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The Art Of Giving Referrals At Entrepreneur Networking Events

Networking and Referrals go hand! They both involve other people, and they both offer great potential for business opportunities! In this #AskTheFedora, Jarrod discusses the art of giving great referrals at entrepreneur networking events!

A big part of networking is asking for referrals because we all want a referral. Is someone going to refer you after they meet you for the first time…probably not. It’s a matter of developing the trust and the relationship with somebody in order for them to send a referral your way. If you send a poor referral and the person let’s say does not have the business sense or skills to do the job, it reflects poorly on you. When I ask someone for a referral, I often know them well, trust them and respect them. This all takes time to build. What I like to do is connect with people, and if I really like them and trust them then I’d be very happy to send referrals their way.

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Why Enthusiasm Matters At Networking Events

Today our #AskTheFedora looks at “Why Enthusiasm Matters At Networking Events”.

Transcript:

You go to so many networking events, so how do you avoid burnout? Every opportunity at a networking event is a way to continue the conversations that you’ve had from previous events. Plus, you’re meeting new people for the first time so it’s a never-ending opportunity to make new connections. When you go out and try to connect with people, you should always be excited and enthusiastic! Sure, some people might have an extra coffee or two (I for one drink a lot in the morning), but it’s so important to always have enthusiasm. So you go to a networking event and a person’s talking to you about their business: “I do this, I’m kind of into that, I’m not sure about this, I don’t like doing that”. They are not leaving a very good impression on the other person because they don’t seem to have the enthusiasm. If you’re an introvert, it might be very difficult to talk about what you do, but you’re business is your passion. You need to express your passion to other people so that they’ll buy into it because people buy into you. As a small business owner you are the business. Whatever networking event you’re going to and you’re meeting somebody for the first time or hundredth time, you need to get that passion out because it’s something that people will remember. Never forget your enthusiasm at networking events because eSAX makes networking work!

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Interpreting Body Language at Networking Events

This week our #AskTheFedora video looks at How To Interpret Body Language at Entrepreneur Networking Events!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Transcript:

Of all the networking events I’ve been to, the one thing I’ve really come across is that picking up on body language is so important as a networking skill. Next time you’re at an event, look at the person, look at the way their standing, their tone of voice, if they are looking over your shoulder to see if there is anyone else in the room to connect to. What I’m paying attention to at a networking event is the non-verbal body language. Then you can adjust the way you talk to that person. If they are very shy, you don’t want to be in their face, you want to stand off to the side a little bit. Because eSAX Makes Networking Work!

Don’t forget to register for the next eSAX Ottawa Networking event!

How Do I Talk About My Budding Business at Networking Events?

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The beginning of a new business is an exciting time. There are so many new ideas and endless possibilities, but how do you start to talk about a budding business when it’s not quite off the ground yet?

One thing I’ve noticed is that people are reluctant to talk about their business ideas for a variety of reasons. Some people are protective of their new baby, knowing it is not yet ready to be scrutinized by the world. Some people are afraid others will steal their ideas. Others just don’t know where to start. The good news is, you CAN network no matter what stage your business is in, because networking is about creating relationships and not about making sales. Odds are that you will find a great deal of supportive business people ready to give you a hand if you need it.

Still not convinced? Read on for tips:

  • Be Ready for Advice and Suggestions – When you come into a networking event without an established business, you may find people are eager to help you. This can be beneficial, but it can also be overwhelming when you haven’t even started yet. If someone says something that piques your interest, you may want to take a note and tell them you’d like to follow-up with them on that advice once you get going. Just beware that this can be a situation that makes your head swim, and be prepared to “smile and nod” and not change all of your ideas because people seemingly more experienced have told you to. If people bring negativity to the conversation and make you feel bad about your idea, move on from talking to them. This is where a business coach or mentor can come in handy, because they help you build confidence about your own ideas and ensure stick to them despite outside influence.
  • Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas – Could it happen? Maybe, but probably not. I hear many people are hesitant to discuss their idea because they think it is a goldmine and if they don’t get people to sign an NDA they won’t discuss it. For the most part, people at networking events are too busy with their own business to steal someone else’s. The people out there who are looking to steal business ideas have aren’t likely to have the same level of expertise and passion to pull it off the same way you would, so don’t worry about it! Besides, you don’t have to reveal every aspect of business at a networking event.
  • Prepare your elevator pitch – Even if your spiel is just an explainer of the fact that you are new to the entrepreneurship world and just starting to put together your business, it is still worth preparing and practicing so you have more confidence to talk to people. Include the industry you are interested in, and what you are trying to learn more about, and see what they have to offer to the conversation.

Talking about your business at networking events is great for gaining potential clients, establishing people who can give you referrals down the line, and for bouncing ideas off of people while gaining insight into the industry. Hearing the reactions of experienced entrepreneurs as well as new ones is invaluable to a small business owner, because you get an idea of how the market reacts to your pitches, products, and services. Don’t hold back from attending networking events just because you don’t have your business plan or branding done. Jump in right away. In fact, you may find it’s even more low-pressure this way!

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Network with a Brand, Name, and Logo You Love

eSAX-networking-ottawa-business-brandingLast week we talked about your business cards, but let’s take a step back and talk this week about branding, naming, and your logo.

Strong Branding Creates Strong Connections

When most people hear the word branding, they think colors and graphics, but branding actually goes deeper than that. It includes logos, naming, taglines, and even your elevator pitch along with the other graphics, and it is about what your company stands for, in an all-encompassing way. It starts when you sit down to write your business plan, and it grows out of your mission and vision. You also have to take into consideration your products or services, as well as your target market. You have to feel confident that your feel your branding represents your business, and you also need to be sure that your audience is interpreting your message the way you intend it. Once you’ve worked this out, you can then work on the visuals that you will use consistently in your traditional and digital marketing.

A Memorable Business Name is Important

There is a lot to consider when you are naming your company. Aside from the obvious, that you want something that matches what you do and is easy on the ears, you also have to research if the name is already used anywhere, if the domain (and social media IDs) are available, and also if the shortened version or acronym are used (you don’t want anyone to confuse you with anyone else). It is best to bounce names off of people, because what makes sense to you may not have the same effect in the marketplace.

Stunning Logos Make You Noteworthy

You are the face of your business, but your logo is the graphic representation of what your business stands for. You may choose something that is easy for people to instantly understand, or you may choose something abstract that has a story behind it (make sure to share that story in the About section on your website). If you aren’t a visual person you can turn to a professional who has tons of experience in creating impactful logos. Remember that you (and your customers) are going to have to look at this image a LOT over the years, so you better like it! You should also feel convinced that it is the perfect embodiment of your business. Everything from the bold or elegant design, to the choice of color and typography should be well thought-out and considered before you make a permanent decision.

It is entirely possible to attend networking events without having set your branding, naming, and logo, and in fact, it is encouraged to attend events like eSAX: The Entrepreneurial Advantage Experience because this is exactly the type of low-pressure atmosphere that will let you have conversations about how they settled on their branding, or what they think of a few naming ideas you are considering. It is also a great place to find marketing experts who are more than willing to give you advice that will help you move forward with your branding, naming, and logo process.

How To Follow-Up With People After A Networking Event

Today our #AskTheFedora explains how to follow-up with people after a networking event!

Transcript:

After a networking event you walk out with 30 business cards…what do you do with them? I realized three or four years ago when I was starting out that it was starting to become a really big pile. I kept going through my rolodex or plastic pages and quickly realized this wasn’t sustainable so I decided to put everyone I met on a database. What I do with a business is to see if I’ve me them before. If yes I update their record, if not, I create a new entry. What I do is send them a customized e-mail. “It was really nice to meet you at (insert name of event)” and then anything particular about that person…if they play music, or if they have a hat or something so that I can relate to them to develop that relationship with them. Then, I invite them to connect on LinkedIn. “Dear so-and-so, it was nice meeting you at the event would you like to connect on LinkedIn”? It’s important to keep in touch with them and continue developing these relationship so that next time you see them at a networking event it’s easier for them to make a better connection with you.

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Mastering a Great Handshake for Ottawa Networking Events

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Events-Handshake-GuideOne of the most important, but often overlooked, part of successful networking is the handshake.

The origins of handshakes are interesting. They were originally a sign between medieval knights (or ancient Greeks, depending on who is telling the story) to show that they were approaching each other unarmed. Handshakes have remained a way in which people broker relationships, seal agreements, and otherwise commit to honorable action.

Nowadays handshakes are common in business networking, and is one of the few forms of physical contact that we experience in the networking world. It is good to have a solid handshake because it is part of the all-important 90 second “first impression” that people make of you, and a lot can be communicated through this one action.

Handshake basics:

  • Extend your right hand, palm vertical to the ground. If you want, you can tilt your palm slightly toward the sky to indicate openness, humility, and the desire to help.
  • Handshakes should be dry. If you have a problem with clammy hands try to wipe them off before you shake. Men can get away with carrying a handkerchief in their pockets and discretely drying their hands before they shake.
  • Use a firm grip, making sure not to be too weak or too strong.
  • Pump the handshake two or three times from your elbow and forearm, not your shoulder or upper arm. Water pump motion is uncomfortable, jolting, and aggressive to your partner.
  • The handshake should last 3-4 seconds, and should end before your oral greeting does.
  • Signal you are ready to release by relaxing your hand, but if your partner is a longer shaker just hang in there until they are done. You can come off as rude by pulling away before they release.
  • Remember: not everyone likes to shake hands! If you are unsure if someone wants to shake hands then it is okay to pause and wait for them to extend their hand or not.

It’s not just about the hand-to-hand contact! Other important parts of a good handshake include good eye contact, a warm smile, confident posture, and a step in toward the person you are making contact with (without getting too close). Also remember that if you are sitting, you should stand up to shake hands as a sign of respect. Greeting before and during the handshake.

Neuroscience has proven time and again that an impressive handshake leaves people with a better impression of you. Now, this doesn’t mean certain actual personalities use certain shakes, but this doesn’t stop people from making assumptions. Make sure to avoid these handshake “types”:

Handshake types to avoid:

  • The Crusher: Both the “finger crusher” and “bone crusher” variety happen when your grip is too strong. Seriously, don’t crush someone’s hand! If you squeeze too tight they will likely spend your whole pitch time thinking about the pain in their hand rather than actually listening to what you do. These people come off as well-meaning, but overenthusiastic person.
  • The Dead Fish: This is what people call the handshake that has no grip and no pumping action. It is basically placing your hand in theirs. People with dead fish handshake are perceived of as unemotional and apathetic with low self-esteem.
  • The Monarch (also known as Lady Fingers): Offering of just the fingertips shows either superiority, or extreme shyness. Can often be accompanied with the “polite pinch”.
  • The Double Hander (also known as the Politician): Using your other hand to clamp on to the top of their hand, or to even grab their elbow. This is too much contact for just meeting someone. It can make you seem overwhelming, overbearing, and too intimate. It can also make you seem too eager to sell something.
  • The Palm Down (or “Coming from Above”): When your hand ends approaches or ends up on top of the other person’s it appears you are attempting to be authoritative and coming off as aggressive. This can sometimes start as a normal handshake and turn into “the twister” when the other person’s hand ends up on top.

Practice your handshake on friends, coworkers, or colleagues and ask them for their honest opinion. It might seem silly, but it is a great way to find ways to improve if you’ve never gotten feedback from anyone on your handshake. It’s the best way to figure out your grip if you are otherwise unsure! You will have a great handshake for Ottawa Networking events in no time!

 

eSAX Networking and the Marketing “Rule of 7”

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If you are familiar with marketing, you may have heard of the “Rule of 7” that suggests a marketing message must reach a potential customer at least 7 times before they make the decision to buy from you.

Obviously that number is flexible, with some prospects buying sooner or later than the seventh communication, but the generally agreed-upon number to aim for is 7. Why is this information here on a blog about networking? Because this simple adage supports the eSAX networking position that people should not try to make a sale the first time they connect with a prospect. Networking should be just step one of a long-term engagement plan that will push people through a sales funnel over time.

Having seven “touches” (as they are often referred) with someone lets them come to know you, trust you, and eventually buy from you. The word “touch” is often used, not because you should make physical contact, but because it invokes a human connection. In-person touches are oftentimes stronger than other marketing techniques because seeing a person’s body language and hearing their tone and infliction builds trust and relationships on a deep and human level. Making that face-to-face connection, and actually shaking hands and introducing yourself and your business will make you way more memorable than you could be through print or online marketing alone. This is an ideal time to try to make a meaningful connection at this point through stories that will make you and your brand memorable.

Why don’t people buy right away? One of the simplest reasons is that they just don’t need your product or service right now (which is why maintaining contact will keep you in mind when they DO have need for you), but another huge reason is simply that people don’t usually buy when they don’t trust. Think of all the advertisements we are bombarded with on TV, the radio, billboards, and even on social media. Brands have to work hard to build familiarity and trust to break through the consumer walls that we build to block out the constant noise.

Think of meeting someone at a networking event as the first contact. Following up with an email, a LinkedIn connection, and a coffee meeting (or skype chat) is a great next few touches. After that you must maintain consistent and repetitive contact if you want to continue to nurture that lead.

To read about more ways to connect with your customer, go over to my coordinating blog post!

Ottawa eSAX Networking Recap: October 2014

eSAX Netoworking Ottawa Recap October 2014

We’ve had about a week to recover from a fabulous night of networking last Wednesday at the Ottawa Marriott. The event was held Wednesday, October 8 from 6-9pm. This eSAX networking event was particularly special to me, as it marked my “one year” anniversary as a networker. Last year the October event was held at Lago Bar and Grill, and while we had a beautiful view of Dow Lake and the fall foliage then, this year topped that one with the great view of Downtown Ottawa!

eSAX attendees rode the Marriott elevators up to the 28th floor where they were greeted by our Accountapotamus sponsors manning the registration tables. If you were pre-registered you could be checked off the list and after you put your business card in the fishbowl for a chance to win a door prize you headed up the stairs to the 29th floor! If you didn’t pre-register you simply had to pay the $30 charge and have your name added to the list.

The mood was instantly set as soon as you stepped into the room. Dynamix Productions had AV displays and lighting set up, and Sax Appeal was playing the smooth jazz tunes. Each attendee was given a swag bag, courtesy of new eSAX sponsor Creative Equilibria. In each bag was marketing collateral (including an eSAX pen) from businesses that opted to have their information included. This was a great option to get your marketing material directly into the hands of 275 excited entrepreneurs! The swag bags also had programs and tweet sheets printed by eSAX sponsor Sure Print and Graphics.

The 29th floor of the Ottawa Marriott is a circular rotating room. For eSAX all of the booth sponsors were set up around the exterior perimeter, so they slowly circled the room while attendees could walk the floor or step to the side to stay on the stationary platform. There was a cash bar and snacks brought around on trays by the great Ottawa Marriott staff. You couldn’t miss the fun Flashpoint Photobooth setup! Always remember to stop by their display and get your free souvenir photo printout (and code for the free digital download) with your favorite entrepreneur!

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Everyone mixed and mingled and exchanged business cards until our speakers for the night were brought on by Masters of Ceremonies Derick Fage of Daytime Ottawa. First Trefor Munn-Venn of Rhapsody Strategies came out and discussed the importance of earning and establishing trust, and then Michael Hughes of Networking for Results continued this theme with discussing how networking is about making meaningful relationships. The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce took the stage for a bit, and shortly thereafter Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson showed up to give some support and a nice speech to the crowd!

Then there was one of the arguably most exciting parts of the night – door prizes! There were lots of great prizes donated and Speak Easy monitored the tweets all night to announce the top Twitter influencers of the night! Afterwards there was more time for getting in the last bit of networking before it all closed down for the night.

We look forward to the documentary film put out by our sponsor Storyline Productions!

Registration for the January 2015 eSAX Ottawa Networking Event is already available. Make sure to purchase now to take advantage of pre-registration savings.

eSAX is an entrepreneur networking event that encourages startups to create connections, gain knowledge from featured speakers and promote collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce. eSAX Ottawa Networking events are held every three months to coincide with the Y Enterprise Center’s Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program (OSEB).

Join the eSAX Facebook Page or connect on Twitter using #eSAX to get the latest news, tips, and networking advice.

Do you have a blog recap or review about your time at eSAX? We would love to include the links here! Just email them to and they will be added to the Event Page!

10 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Ottawa Networking Event

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Today we are sending out some of the best networking tips we have to offer. Feel free to share your additional tips in the comments!

  • Buy your pre-registration tickets: Pre-registration tickets not only are discounted from at the door tickets, but it also ensures you get a nice pre-printed namebadge and have to spend less time at the registration table
  • Get your business cards ready: If you order now, you’ll have them in time for the event. Make sure you check on your stash and make sure you have plenty, because finding out right before the event that you are down to your last 10 is not fun! Don’t have business cards because you don’t have a logo or website or business yet? No worries, print some out at home or order some that contain your name, email, and phone number.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile, website, and Facebook page (or any other place you can be found on a google search). Odds are that anyone interested in working with you will search you within 24 hours of meeting you, and you want to make sure you don’t have any expired information.
  • Practice your elevator pitch. This should be a short summary of what you do an what makes your business unique. It should be memorable. Write it out, revise it, practice it in a mirror, practice it on friends and family. Know what you do, who your ideal customer is, and what makes you passionate about your business.
  • Get an idea of what industries or influencers you would like to connect with (set goals) you would like to meet – not just clients, but successful business owners or potential partners (such as a writer with a graphic designer, or a sports psychologist with a physiotherapist)
  • Pick out that outfit to give off your best impression. Make sure you didn’t lose any buttons or get any stains at the last wild and crazy networking event you attended!
  • Get informed on who is likely to be at the event and check out their websites and linkedIn profiles or Facebook pages. Think of some questions you can ask them.
  • If you are going with someone else (or a group) make a game plan – make sure they know who you are hoping to meet and you know who they would like to meet, so when you split up at the event you can make sure to do introductions.
  • Make your driving arrangements.
  • Log into twitter and make sure it’s still there – that you know how to use it! Practice with us at our live tweet events, because if you tweet at the eSAX networking event you can be entered to WIN prizes!

You can get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa Networking Event for Entrepreneurs at: http://esax.eventbrite.ca/
Tickets will be available at the door after Pre-Registration closes!