"I keep your 55 Great Icebreaker Questions in my Jeep and review
them before every event!"
Jim Higgins, ProForma Branding Excellence

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How To Become A Book Author & An Authority Fast

How To Become A Book Author & An Authority Fast

Many of you know that I published my book on networking this year, Network Like A Fox: A Targeted Approach To Building Successful Business Relationships In Person & Online .

Was it spectacular – setting a goal, working toward accomplishing that goal, seeing it come to fruition? You bet. But the fruits of these labors were so much bigger than these feelings.

First, and most importantly, I’ve gotten wonderful comments from the readers who have been helped and encouraged by the information I shared in the book. That’s incredibly rewarding. But then there are the pragmatic business reasons:

Why Become A Book Author

Now that I’m the author of a “real book” vs. just an e-book or a booklet, my positioning as an authority on my topic has accelerated more powerfully and faster than I ever thought possible.

I’ve exponentially multiplied my speaking engagements to bigger and better audiences.

I’ve attracted bigger and better clients.

I’ve leveraged the book into courses and other business opportunities.

Here are 5 savvy reasons it’s worth the time, effort, and money (yes, it does take an investment to become an author in today’s marketplace) to write your book:

1. You are given expert/authority status almost immediately.

2. You gain much greater visibility in your niche or field.

3. You attract new and unexpected business or career opportunities, and can make real money from the sale of the books – even if you never become a best-seller on Amazon.

4. You reach many more people more quickly.

5. You distinguish yourself from all the other competitors in your field.

How To Become A Book Author Fast

Writing a book – if it’s a how-to book – doesn’t have to take a massive amount of time unless your topic requires a lot of research.

Before you embark on this process here are 5 tips to making this project come to fruition faster and more easily:

1. Be clear about your end purpose – speaking assignments, public relations visibility, making money from the sale of books, new clients, job offers. Your end purpose will help you focus on how you write, execute, and market the book. This will also help you determine if you should self-publish or seek a book agent.

2. Make sure your topic is in demand – check out Amazon and other book selling sites to see how many books are already published on your topic.

3. Do a Google search for the topic and see how many other searches have been conducted for the topic.

4. Cover your topic from a unique, maybe even “disruptive” angle. Today, disruptive sells.

5. Repurpose content you’ve already produced on your topic. Review your current body of content -blog posts, tip sheets, videos, articles, white papers. Strategize about how to incorporate this content into your book. This can greatly speed up your process.

The 3 Smartest Things I Did To Get My Book Produced On Time

My deadline for finishing the writing of my book was December 31, 2012. I finished the first draft a few days ahead of schedule. How?

1. I had a system for writing and developing content and worked it religiously. I was committed and determined to fulfill on my objective – on time. Oh, yes – I also told people I’d be done by Dec. 31. Nothing makes you take action more than announcing your goal publicly to others.

2. I hired a project manager for the editing and the book cover creation.

3. I had a clear marketing strategy for how I wanted to leverage the book for business opportunities. Mine was to market the book into companies, firms, and organizations, having them buy the book in bulk, and not deal with any returns.

Since the publishing of my book in May I have already recouped my initial investment, am now speaking and leading workshops all over the country on a topic I am passionate about, and have upgraded my status as an authority and my client attraction.

To paraphrase Nike, stop dreaming and “Just Write It.”

If you’d like to find out how The Business Fox can help you turn your know-how into a real book, write me at with I Want To Become A Book Author in the subject line.

Your ideas matter: PUT YOUR COMMENTS BELOW NOW – tell us why YOU would love to write a book.


How To Make Your Body Language Say The Right Things In Business

How To Make Your Body Language Say The Right Things In Business

I  have always been fascinated by the topic of body language, the messages our bodies transmit in non-verbal ways.

Years ago, I had the opportunity to interview one of the top CEO’s of a major publishing company.

We had a great conversation: he was smart, warm, charming, and…..nervous.

How did I know this?

He couldn’t make eye contact with me.

I found that fascinating… a major CEO was struggling with confidence.

Recently, I watched Amy Cuddy’s popular TED Talk: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are . What I loved about social scientist Cuddy’s talk was the focus she placed not on how we could read others’ body signals, but how we could generate our own physical positions to influence and shape what we wanted others to get about us. Now that’s powerful!

In this talk, Amy confirms what I am always telling my clients: “They may not remember what you tell them; they will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel”. Your stance, your confidence, your presence often trumps your information, credentials, data.

Given two people with similar credentials, smarts, degrees, the one who gets attention and results will be the one with greater confidence and presence.

You can have the best diploma but what they really are buying is you.

So it makes sense that you should and could gain mastery over your body language, right?

Imagine….oozing non-verbal cool confidence and power when

  • you are being interviewed for a job
  • you are selling an idea in a meeting in your organization
  • you are networking with sweet spot prospects and decision makers
  • you are pitching potential clients
  • you are making a public presentation
  • you want an job candidate to say yes to your offer

Nice image, eh?

Change your body, change your mindset.

Tony Robbins has been teaching this for years: Shift your body energy, elevate your power and confidence.

According to Cuddy, when we “small up” our body stance, our testosterone levels lower (resulting in a loss of power and confident emotional level) and our cortisol hormone increases (elevating our stress level). The reverse is true when we adopt power stances- we actually control these hormone levels in our body and thus shift our emotional states!

So how can you leverage this information in situations when you want to exude magnetic power and influence, generate people liking you, listening to you and your ideas?

2 Minute Power Pose

You may remember the movie scene with Diane Keaton in the movie, Baby Boom. Diane plays a former hot-shot executive-turned-single mom. She develops a runaway success business that her former company wants to buy. The offer is so big it makes Diane’s character quake in her high heels. She excuses herself, scoots into the ladies, looks at herself in the mirror, adopts a power pose, cries, “Yes, I’m back!” and heads back into the boardroom totally pumped up. Then she leads the rest of the meeting, standing in that same head of the table “power pose.”

So, before your next networking event, prospect meeting, interview, speech, pitch, take 2 to Power-Pose it up:

Power Pose 1 : The Victory V

big v for vicotry





Power Pose 2. The Superman or Superwoman Stance

   superman power stance




Power Pose 3. Table Lean

lean on table stance




Power Pose 4: Arms Folded Behind Head/Smile

smiling arms folded back





Power Pose 5: Fist Pump

fist pump woman





Just looking at these photos makes you feel strong, powerful, enthusiastic, doesn’t it?

Make your body shape your mind and then the minds of all around you.

Do a little private power posing before key events and moments, watch your power and influence rise along with your results.

If you’d like to see Amy Cuddy’s 21 minute TED Talk go here:  Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

I’d love to hear your stories of bad and good body language!

Comment below.

The Perfect Linked In Profile: 7 Ways To Make It Pay Off For Your Business

jeff weinerWhen was the last time you took a good look at your Linked In profile?

A little background to this question.

I love Linked In.

But it wasn’t always that way.

In 2006, I received a Linked In invitation to connect – from a client of mine, a high level executive at a major corporation. I admit I was stunned. She was the very last person I would have expected to have jumped on to the social networking bandwagon. Intrigued, I accepted. That allowed me to see all 300 of her connections. And when I saw who was in her “online Rolodex” my jaw dropped open.

Linked In Profile Power

That’s the day I was bitten by the social networking bug. I saw the power not only of how many contacts could be generated, but the caliber of the contacts.

I started crafting and completing my Linked In profile, connecting with ideal professionals, and learning all the Linked In possibilities for business success available – still at the free level.

Soon, my Linked In results started to kick in. Over the next couple of years, here are just a few of the tangible results that stemmed from my Linked In profile and social networking actions:

  • hundreds of new subscribers to my newsletter
  • attendees at my live events
  • 4ooo members in a women’s professional group I launched.
  • Exponential new visibility and credibility with my ideal niche market
  • Actual new private clients and registrants in my online programs

Linked In Profiles Have Come A Long Way Baby

In the beginning Linked In was simply a huge professional resume bank, with limited features and a very clunky search function.

But then Linked In started to grow up.

It added content options – articles, blog post feeds, Powerpoint Slide Share to feature your content, automatic linking with Twitter (unfortunately now defunct ) travel posts so you could meet up with new contacts when you were in the same city (very cool feature). Then the search function improved, particularly with the advanced search feature.

The biggest advancement: Google started to favor and highly rank Linked In profiles..

Your Linked In Profile Is Like Having Another Personal Website Promoted By Google’s Search Engine – for FREE

This means you can no longer afford not to have a powerful Linked In profile working for you and your business.

With all of the new features now available on Linked In, it can be pretty confusing to figure out how to write the perfect Linked In profile for your business or career.

I want to make it very simple for you and give you a few essentials and priorities to writing your ideal Linked In profile – ones that will attract Google’s influential eyeballs and your ideal connections.

1. Your Linked In Profile Requires A Professional Photo (This is not optional for optimal results)

Yesterday, I was invited to connect with someone on Linked In. The photo was of her and a man behind her.  I have no idea who this man was – her husband, her biz partner???  I’ve seen others post family photos on their Linked In profile. What’s up with that? Linked In is not Facebook.

Do not post a photo that is not well lit and professional in appearance. You don’t have to be movie star good-looking to make a great impression with your photo. People want to get a sense of your personal brand through your photo.

2. Your Linked In Profile Should Feature The Right Keyword Rich Tag Line

Focus on creating a tag line that will be ideally searchable by Google. So if you are a lawyer, make sure you use the kind of law in you tag line as Google keywords are searched.  This means a bit of Google adword keyword research (Google Adword Keyword Tool found here).

ex. Use “food franchise business owner”  or “fast food franchise business owner” vs. “franchise business owner”.

3. Linked In Profile Summary

Talk less about how many years you’ve been doing what you’re doing and more about what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve helped your clients with specific case examples and denote special skills and talents you have. That’s what people want to know: what can you do for me, my business, or my company?

Mix up the formatting to include text and bulleted sections for easier readability.

4. Linked In Profile Career History – Close The Gaps

Today, it’s not uncommon to have career gaps if you’ve been between positions or business ventures.

Do what you can to fill the date gaps in with projects you’ve worked on, committees you’ve served, association activities, pro bono work.

Don’t avoid the gaps – be smart about how you fill them.

5. Recommendations & Endorsements on Your Linked In Profile

Linked In has made it very easy and acceptable to request and provide Recommendations. That’s why it makes so much sense to connect with as many respected professionals, colleagues and clients as possible. It’s great to display your recommendations and it’s a great feeling for your contact to receive one. It’s the perfect relationship builder.

Endorsements are a relatively new feature on Linked In. You can add your ideal skills and expertise through the edit button on your profile.

With one click many people can endorse you for just the right skills. Endorsements are quick but therefore don’t hold as much stock as recommendations.

6. Groups & Associations Reflected On Your Linked In Profile

When you join the ideal groups attracting your ideal niche clients, it’s a wonderful opportunity for you to get known, visible, and attract new contacts in your sweet spot market. No brainer.

People also feel more comfortable connecting with people through the common bond of mutual groups and associations.

Starting a group tailored for the needs of your ideal niche market is also a super smart way to build your top network.

7. Your Linked In Profile: Numbers of Contacts

For me, it’s much more about who you are connecting with than it is how many connections you have.

That being said, what’s the real down side to connecting with people? Are you afraid they’ll see who your clients are?

Are you afraid they’ll ask you to introduce you to someone?

These are very rare situations. And you can set your privacy features to closed connections (although that sort of defeats the purpose of connecting too)

For the most part, unless people are obviously prospecting through Linked In with abandon, I like adding high-quality connections.

The benefits far outweigh the negatives.

I’ll be touching on this more in a future post.

Get Started Upgrading Your Linked In Profile: Just Do It!

Maybe you’re not a comfortable writer.

Maybe you’re time crunched.

These are easily addressed so don’t let these obstacles stop you from having a top notch effective Linked In profile:

Here are 3 Easy Actionable Tips:

1. Devote only 15-20 minutes a day to upgrading and fully fleshing out your Linked In Profile (small chunks = no overwhelm)

2. Engage a professional Linked In profile writer to help you optimize your profile – this is a stress buster and well worth it because of the time saved, end results produced.

3. Ask 3-5 of your clients and colleagues to give you the good and bad of what they see on your Linked In profile. We’ve all got blind spots.

If you’ve found this post helpful, I would appreciate your passing it on to your colleagues and clients.


I’ll give you my pass/fail review of your Linked In profile AND WHY.


And please do send me an invitation to connect with me on Linked In if we aren’t already bonded.















The price of not speaking “truth” to your prospects & clients

Recently I had a conversation with a woman who was a “corporate casualty” and lost her job at one of the big financial institutions. On the one hand, it was devastating. On the other, it was her ticket out of “corporate jail.”

She has spent the last year developing her coaching practice. She received coaching training and has gotten a few clients. I asked her if she was making a living. “Not really” she replied.

I asked her what her goals were and what she thought the problem was. Her answer was she didn’t really have a handle on how to make her desire to coach people a real business. She was trying to do this on her own without a coach of her own. So here’s the irony: She wants to build a coaching business but is unwilling to hire her own coach to guide her.

Our actions are a mirror for our clients. If we don’t believe in ourselves, they won’t believe in us. If we don’t invest in our own growth and development, we will attract people who won’t invest in their growth and development.

So here’s the point of this post:  Do I make her feel good about herself and tell her I understand that she “doesn’t have the money right now” to work with someone like me? Or do I tell her the truth – that if we are interested we’ll do what’s convenient, but if we are committed we’ll do whatever it takes to make a business and our lives successful.

Not telling her the truth would cost more than me not gaining a client – it will cost this woman a life she really deserves.

When have you been holding back and not telling your clients the real truth? What do you think it’s costing them?

When you get really honest with yourself about this, your business will skyrocket and so will others around you.

Making Rain Without Pain

Clients and workshop participants frequently ask me: “What’s the difference between sales and business development. Aren’t they the same thing?” Often I answer with a question: “How does it feel when someone is trying to sell you?” Ugh!

Daily, we are bombarded with “sales pitches” almost from the moment we wake up until the moment we close our eyes at night. I have a feeling in the not-too-distant future, someone will figure out a way to create some kind of moving ad, like a billboard traveling across the inside of our closed eyes, to pitch us even when we are sleeping.

Gaining new business and clients in the service sector is a totally different process than selling widgets. When people purchase services, they are purchasing something quite intangible. That’s why business development is anything but selling.

Business development is a relationship-building process where you are actually attracting new opportunity toward you. How? By being interested in potential clients’ needs rather than “selling them your wares.” When we are truly interested in helping someone’s business, they will be interested in us. Pretending to be interested just won’t cut it. People intuitively sense when we are primarily interested in selling them on how much we know and pontificating about our expertise. If you are dead set on telling people all about you and your smarts, don’t be surprised if you are rewarded with the dreaded blank stare of boredom.

People are primarily interested in one person – themselves. Work on asking them probing questions about their business. When you give them this clear expression of your interest in them and their business, it’s pretty likely you will find yourself being the center of their complete and undivided attention.

Most of us recognize it’s important to be working on business development, but it seems to take so much time for such a small return. It seems impossible to do all the necessary work for clients AND work on business development at the same time.

The key to building your business while you are serving your business is systematizing, prioritizing, and training your clients to adhere to this system.

Here are three key actions you MUST take to get a handle on your business development results:

1. Plan your business development activities for short spans of time every day. Make 2-3 calls or outreaches every single day, set up meetings for ideal candidates and track your calls.

2. Return phone calls and e-mails no more than twice a day. Ask people to identify if the issue is truly urgent.

3. Train your clients. You must demonstrate being responsive yet maintain control of your schedule. Clue your clients in to how you will work with them at the beginning of the engagement. They can count on you to get back to them in a mutually agreed upon amount of time. No one benefits from or feels confident about a confused, frazzled professional.

All three of these key action steps address a biz dev approach that I call “Daily Consistent Activity©.” By implementing “Daily Consistent Activity©,” you are certain to generate a healthy, flowing pipeline with greater speed and ease.

5 Ways To Drive Your Business Up During A Business Downturn

The worst thing we can do during a business slowdown is to panic. Going on a business starvation diet will only prolong the rough times. A business downturn calls for cool minds, steadfast adherence to sound business systems and structures, and innovative thinking about ways to create opportunities where only difficulties seem to exist.

Here are the essentials that can drive your business upward even when the economic climate is gloomy: 5 Ways To Drive Your Business Up During A Business Downturn –

1. Be thrifty with your expenditures but generous with praise for employees and coworkers. You want to be especially cautious about spending without starving the business. And it is also the perfect time to upgrade the team atmosphere so your entire staff works together in strategizing ways to not only preserve the business but enhance it.

2. Avoid having too great a percentage of your business with one or two customers; diversify and spread your business over a broader customer base. Ideally, you will have been preparing for this ahead of the downward curve, but if you haven’t, challenge your entire marketing and sales team to come up with ways to put more of your sales eggs in other baskets as quickly as possible.

3. A contracting business climate also offers new opportunity. Be flexible and strategize new ways your business model can capitalize on the changing market and come up with new programs to tap this.

4. Bring added value to your customers. Identify new ways you can add service and products vs. cutting corners on value. Study the competition carefully so you can be one step ahead of the curve and their value proposition.

5. Increase your face time with customers. Stay in front of your customers regularly. Find ways to connect with them, check in with them and find out what’s happening in their business. Stay connected and stay in touch. Let them know they are top of mind with you, and you will increase your value with them.

Open your Ears: Listen for the Opportunity you’re about to Miss

The manager of a megastore came to check on his new salesman. “How many customers did you serve today?” the manager asked. “One,” replied the new guy. “Only one?” said the boss, “how much was the sale?” The salesman answered, “$58,334.” Flabbergasted, the manager asked him to explain.

“First I sold a man a fishhook,” the salesman said. “Then I sold him a rod and a reel. Then I asked where he was planning to fish, and he said down by the coast. So I suggested he’d need a boat — he bought that 20-foot runabout. When he said his Volkswagen might not be able to pull it, I took him to the automotive department and sold him a big SUV.”
The amazed boss asked, “You sold all that to a guy who came in for a fishhook?”
“No,” the new salesman replied. “He actually came in for a bottle of aspirin for his wife’s migraine. I told him, ‘Your weekend’s shot. You should probably go fishing.'”

The salesman in our story did something so few of us are doing today.


As technology has advanced, our ability to focus and listen, really listen, has plummeted. We take pride in multitasking, scan blackberries for the latest urgent messages while our clients and colleagues are talking to us. We allow phones and email alarms to distract us in meetings.

I recently observed a manager of a major company checking her blackberry every few minutes while she was leading the meeting. She already has the reputation of blackberry-itis. People rarely expect to receive her full attention.

What most of us are listening to these days is a whole lot of BAD NEWS. OK, there is a ton of it. But there is also a huge amount of opportunity and good news you are missing because you’re not listening.

Recently, I was at breakfast with a colleague. Inadvertently, my breakfast date mentioned she was preparing to hold a lunch-and-learn on communications skills. I started to ask more about that, what the objectives were, what the challenges were. As I listened, I heard a need, and maybe an opportunity.

I offered to supply content and advice. I asked if she would like that.
The answer was not only yes but ultimately an invitation and an engagement to work with her company.

I did not go to that breakfast anticipating an assignment. Nor did I pitch to this colleague. I simply listened and therefore was able to hear a possible opportunity.

What are you missing because you’re not listening?

1. When was the last time you spoke to your top 5 clients and really listened to what was happening in their business, not just from the usual viewpoint, but from a completely new perspective?

2. When was the last time you had breakfast or lunch with a co-worker and just listened to them about how things were going for them? Did you turn your blackberry, or phone, off?

3. When was the last time you met with someone in your office and didn’t take any calls and turned email off?

4. When was the last time you were in a presentation to a prospect and really listened to all of your prospect’s concerns and obstacles to hiring you, not just the ones they are willing to tell you about?

5. When was the last time you didn’t cut someone off when they were speaking?

Listening in the 21st century is becoming a lost art, but a huge missing in our business development, and life, toolkit. Adults usually retain about 20% of what they hear normally; with all of our gadgetry and distractions, the retention factor is only a fraction of this.

So, how did the salesman in our opening story know there was opportunity lurking behind the simple request for aspirin? He had the presence of mind to ask questions, listen, put himself in the customer’s world. Then, and only then, could his offer for service be heard and received so favorably.

What can you do to tune up your listening muscles?

Here are 9 tips (a very abbreviated list) to pump up your listening ability:

1. Turn off the blackberry. Yes you!

2. Practice staying in one conversation – and only one conversation at a time.

3. After a conversation or meeting, jot down a few brief notes about what you heard. Go back an hour later, and jot down a bit more. You’ll be surprised at what you “heard” additionally.

4. Summarize conversations – they reinforce your listening.

5. Look in someone’s eyes when they are speaking, really focus on them.

6. Do not speak for one or two seconds after someone has finished speaking. You will give them the experience you have heard them, and you will be training yourself to focus less on what YOU want to say than on what the other person is communicating.

7. Repeat back what you have heard the other person has said. Ask if you’ve understood completely and accurately. You’ll learn if you’ve misunderstood, missed something, and give the other person the experience you really get them!

8. Ask probing questions. Listen to the answers as opposed to assuming you know what you their answers are.

9. Don’t assume. There is a big step between listening and hearing.

Practice actively listening for just one week. See what new results show up for you.

Hey, if you don’t find some new successes happening for you, your blackberry will always take you back.

Could Your Best Client Be Shopping Around?

A colleague of mine, Stan Good, is a fabulous service provider in the financial services sector. He has had a long-standing relationship with a successful real estate client, Max Abrams, for over 20 years. In fact, Max’s success is due in great part to the guidance and advice provided by very savvy Stan.

There’s no doubt that Stan has gone above and beyond the norm in servicing Max over the years. Max relied on Stan for advice in many areas of his life and his business. He advised him over a year ago that in order to accomplish a goal of having less pressure and more time off, he should hire a CFO. Stan helped Max find just the right person for the position. Enter Andrew Salinas.

Then, about 3 weeks ago, Stan received an email message from Max. In this email, Max expressed his concern about the high fees Stan had been charging over the last year, and he questioned the promptness of service.

Stan was stunned.

The tone of the email was courteous but stiff. It certainly didn’t reflect the flavor and warmth of their 2-decade relationship. And Max had sent him this email right before he left on holiday. Stan certainly couldn’t call Max or dash an email off to him to find out what prompted the message and disturbing Max’s vacation. And why would Max want the THREE of them to meet? Max had always met with Stan solo; he was Max’s most trusted adviser. Wasn’t he?

Stan came to me asking for some feedback about how to address the situation.

Here are my recommendations should a key client start to question your service and relationship or if you think a key client is shopping around:

  • Never send an email. Emails can be misinterpreted. Be patient and call your client directly.
  • Always request a personal and private meeting FIRST. Do not cut the third person out of the conversation. Simply ask for a private meeting as a prelude to the meeting with the third party.
  • Hear the client out fully. Just listen. Don’t defend (even slightly) Most importantly, acknowledge and respect your client for asking these questions. You want to make your client feel “right” about his exploration. Making your client feel “wrong” will set off alarm bells within your client and support a lack of trust.
  • Ask lots of probing questions. Ask your client what it would take to have him or her feel totally supported and serviced.
  • Give your client the understanding that you are completely on the same page with what he or she needs to feel serviced properly, and that it is your intention that everyone on their team experience that from you as well.

Once your client is assuaged, make sure your third party relationship feels included and supported. His or her agenda might be looking like a hero/heroine, or ensuring his or her value to the company, at your expense.

The key is not to bad-mouth the third party. The key is to be an asset to everyone on the team. Third parties who have personal Hero/Heroine or Lone Ranger agendas usually give themselves away.

Be attentive, responsive, and supportive.

Your commitment to doing the right thing at the right time in the right way will win back any client’s allegiance. People hate to change Trusted Advisors. They worked very hard to cultivate trust. Once won, it’s only ours to lose.

And Stan? He did in fact have an early morning one on one with Max. Stan REALLY listened to Max and all his concerns. The relationship is protected for the moment. But Stan is on his toes. He is not taking anything for granted- especially his relationship with Max.