At a networking event, a real estate lawyer and another person were talking.

“I was thinking about investing in homes in foreclosure or underwater with their mortgage … you know; try to figure out a way to make some money out of this tough economic environment.”

The attorney responded, “The problem is …” and proceeded to put the person to whom he was talking to asleep with an astute legal description of all the associated legal issues.

I inserted myself into the conversation and asked the real estate lawyer if he knew of a realtor who would know how to help a client navigate these difficult waters.

“Oh, sure,” he said.

“Who is it?”

He told me.

Being as that we were in a networking situation and they know me as a coach, I asked them if they minded if I rewound their conversation and demonstrated what a good networking conversation would look like.  They agreed.

So, the first guy repeated what he was looking for.

I pretended to be the lawyer and said, “I know a great real estate agent that can help you with that, would you like to talk with him/her?”

That is a conversation that might actually result in business which is the business of networking.  Networking and whatever you do for a living are two different skills.  When entering a networking environment, remember, this is not the place to demonstrate everything you know, but rather, the place to connect and help other do the same.

Coach Chuck

Networking, for the most part, needs to be fun.  The stiff lipped amongst may ask, “Why does it need to be fun?”

Simply put, networking is about making personal connection and we are the most ready, willing and able to make that personal connection when we are having fun.

So, if there is something you love or enjoy very much (such as antiquing, motorcycling, quilting, private aviation, art, fine wines, religious and philanthropic activities) and if the demographics of the other people that enjoy those activities fit the profile of your prospective client, get more involved and have more fun.  Obviously, this is a group where your networking will consist more of simply showing up, being an active high profile participant and finding some way of letting it be known what you do.  This is not an area where others would appreciate being marketed to in a direct way, because, like you, this is where they come to relax.  But, over the long term, being a valued member of this social group and letting them know what you do and that you are always open to referrals, is often a great way to build a high quality network.

When you meet others in your social groups that are interested in building their network, be helpful to them in their endeavors.  This creates a networking friendly atmosphere with the primary focus on Fun.  And when we are having fun, personal connections are easy to make.

Coach Chuck

Effective networking is a process that combines formal or structured networking with informal networking, along with your own commitment to be a part of other peoples’ sales team.  Nothing illustrates this more than the following example.

I walk into my favorite coffee shop, Longfellow’s in Jefferson, New Jersey:

Bruce the Owner says, “hi Chuck,” as he goes to make my usual black decaf and says, “I’d like you to meet Jerry,” (An informal contact) who was standing with his fresh cup of coffee.

“Hi, Jerry,” I reach out to shake his hand, “and, what is it that you do?”

Jerry proceeds to tell me that he has a business where he will help negotiate municipal offences and the client doesn’t pay unless Jerry saves them money on the fines. (

I was very excited to meet him, because two days previous I’d had a formal networking meeting with Julie Ann Woods from my BNI group that meets at the Marriott on Route 10 in New Jersey each Wednesday morning at 7 AM.  Julie Woods ( represents a product that lets fleet owners know where their vehicles are and everything about what they are doing.

Without skipping a beat, I said, “I’ve got some one you have got to meet,” and had my cell phone out and Julie’s number dialed before I introduced myself.

The connection between these two has great potential.

One of the really joyous things about networking is that I was just as excited about connecting the two of them as I would be about one of them referring to me.  They know that.  They will be on the look out for ways to refer me.  I know that.

Coach Chuck

Networking is how we develop a sales team through the process of personal connections, by building purposeful relationships.  To be an effective networker, we are just as committed to being on other peoples’ sales teams as we are in building our own. That means.  That means we listen to, pay attention to and focus on what other people need.  That is how the personal connection is made.

If we actually listen to some one, we may be the only person that day, or for some people, much longer, who have actually paid attention to what they are saying.  Further, in this age of e-mail, junk mail, pay per click, twitter, digital billboard, we all have the experience of a never ending supply of people trying to extract something from us.  What a breath of fresh air it is when some one actually wants to help.  If they do the same for you, then there is a possibility that a real relationship can be formed.

Coach Chuck


In networking, you goal is to:

  1. Meet prospective referral sources and develop a contact sphere
  2. To meet prospective clients.*

In a networking environment where people meet on a regular basis you might walk up to Mary and say, “Mary, when you were talking, you mentioned that you are a business attorney.  As you know I am a business coach.  When you said that you like to approach issues in (and then you paraphrase something she said) that resonated with me.  I think you and I think about business in the same way.  Maybe we could help each other get business, what do you think?”  If the networking environment is one where you don’t know the people you are sharing the room with, it becomes very key to you develop questions that help you to quickly establish whether the person you are speaking with is a prospective client, referral source or neither.

If you get a positive response, set up a time to either meet or talk on the phone to follow-up further.

If you are a business attorney, for example, and you heard some one say something about their business partner, you might say:  “I heard you mention something about your partner.  I’ve worked extensively with partnerships … I’d like to meet with you to see if there are ways I could be helpful to you.  Would you like that?”

If the response is positive, make arrangements and move on.

This type of approach works well because it sets the table for when you do meet, as to what the meeting is about.

Meet in a way that is comfortable, where both feel free to talk.  This is information gathering.  Whether this is a meeting with a prospective client or a referral source, this meeting is all about listening to their issues to see if you can help.  While the meeting has a high level of comfort, there should also be a structure.  After listening to their situation, this is when you have an opportunity to say something to the effect of, “this is how I see it….” and then let them know that you have heard, digested and interpreted what they had to say.  And follow up with, “this is how I think I could be of help,” and then describe in broad strokes, without giving away the store, what you would do.  If this is a prospective referral source, you might give an example of how you would refer them and then say, “Likewise, with me, you might say …” and then give an example of how you can be referred.  If this is a prospective client, after you have said how you might be able to help them, you simply ask, “How does that sound to you?”  This is one of many times when shutting your mouth and letting the other person speak first is key.  If they say they like the idea, say something to close the deal, such as, “my retainer for this would be X and you would be billed at Y per hour.  Are you ready to get started?”  Another approach is to ask if they have questions about your services and how they work.  This is where they will often ask about pricing.  In either case, this is another moment when silence is important.  Let them work it out for themselves.  This is not a hard sell.  This is one in which the prospective client has articulated their issue, you have offered a solution and it is up to the prospective client to think it through and say what they want


Whatever the outcome of this discussion, you will want to decide what kind of follow-up, if any, you want to have with this individual.  If it is a referral source, my suggestion would be to suggest that two of you touch base in no more than two weeks.  At that time, you will discuss any opportunities that have arisen to refer the other person, how it went and how it might be improved.  Continue this process and a great power team will be created.  If it is with the prospective client, the follow up will be about getting started working together or whatever your business proposition happens to be.

You should always know your conversion rates.  How many prospective clients come out of how many hours of networking?  This will help you evaluate the value of a given networking venue and/or the value of your networking abilities. What is your conversion rate of prospective clients into clients?  This will help you understand your effectiveness when you meet prospective clients.  Likewise with referral sources, it is very important to track where your clients come from to know which of your referral sources are the most valuable.  Certainly it is important to cultivate new referral sources, but it is more important to maintain and improve current good ones.  Just like it is much cheaper to keep a current client happy than it is to get a new client, the same thing applies to referral sources.

In summary, early in the networking process you quickly determine if there is a connection and what the nature of that connection is.  If there is, you let the other person know what the possible connection is you see and that you’d like to meet them and explore it further.  When you meet, you listen until the person has really had a chance to fully express themselves and then let them know that you were listening by saying back to them what you heard and what you think the most important issues are.  You offer a solution and see if they want to continue.  Decide if there is going to be a follow up.  If so, schedule the follow up and describe what you hope to accomplish in that follow up meeting.

This is a manner of networking that has the potential of yielding great results.

*See previous blog, “What is the Purpose of Networking?”

Coach Chuck

Why Do We Network?

July 22, 2010

The purpose of networking can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Meet and arranging follow-up with prospective clients.
  2. Meet and arranging to follow-up with prospective referral sources.

A great referral relationship is created when people meet the same clients in a noncompetitive way and feel comfortable referring them to each other. Ex:  A CPA meets with business owners on a regular basis.  I am a business coach.  I don’t do accounting work.  The CPA doesn’t do Coaching.  This has the potential of being a great referral relationship.

The success or lack thereof of each networking event is measured in the quality and quantity of prospective clients and prospective referral sources that are obtained in the event.

Coach Chuck


Golf and Bagger Vance

July 14, 2010

What do God, Golf and Bagger Vance have in common.  First of all, Everything.  But now, let me break it down a little bit. In Both Golf and Business, people on the outside don’t get it.  They don’t get that in each of these endeavors we are constantly called upon to reach deep inside ourselves – usually when no body is looking, like when the ball is in the rough or the woods or on the other side of the fairway – and asks, “whach-ya-gonna-do-now, huh?”  and then we can do the right thing or the wrong thing.  The thing about golf, and the thing about business, is that when we do the right thing – regardless of outcome – the result is joy. It just feels so good to do it Right – oh yeah!!  Joy, joy, joy is the spirit of God.  God could give a rat’s a…, err uh, God could care less about Business or Golf.  But God – and just for the record, I don’t care who or what your God is – God cares ALOT about reaching deep, doing the right thing and feeling it, feeling that joy.  Am I ready for Sunday morning TV or what! at Coach Chuck’s Church of the 1st Tee … I’ll see you at the clubhouse.

There is no book that captures the spirit of golf like The Legend of Bagger Vance.  Golf is a game of mind, it is a game of our integrity, of our past, of what everyone thinks of us.  And ultimately, is a game that asks, “can we just let go of everything, everything that is, or ever was, and hit the damn ball the way it needs to be hit?” And its not about thinking it.  Its just about doing it. The caveat is you go through all the other stuff first, until you find yourself alone with the ball.   Its you, yourself and doing the right thing – with nobody looking. What are you going to do?  Bagger Vance: the book, the real deal, about the game of golf.

Coach Chuck973-670-7215

What are the things that you consider when deciding whether or not to go into a partnership?  A partnership should be among people that bring complementary strengths together that when combined are greater than the sum of the parts.  In other words, the two people, if working together with common goals, will achieve more than they could alone.

The key here is complementary strengths. Take two attorneys that practice different kinds of law who are always finding that they often refer the other attorney’s kind of law out to some one else.  This might be the basis of the two attorneys getting together to discuss a partnership.  Could the two together gather resources that would allow each more success in their chosen fields?  If yes, then the process then is to discover whether or not the partnership is a good fit.

A partnership, like a marriage, is a very comprehensive relationship.  Issues of trust, compatibility, shared vision, compatible work ethic and working styles are just as important as whether or not business complement exists.

Very often people will form a partnership based upon the personal issues of trust, compatibility, shared vision, work ethic and style without examining the actual business compliment elements.  Other times, people will form a partnership based upon business partnership without examining the more personal issues.  Either of these methods have a poor prognosis of success.

Strategic Partnerships however can be entered on a very limited basis.  For instance, the two attorneys above may decide that if they share office space and staff and agree to refer each other, without partnerships beyond that, may, in some circumstances, find greater success than trying to bring together a shared vision and so forth.  A Financial Planner and Personal fitness trainer may decide to run a workshop together addressing the needs of retirees, without any obligation to each other beyond the workshop.

When contemplating a partnership, consider the question: what makes us a partnership that is greater than what we would be on our own?  Further, ask if these accomplishments are greater than what could be accomplished through strategic agreements or partnerships, rather than a full-blown partnership.  If the answer to these point to partnership, then carefully consider your commitment of each partner to each of the other partners success and how that would change in good times and bad – to put another way, through sickness and health.

Coach Chuck


As a summary, partnerships are for those joining complementary strengths between compatible people with a shared vision.  This is truly a rare relationship. Strategic partnerships are like dates.  One can engage in strategic partnerships with a greater attitude of experimentations.

This article is about the first meeting after the networking event.  In other words, you were at a convention, BNI meeting or whatever, met some one with whom you thought there could be mutual benefit.  In order to learn how to get up this part you might want to read my article about how to meet people. For now, however, we assume you have met some one and are now meeting with them for the first time.

For the most part, I would suggest something very casual – such as breakfast or coffee in a premium coffee shop.  The idea here is to be at ease.  That is not a cash register in front of you: don’t make them feel like one.  Remember, they were at the same networking event that you were.  They were looking for something.  Make this about them.

  • “Why were you at ________?”  Or “What are you looking for?”

Be completely transparent.  There is nothing to hide here.  You are both business people in search of something.

Now, this is a tough one:

  • Listen.

Listen completely.

Be completely okay with not understanding what, exactly they are talking about.

  • “When you say ________, what, exactly does that mean?”

No one likes a know it all and most people like to talk about what they do know.  When you have really understood them and what they are looking for, stop and reflect.  Is there any way you can be helpful?  Perhaps there is another networking source you have met to whom you may refer them.  If there is, make the referral or suggestion.  If this seems to connect with the person, spend just a few minutes on how to make the connection.

Once the other person feels totally listened to and helped or at least been the recipient of your authentic concern, connect something they have talked about, in some way with what you do.  Remember, most people completely lose interest when it is not about them. Let’s say the person is an interior designer and you are a financial planner.  They say mentioned having spent summers as a youth with an aunt who owned an antique store.  You might say something like, “I was impressed by how you were so influenced by your aunt.  I was influenced with how poorly my parents planned their future!  I think that’s how I got into this field.”

  • Then give a very short version of your background as it pertains to what you do.
  • An even shorter version of what you do.

If they express curiosity or ask questions, answer with examples that are relevant to them.  For instance, with the interior designer, talking to them about what some VP of ABC corporation did is irrelevant, but if you can tell them a success story about a shop owner or some other independent businessperson with whom they can identify, then that will be helpful to them.

At this point, you have some choices – what you want is to either qualify them as potential clients or get a referral. What I do is combine those two into one and ask:

  • “Do you know anyone that might benefit from that?”

Maybe it is because I’m generally diligent up to this point, but for me, about 1/3 of those people say something like, “I might want to use your services.”  They become prospective clients.

What to do from here is subject for another article, but for me, about ½ of those people actually become clients.

Coach Chuck


How do you meet people and what do you do at an event where business people are gathered?  The following is something that is very natural and works for me.  It might work for you too.

  • Walk up, confidently, but in an unthreatening manner and say,  “Hi, I’m _____,” and then be quiet.
  • They will almost always say their name; sometimes they will say their name and whom they are with.  Let them say as much as they want to say.
  • Make an authentic, positive comment about the event.  If the speaker was terrible say – “it feels great to get up and walk around.”  If the speaker was great say, “That speaker really made a good point about such and such.”  Whatever:  make it positive.  Life is good in your world. That’s why other people are going to want to be in your world!
  • Pretty early on, ask, “So what do you do?”  Again, let them tell you as much as they want to tell you. Spend your time listening.
  • Decide if you think the relationship might be one that you might want to develop.  If not, say, “great to meet you, “ and move on. If yes:  ask one or two questions that invite brief clarity on the issue that you think might be of mutual benefit.  If, upon asking those one or two brief questions you still think that there might be a mutual benefit follow that up with something like
  • “That’s interesting, my focus is _________ and it seems like you and I might have something worth following up on in more detail, what do you think?
  • If they say yes, ask for their card, and ask if you could give them a call this ____ or ____.
  • Regardless of the answer, thank them and move on.

Coach Chuck


In order for business networking to be successful, it must be put to the same tests as any other business activity.  Before engaging in business networking, ask:

a)       What are my objectives in business networking?

b)      What strategies will I employ?

The answers given to these questions should be relatively simple to understand and easy to measure.

For instance, a business person’s objectives in networking might be to:

  1. Get clients.
  2. Build referral source relationships.

Or, for the job seeker, the goals of networking might be:

  1. To get in front of a person who can hire me for a job that I want.
  2. Build referral relationships with people who can get me in front of people who can hire me for a job that I want.

One Strategy for achieving this goal is to look at the process of getting:

From the point where we are now (certain number of clients) (unemployed) (in a job that we do not like)

To where we want to be (more clients) (employed in a job we want)

… as a process.  This process is something I call a pipeline.

To visualize this pipeline,  think of a big open funnel.  At the top of the pipeline we have a) prospective clients and b) prospective referral sources.  At the end of the pipeline we have clients.   In between, we have qualified prospective clients, qualified referral sources, referral sources and, finally, clients.

Open networking is the process of meeting lots of people from which we can feed the front of the pipeline.  How we qualify them and move them forward is how we are going to reach our goal.  This requires that we network with purpose.  Therefore, as people are met, we must make decisions along the way: how are we going to define a qualified referral source.  This is going to be important, because if we spend all of our time talking to people that are not qualified prospective clients or qualified referral sources then we will not have time to talk to people that are qualified.  The net result will be that our net result is random rather than what we want it to be.

Networking results, to be effective, need to be measured:  Measured means with numbers.  How many qualified referral sources and qualified prospects do I have?  How many prospective client meetings or interviews have resulted?  Is that ratio improving or declining?  If it is improving, keep doing what we are doing, if it is declining … step back and evaluate.  Going by feel is not good.  It may have felt good to have three meetings with people at Starbucks today, but if it did not move the pipeline forward, that feeling will evaporate along with the caffeine buzz.

The front end of the pipeline, finding people to network with in order to find prospective clients and prospective referral sources in much easier today than it once was.  Go to or Linkedin and find out where groups are meeting that meet the general criteria of people that “could” meet your criteria.  Go there.  Meet them.

When you get home and you find that you have a stack of business cards, divide them into people that are prospective referral sources, prospective clients or neither.  Enter them into your data base.  I use Yahoo, but I’m not pushing them.  Use any data base that allows you to create categories for your contacts.  Have categories for each phase of your pipeline.  This pipeline should be dynamic.  No one should stay a prospective referral source forever.  Most of us are much too eager to have people like us.  What we want to find out from these people is: are they in a position to refer or hire us or not?  “Maybe” is NOT the answer we want. “No” is infinitely better than “Maybe.”  “Maybe” keeps us spinning our wheels.  Come up with your strategy on how to touch base and qualify your prospective referral sources and prospective clients. Then follow through with your strategy.  The pipeline keeps moving.  Your data base changes.  It is moving all the time.  New people coming in.  Old people going out.  Interviews and new prospects, new clients and job offers.  It is alive!  This is when networking is working.

Networking, then, is like any other business process.  It requires purpose, planning, strict definition, implementation, measurement of results and continual adjustments based upon outcome.  This is a process I’ve designed for the purpose of achieving personalized business results.


Coach Chuck – email – Blogs on different topics a fun site with some testimonials, book recommendations and stuff like that. – my basic website – about us, packages etc….