies?

Gregg Steinberg: Anything is possible

The book is quite interactive as it includes exercises and drills to help the reader to master their own personal emotions. Was this interactive component part of the overall intention of the book?

Gregg Steinberg: Yes, I believe people do not just want inspiring stories but also how to apply this knowledge and my aim was to give them tools to apply the knowledge from the book.

What is the first step a person should take toward mastering their emotions?

Gregg Steinberg: Emotional awareness is the key to enlightenment.

What is next for Dr. Gregg Steinberg?

Gregg Steinberg: Anything is possible!

*********

My book review of Full Throttle: 122 Strategies to Supercharge Your Performance at Work by Gregg M. Steinberg PhD.

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Full Throttle by Gregg Steinberg - Book review



Full Throttle

122 Strategies to Supercharge Your Performance at Work


By: Gregg M. Steinberg, PhD

Published: June 2009
Format: Hardcover, 258pp
ISBN-13: 9780470452424
ISBN-10: 0470452420
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons






"Mastering our emotions is the X-factor to success", writes personal development expert and corporate speaker on personal success Gregg Steinberg, in his insightful and empowering book Full Throttle: 122 Strategies to Supercharge Your Performance at Work. The author describes the critical importance of mastering your emotions to become the master of your own world.

Gregg Steinberg recognizes the critical importance of controlling one's emotions as the key to success in all areas of a person's life. Through his study of high performance athletes, Gregg Steinberg discovered that winning athletes were able to keep their emotions in check, while athletes who failed to achieve the elite level were less able to control their emotions. That ability to master emotions was a trait that was shared by top level executives, successful managers, and other productive employees at every level of the organization. By understanding that emotional strength can be practiced and developed, Gregg Steinberg presents a revolutionary new system for controlling emotions to achieve elite level success in every aspect of life.



Gregg Steinberg (photo left) moves beyond the well known concept of emotional intelligence, and describes a six part integrated system for strengthening emotional awareness. The six emotional strengths are:

* Emotional awareness
* Emotional preparedness
* Emotional bravado
* Emotional connectedness
* Emotional drive
* Emotional balance

The book is divided into sections that address each of these emotional strengths separately. Even though these six strengths are intertwined, they are also independent of one another, requiring separate development techniques. Since each emotional strength varies with every person, the reader can turn to whichever strength needs to be addressed at any one time. Taken together, the six emotional strengths form a road map for living a happier, and a more satisfying and successful life.

For me, the power of the book is how Gregg Steinberg presents the importance and value of understanding and developing the six emotional strengths to become a high performance individual. The author's emphasis on controlling and mastering one's emotions is illustrated by examples of world class athletes who maintained their emotional composure in elite level sporting events. The book not only is packed with case studies of high performance athletes, but provides the blueprint for developing and enhancing those crucial emotional strengths for anyone. The book is very interactive as the final chapter of the book contains a personal analysis tool called The Emotional Strength Assessment Tool ESAT. Each chapter concludes with special tips and activities for furthering the emotional strength development process. Overall, the author shares a very usable and results oriented system that anyone can use to boost their own individual performance through emotional control.

I highly recommend the groundbreaking and highly practical book Full Throttle: 122 Strategies to Supercharge Your Performance at Work by Gregg Steinberg, to anyone seeking a proven and effective system for mastering their own emotions. The author makes it clear to the reader that a failure to master emotions can stall or even derail an otherwise promising career. The stakes are simply too high to let a failure to control your emotions stand in the way of your personal or career success.

Read the essential guide to emotional mastery Full Throttle: 122 Strategies to Supercharge Your Performance at Work by Gregg Steinberg, and apply the same techniques for emotional control used by elite athletes and top performing business executives. The system, and its 122 strategies outlined in this book, will develop and improve your emotional strengths, setting you on the path to high level achievement.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

 

Jack Garson: How to Build A Business and Sell it for Millions - Author interview



Founder of Garson Claxton LLC, legal and strategic business adviser Jack Garson, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his practical and indispensable guide to starting, building, and selling a successful business for millions of dollars How to Build a Business and Sell It for Millions.

Thanks to Jack Garson for his informative answers to questions about starting a business in today's economic climate, operating a successful organization, and eventually selling it when the time is right. He not only shares tips for selling a company, but offers encouragement to anyone wanting to start an entrepreneurial venture the right way,

What was the background to writing this book How to Build A Business and Sell it for Millions?

Jack Garson: I have been working closely with a variety of businesses for 25 years. In that time, I have seen what works and what doesn’t. Too many times, entrepreneurs put a tremendous amount of effort—and money—into their businesses only to see them fail because they didn’t know key lessons to achieving success and avoiding failure. I want to help those businesspeople.

In today's troubled economy, is it a good time to start a new business?

Jack Garson: Some of the most successful businesses, like IBM, Hewlett Packard and GE, were started in time of great economic distress. You can certainly succeed even if you start in a recession. Sometimes there are even advantages. For example, you may face reduced competition because other entrepreneurs are too afraid or cash-strapped to launch their business. Also, starting in times of economic difficulty can impose good habits on businesspeople. They only spend money where they really need to and they quickly identify what is profitable and abandon what is not.

Overall, different businesses will launch better in different economic environments. For many, it won’t be a good time to start. For others, it may be ideal. You have to judge on a case by case basis. Most importantly, you have to determine if you are ready. Ask yourself a few key questions: Do you have a profitable business model? Do you have an edge that will help you fend off competition? Are you starting with enough cash to make it through the tough times to consistent profitability?

Should an entrepreneur plan to sell the business even while the new venture is still in the planning and start up stages?

Jack Garson: Absolutely. There are things that you will do and choices that you will make at the outset that will affect your ability to sell—even decades later. Are you picking the right type of structure, such as a corporation versus a limited liability company, which will avoid disastrous tax consequences when and if you do sell? Are you throwing stock or other ownership interests in your business at every person that lends a hand, making it difficult to manage and sell your business? Do you have a good agreement from the outset with your partners, so you can avoid disputes and fairly share the wealth, whether from a sale or just everyday profits?

How can an entrepreneur create a solid and workable business plan as well as a strong business model?

Jack Garson: First, read my book. In it, there is detailed guidance.

Second, commit your plan to writing and get input from knowledgeable advisors. Don’t just listen to the folks that love everything you do. Get input from people who are blunt and honest—you’ll learn more, however painful it may be to hear criticism.

Third, consider testing out your business model in a scaled down version. One client tested out his home computer repair business and learned that the demand, at the prices he needed to be profitable, just was not there yet.



Jack Garson (photo left)

How critical is developing a good marketing plan to establishing a company that will be sold eventually?

Jack Garson: Creating a business that will sell requires certain universal characteristics, such as profitability, a competitive edge, sustainability and scalability. A good marketing plan is almost as important, but the level of importance will depend on the business. If you are doing business among a crowd of competitors, as in the retail world, marketing is critical to your success and, therefore, your ability to sell your company. Aside from your products, your brand may be your most important asset.

How can a business person who has put much time and work into a new business know when it's time to sell, and then actually let go?

Jack Garson: Wow! Brilliant question and one of the toughest decisions any business owner will ever face. For some companies there will be a unique “sweet spot” when big companies with a lot of money want to enter your area of business. Here, you will be facing a dual incentive to sell. They will offer you a lot of money. They will also spend a lot of money to compete with you if you don’t sell. That kind of situation is one of the clearest signals to sell. But more often, deciding when to sell will depend on a lot of factors.

For example, have the owners reached an age when they want to do something different? Are the owners able to sell at a price that will give them financial independence? Have the owners taken the business as far as they can without dramatic changes in the leadership or finances of the company? The situation is often complex—and emotional.

And that leads nicely into the “letting go” part. First and foremost, you need to unwind yourself from your business. For those who are so enmeshed with their business that there is no “yourself” apart from the “business,” you need to start working on a new identity. As I explain in the book, you need to start pursuing your other interests, reconnect with family and figure out what the next chapter in your life should be about.

Are there effective ways to find suitable and qualified buyers for a company?

Jack Garson: First, build a great business.

Second, make your company visible—in good ways—in the years that you are growing your business. Part of your marketing plan should be the establishment of a prominent and prestigious brand.

Third, enlist a great investment banker and other advisors as part of your selling team. They will do most of the work finding the right buyers for your business.

How does an entrepreneur value a company for sale?

Jack Garson: It is not so much a question of valuing your own business, but understanding how the right buyers value your company. There is a lot of variety from industry to industry, but in many cases buyers will pay some multiple of your annual net income. Buyers often start with a special formulation of your net income called “EBITDA.” This acronym stands for earnings before interest (expenses), taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Then buyers make their own proprietary adjustments to this formula to determine how much a business is worth to them. Here is where your advisors, especially an investment banker, can provide invaluable guidance. Also, it doesn’t hurt to learn how prospective buyers value your business even years before you want to sell—so you can build a company that will be really valuable in the eyes of most buyers.

What are some of the things that can go wrong during the sale?

Jack Garson: Plenty. Some of the usual suspects include failing to hit your financial projections and what I call “taking your eye off the ball.” As I explain in the book, too many business owners let their executives get distracted by the process of selling the company. Next you thing you know, operations and sales suffer and the buyer wants to renegotiate for a lower price.

When the sale is completed, is there still more work to do?

Jack Garson: Often the buyer wants you to work for the company, at least for a transition period and sometimes a lot longer. Aside from that, you may be distributing money to people on your team who have earned part of the payday from the sale. Likewise, you may be monitoring the business after the sale to determine whether you are due any deferred payout.

In addition, depending on whether the buyer took over all of your business property or just part, you may be storing company records, closing down facilities and distributing miscellaneous assets. You may also need to attend to special tax returns and reporting information to government agencies. But you biggest post-sale job is often managing your money and your new life.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur starting out today?

Jack Garson: Measure twice and cut once. That is, don’t leap in without a lot of thought and planning. Too many folks work hard and spend a lot of money on bad business ideas.

What is next for Jack Garson?

Jack Garson: Continuing to help businesses at my law firm, Garson Claxton LLC, and through my writing and speaking engagements.

**********

My book review of How to Build a Business and Sell It for Millions by Jack Garson.


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How to Build a Business and Sell It for Millions by Jack Garson - Book review



How to Build a Business and Sell It for Millions

By: Jack Garson

Published: March 2010
Format: Hardcover, 272pp
ISBN-13: 9780312383114
ISBN-10: 0312383118
Publisher: St. Martin's Press










"Building and selling your own business has always been one of the greatest paths to wealth. Now it's the opportunity of a lifetime", writes founder of Garson Claxton LLC, legal and strategic business adviser Jack Garson in his practical and indispensable guide to starting, building, and selling a successful business for millions of dollars How to Build a Business and Sell It for Millions. The author describes in detail how to select and operate the right type of high demand and profitable business, that will attract many qualified buyers, from the date of its inception to its ultimate sale.

Jack Garson recognizes that economic downturns are the ideal time to start an entrepreneurial venture and to create a business. The author also knows that not all types of businesses and industries will grow and create a high sale value company. From the very challenging opening chapter, Jack Garson recommends that an entrepreneur work backwards, and plan for the ultimate sale of the company from the moment of its inception. By projecting a company's future sale potential from the beginning of the start up process, the author points out that many of the business planning and managing pitfalls, that stall many companies from reaching their full potential, are reduced and even eliminated. The new entrepreneur, seeing their own exit strategy from the very beginning, is much less likely to commit the often seen management mistakes of micro managing, failure to delegate, or to understand the factors involved in transitioning a small business into a large organization.



Jack Garson (photo left) describes in detail how to create a business that becomes an industry leader through a powerful business model that is scalable to become a much larger organization. The author shares valuable ideas for putting together a strong team of employees, and for developing a company that can sustain its business plan over the long term. The advice for effective management, described in the book, will ensure the company is profitable and continues its growth curve in any economy. When it comes time to sell the company, Jack Garson provides a strategy for getting the highest possible price, and for avoiding the myriad of problems that can derail the sale of a business. The author also points out important issues for consideration after the sale is completed, including post sale terms, taxation and legal matters.

For me, the power of the book is how Jack Garson puts his experience to good effect in demonstrating the critical importance of thinking about selling a business from the moment of the planned start up. Through emphasizing the eventual sale, the entrepreneur is able to let go of control while operating the business and at the moment that selling the company becomes imminent. All too often, entrepreneurs get too close to their own creation and fail to define their vision, lack delegation skills, are unable to hire the right people, or even relinquish the business to the new owners. This book also goes beyond pricing the company, to giving details about how the sale process works both during the proceedings, and after the sale is completed. Jack Garson also draws the entrepreneur's attention to the often neglected legal and taxation issues that must be taken into account.

I highly recommend the essential and very readable book How to Build a Business and Sell It for Millions by Jack Garson, to anyone considering starting an entrepreneurial venture, is currently operating a business, or who is contemplating the sale of their company. The information found in this book is valuable at every stage of a company's life. At the same time, the advice provided by Jack Garson will ensure a successful start up even in today's difficult economy. Indeed, the techniques presented in this book will work especially well in a weak economy as the new business will be utilizing systems that will out distance the competition.

Read the excellent book on building and eventually selling a successful company How to Build a Business and Sell It for Millions by Jack Garson, and create the business of your dreams and sell it for millions of dollars. This book will start you on that wonderful and rewarding journey.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

 

Ivan Misner & David Alexander: Networking Like A Pro - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Founder and Chairman of Business Networking International BNI, Ivan Misner and Chief Networking Officer CNO of Referrals4Life LLC, David Alexander, who along with Brian Hilliard are co-authors of the comprehensive and highly practical book Networking Like A Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections.

They share their secrets for improving your networking skills and results. Their proven techniques will help you build, grow, or even revive your business even in today's difficult economy. They show you how to reach qualified prospects, leverage your contacts, and motivate your referrals. They also demonstrate how to track the success of your networking results to help you grow your business even more quickly.

Ivan Misner and David Alexander are my internet radio show guests on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, April 22, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Founder and Chairman of Business Networking International BNI, Ivan Misner and Chief Networking Officer CNO of Referrals4Life LLC, David Alexander, who along with Brian Hilliard are co-authors of the comprehensive and highly practical book Networking Like A Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections. They share their secrets for improving your networking skills and results. You will learn:

* Some of the myths and misconceptions about networking

* How to find, build, and leverage your own contact stream

* How to formulate a networking strategy that generates profits for your business

* How the referral river and its four streams can work for your company



Ivan Misner, Ph.D. (photo left) is the Founder & Chairman of BNI, as well as a New York Times best-selling author.

Called the "Father of Modern Networking," Dr. Misner is one of the world's leading experts in business networking and referral marketing.

He contributes monthly articles to Entrepreneur.com as the online magazine's networking expert, he is a featured blogger on the NetworkingNow Blog Network, and he hosts the weekly BNI Podcast.



David Alexander (photo left) has a vision is to build a thriving community of professionals who believe that investing in others’ success is the path to prosperity. David creates this vision through being the CNO (Chief Networking Officer) of Referrals4Life LLC.

Referrals4life is the largest BNI franchise owner in the United States and operates over 150 chapters in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Mississippi. BNI is the worlds leading referral marketing organization. David’s company is also part of the worlds leading referral training organization the Referral Institute.

David is a respected author and keynote presenter. His books convey his passion and mission of teaching people how to create success with a strong emphasis on referral marketing. His recent book is Roadmap to Success, co-authored with Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard. In addition, he is working on four additional books, GPS For Success,Networking Like A Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections, Referrals For Life, and Fire Up Your Referrals.

My book review of Networking Like A Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections by Ivan Misner, David Alexander, and Brian Hilliard.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

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To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with Founder and Chairman of Business Networking International BNI, Ivan Misner and Chief Networking Officer CNO of Referrals4Life LLC, David Alexander, who along with Brian Hilliard are co-authors of the comprehensive and highly practical book Networking Like A Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections. They share their secrets for improving your networking skills and results. Their proven techniques will help you build, grow, or even revive your business even in today's difficult economy. They show you how to reach qualified prospects, leverage your contacts, and motivate your referrals. They also demonstrate how to track the success of your networking results to help you grow your business even more quickly on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

 

Networking Like A Pro by Ivan Misner, David Alexander & Brian Hilliard - Book review



Networking Like A Pro

Turning Contacts into Connections


By: Ivan Misner, David Alexander, Brian Hilliard

Published: October 2009
Format: Paperback, 288pp
ISBN-13: 9781599183565
ISBN-10: 1599183560
Publisher: Entrepreneur Press











"The truth is that referral networking is becoming an accepted and important marketing strategy in businesses worldwide", write networking professionals Ivan Misner, David Alexander, and Brian Hilliard in their comprehensive and highly practical book Networking Like A Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections. The authors share their proven techniques for building your contact list, leveraging more referrals, and for quantifying the results of your networking program.



Ivan Misner (photo left), David Alexander, and Brian Hilliard understand that many people have tried many ideas for enhancing their networking skills, but found that nothing seemed to work. The authors dispel many of the most common myths and misconceptions that have grown up around networking, and describe how those mistaken ideas have contributed to the lack of success experienced by many business people. Instead of perpetuating outmoded ideas about networking and referrals, the book presents a complete system for meeting contacts both online and face to face, for turning those contacts into referrals, and then tracking the results. Along with these basic skills, the authors demonstrate the importance of building social capital and enriching the four streams of a networking river of contacts to multiply any networking plan.



David Alexander (photo left), Ivan Misner, and Brian Hilliard recognize that networking is not only a proven business building technique, but also that its importance will grow even more in the future. They describe a networking group of contacts as an ever widening and always flowing river. This large river of networking contacts is built from four tributary streams. The four are:

* Casual contact network
* Knowledge network
* Online Network
* Strong contact network



Brian Hilliard (photo left), Ivan Misner and David Alexander know that each of these groups of people provides their own strengths of referral to the network, generating ever more referrals and opportunities to create more social capital. The book shows the reader step by step how to meet more people, where to meet them, and how to make the most positive and memorable impression possible.

For me, the power of the book is how Ivan Misner, David Alexander, and Brian Hilliard go far beyond most networking books. Very often, networking and referrals are treated as an afterthought, and not given the critical importance they should considering their business value. The authors not only describe the various aspects of networking, and the various techniques for building and farming a network, but they also share the reasons why each of the steps is crucial to success. The book is about developing a strategy for creating, managing, and leveraging an entire networking system, including tracking and quantifying its success. The authors delve into the differences between online and offline networking, as well as pointing out the subtle variations between types of contacts.

I highly recommend the essemtial and must read book Networking Like A Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections by Ivan Misner, David Alexander, and Brian Hilliard, to anyone who is serious about taking their networking skills to a much higher level. The book is not a panacea, but if the reader follows the steps and formulates a networking strategy, the system described in the book will give your company more business. Not only does the process enhance the company's profits, but also shows how to measure the results of the program.

Read the business building book Networking Like A Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections by Ivan Misner, David Alexander, and Brian Hilliard, and stop making the same old networking mistakes. Put this proven process to work for you, and watch your contact list expand, your referrals take off as never before, and your company bottom line grow. Networking is the wave of the future, so get started by reading this valuable book today.

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