Tag Archives: “networking night”

Engineering Can Wait

31 Mar

Even though I have 2 degrees from Boston University and live 15 minutes from campus, I’m not a big BU alumni. Maybe it’s because there wasn’t a big fraternity scene or football tailgating parties. For me, it was the city of Boston itself that’s the attraction. Since BU is 1 mile long and a block wide, the campus really becomes the city itself. So I’ve ignored BU attempts at bringing me back.

bu_banner

The one sport BU is good at is hockey and they’ve been ranked #1 most of this year and are going to the Frozen Four next week. Watching hockey on HD with the boys is almost as good as watching the games live so I’ve been caught up in the BU spirit. And then BU got me at a weak moment and I said, “Yes” to attending a BU Engineering industry night last week.

I’m back on campus, walking thru the student union and knowing that I can’t even pass for a grad student getting their PhD. Obviously not a professor, maybe the parent of one of these kids. Go into the dining room where they’re hosting the event and take a big breath.

The room is full of engineering seniors wanting to mingle with alumni and ask what’s it’s like in the real world. No speeches, just a quick intro and then mingle the crowd so that the kids could ask us questions one-on-one. I told the crowd, “I don’t know why BU ENG asked me to attend as I got out of engineering and into sales within 2 years of graduating BU.” Of all the other alumni, only 1 other wasn’t still in engineering and he was a patent attorney. I figured I’d be left alone for the next 2 hours, scorned for going to the dark side of sales.

Instead, I was mobbed. And I really enjoyed talking with them and was glad I attended. Why? Because I can remember being in their place and knowing I had spent so many hours studying to be an engineer, hours that my English and Business major friends were spending in the bars downtown. I can remember that eager but tight feeling of, “I have to get a Engineering job right now” without realizing that working for the next 40 years is what’s ahead of me. After all, I thought 30 year olds were due Social Security benefits when I was graduating BU. Just no concept of 4 years of school vs 40 years of working.

What these kids wanted to hear from me that it’s OK not to do the expected and get the obligatory engineering job right away. So I told them it’s OK. Be a (gasp) sales person. Join the Peace Corp, get a teaching job, be a bartender or ski instructor, travel the world if you can. Take some time to discover what you love to do. That job will be waiting when you’re ready.

3 Networking Must-Do's

16 Jan

I was in Westboro, MA earlier this week attending the Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce‘s networking night.  The event was very well attended by local businesses with over 350 attendees mingling amongst the food, drinks and violin trio.  Very nice, very professional.  Best of all, I caught up with 2 Inquisix members, Rick and Brigitte.  Both knew the Inquisix story and articulated our benefits to other Chamber members.  Thanks!

Now that it’s been a few days since the event, I’m reminded again that many people attend these networking events without a plan.  Do they just show up for the free hors d’oeuvres and open bar?

Three (and only three) MUST-do’s at networking events:

  • Show Up – A surprising number of people attend these events and aren’t prepared.  Showing up means more than arriving.  Did you bring enough business cards to hand out?  Did you bring a pen to jot notes on the back of the cards you receive?  Can you articulate your message in 5 seconds?  There’s too much noise to get a 30 second elevator pitch across so get your message down to 5 seconds.  But the ones who had their 5 second pitch down?  Those people I remember!
  • Follow-up – Even more surprising is the number of people who exchanged cards and never follow up.  Again, why bother showing up?  Why not a simple email, “I enjoyed meeting you at the Chamber event last night and hearing what you do.  I had a chance to look at your website this morning.  Look forward to connecting to you at a future event.  All the best.”  That message is appropriate even if you don’t think the other person can help you.  Because you just never know when someone you’ve met will reach out to you.  Again, the people with the best 5 seconds all reached out to me later this week.
  • Give to Get – Still a shame with all the networking tips freely available on the web that people forget that giving begets getting.  The most active man in the room was Rick.  He spent his time introducing people in the room to each other.  If they had trouble articulating their message, he helped them.  If they forgot the first step in following up (collecting business cards), he gently offered his as a reminder.  Did Rick spend any time telling people what he did?  No, he led by example.

3 simple to-do’s.  No, 3 simple must-do’s.

Inquisix Networking Night SUCCESS

1 Feb

You know those days (no, those nights) leading up to the big presentation? I mean the BIG presentation, the one you’ve spent a year working up to? You’ve been planning the presentation, you’re looking forward to it, you’ve been role-playing what the other party is going to say, you’re prepping your team members on what to expect. And then it’s show-time. That’s how I felt walking into the room Tuesday night.

The setting was perfect – leather chairs, white linen table cloths and bookshelves lining the walls. Just the theme we want our website to convey – the members-only club where business is conducted over a handshake.

What a great turnout – it was standing room only. Thank you everyone who attended!

We started the night with some networking and introductions. For Dave and I, who’ve been talking and emailing with beta members, it was great to put member faces to names. Then Rick Roberge stood up and spoke about why giving referrals is better than exchanging referrals and both are better than asking for referrals. No real surprise here, Rick was preaching to the choir!

Then it was our turn to walk through the Inquisix solution and answer questions. Did we have a scripted demo? Of course but as it is the members who provide the content, I opened the discussion with, “What do you like, dislike, find confusing or think we missed the boat on?” Again, thank you members for your participation! The discussion was lively, it was informative and it was valuable. The members that had already used Inquisix to exchange referrals were leading the charge and helping us explain to the other members the how’s and why’s on getting started – upload your contacts, search for prospective customers, make referral requests and network with members with matches.

The unanimous decision – “The more you put into Inquisix the more you get out and it’s worth it!”

Presentations like this are why I’m in sales. Wow, what an endorphin kick to feel the energy of a group of people all arriving at the same decision by the end of the night! They are ready to embrace the Inquisix way of exchanging referrals and bring their sales colleagues into the fold, too.

Happy Selling!

NetworkingNight1-a NetworkingNight2 NetworkingNight3

left to right –

Inquisix Chief Sales Officer Michael Kreppein, Sales Coach Rick Roberge, Members Jim Glynn, Mark Tremblay, Andrew Adams, Bill Perrier, Mike Sachleben and Dan Wilcox

Inquisix Networking Night – Boston – Jan 29 2008

18 Jan

Join Inquisix and fellow beta members for a night of networking!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 starting at 6pm

Our guest speaker is Rick Roberge, the great sales coach and mentor from Dave Kurlan and Associates, who will speak from experience on why giving referrals is so beneficial to his business….and yours.

This is an invitation-only event with limited space so please email me early for an invitation.

Location
Papa Razzi
2 Wall Street, Burlington, MA
781-229-0100

Schedule
6-6.30pm – Registration & Networking
6.30-7.30pm – Rick Roberge, Sales Coach
7.30pm-? – Networking, Inquisix Q&A

Appetizers & cash bar will be provided.

This is a great opportunity to meet fellow Inquisix members, learn about giving & getting referrals from a sales master and learn how to use Inquisix to its full advantage.

RSVP now – space is limited – email me for an invitation.