Archive for April, 2009

How much should you network?

April 14, 2009

Structured networking is an amazing concept. To speak to a group of 20, 30 or 40 people and have them all listen to you, even for just a few seconds, can be the best thing you do to promote your business. (It can also be the worst thing you do, if you offend people, sell to the room, fail to say anything interesting or any number of other networking ‘sins’.)

I’m particularly interested in networking as part of the marketing plan. It is not always easy to plan for the ad-hoc events that come up, but there are lots of structured meetings that you can plan into your schedule and be strategic about it.

I’ve recently joined 4Networking, which is the UK’s fastest-growing networking organization. They have a ‘passport’ where you can attend different groups and you can go along as many times as you like – up to 4 times a week! My main reason for networking at the moment is to increase visibility. I then go meet those people I think are the most interesting and build relationships with them.

Obviously I will be abiding by the REAL Thought Leaders rulebook and make sure my message is compelling, well thought through and relevant. In addition to thinking about the content, you also want to be strategic about spreading the net – in REAL Thought Leader terms, exactly how do you want to go about extending your reach?

With that in mind, I’m just wondering how many groups to visit and how often. How many new connections can my brain handle without starting to forget people or get them mixed up? If it were you, how would you do it? How many groups can you realistically be part of, how many new people can you realistically meet and get to know and how much time do you spend on it?

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Things to be careful with when publishing a book

April 9, 2009

Did you know?  Estimates are that in 2007 over 300,000 books were self-published; in 2008 that number jumped to over 400,000. As daunting as those figures may be, the startling statistic is that less than 1% were published according to Book Industry Standards. This is why retail bookstores are reluctant to order, let alone stock most self-published titles.

Self-Publisher Buys Rival As Sector Consolidates  

Author Solutions Inc., one of the largest self-publishers in the U.S., has acquired the assets of smaller Canadian rival Trafford Publishing, further consolidating the sector at a time when the traditional book industry is in turmoil. Author Solutions, which operates AuthorHouse and iUniverse and is owned by the San Mateo, Calif., private-equity firm Bertram Capital Management LLC, declined to disclose terms of the deal. In January, the Bloomington, Ind., publisher acquired competitor Xlibris, also for an undisclosed price.

Commentary – The business model here is simple: sign as many writers as possible, add as many services as possible, and control prices. Quality and selection are not even in the equation. This is by all respects the canned, cookie cutter approach to self-publishing and gives good writers and good books a bad reputation.

This information comes to you courtesy of my friend and publishing consultant extraordinaire Jerry Simmons.  You can read more of his wisdom at www.writersreaders.com

‘No follow up’ plan pays off

April 2, 2009

If you ask any sales trainer, networking trainer or referrals guru, they will all say that when you receive a lead or referral, you should follow up on that immediately. I tend to agree, but my own process for signing up new clients takes a different angle on the subject. I ask my advocates or introducers to let their contacts know that they need to call me. I don’t follow up or chase. The line they use is “You need to prove to Mindy that you are serious, by taking the first step and calling.” It’s amazing how many people never call and you could argue (as my good friend Philip de Lisle did), that it’s not professional not to follow up. It’s also a bit scary in this kind of market to leave the ball in the prospect’s court.

However, I have to trust the universe and over the years, I have found that the right clients do self-select and I end up working with those people that I’m meant to work with. And they have already made it through the first test!

Yesterday I got a call from Brad Burton, visionary thought leader and founder of 4Networking. It turned out he was most impressed with the filter process. Brad is going to be working with me to write and publish his excellent book, and it’s going to be a fantastic resource for small business owners. Very exciting!

The funny thing is that the ‘filter’ actually came about because I do not have the best organizational habits, I sometimes forget to call people and I lose their business cards! If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have half the sales conversations I currently have. I told Brad the truth and we laughed about it. A lot. We’re both going to be laughing all the way to the bank.