205 – July 24
“It is never to late to be what you might have been.”—George Eliot
I was introduced to networking by my insurance agent, the late Sharlee Bishin. She came by my office one day, when I had only had my bookkeeping business for about a year. We chatted for a bit, and she asked me, “Where are you networking?”
I looked at her blankly. “What’s networking?” I asked. Horrified, she said, “Come with me, dear,” and we were off to a dinner meeting of Women’s Referral Service, a wonderfully friendly group of supportive businesswomen (and men) founded by Nancy Sardella.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was doing something wrong. Every person I met asked me what kind of work I did, and I would answer, “I’m a bookkeeper.” The reactions were swift and instantaneous. People frowned, drew back, changed the subject, or left in a hurry. As an actress, I had developed the ability to know when I had my audience’s attention and it was clear I lost it the minute I mentioned the word “bookkeeping.” No one wanted to have a conversation about that…
Something had to be done. I had heard about Gene Call, who taught the Word of Mouth Marketing class, so I signed up for it. “You have to be interesting in thirty seconds or people will turn off, peg you in a category from which you will never escape,” he said. “Most people introduce themselves by saying, ‘I’m an accountant’ or ‘I’m an attorney.’ Boring!” He suggested that you start by describing the benefit you provide to others: “I help people measure their financial success” (accountant) or “I help people protect their property” (insurance agent).
I started saying “I do financial stress reduction.” The difference in the reactions was truly amazing. People laughed, leaned forward, asked me, “How do you do that? Do you give away money?” One woman threw her arms around me in a giant hug! I could tell by a person’s reaction to that one statement if they were interested in my services. So when I started teaching my course, it seemed natural to call it the Financial Stress Reductionâ Workshop.
Reframe your self-introduction today. You’re not “a housewife”—you create beautiful family environments. You’re not a “mother”—you’re a loving support provider. You’re not a “teacher”—you’re a Guru. You’re not a “psychologist”—you help people find personal enlightenment. You’re not a “secretary”—you’re a business facilitator. You’re not a business- person—you’re a money-making machine!
“I am the most unique and beautiful me I know!”
I still attend WRS meetings – I’ve been a member for over 32 years now. They teach people how to network, too, with a “non-sales selling technique”. You’re taught that when you meet someone new, you ask them “What do you do?” and “What kind of clients are you looking for?” This keeps everyone open to hearing from other people instead of trying to pitch everyone they meet on their own business, see? Much more user-friendly. The groups motto is “You can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want” which is a quote of Zig Ziglar’s. It’s so true.
Also, WRS does the most wonderful thing after their 30-second round robins – everyone gets an additional 10 seconds with which to thank someone else in the room for their product or service.
I was feeling a bit blue one day – I was just a little tired and out of sorts, my email connection went down, and I just took the afternoon off to relax. I had a WRS meeting scheduled and didn’t really feel like getting up, dressed, and drive across town. But I know I’m always glad after I do it, so off I went.
The meeting completed turned my head around. I always say “when I go to WRS, I greet old friends and make new ones.” The warmth of the people in the room embraced me, and I relaxed into the flow of energy from lovely dolphins.
Wouldn’t you know, several people gave me testimonials after their round robins – how did they know I needed that? It made me feel so good to know that my work has helped people to grow and prosper and that I was appreciated. Isn’t that just what we all need and want every day?
Find a place where you are surrounded by loving dolphins who have fun, make money, and do good in their business. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, contact WRS at http://www.wrswrs.com and go to a meeting. Tell them I sent you! You just might see me there.
And if you don’t find a group like this where you live – start one!