February 23, 2012 at 03:26pm
The Rules of Networking!
Ever go to a public swimming pool? Pool Rules are always posted to protect everyone and insure a safe swimming experience. Imagine if there were rules posted at every networking event you attended, including association meetings, conferences, conventions, trade shows, chamber mixers, golf outings, and community venues.
Have no fear! Pool Rules of Networking are here! Follow these rules to insure you maximize your networking efforts. So Network safe!
No selling - ever!
Networking is about a relationship not pitching your products and services.
Everyone in NOT a prospect.
The people you meet at events could become prospects - don't assume they are.
It is never about you.
Always try to learn about the person (or people) you meet first.
Decide on a target market.
Who do you serve best and therefore wish to meet?
Create (and use!) your elevator pitch.
Good to be prepared with a punchy, memorable, different statement about yourself.
Be positive, professional and respectful - always!
It's the image you want to present to others. Positive people attract positive people.
Look the part.
Have the best appearance you can as appropriate to the event you are attending.
Know about contacts, leads and referrals.
A contact is a name, a lead is someone using your name, a referral is an introduction.
Understand your chickens and eggs.
Your "eggs" are prospects (potential customers), your "chickens" refer you to them.
Eat and drink strategically.
Insure eating and drinking doesn't replace networking.
Have your tools of the trade.
Business cards, a couple of pens, index cards, breath mints, and guts.
Initiate conversations by introducing yourself.
Smile and introduce yourself with confidence and conviction.
Have good questions to ask.
After an introduction ask questions about them.
Have a goal and a plan.
Know why you are there and hava a plan for getting what you want.
Listen more, talk less.
The more you listen the more you will learn.
Keep your eyes focused on your conversation.
Maintain eye contact with the people you speak with as appropriate.
Introduce others with passion.
When introducing people to one another be informative and enthusiastic.
Implement a time limit.
Try not to be in any one conversation longer that 6-8 minutes.
Terminate conversations politely.
Have an exit strategy while excusing yourself politely and with integrity.
Always initiative follow up when there is good reason to do so.
Smile! Life is too important to take seriously.
February 16 H.E.R.O.S. Group discussion summary:
1. Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.
2. Rules For Good Customer Service
a. Answer your phone…and return all Phone calls in a timely manner.
b. Don't make promises unless you will keep them.
c. Listen to your customers..what are their expectations?
d. Deal with complaints and Survey exiting customers and “Lost” customers/clients
e. Be helpful - even if there's no immediate profit in it.
f. Train your staff (if you have any) to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable.
g. Take the extra step…go out of your way to educate and evaluate realistic expectations.
h. Throw in something extra…exceed their expectations
i. Keep your client informed with the “process” of the work/service you provide.
j. Adaptability, affability, ability
March 1 H.E.R.O.S. Group discussion summary: changes of our tax code for the coming year
Changes that occurred at the end of 2011
Educator expenses 2011 as adjustment to AGI repealed
Home energy credits 2011 credit of up to $500 repealed
PMI deduction 2011 Schedule A deduction repealed
State sales tax deduction 2011 was greater of sales tax or state income tax. Now just state taxes.
Amt credit increase 2011 Exemption amount 74,450(48,450) to 45,000(33,750) allowed to expire.
Section 179 limits reduced $500,000 to $125,000 Bonus Depreciation 100% to 50%
Expensing of retail(restaurant) property Expired 2011
Changes that will occur at the end of 2012
Cancellation of Qualified Personal Residence debt
Capital gain Rates 0% 10% 15% eliminated
Child and Dependant care 3,000 6,000 to 2,400 4,800 reduced credit rate 35%to30%
Child credit reduced from $1,000 to $500
Hope credit that was $2,500 is eliminated
Marriage relief penalty standard deduction that was double 15% tax bracket was doubled educational savings account limits
Phaseout of itemized deductions for high income earners
Corporate Dividends were at cap gain rates will now be ordinary
Tax Rate Increases from 10,15,25,28,33,35 to 15,28,31,36,39.6
Estate and gift Unified credit 5m to1m Rate go from 35% to 55%
Medicare surtax 2013 3.8% unearned income on 200(s) or 250(m) .9 surtax on earned income 200(s) or 250(m)
Payroll tax fica 2% reduction extended through 12/31/2012
Section 179 (immediate expensing)
$125,000 to 25,000 Bonus Depreciation 50% to 0%