Welcome to the WOW Blog!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We've Moved!!!

WOW Network Hawaii has a new website and blog location.  We're all in one place, so click on the link below to follow us to our new location.  See you there!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kapolei Fall Networking Mixer

To register online:  Kapolei Fall Mixer
For more information, contact Debra at: Fall Mixer Info  or call 808-780-9754

We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 26th WOW Event: Plug In and Power Up!

We hope you'll join us for this first Plug In and Power Up Workshop! Here's your chance to network with and attend an exclusive workshop presented by the Power Team of  Kathleen Davenport, Joann Seery, and Naomi Hazelton-Giambrone.  A limited number of seats are available, so register early!   http://wowjuly2011workshop.eventbrite.com

We look forward to seeing you there!

(Click on the page for a larger view.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

6 Ways Your Referral Source Can Turn a Referral Into a Customer

by Dr. Ivan Misner
Let’s say that upon getting a business referral, you simply take down the name and contact information of the potential customer from the referral source. Sometime later, you call the prospect and introduce yourself:“Hello, Ms. Prospect, my name is John Businessman. Larry Source recommended I call you.  I’m an accountant . . .”
Handling referrals this way, as you might expect, gets minimal results.  Your chance of converting the referral into a customer will be greater if your referral source:
  • makes the initial contact with the prospect (his acquaintance) to assess her need and, if appropriate, alerts her that you will be getting in touch
  • sends the prospect background information about you and your business
  • lets the prospect know the nature of his relationship with you
  • gives the prospect a brief description and endorsement of your products or services
  • arranges to introduce the prospect to you
  • follows up with the prospect after you contact her.
Unfortunately, if you don’t ask your prospective referral source to do some of these things, he probably won’t–not because he isn’t willing, but because he doesn’t know how these actions could make a big difference, doesn’t have enough information about you or your business, or simply doesn’t know how.
Make it your goal to communicate to your sources the actions you wish them to take and then provide them with all the materials necessary to accomplish those actions. If you do this, I guarantee you’ll get better-quality referrals that will more quickly turn into actual business.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Get the Real Story on Networking Groups

Overcome the self-imposed roadblocks holding you back from networking success.
The following article is an edited excerpt from Networking Like a Pro , by Ivan Misner with David Alexander and Brian Hilliard, now available from Entrepreneur Press .

As a business professional, I can tell you from personal experience how effective referral networking has been in the success of my own businesses. But some people still need to have a clearer picture of how it works and how it can be effective in their own businesses, so I decided to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions that people hit us with from time to time.
"I tried networking. It didn't work. What's different about this?" It's a common misconception that simply attending a networking event will bring you new business right away. It won't. Neither will just reading this; there's no silver bullet here.
Networking is simple--but it's not easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it, and do it well. But they don't. That's because it's a skill, like cooking and golf and carpentry, that takes knowledge, practice, commitment, and effort to learn and apply consistently. You can't just go out to the golf course, buy a club and a ball, whack the ball around a bit, and think you've played a round of golf. Neither can you walk unprepared into a gathering of potential networking contacts and suddenly become a competent networker--no matter how gregarious and sociable you are or how many books on networking you've read.
Networking is about forming and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships, which brings you new connections with large numbers of people, some of whom will become good customers. Networking also puts you in touch with other resources, such as industry experts, accountants, and lawyers, who can help your business in other ways.
Over time, you will get new business and your operation will grow stronger and more profitable. Will it happen overnight? No, and your new customers probably won't be among the first 10 or even 100 people you talk to, either. New business will come from people your networking contacts refer to you. But first you have to form solid relationships with your fellow networkers.
Some people go to a chamber of commerce mixer, exchange a few business cards, and then say, "There. I've networked." Wrong. That's only the beginning. You have to attend a variety of events to broaden your networking base; follow up with new contacts and learn all you can about their business, their goals, and their lives; maintain close ties with established contacts; provide referrals, information, and other benefits to your fellow networkers; and generally cultivate these relationships and keep them strong and healthy. That's networking. Only after you've been at it for quite some time will you begin to see a return on your investment. But when it comes, the return is strong and durable.
"Aren't most networking groups just people like me who are trying to build up a new business?" When you go to a presentation or a seminar on networking, you might get that impression, because the people you meet are there to learn something new, so they tend to be younger folks. But if you go to a regular networking event or join a networking organization, you'll soon see that many of the people there tend to be older, established businesspeople. In fact, in the typical business networking group, the members range in age from the 20s through the 60s, and based on a study done at St. Thomas University, two-thirds of them are over 40. There's a good reason for this. It's usually the seasoned pros who have recognized and learned to use the benefits of networking to bolster their business. Many have used networking throughout the life of their business and are fully aware of the competitive advantage it offers. Older networkers often serve as mentors for younger businesspeople, which can be an enormous advantage to someone who is new to the art and science of networking.
The best networking groups are the ones whose membership is diverse in many ways. That is, it will have not only older and younger members but also a good balance of men and women, a mixture of races and ethnicities that is representative of the community, and a wide variety of professions and specialties. Such a group offers the best opportunities to get referrals from outside your immediate circle of acquaintances and experience--which puts you on the fast track to expanding your business.
"If my customers are satisfied, they'll give me referrals. Why should I join a networking group?" Yes, customers can be a good source of referrals. Immediately after an especially good experience at your business, a happy client may talk you up to a friend who needs the service you provide. But it often ends there. A customer who is merely satisfied is not likely to go out of her way to tell others about you. And here's the kicker: A customer who is unhappy with you will tell a lot of people--eleven times as many as a happy customer, by one study. Customer-based word-of-mouth can hurt you more than help you.
A networking partner, by contrast, is always on the lookout for good customers for your business--just as you are always looking for people to send to your networking partners. Your fellow networkers also know more about your business and the kind of customers you want, and they are experts in marketing you by word-of-mouth, the most powerful kind of marketing that exists. This kind of referral generation lasts much longer and brings you a steady stream of high-quality business, the kind that doesn't turn around and go to your competitor as soon as he holds his next clearance sale. You can get more good referrals from one or two loyal networking sources than from all the customers who come through your doors--and the customers you'll get are the kind you'll want to keep.

While WOW Network is not having a networking event during the month of June, continue looking for opportunities to network & we'll see you again in July! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Four Steps to Building Social Capital

Over time, strengthening relationships within your network can lead to new business.
by Dr. Ivan Misner

You don't have to purposely become a networker to reap the benefits of social capital -- otherwise known as the value behind your social contacts. As long as you take as much care in raising and investing your social capital as you do your financial capital, you'll find that the benefits that flow from these intangible investments will multiply your material returns many times over.

Take for example a colleague of mine who is a book editor. He often works long hours in isolation, surfacing only occasionally to communicate with an author or publisher. So, how does someone with such little contact with people build social capital? It's simple. He eventually ventured out in search of others.

My editor friend met and wound up collaborating with a small group of writers who were forming a professional organization. He helped the group attract new members, publish a newsletter, schedule presentations and speakers and arrange conferences with editors and agents. While the organization grew, my friend made several new friends among the founding members. One of those connections helped him land a job that he kept for 12 years. My friend benefitted from another connection who gave him a steady flow of freelance editing work.

Even though my editor friend didn't know it when he began this low-key form of networking, he was building social capital.

Relationships Are Currency
How many times have you, or another entrepreneur you know, attended a networking event where you met a number of good people but never spoke with them again? Although small-business owners are often so busy they find it difficult to remember what they had for breakfast, it's a shame to ignore new contacts you can potentially turn into new business.

The key to improving your social capital isn't the number of contacts you make. What's important is making contacts that become lasting relationships. Imagine if you were putting together a marketing plan for the coming year and you called five close friends to ask them for help -- in the form of either a referral or new business. Now, imagine cold-calling 10 people for the same reason. You'll most likely have better luck with your close friends.

How can you deepen your relationships with contacts and improve your social capital? Here are four steps to get you moving in the right direction:
  1. Give your clients a personal call. Find out how things went with the project you were involved in. Ask if there's anything else you can do to help. Important: do not ask for a referral at this point.

  2. Call all the people who have referred business to you. Ask them how things are going. Try to learn more about their current activities so you can refer business to them.

  3. List 50 people to stay in touch with. Include anyone who has given you business in the last 12 months (from steps 1 and 2) as well as any other prospects you've connected with recently. Send them cards on the next holiday.

  4. Follow up. Two weeks after you've sent cards to your contacts, call them and see what's going on. If the contact is a former client or just someone you've talked to before, now might be the perfect time to ask for a referral. If it's a prospect you're calling, perhaps you can set up an appointment to have coffee and find out if their plans might include using your services.
Social capital is the international currency of networking, especially business networking. After just a few weeks of putting these steps in motion you should have more than enough social capital to tap into the rest of the year. 

Courtesy of Entrepreneur.com - http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219590 

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A networking coffee break.... Five Ways to Take Charge of Your Own Networking

Every business should have a networking expert, but you don't have to hire one. You just have to take on the right mindset.
by Dr. Ivan Misner

Among large companies -- take Google and HP, for instance -- there's a trend to create a new executive-level role called Chief Networking Officer. Some business call the role Community Manager.

Whatever you choose to call it, the CNO is the person who handles business networking and community-related activities, and the responsibilities range from developing word-of-mouth campaigns to referral-generation strategies. Other roles of the CNO include client relationship management, public relations, inter-departmental collaboration, corporate culture and relationship advertising and marketing.

In this article, I will focus on two roles of the CNO: word-of-mouth campaigns and referral-generation strategies. If you want to network like a pro, these roles should be the principal focus of your CNO.

First, let's address the thought that probably just popped into your head: "Hey, I run a 10-person (four-person/one-person) organization; how can I afford to hire a CNO to do my networking? Quite frankly, there never seem to be enough resources to take care of all the things the business needs, let alone hire an executive-level person."

But you don't have to hire a new executive. As the business owner, you're probably filling that job in one way or another already. Here are five actions you can take to be the Chief Networking Officer for your company.

1. Participate in two to three networking events each month, and follow up with people you meet. As a smart, enterprising businessperson, you already know the importance of networking and how vital it is to meet new people. However, one of the biggest mistakes people make is failing to follow up.

By adopting a CNO mindset, you recognize that meeting new folks while networking is just the first step toward generating more word-of-mouth business. The second step is meeting them later over coffee or lunch to learn more about their business and how you can help them. When you do that, you pave the way for future referral business.

2. Touch base with past business contacts by making two personal phone calls each week. Again, if you're like me, you've got so much going on that the thought of making two more phone calls is almost too much. But remember, a CNO's job is maintaining relationships and generating referrals. And that can't happen unless you stay in touch.

3. Use postcards and greeting cards to stay in touch with people throughout the year. A good time to do this is on annual holidays -- and not just Christmas or New Year's, but also St. Patrick's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Halloween.

Buy a pack of 20 cards and send them to people you've fallen out of touch with and with whom you'd like to reconnect -- past clients, past vendors, a friend of a friend, another business owner you chatted with at your local coffee shop a few months ago. This will keep you foremost in these people's minds.

4. Take good care of your database. A CNO should have a top-flight contact database and contact management system (CMS) to help her stay organized. It can be as simple as a physical card file or as high-tech as an online data site. It just needs to be something you can use so business cards aren't falling off your desk.

Database management software can supercharge your referral-generation system. Because there are data entry fields for many different kinds of information (e-mail address, phone number, profession, where you met the contact, etc.), you can sort and target e-mails to particular segments of your database with a few clicks of the mouse. There are several CMS systems, including ACT, Microsoft Outlook, and Relate2Profit.com.

The reason these systems are so important for a CNO is because his contacts are his business. You can't get referrals unless you have relationships, and you can't have relationships unless you stay in touch and up to date with contacts. A good contact database and contact management system enables you to do both while creating a powerful word-of-mouth marketing campaign.

5. Always thank your referral partners. A referral partner is not simply a contact who gives you referrals every once in a while; a referral partner is someone with whom you have entered into a relationship that is mutually trusting, respectful and beneficial.

Maintaining that relationship means, among other things, thanking your contact for referrals. It's just good manners.

Thanks can and often should take the form of reciprocation, of course; get a referral, give a referral. But reciprocity doesn't require such a quid-pro-quo response, and indeed it might seem a bit artificial if it happened as a matter of course. Gratitude by reciprocity should be given freely and abundantly, not in measured response to the number of referrals received. A referral partnership should never be viewed as a simple accountancy.

Extending a simple "thank you" is probably the single biggest action a CNO can take to maximize the number of referrals he gets. It will typically double the amount of referral business he gets from an existing referral partner.

Every business should have a CNO, but you don't have to hire one. You just have to take on the CNO mindset.

Ivan Misner is founder and Chairman of BNI, a professional business networking organization headquartered in Upland, Calif. Dubbed the "father of modern networking" by CNN, Misner is a New York Times bestselling author.
From Entrepreneur.com