Local Franchise Lead Generation Q & A

question-mark3aA few months ago, there was a discussion in one of the LinkedIn franchise groups about local franchise lead generation. The discussion was initiated by a franchise professional specializing in franchise sales and consulting. As we have done in the past when posting comments from a social network discussion, we will identify the individuals that submitted comments according to their social network profile.

The discussion opened with the following post:

Ideas for Lead Generation Sources. Anybody have suggestions for local lead generation? Looking for ideas from zors, zees, consultants & brokers on how to generate leads local to a specific area.

Here are some of the responses that were posted including my own which just so happened to be the initial response:

“[Name], I usually explore social networking groups specific to the area such as the inHouston LinkedIn group if I’m trying to generate leads in the Houston area. This type of group is realtively easy to target and expand beyond based upon member recommendations and suggestions. Work the crowd as if you were in a room.

In addition, I focus on networking groups that include individuals that best fit my franchise candidate profile. From there I drill down to individuals in the local area. Let’s say teachers fit my candidate profile. I would search out networking groups spefic to teachers, education, etc. I may participate in discussion groups to get a feel for the group and to be recognized within the group. There’s always a spin you could use. Next, I seek out members from the specifc area I’m targeting and communicate what I’m trying to accomplish. It’s been amazing how many times I’ve wound up with a candidate in California that is willing to jump at an opportunity in Texas. It happens.

I also focus on groups that can provide me with referrals such as insurance agents, realtors, financial planners and attorneys. Again, if you’re proactive within networking groups it’s realtively easy to enlist support and gather information.

Lead generation through online networking takes time and effort no doubt. However, once you’re proactive within the groups, you almost windup with a snowball effect as the leads come in bunches. Some leads start out as simple as posting a thought provoking discussion, some back and forth interaction with a responder and the responder saying,”what is it that you do?” Next thing you know, you’re discussing an opportunity and the door is wide open.

Most times it takes considerably more effort but I’ve found people are networking online and participating in discussion groups for a reason. They’re all looking to expand their business, improve their position, seek out opportunities and make money. It sure beats running an ad in the local paper and waiting for the phone to ring.”

An executive of a national franchise concept responded as well.

“Other sources of local lead generation include – classified advertising, seminars, the local business journal, and chambers of commerce. I also use industry specific sources (trade publications, trade associations) depending on the franchise. My favorite is PR. If you can can a story published at a local level – it tends to generate a good deal of buzz.

As you are finding – it is a bit more challenging to put together a local or regional campaign, than it is to promote a national effort.”

A franchise executive of a national foodservice franchise concept posted the following:

“I like to target existing multi-unit operators of non-competing brands in the same industry. For example, if I am selling full-service restaurants, I would seek out multi-unit fastfood operators in the area. Or if I was selling windshield replacement franchises, maybe I’d target muffler or brake franchisees in the area. Get your hands on some UFOC’s that list franchisees by state. It’ll give you the franchisee’s name, address and phone number and you can go down the list contacting the owners. You must size up the target market to your product. For example, you probably wouldn’t have much success targeting Subway franchisees for a TGIFriday’s franchise, as it’s a big leap from a $50,000 investment to a $3 million investment. But maybe the Subway UFOC would provide good leads for someone selling Baskin Robbins franchises. Get the idea? Last thing, by focusing on existing franchisees in someone else’s system, those prospects already understand franchising, know that fees are due and payable weekly, understand they must operate according to the franchisor’s standards, realize they must undergo training, particpate in the marketing co-op, etc. Hope this helps.”

Next, the foodservice executive and I exchanged the following comments:

Me: “[Name], excellent points. I utizilized a similar strategy with great success. Other key factors include the current franchisees’ knowledge of franchising and their lender’s knowledge and experience with the franchisee may be just the edge needed to secure financing in today’s tight credit markets.

Foodservice Exec: “Paul, you mention an important point in today’s economic market. Successful existing franchisees should already have relationships with lenders who have seen them perform over time. A well-funded prospect is worth his weight in gold! Any contracts that are “contingent on financing” may as well be thrown in the trash, as lenders are not willing to take the risk with an unknown, untested, unproven franchisee.

Me: “I absolutely agree with you. Just the mention of a brand new candidate exploring a franchise concept without the candidate having any experience sends a lender running for the hills. It really doesn’t matter how proven the franchise brand is and how long it’s been around. To that end, I see primary growth in franchising coming from current franchisees looking to diversify their business portfolio, adding new revenue streams and streamlining redundant expenses.”

It was an interesting discussion and I believe several good ideas and thoughts were presented. I know the information reached an audience that did not actually participate in the discussion because I received over thirty emails from individuals asking me to expand upon my responses, and those of the other participants. In addition, we shared ideas and thoughts, and discussed our own experiences. I’m proud to say that I also learned a few things myself. Proof again of the benefits of social networking!

Transitioning Interested Parties to Franchise Candidates

In continuing your journey of Franchise Development via Social Media, it’s important I point out that social media for typical business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) purposes is much different than social media for franchise development purposes. In a typical B2B or B2C scenario, social media efforts would be directed to the entity or individual you’re attempting to do business with. Your business with them may be a single transaction, or as with restaurants, it may include repeat business where you’re seeking customer loyalty. Regardless, your position is strictly focused on attracting and keeping your customer, and the transactions are usually relative to a specific, tangible product or service. They buy. You sell. And the cycle continues the same or it abruptly ends.

intangibleIn the franchise development arena, your social media efforts will be considerably different as your objective is different. The franchise sales transaction consists of a substantial upfront fee for an intangible item, franchise rights. The transaction is only the beginning of the additional cash outlay or credit commitment, that’s triggered by the initial fee and signing of the franchise documents. Yet, the relationship is not one that’s just based upon that one single transactional experience. Instead, it’s only a small step in an ongoing relationship where the new franchisee becomes dependent upon the franchisor and the concept. Buyer’s remorse is not an option. The social media efforts must progress and build upon each other with the objectives gradually changing and progressing “as” the relationship builds, and not just “because” the relationship builds.

Yesterday, we discussed establishing the Virtual Party Room. Today, we’ll discuss how to interact with the individuals within the room and with the new people we’re introducing to the party. Our objective will be to learn, through utilization of powerful Web 2.0 technology and tools, how we can transition interested parties into franchise candidates by just “holding their hands” and letting the experience guide them along until they’re ready to make a decision. Easier said than done? Well, it’s not rocket science, but I’ll still try to be as fundamental as possible in my explanations.

Transitioning Interested Parties to Franchise Candidates

When the interested party enters the Virtual Party Room, he or she is basically just tire-kicking. Oh, they may have expressed significant interest in your concept, or maybe they’re just inquisitive. It really doesn’t matter at this point. Your objective was to introduce the individual to the party. That’s it. It wasn’t to push them immediately towards the franchise sale. It’s wasn’t about discussing the fine points of the franchise concept. It certainly wasn’t about closing the deal. Your only objective at this point was to introduce the individual to the party so he or she could learn more, interact with others in the party and gather enough information to make an informed decision at their own pace. Remember, social media is not about selling!

hostessAs with any popular party, it’s important to have a host or hostess. In your party room, this person is essentially in charge of accepting member requests, posting new information, updating various features and keeping the “conversations” flowing. I think you now fully understand the party analogy so let’s transition to reality and make reference to specifics with respect to your franchise concept.

The host or hostess is the person you install as being in charge of your social media efforts. This person is key to making your social media efforts a success or failure as this individual must be on their “A” game. They must pay attention to detail and exhibit a sense of urgency when necessary. Starting at the very beginning, this individual will set up the company page in a specific social network. I highly recommend utilizing Facebook, but it can work in other social newtorks as well.

In Facebook there are general, basic information sections that need to be completed. Once completed, you’ll need to start building your site with information about your franchise concept. Videos, a strong Web 2.0 tool, work extremely well in conveying messages to individuals interested in your concept. The founder’s statements about vision and passion for the concept goes a long way towards generating excitement. A few video testimonials from franchisees, placed strategically within the site, provide a balance between the concept as a franchise opportunity and the concept as a consumer experience.

Photos, placed throughout the site along with comments, are a great visual affect as well. These photos may be of franchise locations, the equipment used in daily operations, the original locations from which the concept was derived, the founder, personnel, the product or service sold at the franchise locations, etc. All should include comments with each post explaining the photo. Additional comments from other group members will enhance the experience behind the photos.

A media section should be established to include press releases, audios and videos of important speeches, photos of company spokespersons, online and print news and feature stories, highlights of community events, etc. Comments about each must accompany the posts. Again, additional comments will further enhance the experience.

All individuals having anything at all to do with the franchise concept should be invited to join and participate in the group. These should include company executives, managers and personnel at all levels, franchisees and their personnel, franchise customers, company vendors and suppliers, and all interested parties in the franchise concept. In place, and participating, this group creates the buzz and excitement of the group.

Now, when individuals that have expressed interest in your franchise concept join the group, they may interact with group members, asking questions and seeking information. They’ll start to “experience” the concept from all angles as if they were at the franchise locations or within the corporate office. At any time they can jump into the conversations and add their own comments. Sometimes in the forms of questions and as they get more comfortable within the group, as their own personal comments and views.

Over a short period of time, and through monitoring the group’s activities, it’s relatively easy to “see” which individuals are interested in becoming franchisees of the system. Their questions and comments will dictate their interest. This is where the individual in charge of the social media efforts increases their interaction with the interested parties and provides even more information that moves them along in the process. This is usally done through site messages, or responses or comments to their comments. Ideally, the best way is a timely instant message as provided on the Facebook page.

The system basically moves itself up to a point. From there it needs to be guided and ultimately directed towards the latter stages of the franchise sale. Now, don’t get me wrong, an email or phone call throughout the process helps, but only as a guide or reference to a real person. Another Web 2.0 tool that works great in this regard is a video email (vidmail) program that brings a real person right to their desktop. It’s both a professional and effective use of Web 2.0 technology.

Okay, the site is up and running, you have interested parties joining the group, they’re interacting within the group and all is going according to plan. What next? Certainly there’s more to this social media thing, isn’t there? Yes there is. Ever hear about Twitter? Do blogs sound familiar? How about You Tube and Flickr? Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

twitter-logoOn Twitter you’ll post frequent bits and pieces of information about franchising and entrepreneurship in general and along with a few “personal” tweets, yes they call them tweets, you’ll post links to various parts of your concept including the Facebook group page, your website which will have a link to your Facebook page and to your blog, which will also have links back to your Facebook page. So you see, all activity will ultimately be directed back to your concept’s Facebook page because that’s where you can monitor and control the flow of information and interest because it’s interactive. There, that answers the question of why shouldn’t everything be directed to the website? Let me clarify. Facebook is interactive. Websites are not.

Remember the videos you developed for the Facebook page and the photos you posted to the Facebook page? Well, you’re now going to post the videos on You Tube and the photos on Flickr. Each post will have a desciption, and guess what, a link back to your Facebook page! This way, you’ll be able to direct individuals from your Twitter and Blog to these sites as a redirection to your group page or you may be able to generate interest in your concept by individuals exploring these other Web 2.0 sites. Keep in mind, I’m only scratching the surface on the different Web 2.0 sites as there are hundreds. Using as many as possible in cross-referencing and click-throughs will enhance your efforts many times over. By the way, it won’t hurt your search engine optimization either.

Additionally, you will take your Facebook group identity and join other Facebook groups where individuals with interests in franchising, entrepreneurship, specific business type and that may have the criteria of your ideal franchise candidate, congregate and share information. During the course of discussion and sharing of information, it’s relatively easy to guide these individuals to your Facebook group page and the cycle begins on your “turf” with them. The same holds true with LinkedIn groups, Twitter groups and other social network groups.

As you can see, the limits of social media are endless and are only limited by discouraging imagination, holding back creativity and not dedicating ample time to administer, execute and monitor the process. The potential benefits are far reaching throughout the organization including creating brand awareness with franchise candidates and consumers alike, generating qualified franchise leads and subsequent franchise sales, and establishing an interactive environment of communications and information sharing at all levels of a franchise organization.

In tomorrow’s third segment of Franchise Development via Social Media, we’ll discuss how to integrate social media with traditional franchise marketing and development strategies, and some non-traditional strategies as well. In the meantime, please submit any and all questions below, and I will respond accordingly prior to posting the next series segment.

Women, Social Media and Franchising: A Winning Combination?

Women, more than their male counterparts, have embraced social media as an integral part of their typical day. From getting their news online to communicating with family and friends on social networking sites to blogging about their personal and business experiences, women are spending more time than ever before on the internet.

women get it rightAs more and more women explore franchising as a career alternative, choosing to control their own destiny, franchisors must market directly to this rapidly-growing group of opportunity seekers. Joining the force of today’s more sophisticated, educated and technologically advanced transitioning corporate executives, women will use social media to explore and investigate franchise opportunities. Tending to be more diligent and thorough than men in general, women relish relationship building and sharing of information making social media marketing perfect to attract female franchise candidates.

The article below details the continued usage of social media by the female population. Franchisors should pay close attention to the various stats provided by the author and make social media marketing a key component of their franchise marketing and development strategy.

42 Million U.S. Women Use Social Media: Blogs Most Influential
By Anita Campbell on Small Biz Trends May 10, 2009

Is the jury still out in your mind as to whether social media matters in business? If so, a recent survey might make you change your mind. In fact, it may cause you to re-think your entire marketing outreach, especially if you market to women.

The study found that 42 million women in the United States (roughly 53% of the 79 million adult women in the United States who use the Internet) participate in social media at least weekly. As they spend more time with social media, women are spending correspondingly less time with traditional media: 39% less on newspapers, 36% less time reading magazines, and 30% less time watching TV.

That’s according to a recent social media survey by BlogHer, the women’s blog network, along with iVillage and Compass Partners.

Read the entire article here

What is Social Media?

Twitter Cartoon 3With all the recent discussion on Facebook and Twitter about Social Media guidelines, we have received many inquiries from the franchise community about Social Media training for their employees and franchisees. During these conversations, it was quite evident that many did not understand Social Media and some did not know what it is. So, we thought we’d take it to a basic level and explore the various definitions of Social Media as it is defined by different sources online. Here’s what we found:

Social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. …

A category of sites that is based on user participation and user-generated content. They include social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or My Space, social bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us, social news sites like Digg or Simpy, and other sites that are centered on user interaction.

Online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.

Social media are works of user-created video, audio, text or multimedia that are published and shared in a social environment, such as a blog, wiki or video hosting site.

An umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures. …

Software tools that allow groups to generate content and engage in peer-to-peer conversations and exchange of content (examples are YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace etc)

Social Media is the collection of tools and online spaces available to help individuals and businesses to accelerate their information and communication needs. [Axel Schultze]

Signs of the Times

signs of the timesWe’ve seen stories in the news and on television about workers being fired for comments and photos they’ve posted on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. We’ve heard about companies conducting online searches of potential employees in the same social networking sites claiming they want to know how a potential employees acts outside the workplace.

Should it really matter to an employer what workers post on social networking sites, provided they make their posts on their own time? Is it intrusive for employers to cross into workers’ personal lives in this manner? As for potential employees, should it matter how individuals act outside the workplace especially if their work performance is on target?

Have employers just gotten to the point of searching for negatives and reasons to terminate employment? Are employers just looking for reasons not to hire? Have we evolved into a business world where the glass is now half empty as opposed to half full?

Exploring Twitter Basics

The following is some great information submitted by Guest Author, Gini Dietrich, Chief Executive Officer at Arment Dietrich PR. The information explores Twitter basics and how to get started using this innovative tool in your social networking efforts. Gini fully understands franchisors’ public relations and communications needs and was a keynote speaker at the Franchise Finance and Development Conference recently held in Las Vegas. Arment Dietrich PR is among the country’s fastest growing boutique public relations agencies. Their motivation is a relentless drive to find new and better ways to help clients boost their businesses and bottom-line results.

twitter cartoon 2Getting started on Twitter

As budding experts on social media, believe us when we say Twitter is not dominated by gossiping teenagers and social butterflies (though they are there). Many corporate executives, reporters, and entrepreneurs recognize social media not only as a powerful tool for communication, but also as a resource for networking and attracting new business. And though the excuses people use to avoid social media are plentiful (”I don’t get it,” or “it takes too long,” or “I don’t know how to get started”), it really isn’t painful or difficult, as long as you commit a little time to get started.

So what is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking site where you can meet new people and exchange ideas and information. You are allowed to say whatever you want, as often as you want (in 140 characters or less), in a message called a “tweet.”

Types of Tweets

DMs, RTs, and @replies. What do all of those mean? A DM is a direct message you send to anyone in your network who is also following you (we’ll get to following later), and is not viewable by anyone else. It is like an email between you and another person. If you find a tweet of particular interest, you can RT or retweet it. All of your followers may not be connected, and retweeting a post shares the information with your network. Lastly, @replies are simply a reply to someone else’s tweet. Your followers may not see the initial message, but they will be able to read your @reply on your Twitter page.

When you’re tweeting, don’t forget that Twitter is just like any other information source, so it’s important to give credit where credit is due and reference your source when sharing other people’s tweets.

Getting started

First create a Twitter handle (also known as a screen name), upload a picture, and write a bio. Use your real name and a current picture so people recognize you. (For some quick tips on how to write an online bio, check out Gini’s recent post on the Geek Girls Guide.)

Start networking

If you want anyone to read what you are writing, you need some followers. When you subscribe to someone else’s Twitter stream, it is called following. The easiest way to build your online community is to search for people you already know using Twitter and start following them. (Follow the Arment Dietrich team here!) You can also search keywords to find like-minded people. And, start tweeting! Use DMs, RTs, and @replies to engage and connect.

Making time for TwitterCheck Twitter morning, noon, and night. Or, at least three times per day at first. Once you get used to checking it and reading your updates, you’ll see you don’t have to make a huge time investment to become involved.

There are many programs out there to make your Twitter experience as easy as possible (such as TweetDeck), and allow you to group your followers and track tweets based on interests or people. Programs like these are a big timesaver.

Social Networking and Business Growth: A Winning Combination

Social Networking is the perfect answer to growing your business, economic downturn or not.

networking-photosOver time, personal interaction within a social networking environment creates trust. In turn, it develops relationships, shares information, provides two-way communications, and provides points of reference for follow up. It creates a multi-tiered platform of information that benefits both business development and customer generation efforts alike. Often, simultaneously.

How are you using social networking (and Web 2.0 tools) to grow your business? Are you using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to full benefit? Need some questions answered? Post them below and we’ll be sure to answer them. If we don’t have the answers you need, we’ll get them for you as soon as possible.

Franchise Sales & Space Mountain: An Odd Comparison?

social-networkingThe great thing about social networking, that has been missing from online franchise lead generation, is the “meeting place.” It’s a place where a candidate gets to know the people in the know as well as on the fringe; the concept’s customers. So, let’s define the “meeting place.”

The “meeting place” is anywhere online where cyber identities gather. Ok, it’s where people network on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, just to name a few of the most popular sites. I just wanted to be geeky cute so forgive me for the humor.

Anyway, in these social networks, individuals meet with others, share information and learn new things. In this process, if they’re looking for a franchise or business opportunity, they’ll seek out information that may assist them in the process. Through referrals and discussion groups they may be exposed to “experts” in their particular field of interest. Experts that may have the answer to what they’re looking for.

But, would they trust a direct push right to a website full of information? The answer is no because they’re only “hearing” it from one source. They need to have full understanding which the website may help provide. But before that, they need to “see” and “hear” what others have to say. Others that know what’s going on. Others that have experienced the service or product as the end user. Others that are the “operational” people. Where does the candidate find that online? Is there a place online that is not intimidating and so one-sided that it creates a level of discomfort as opposed to excitement to proceed?

Yes, there is such a place. For one, a Facebook fan site of the concept, could be just the right place. A landing zone so to speak before being launched to the company website. This non-intimidating site may have a cross platform of many different individuals “talking” about their views, positions and experiences with the company as a candidate, a franchisee, a corporate executive or a customer. It’s in this zone that the franchise candidate learns about the practical side of the concept, the pros and cons as they are conveyed from different individuals, and they get to “see” the experience of the concept itself through the “eyes” (comments) of others.space-mountain2

It’s kind of like standing on a line for a ride at Disney World where the time up until the ride takes off is the Facebook site and the ride itself is the concept a franchise candidate is considering. On the long line for the ride, you kind of know what to expect and the anticipation builds as you move along. But, you just don’t jump on the ride, right? You first go through the info stage. You read the general signs at the entrance. You hear directions and watch videos along the way. Sounds a lot like Social Media, doesn’t it?

Further along, you see the caution signs. You interact with other guests on line. You share what you have heard about the ride with others and them with you. You interact with the ride personnel as they usher you to the ride itself. There, you interact with the people who just finished the ride and you see the excitement and joy on their faces. Now you’re ready for the experience yourself. Hold on tight because as the ride leaves the station, YOU”RE COMMITTED!

agreementOf course, franchise sales are not quite as easy or simple as anyone who has ever presented a franchise sales opportunity can attest. But when you consider the building and infrastructure of the ride and the time spent developing the ride concept, the design of the structure, the projected ride experience and the large financial investment, it’s easy to see how both a franchise opportunity and a ride evolve the same and ultimately have similar objectives; to encourage participation, create a positive experience, instill a desire to do it again without remorse and to share their unique experience with others.

The one key thing that Disney has that may be lacking in many franchise organizations is “attention to detail.” It’s the little things along the way that create the desire, justify the value and establish trust that the Disney name brings to the experience. Is it ironic that key components of a sale are need/desire, value and trust? Are you ready for the Disney-ish way of selling franchises? If you are, then you’re ready to sell franchises through social networking, social media and all the other goodies that make up Web2.0!

The NEW Golden Rule!

The following article has been submitted by Guest Author, Frank Again. Frank is the Founder and President of AmSpirit Business Connections, a national franchise organization that empowers entrepreneurs, sales representatives and professionals to become more successful through networking and developing stronger business relationships.

amspiritPrior to founding AmSpirit Business Connections, Frank developed the largest territory of Network Professionals Inc., a similar organization. In addition, for ten years he operated a successful law practice in Columbus, Ohio focusing on the creation, growth and sale of small business enterprises. After completing law school and graduate business school at the Ohio State University, Frank started his career as a tax consultant with Coopers & Lybrand.

Frank has authored and published a book entitled Foundational Networking: Creating Know, Like & Trust For A Lifetime of Extraordinary Success. The premise of Foundational Networking is that the most important aspect of successful professional networking is not our skills or knowledge of the process, but rather our attitudes and habits with respect to presence, altruism, and integrity. Foundational Networking is a culmination of his life experiences, observations and research as it relates to the components of these attributes.foundational-networking

The NEW Golden Rule!
as submitted by Frank Agin

If you ask most anyone in serious networking circles what the Golden Rule of Networking is, they we reflectively respond, “Give First, Get Second.” While there is lots of truth in that answer, it is not the complete answer. It can’t be, as there is much more to successful networking than just giving.

Networking is about developing relationships with other people and then (while contributing to the lives of others) parlaying those relationships into things that benefit you …referrals … information … other contacts.

So the key to successful networking is getting lots of great people interested in you. This, however, almost begs the question, “How do I get people interested in me?”

The best way to answer that is to ask yourself this, “Why do I want to network with certain people?” After all, it only makes sense that the reasons why you want to network with certain people are likely the same reasons why others would want to network with you.

With that simple revelation, it makes perfect sense that if you adopt the same characteristics, attitudes and habits of the people you want to network with, then others will want to network with you.

In very simple terms, you need to become the person you want to network with. This is the NEW Golden Rule of Networking.

So, answer this: Who do you want to network with? In the most general of terms, you want to network with people that you know, like and trust. However, you need to drill down into more specific questions, such as …network<

• What do you want to KNOW about others?
• What makes you LIKE others?
• What builds your TRUST in others?

If you really think about it and work to uncover the answers to these three questions, then you have found out exactly why you want to network with other people.

More importantly, however, this exercise reveals to you exactly the person you need to become to get other people to want to network with you. Again, become the person you want to network with.

To get at this, take a moment to examine each of these questions.

What do we want to KNOW about others?

For example, you cannot help but be impressed by the doers of the world, as those that go the extra mile for company, community or country always seem to have a following. Why not become one?

What other qualities in people do you admire? Sense of humor? Optimism? Courage? Endeavor to take those on.

Become the person you want to network with.

What makes us LIKE others?

As with most people, you cannot help but like people who like you and as such you want to be around people who seem to take a liking to everyone. With that little nugget, you should find a reason to like everyone and do all you can to express it as genuinely as possible.

What other characteristics in people do you find attractive? Compassion? Thoughtfulness? Generosity? You should seek to adopt those mindsets. Become the person you want to network with.

What builds our TRUST in others?

Admit it, you have a natural trust for the person who does what they say they are going to do. With that, you should become the person upon which others can rely.

What traits in other people make them trustworthy in your eyes? Conscientious? Honest? Open-Minded? You should try to mimic these behaviors. Become the person you want to network with.

Yes, giving to the world around you quietly inspires others to give that generosity back. If, however, you endeavor to mirror the characteristics, attitudes and habits of those you aspire to network with, legions of others will strive to network with you – giving you much more in the end.

Has LinkedIn Lost its Appeal?

Is it just me that feels individuals are using LinkedIn more and more just to post job requests and sell services than to engage in discussions, meet new people, and develop relationships.

Have we become bored with LinkedIn?linkedin-logo2
Is LinkedIn a waste of time?
Why have we joined LinkedIn in the first place?
Are we achieving our objectives with LinkedIn?
Do we really need LinkedIn?

Personally, I find LinkedIn most helpful because it provides benefits and information that would be impossible to bring together under any circumstances except in a similar networking site. So why not use LinkedIn for all it has to offer?

Do you realize the wealth of experience at our fingertips on LinkedIn? Without LinkedIn we might never get to network with some of the world’s most intelligent people. Not just know them, but be able to tap their brains for information and share thoughts and feelings about any subject imaginable. I’m not just talking about the obvious contacts like leaders in our respective industries, or even famous people that we come across now and again.

Instead, I’m talking about the great minds of tomorrow, the leaders of tomorrow. Imagine having had the chance, 10, 20, or 30 years ago, at sharing information and discussions with Bill Gates. Or, being able to read Steve Jobs’ answer to a compelling question. Or, how about learning what’s on the mind of a young Donald Trump or Richard Branson. Or, from the franchising perspective, how about experiencing the passion and vision of aspiring entrepreneurs Bud Hadfield and Ray Kroc.

Imagine having been able to communicate one-on-one with one of today’s government leaders and being exposed to their thoughts and views at an early age. What was President Obama like thirty years ago?

The point is, if we take full advantage of LinkedIn now, today, we might be exposed to the leaders of tomorrow. Through discussions and sharing information we might learn today, what can benefit us tomorrow. We might receive some insight today that becomes essential tomorrow.

We just don’t know what might help us in the future. So, why not take full advantage at what we have right in front of us today? Here’s to engaging discussions, new and renewed relationships, and sharing of information!