Amanda is an award-winning international speaker and trainer who is passionate about supporting vision and mission-driven entrepreneurs learn how to communicate more effectively and deepen relationships in their network. She combines her unique experience from over 20 years in corporate education and direct selling spaces to deliver and facilitate powerful and transformative training and coaching to her clients. The loves of her life, or her husband, three boys, and three dogs.
What experiences in your past ultimately led you to do what you're doing today?
For me, it really started back when I was in high school. My middle school and high school years were a bit tumultuous, I didn't have a great time at home. We had a couple of moves and I just never really felt like I fit in anywhere, except for my ceramics teacher's classroom. When I would go into that classroom, he just created this safe space and it was like I could take off my energetic armor and just be me. He helped me feel seen and heard and helped me gain confidence at a time that I didn't have any. It was that experience, that I realized the importance of relationships, the importance of quality communication. Sadly, it took me a couple of years after high school to realize what an impact he had on my life. I remember the day that I realized that and thought, "You know what, I'm gonna go back to high school and visit him and thank him and just let him know that he made a difference in my life." I kid you not hours later, I found out that he had died in a car accident, I never had the chance to thank him. He was just a major reason why I went into teaching and in doing that, I realized I have this love of facilitating connections, whether it be a person to person connection, a connection to some new content outside of you, that makes a difference, or a connection to something within. So that really was the driver in the start to why I do what I do today.
How does marketing coordinate with sales and how are they different? And when you look at traditional prospecting and sales versus really building a relationship with someone. Speak to that a little bit if you can.
Absolutely, I started off my sales experience when I got involved in a direct sales company and I started my direct sales company like I'm sure many other people do. I loved the product, and I wanted to make a difference and share it with other people and did not necessarily have a great experience with sales and you know, it was to share your message next, next, next, and eventually, you'll get it Yes. It just didn't feel good to me and I didn't like the way that I felt, I didn't like the way that other people responded and it just never felt authentic to me. So when I discovered this concept called relational marketing, it really resonated with me. When we deal with traditional sales, and it's all about learning a little bit about the person, spending a lot of time talking about what you can give them, and then spending even more time overcoming objections. It seems like more of a convincing type of experience. With relational marketing and prospecting, it's spending a lot of time, in the beginning, developing a relationship, building trust, and then through that, discovering and uncovering a need. By that point, that trust is there and the relationship is built, so it's a very easy transition into the sales conversation. It's more authentic, it's more service-based and for me, that was what really mattered in making the difference.
So let's talk about referrals. If a business owner isn't getting the referrals that they want, what would you recommend they do?
Yeah, so I spent a lot of time networking, and one of the things that I teach is actually building more of a referral base for your business, because the act of getting a referral from somebody, you're borrowing somebody's trust, right? Like if you've got this interesting connection and somebody recommends a product or a service to you from somebody, you've got this trust in your existing relationship, so then inherently, you have a trust in that person. So getting referrals for your business are so much more lucrative and your customer will be more willing to buy more from you, stay with you longer and refer business to you so referrals are extremely important. One of the things that I hear a lot in networking situations is, "I go, I show up every week, and I'm not getting any referrals." Really, there are like five steps to the referral process and I think a lot of us were not taught that when we go into business. The first step in the referral process is trust. It's a big step, it takes time, and it takes getting to know each other, doing what you say you're going to do, showing up consistently, adding value, and really coming to be a valuable member of that community. After that is business knowledge, like, do people in your network understand what you do for your business, how you do it, any intricacies. One of the common things, I was talking to an insurance broker, and he was like, "I get all these referrals for life insurance and different forums and I deal with cybersecurity insurance." Well, members in his network simply didn't have the business knowledge. So making sure that your networking partners have knowledge of your business. And then from there, it's like making sure that that person has a need. I think we so often want to help people in our network and a common example I give is on Facebook where if you see somebody post a picture with their cup of coffee saying, "Oh my gosh, I'm so exhausted," and I say, "Oh, my gosh, they need this health and wellness product, I know it, I'm going to connect to them and refer them." Well, the person with a cup of coffee may not realize or have a desire or interest in that. So there really isn't this process in uncovering a need. Then the fourth step is actually edifying your referrer. It's a big difference to say, "I met Sam last week at a networking event and he does insurance and, maybe you guys will connect," versus, "Wow, Sam has been in the insurance industry for 10 years. And he's had all of these awards and he's very, very passionate about making sure his customers do this. He's just this great guy, I think he would be a great connection for you." Do they know how to edify you and do they know how to introduce you? Finally, the final step would be making that referral. So while a lot of us think making a referral is just this easy process, there's a lot more that goes into that process, and being able to teach people in your network how to refer to you will give you more quality referrals, as well as grow their confidence and being able to refer to you.
Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
Absolutely. I was thinking about this and it actually came to fruition very recently and started last year, and I think that goes into the value of networking, and that it is a long game and it is about building those relationships and building that trust. So for me, I created quite a community, a network participating in the direct selling space that I was in. I really make sure that I showed up and added value and built those relationships. I shifted into becoming a trainer for a sales methodology a couple of years ago, and had let some people in my network know and that I was excited about it. One of the leaders for the network marketing company up in Canada caught wind of it and said, "Oh, my gosh, we need a trainer for our international conference, would you come up and, you know, train on stage?" She had learned through the grapevine and the network that I was doing that and had reached out for that connection. So I went up and had the opportunity to train in front of 1200 people, which I gotta tell you was terrifying but very exciting. However, one of the participants in that audience had watched the training and was interested and never really did anything about it. Then about three months later reached out to somebody in the network and found my name, and we ended up connecting. That was back in January of this year. I never met her in person, but we started collaborating over zoom once a week, and then she brought in three other women that were in her various network that she had made connections with. Then through the course of this year, we collaborated and just launched the Women's Impact Academy several weeks ago, which I'm so excited about and all of that started with networking and building those relationships and connections. It's just fun to see where they go because you just never know.
What do you do to continue to nurture your network and your community?
I think one of the biggest things is consistency and showing up. If it's a networking group that meets every week, showing up week after week and being there. To nurture those connections, I've heard this rule called the Platinum Rule as opposed to the Golden Rule, right? The Golden Rule is to treat others the way that you want to be treated. The Platinum Rule is to treat others the way that they want to be treated. So I always make sure that I go to those networking events with this kind of givers gain mentality, like, What can I do for them? Who can I connect them to? Who's in my network? What value can I add? Just always showing up with that mindset, and making those connections as they come about. Doing things like if I see something, an article or a piece of information that would benefit them in their business, reaching out. There are all sorts of little relationship-building activities that you can do. Send them a little postcard or something, to commemorate something, or thank them for a referral, those types of things. So really, it is about looking at that relationship, as I don't want to say a friendship, but it is, it's a business relationship that does need to be nurtured. So it's going above and beyond and doing those special things as they come up.
What advice would you offer the business professional who is looking to grow their network?
I'm definitely a believer in the one to one connections. With the relationship marketing training that I have, we talk about this concept of a complementary business owner. So what are industries that are complementary to what you do? So they may have the same target market, however, if your ideal customer buys something from them, that's not taking money out of their pocket to buy something from you. So an easy example of this would be a realtor and a mortgage broker, something like that they're complementary businesses. So making those connections, and setting up those one to one, conversations is where I have found the most quality connections. Second, periodically taking a look at your networking opportunities. What networks you are a part of, and making sure you've got some variety there. So kind of doing this little analysis on a networking group. How big is it? How often do they meet? Do they have people there that have access to my target market? Within there showing up consistently, and again, it is time-consuming, but again, it's that long game. Once that connection is there, it's a lot easier to keep them Top of Mind and grow from there.
I'm going to make you think about your 20-year-old self here for a moment. What would you tell yourself to do more or less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?
If you were paying attention to my bio introduction, I've had quite the journey. I started off in the corporate world and I quickly decided I didn't like the politics and went into education, became a classroom teacher, and then stayed home. Then it was, "What am I going to do now?" And that's kind of my step into entrepreneurship. Even that I started in direct sales, and then I went in, you know, to do a different couple different training methodologies. I would say I've had a very winding journey and I'm grateful for every step along the way, because being able to look back and connect the dots for these meaningful experiences, is the value that I can offer to my clients, that's the value that I can offer to my networking partners, all of these different experiences. So I think I would tell myself to worry less about the changes and embrace the changes and just have confidence in the journey. And we never grow up, I just realized a few months ago. I think COVID has shaken up a lot of us and made us reevaluate things and, either confirm and affirm what we're doing, or maybe shift gears and kind of pivot a little bit. Sorry, that's an overused word this year. But it's a journey and I think we're so fortunate and that's the fun part about entrepreneurship and, being business owners and being able to adapt, create and show up how we want to have that freedom and that flexibility. Change is not always comfortable, but I have found in my life, while there's been a lot of painful moments, good has always come from it. Embrace the journey!
So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation if you could connect with one person. Who is it and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?
So my person who jumped to mind right away would be Jen Sincero. She's the author of You Are a Badass. I read her book maybe four years ago now and it completely changed my life and it's just her tone of voice, her presence, her authenticity. I will say I have her book on Audible as well, and I cannot listen to it in the car with my boys, I keep having to say ear muffs. So if profanity bothers you, maybe choose somebody else's book. But for me, it just resonated with who I am and her authenticity and her sense of humor. It really had a huge impact on my confidence, on my vision, waking me up and saying, "You know what, I want to do something bigger in this world, I want to make a difference, and I can, why not?" So Jen Sincero would be that woman, and I absolutely believe that in the six degrees of separation will have a meal with her. Maybe it's virtual at this point, but I will meet her and have a conversation with her one day.
Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
It's kind of cliche, but one of my favorite things that I hear is your network is your net worth. It really is and while developing those relationships can sometimes feel time-consuming, and there's not a lot of reward, they can really pan out. It may not be months, but even years, you know, just continually growing your network, adding, putting the good out there, and being able to make connections between people. That's my favorite thing to do.
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