Key terms used in Professional Networking
(for use with Send the Right Signals coaching, classes and workshops)
The Ask: A simple request made clearly and directly, usually towards the end of a face-to-face meeting. Your request might be for new business, an introduction, or fulfilling a vendor need for your business. All your preparation and hard work should lead to The Ask. An Entrepre-nerd often neglects to take this crucial step.
Back of the card: A technique I learned from Carl Terzian, that helps me to learn a little bit more about someone I Don't Know Well. The back of the card includes personal-but-not-overly-intimate things, like their family and what they do for fun.
Bookends: Bookending is a storytelling technique that provides your listeners with a cue, or subtle signal, that your story will have a context and meaning - and so, will respect their time and interest. The simplest way to bookend your story (i.e., your elevator speech) is by opening and closing with a challenge/outcome pairing that features the same character (or client), but this technique has many variants.
Case Study: Your response to the question, "Tell me about a recent project or client experience." Consists of: Client Contour, Their Problem, Your Solution, Their Outcome, Their Testimonial. Be sure to explain their outcome in a compelling way - this is a great chance for you to shine a light our your strengths. Can also be written and shared in print.
Client Contour: It goes without saying that the people you'll be selling to will be of nearly infinite variety. Contours are a way to manage that complexity. As a salesperson, one of your jobs is to identify the 5-10 qualities that make a prospect ideal, and then, to assess to what degree that prospect does or does not meet that ideal. Your assessments will, over time, form a kind of shape or contour. Keep in mind that contouring is one of many types of Discernments. Be careful not to use these contours as the exclusive basis upon which you determine whether or not to pursue a working relationship with someone, or you'll risk coming off "shark-y".
Closed Hand: (see Open Hand)
Discernment:The questions you use to assess the depth of capacity someone might have to support your interests or needs. Just like a PGA pro golfer wouldn't look for a foursome at their community golf course, Polished Pros practice discernment as they navigate their networks and build working relationships.
Don't Know Well: Anyone with whom you have a professional relationship that you haven't graduated yet to Pal, Ally, or Intimate.
Elevator Speech: Your Five-Second Pitch plus a Case Study plus a Trigger.
Entrepre-nerd: An individual who is committed to professional networking but lacks the sophistication of a Polished Pro. Their naivete might come off as charming or annoying but it rarely leads to referrals or to new business.
Gambit: An engaging opening line used at networking events. Can be spontaneous or scripted.
Giver/Taker: Some Entrepre-nerds excitedly Share inappropriately, offering resources before actually getting to know the other person, and they wind up with a rep for making inappropriate referrals. Others E-nerds are stubborn - they decide (sometimes unconsciously) that they aren't willing to accept offers of help from others. The rest feel uncomfortable either way. So in all cases, business relationships like these 'net out' the same. For expediency, we lump them into this one grouping. Some Polished Pros are supportive when they see a ex-Giver/Taker begin to Reciprocate.
Host: Supervised the heavy lifting that was done before you got to the event.
Ideal Client Profile: Polished Pros know that being able to verbalize the key 'whos whats and wheres' while describing the clients they most enjoy working with is one of the most important tools in their networking toolbox.
Intimates: A group of ten or so people people with whom you regularly share high-potential professional opportunities, and with whom you probably enjoy activities outside of work as well.
The Magic Question: "Who is your ideal client?"
The Nested Spheres: The most basic model we use to segment your network - thus saving you time, energy, and money.
Networking: a Polished Pro habitually views networking as a set of techniques that can be mastered so that they can form trust relationships with the right people. The Pro places high value on those relationships, and so, hones their technique to the point where its invisible - and highly effective.
One-liner: Describes what you do, and who you do it for, in less than 10 words.
Open hand: One of the defining characteristics of a Reciprocator. Reciprocators often make good Allies, and are a pre-requisite to becoming an Intimate.
Pals: A group of 100 or so people with whom you have a casual, friendly professional relationship. You feel good about Pals when you run into them, but they haven't revealed their true nature to you yet, ie, you don't know whether they're a Giver/taker or a Reciprocator, so they haven't graduated to become an Ally.
Polished Pro: A professional who leaves you with a positive, memorable impression. They generally use many or all of the techniques presented in the Send the Right Signals workshops.see Entrepre-nerd.
Reciprocator: Anyone who is comfortable with and focused on both giving and receiving referrals, information, experience, and opportunity within their network on a consistent basis. Some people are only comfortable when they're receiving, others are only comfortable when they're giving. Reciprocators are a rare breed. Treat them accordingly.
Share: see the fifth column in this chart
The Shift: The moment during a networking conversation where an Entrepre-nerd starts to feel lost. Chances are that what happened is, the conversation just shifted but they missed the cue.
Trigger: Fills in the blank "Think of me when ________________________"
Trust-based networking: Lays a foundation for multidimensional business relationships to emerge, reduces it's members expectations of Tit-for-Tat, and excludes Giver/Takers.
Value Proposition:A statement or offer of a compelling business solution (be sure that that you're capable of delivering on it), presented to the right person at the appropriate moment. This is essentially an ultimate Ask, but its presented in a manner that focuses on your prospect's needs - not your own.
Values: Your values are the ultimate determinant of how you show up in the world. Polished Pros have invested time and energy in understanding what they hold most dear. Here's an exercise to get you started defining your values
Vision: What do you want out of life? Who do you want to be? What do you want to have?
See you there!