Social skills

DreamWorthy Friends is Born – Network and Make Friends Today!

Posted on 12/30/2008. Filed under: Business Networking, Interpersonal Skills, Relationship Building, Social Media Marketing, Social skills | Tags: , , , , |

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Who We Are and Why We’re Here

Hello gentle readers.  My name is Mike Kunkle. My business, opened in 2008 and co-owned by my wife Kali, is DreamWorthy Gifts LLC and our webstore is at http://www.DreamWorthyGifts.com. DreamWorthy Gifts is a Web store featuring thousands of gifts for all occasions, figurines, home and garden decor, kitchen and bath decor, bath and body care, religious home accents, men’s and women’s accessories, seasonal items, gift cards and more.

Over the past months, while (still, yet, always?) figuring out social media networking and ‘all-things-online,’ we’ve made some great networking connections and met some noteworthy people.

Since our business blog (ShopWorthy – A Blog About Online Shopping) is about, well, online shopping, we wanted a separate forum to showcase and spotlight our networking contacts and new business friends.  Call us crazy, we like to do that.

And with that thought, history is made, with our new blog here on WordPress.com – DreamWorthy Friends.

A Few Quick Thoughts About Networking

Good networking is the stuff that Dale Carnegie courses are made of (and yes, I’m a graduate and an ex-graduate assistant).  As such, I hate to ruffle feathers, but if I’m going to remain genuine, I have to say that with all the buzz and fuss about networking these days, and with all the avenues and vehicles that technology has created in the name of ‘networking,” I… well, I don’t really see much of it happening. There, I said it. Maybe I’m sheltered, but if so, the sheltered people around me are saying the same thing. Or at least not “professional networking” for business purposes.

So what makes good networking? This is a topic for a whole book, not a blog, but here are some quick thoughts and an acronym – RUM:

Relationships:

  • You have disclosed info about yourself and they have reciprocated.
  • You have their contact info and they have yours.
  • You trust them enough to give them a contact’s email address. You at least think they’d do the same.

Understanding:

  • You know what they do.
  • You know who they can help.
  • You know what kind of results they can provide for their customers.

Meaning:

  • There is a valid reason to make a connection – person A has something that can help person B.
  • Preferably, there is a way they can help each other.
  • You feel good about making the connection and they are grateful you did (whether or not there is a business transaction).

What to Mix with RUM
Having a LinkedIn connection or a fan on your facebook business page (or Twitter or anywhere else) is meaningless in itself. (But you do have to start somewhere. If you have these things… kudos!)  After you’ve amassed some connections, ask yourself:

  • What do I know about them?
  • What do they do?
  • Who do I know that needs them?
  • How can I help them?
  • Do they know the above about me? (Do they care?)
  • Can we join forces on something or in some way, short-term or long?
  • How can they help me?

So Let’s Meet Some Friends That Walk the Talk

We said we were here to showcase networking friends, so with that foundation laid, let’s get to it. We’ll write more about good networking and its benefits in the future.

Warren Veach – Paper Cards in a Wired World

Warren Veach is a networking contact and new friend of ours. We’re connected on www.Sta.rtUp.biz and facebook. He lives 25 minutes away from us and we met on the Internet.  Warren is an online and offline entrepreneur who runs multiple businesses (as an ex-boss once said, it’s smart to have multiple arteries to the heart). He can help you attain better health insurance coverage (especially for the self-employed and small business owners), assist you with your insurance CE (continuing education), help you save money on your utility bills or taxes, or provide you the means to keep in touch with friends, family, and clientele.

  • Read about Warren here. His profile and how he has written it speaks volumes about him.
  • Later, if interested, you can read his blog.

Among other things that make Warren a cool guy, he merges the online/offline worlds deftly. He’s mostly an online business driver, but he sends real paper ‘thank you cards’ and other cards to his clients, by using technology wisely with SendOutCards. Here’s what Warren has to say, taken from an excerpt from an email he sent to us recently, to explain SendOutCards (at our request):

“I personally think this is about the best thing since sliced bread. It is a semi-automated online tool that allows you to send a thank you, birthday, anniversary, “just thinking of you”, or any other type of cards you want to send. Once you enter in the name/address of the person you want to send a card to, you simply pick from the thousands of cards available by category, write in your personal message (or choose a card that has a pre-written message), and hit Send Card. The system prints the card, puts it in an envelope, stamps it with a 1st class stamp, puts your return address on the envelope, and mails it. The back office allows you to develop different groups to mail to (i.e. family, friends, clients) so you can mass mail to a group, or pick an individual out of a group to send a card. I can choose to send cards in an envelope, or a postcard.

When I acquire a new client, I put his/her name, along with the family’s details into the contact manager.  I put in their birthdays and send a birthday card to them. I use it to send “Thank you for your business” cards, or a card to let them know it’s time to review their coverage. With 450 clients, you can imagine how much time I could spend just addressing and sending Christmas cards, much less all the other cards.

Recently, I got a “Merry Christmas e-mail” from a friend. It landed in my trash folder. I often get e-mails that end up there, or I move them there because I don’t recognize the sender, and I don’t want to chance getting a virus from an unscrupulous e-card sender.  That NEVER happens when I send a card through the mail. 100% of the cards get opened, and everybody loves getting a card!

This link will allow you to take it for a test run and send a card to whoever you choose, just click the banner at the top of the page where it says, “Click To Send a Free Card”: http://www.sendoutcards.com/warrenveach

Warren’s not alone in using SendOutCards. But he’s someone we know and network with, who is working to build a deeper relationship with clients using some old world methods. And much to his credit, he is also currently exploring other ways to maximize Web 2.0 and Word of Mouth viral marketing as well.

Julio Ricardo Varela – Responsiveness Rules

Julio Ricardo Varela is another friend from www.Sta.rtUp.biz and www.LinkedIn.com.

So what is “the most underrated skill in business?”  According to Julio, it’s being responsive. Whether to a customer, a prospect, a friend or a networking contact, responsiveness is a critical and often overlooked skill.  In my last corporate job, my staff trained wholesale mortgage account executives, who called on mortgage brokers.

In that industry, do you know what the number one complaint was from brokers about account executives? Responsiveness.

Seriously! Brokers once told us that what they wanted most from an account executive was a quick return call. (And they may not have even said “quick.”) I found this stunning, but it was true.  To create competitive advantage, our account executives had to simply CALL CUSTOMERS BACK.  Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

That seems obvious, but to Julio’s point, when you are crazy-busy, as we all get, do you take the 15 seconds to email back to say so and that you will get back soon? Do you set an auto-response that says you are backed up and to call if it is an urgent issue? Or what do you do?  This is worth some effort and thought – check out Julio’s blog and scope out a few others. Unlike me, he keeps them short and sweet, and there is always a pearl of wisdom, often about networking effectively.

Pamela Hoke – Get Personal and Authentic
How about this… Do you ever ‘fudge’ or ‘play politics’ with people?  Or are you a completely genuine, authentic soul? How personal do you make your messages, whether service or networking messages? Pamela Hoke has some thoughts about this for us.  Who’s Pamela, you ask? Pamela Hoke is a new friend on www.Sta.rtUp.biz who recently posted a blog we absolutely loved.

We like Pamela’s thoughts because in addition to reinforcing our networking messages, they build on Ken’s recent blogs about the power of Twitter for business. Linda says:

“Today’s audiences, especially on our site here, want personal messages, to feel like their needs are genuinely being addressed. Gone are the days of throwing out generic messages to the masses, what is “in” is taking one person at a time. Even the largest growing brands have caught on to this. Here is just a sampling from one of my favorite e-newsletters, iMediaConnection in an article addressing success on Twitter:

Neal Stewart, founder of Flying Dog Brewery, quoted in article: ‘When building a base of followers, don’t go out and spam huge groups of people and hope they follow you. That’s a pretty unauthentic way to dialogue with consumers. On the other hand, we monitor for conversations about us and then follow those people and hope they follow us because we know they are interested. We have found they are usually glad to have us reach out to them.’

The article’s author, Denise Zimmerman, goes on to state: ‘If you wonder how connecting with one customer at a time can really have an impact consider the recent “Comcast customer success story” post on Steve Garfield’s blog. The blog post recounts the story of Eliason’s direct involvement with Garfield to resolve an issue he was having with his TiVo. You can read the entire story here . Garfield, by the way, has more than 5,000 followers, about as many as Comcast. This is viral in action!”

Read the links, but the short story is this. Garfield contacted Comcast via Twitter. Comcast conference with Garfield and TiVo. Garfield streamed the TiVo issue to them to demo the issue. The service providers are now working out the issue. And now, this service recovery for Comcast and TiVo are broadcasted to Garfield’s large Web 2.0 world.  It all started with a little blue bird, but the resulting ‘people connection’ made it sing.

It always comes down to people.

Well that’s it for our first post, kind readers. Thank you for reading and for networking. And hats off to Warren, Julio and Linda for adding real offline value in an online world.

Your friend in networking,

Mike
______________________________
Mike Kunkle
COO and Chief Marketing Officer
DreamWorthy Gifts LLC
Write to me: Mike@DreamWorthyGifts.com
Shop at: http://www.DreamWorthyGifts.com
Read our Shopping Blog: http://DreamWorthyGifts.blogspot.com

Network with Us:

LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/dreamworthygifts
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikekunkle

facebook:
http://www.tinyurl.com/MikeOnFacebook
http://www.tinyurl.com/KaliOnFacebook
http://www.tinyurl.com/DreamWorthyOnFacebook

Sta.rtUp.biz:
http://sta.rtup.biz/profile/KaliKunkle
http://sta.rtup.biz/profile/MikeKunkle

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