Andy Lopata

Are You Listening?

March 18, 2013

It was a taste of my own medicine I guess! For years I’ve been preaching the importance of listening. Not just being politely quiet when the other person is speaking, but really listening. Paying attention. I’ve talked about listening for people rather than simply to them and shared Stephen Covey’s thoughts about empathetic listening. But listening requires work and practice and it’s easy to get distracted without realising it and fail to listen. As was brought home to me recently.

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Waiting for things to happen

February 15, 2013

Over the years I have run many seminars and training sessions on referrals strategy. I have asked a lot of business audiences where their best and most effective new leads come from and the vast majority will always reply ‘word of mouth’, ‘recommendation’ or ‘referral’. Yet, when I ask specifically for them to describe what strategy people have in place, I am met with blank looks. On the whole, companies believe that if they deliver good service, their customers will refer them naturally. This is a passive approach, and in reality quality referrals are unlikely to be forthcoming.

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The World’s Smallest Networking Event

January 17, 2013

How many people constitute a ‘networking event’? That’s the question I was asking myself after attending the world’s smallest ever event. With only two of us present, surely that’s a record that can’t be beaten? The event, an intimate monthly dinner with normally around 12 people present, was hit by low registrations because of the time of year and a number of cancellations on the day. Even the event host gave up when no-one had turned up twenty minutes after the start time.

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Why You Can Give and Give and Never Get Anything Back

December 14, 2012

At a recent workshop one of the participants complained that she had been giving referrals and developing her network for a number of years but had never received anything in return. “It’s all fine”, she said of the principles I was outlining, “but it doesn’t work in practice.” I like a challenge and I certainly don’t want to see anyone frustrated by developing a network but feeling that they were getting nothing back in return for the hard work and effort being put in. So I asked a few questions to try to understand her situation better. 

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What do you do? Communicating the right message in your job title

November 19, 2012

There’s a strong chance that you have been communicating the wrong message to your potential customers as soon as you introduce yourself and hand them your card, without even realising it. This is particularly true if you are in a sales role, but not exclusively. I first spotted this issue when running a LinkedIn workshop with a group from one of my clients. I talked about the ‘Professional Headline’, the field on LinkedIn that appears just below your name and describes what you do for a living.

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People Buy Solutions to Problems

October 19, 2012

It’s often said that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. This only goes part of the way. When building a word of mouth marketing strategy, it’s actually more important to focus on who knows you and essentially, what they say about you. Have you spent much time thinking about what you want people to say about you? When I ask groups this question, they almost always talk straight away about characteristics. They want people to say they are reliable, professional, efficient and other such traits. 

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What do you want people to say about you?

September 17, 2012

What is your core message? With all of the opportunities to network, both online and at events, and with an ever-more blurry line between what is ‘professional’ and what is ‘social’, keeping a clear vision in your mind of how you want to be perceived has become increasingly important. Online networks, bundled under the tag ‘social networking’ have taken this to extremes. I get frequent Facebook friend requests from people I’ve never met, and I know a lot more about my business contacts than I could ever have expected in the past. That’s fine. I have the power to choose [...]

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How do you chase up referrals you’ve been promised?

August 30, 2012

What do you do when someone has promised you a referral but you haven’t heard anything? It can be a very uncomfortable situation. After all, they’ve promised to do something for you but there’s no obligation on them to follow up. If you press too hard you may well not only lose the potential introduction but damage the relationship you have. Many people, facing this risk, will take the safer option and hope that the promised referral materialises. But what if your Champion has simply forgotten? How much new business is left on the table because we’re too nervous to [...]

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