Below are excerpts from several of Donna's articles:
"Word-of-Mouth Marketing Fuels Success" by Donna Fisher
When Sally is not treated well at the local cleaners, she not only doesn't go back there, she tells others of her unpleasant experience. People talk! They talk about their frustrations, disappointments, poor service and inadequate products. Statistics indicate that every unsatisfied customer tells at least eight people about their unpleasant experience. People tend to readily talk about unsatisfactory service and yet what you want is to have them talk about great service.
Imagine if every person who came to your center told eight people about how you are enhancing the lives of people everyday. The people you serve are you best vehicle for positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Tips for Generating Word-of-Mouth Marketing
1. Create a memorable, easily repeatable value statement.
Decide what it is that you want people to say about your center. What do you want people to think of when they think of your center? Make it easy for people to talk about you by giving them the words to say.
2. Provide quality service, and most of all treat people with respect.
Make sure respect is present in everything you do and say. Respect creates a feeling of honor which nourishes people at a soul level. Communicate your commitment to "respect" by the way that you speak; i.e. "We respect the difficulty you must face when . . ." "We respect your need to . . ." "We want you to feel like you've been treated with the respect you deserve . . ."
3. Ask people to spread the word.
Ask people to help you reach others who can benefit from the services you provide. With a little encouragement individuals will help you spread the word to others throughout the community.
4. Give people something great to talk about.
Do something extraordinary that makes people want to talk. What can you do that will just naturally get people talking? It could be a community project, a new service, an in-house program. Be willing to be creative and do something extraordinary that gets people's attention.
5. Stay in touch with people.
By staying in touch with people you increase the chance that they will mention and recommend your center to others. There are always plenty of reasons for being in touch with people. Make sure you don't get too busy to ignore those nudges to call people. Be aware and alert to opportunities to be in touch.
6. Acknowledge people.
Acknowledge people for being clients, contributors, vendors, community supporters. Make sure that the people in your life realize they contribute to the work that you do. Include people in celebrations and acknowledgements regarding the impact that the center is making in people's lives.
Does your community really know about the value and benefit of your services? If not, they need to and it is up to you to get the word out. You can initiate a word-of-mouth grapevine that creates positive visibility and exposure. Creating this type of visibility is critical - it is the way that the people who want and need what you have can find you.
"How to Increase Your People Power" (Upline Magazine, Spring 1999)
Networking is choosing interdependence over isolation and realizing the power of cooperation over competition-- it links people and information to one another for the mutual benefit of everyone involved. One of the reasons networking has gotten a bad reputation is because many people are selling in the name of networking, but those who are truly masterful at networking do so in a very quiet, yet powerful manner. These people know the power of grace and respect. They've developed their personal power and know how to connect with people to share their power. You have that personal power within you, and your network is unlimited! The following 12 People Power principles show you how to be a source of power for yourself and others.
1- The Power of Giving
In what ways could I be more giving and supportive?
In which personal relationships could I be more giving?
In which professional relationships could I be more giving?
Who will I call and ask, "What do you need?" and "How can I help?"
The "boomerang effect" of giving is the guarantee of networking. A boomerang always comes back because that is the design of the instrument. In the same way, what you give always comes back in some form because that is the design of the law of giving. However, the only way the boomerang can return is if someone first takes action and throws the boomerang. Giving is a powerful way to activate your network, because human nature inherently provides the desire to respond in kind. Get your "giving power" into action. Pass along support and information to others. Then all you have to do is watch for that boomerang and catch it on its return.
"Job Security is a Thing of the Past" (Houston Alumni Magazine, Fall 1995) (excerpt)
When I graduated from college with my degree in business administration, I went to work for Exxon Company USA and I remember my family's response was, "all right, job security!" Maybe you thought the same thing during some portion of your career. However, things have changed in the job market and today people have to develop their own career security through their sense of self and their network.
What's the difference between knowing a lot of people and having an influential network? If you are a smart job searcher, you will realize that knowing a lot of people is just the start. It is the process of staying in touch with people and building strong connections that creates an influential and powerful network. Statistics indicate over 70 percent of the jobs are found through networking. This means there is a 70 percent chance that someone you know could be the stepping stone or resource to help you make contact with that job opportunity.
Who is your network?
Everyone you meet is a potential member of your network. College friends, alumni, past employers, and friends of your family can all provide valuable job search information. Most networking will be informal. You'll be casually talking with a friend about your job search, and she'll name a company that is hiring. That's conversation, and that's networking.
Maintaining Your Network
Keep people who are part of your network informed about your job search. Let them know when and where you finally accept a job. And stay in touch after you start your job--you don't know when you'll need that network again.
Networking is a natural process of meeting people, making contacts, and building strong professional relationships. It is not a difficult process, yet it is a deliberate process. As humans, we have a natural need to be in relationship with others. It is up to each of us to honor that natural desire to connect, link, and develop camaraderie. Your network can be your most valuable accomplishment in your life. It can be the foundation of support for accomplishments in all areas of your life--guaranteed!
"Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone" (DBA Magazine, May 1995) (excerpt)
Every year thousands of events are held in cities all across the country, giving people the opportunity to network. By attending a conference or convention of your industry you place yourself in a fertile networking environment. That experience can be fun, productive, and valuable or it can be uncomfortable, unproductive, and time-consuming. It's all up to you -- how well you prepare for and conduct yourself at the event.
Preparation for a Networking Event
Learn everything you can about the event -- activities, attendees, schedule, etc. Then determine what will make you feel comfortable: Should you go with someone you know who's also attending? Is it appropriate to bring a friend, associate, or client? Would it be more profitable for you to be an attendee or an exhibitor?
Identify the People You Want to Visit
A convention is a great opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and expand your network. Think about who will likely be there and make a mental note of the new contacts and reconnections you want to make.
Participation at a Networking Event
Get Involved: One way to put yourself at ease is to give yourself something to do. Volunteering not only gives you a job to do, but gets you involved and naturally connects you with other volunteers and participants.
Focus on Others: Rather than worrying about what you're going to say, focus on what others are saying. When you have your attention on something or someone other than yourself, your self-consciousness will disappear and others will be more likely to remember and appreciate you.
Listen and Gather Information: Good conversationalists know the importance of listening. It conveys a natural interest in others and enables you to be more aware of what to say and talk about in order to keep the conversation flowing.
Use People's Names: Pay attention as people introduce themselves so that you can address them by name during the current conversation and increase chances of remembering their name at a later date.
Move on Graciously: A networking event is a place to meet and mingle. Yet, people often feel uncomfortable ending a conversation so they can mingle and talk with others. Just be gracious, with a closing comment such as "Nice to meet you. Have a good afternoon." "Good luck with your new venture."
Exchange Business Cards: Business cards are best exchanged when there's some stated reason to do so, such as "I'll call about scheduling a time to get together for lunch" or "Give me a card and I'll send that information to you tomorrow."
Relax, Have Fun and Enjoy Yourself: People often get uptight about attending networking events because they feel they have to find a new prospect, make a sale, or accomplish some significant goal. Networking is meant to be fun. Relax. The more at ease you feel, the more likely it is you'll make some good solid contacts. The goal shouldn't be the quantity of interactions, but the quality.
There are possibilities all around you -- people are just waiting for someone to break the ice. That someone could be you!
"The People Factor" by Donna Fisher
People tend to think networking is about results. Yet, it’s really all about people. With the support of your network, you can create miraculous and wonderful results and accomplishments in your life. Yet the foundation of networking is people helping people. It’s the people factor.
Wherever there is a problem or challenge, when you bring people who want to help into the situation, the people factor will go to work to create an effective win-win solution. Your people power lies in your ability to connect with, relate to and be a source of inspiration, action and influence to the people that you come in contact with. The power of people coming together for a common good is tremendous.
There’s nothing unusual or difficult about networking. It is pure and simple about people being friendly, considerate and helpful. People who like one another tend to become friends and as friends they tend to be supportive, helpful and encouraging.
Your network is working when people are staying connected, being supportive, sharing information and ideas and expressing their care and concern for one another. People hang out with people they like. People tend to do business with people they like.
Building good relationships makes good business sense. Anyone who has made it big can tell you there are a lot of people who helped them along the way. Rather than having to do and learn everything on your own, your network allows you to leverage your actions and ideas. Leveraging obviously allows you to attain greater results in a shorter amount of time and/or with less effort.
Awareness is a critical part of effective networking. You must be aware of your network or you will miss opportunities for yourself and others. Awareness means being in touch with reality and the world around you.
Awareness is always the first step to learning and growing. You must become aware of something in order to initiate a new way of relating. You must be open to learning something you didn’t already know. You must realize there is more to learn. And networking is a process of always learning. If you think you already know everything there is to know, then there is no opening for new information.
Be aware of:
The network that you already have.
The strengths, skills, information, contacts and expertise that you have to offer others.
What the people in your network want and need.
The vast and unlimited nature of your network.
The way you relate to yourself and the people in your life.
What people are saying.
What you are saying and how you are either creating connection or distance.
What you are thinking and not saying, that if you were saying it, it could be generating opportunities.
The power and opportunity that your network provides to you.
The willingness and desire of others to contribute to you.
How networking can be an easy, natural part of your life.
How networking is an accepted and expected way of relating and doing business.
That everything you could possible want or need is available and right around you…it’s yours for the asking!
Opportunities are all around you and yet if you are not aware of them, it seems as if they do not exist. Your awareness determines your reality and your experience. As your awareness expands, your world expands.
All articles - Copyright Ó 2005 Donna Fisher
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