Friday, June 27, 2008

Improving your Business Relationship Tip of the Week

In my weekly newsletter, I feature a weekly tip on how to improve your relationships. This newsletter is focused on business relationships, but could even help in your personal ones. And if it does, consider it a bonus: no extra charge! (Which is funny, because the weekly newlsetter is free. But I digress...)

So I've copied this week's tip. I launched the newsletter on Wednesday, to overwhelmingly positive response. There's also a fun contest running to help me name the newsletter. If you want in on that, look over to the right of your screen. Right under my picture is a place where you can subscribe for my weekly newsletter. Feel free to join in on the fun!

At any rate, enjoy the RelationTip below!


This week's tip:

Be Yourself!

No one wants the fake version of you. No one.

Of course, I'm not suggesting you let it ALL hang out. There are different versions of ourselves, and it's never OK to let the "Out partying with guys" side of You show itself when you need to have the "Professional in a Boardroom Meeting" side in play.

If I'm going to build a relationship of any kind, I need to be me. That doesn't ever really mean ALL of me. After all, the "Me" that my daughters see will not be the same "Me" that shows up at a networking event.

Ha! Just thinking about this makes me smile. There's a game I play with my kids called Talk Like. At random, on different days, we will declare the day to be Talk Like a Pirate day. Or Talk Like a Southern Belle day. Could you imagine if I showed up at a Networking event on Talk Like a Pirate day as the "Me" that my kids see?

"Arrrr Matey, give me yer business er else I'll make ye walk the plank." Well...on second thought, maybe I should try this sometime. I guarantee you, no one at that event would forget me! The follow up phone call would be fun..."Hi, it's Jacki Semerau from SendOutCards. I don't know if you remember me or not, but I'm the one that was singing Yo Ho Yo Ho a Sale's Life For Me." Hmmm. Maybe Not.

Remember, It's All About You. If you want successful relationships, either personally or professionally, just be yourself.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Talk is Cheap: Gas Prices, Today's Economy, and Elections, Oh my!!

Have you noticed the shift in attitude lately? Does it seem to you that every time you meet with someone, talk inevitably goes to the following topics:

  • Gas Prices: Comments such as, "What with gas prices being what they are..." or "Can you believe it? Over $4.00 a gallon?" or maybe a more creative and sarcastic comment like "Ahhh. (said in wistful tone) Remember the good ol' days when filling up your gas tank still cost LESS than the car payment itself?"

  • Today's Economy: Often not a topic of conversation in and of itself, this one likes to simply infiltrate EVERY topic. No matter what you are discussing with someone, the obligatory sentence starter "Well, you know, in today's economy..." is bound to surface. If you are in sales of ANY kind, you hear this more often than most.

  • The 2008 Presidential Election: "Can you believe what (insert Obama or McCain here) said the other day? Why, they'll never make a good president saying things like that." Or maybe you're privy to just bashing in general. And fear is always a big factor..."If so and so is elected, I'm scared to live in the US anymore! Canada, here I come."

Personally, if I hear this hype anymore, I'm afraid my head will explode. Let's face it folks, no matter what the Media's Doomsday Darling Topic of the Day is, we all still need to go about our lives. I still need to buy the gas, so instead of complaining, I'll just choose to thank God for Visa. I still need to purchase products in "today's economy" and so I will just adjust my budget. I still actually LOVE living in America, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, so I will vote and let the chips fall where they may.

Because in the end of the day, gas will level out. The economy will adjust. The country will march on no matter who is elected as our Commander in Chief. And as for all of us who are out there, trying to make a living as a self-employed entrepreneur, well, we still need to grow our businesses. And I, for one, am tired of the constant negativity that is bombarding us through the media, and then making its way into our everyday lives.

So hang in there, and keep on selling. These are the days that take an extra measure of creativity to make your business thrive. But if you hang on to your PASSION for your business venture, then people will still buy from you, no matter how cheap talk is, or how negative the news that bombards us every day has become.

So Until Next Time, STAY POSITIVE!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When business turns personal: What are these guys thinking?

OK, in a blog that is dedicated to women entrepreneurs, this topic is LONG overdue. Women, does this sound familiar?

You meet a prospect who happens to be male. Now, I'm talking about meeting in a business setting....a networking event, a trade show, an office meeting, a seminar, etc. (If you meet this "male prospect" in a bar, you've only yourself to blame!!)

At any rate, you and the prospect talk shop and he acts interested in your professional product or service. You agree to meet. Only when you get together for that meeting, it strangely feels like a date instead of a business meeting. And sure enough, you discover that he's not really interested in your PROFESSIONAL products and services so much as your PERSONAL ones.

WHAT? Since when is this ACCEPTABLE?

Now, I understand that in sales, you must build relationships. And sometimes, you build relationships with members of the opposite sex. And sometimes people can take things the wrong way. I get all that. (Which is why it's SO important to always walk with integrity. The last thing any woman entrepreneur wants is to have a tarnished reputation.)

But what I'm talking about is the old Bait and Switch. Where the man pretends he's going to bring you business (which he knows you won't say no to) only to get you in a setting where he can then hit on you.

Now I'm not saying this happens alot...but it does happen from time to time. And I know I'm not the only one...many of my professional female friends have had this very same thing happen. And from what I can tell, status, looks, and style of dress have nothing to do with it. (In other words, I don't think we're "asking for it" at all.)

If you are a woman reading this blog, BEWARE of such behavior.

If you are a man, and you do this...STOP IT. It's NOT ok. And even if you don't actually do this, make sure you aren't giving the IMPRESSION of doing this.

For one thing, I'm out networking because I have a mortgage payment, a car payment, and two children to provide for. I don't need to waste an hour or more of my time meeting with you if you have no intention of bringing me business.

And women, how can you avoid having this happen to you? Again, it goes back to integrity. And try not to talk about your personal life (especially your love life) too much. Sometimes it comes up, of course. After all, there's bonding and repore to be done.

I'm not really saying I have the answer to this issue....I'm just saying that it's a business practice that I watch happen that really gets under my skin.

Any thoughts or suggestions on this topic? Women, how do you handle yourselves to avoid such things?