"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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10-Min Way To Stay In Touch & Pump Up Sales

It’s that time of year when we naturally stay in touch – with family, friends, clients and colleagues. It feels so wonderful to be in connection with the people in our lives.

So, why don’t we do this year round in our business when it would maximize our results?

Case in point:

My client, Eric is an intellectual property attorney.

He was disturbed because his referrals seemed to be drying up.

I asked, “When was the last time you put a stay in touch campaign out there to your connections?”

He said, “I know, I know. You’re right. But I’m so busy.”

You know and I know:

Busy won’t grow new business for you.

(this is a good one to tweet- just click!)


Eric and I put a put together a simple but powerful STAY IN TOUCH CAMPAIGN. It was comprised of content and other high-value communications, some digital and some more personal, “dripped out” (consistently, regularly sent out at designated intervals) to key referral sources, colleagues, current clients and past clients over the next 6 months.

This sounds like it would take a huge amount of time, right? It is a campaign, after all.

Not so.

Each stay in touch effort took no more than 10 minutes! Less time than drinking a cup of coffee.

The results? Not surprisingly, Eric’s referrals started to flow again.

But so much more happened:

  • A past client engaged Eric for two new matters.
  • A connector friend of his invited Eric to speak at his national conference – an entire audience of targeted ideal prospective clients.
  • A referral source asked him to meet with his top two corporate clients – great new leads in his ideal target network.

However, one former client told him, “I wish you had contacted me a couple of weeks ago. I just hired another attorney.”

When Eric asked him why, he said:

“Because he reached out to me at the right time when I needed the advice.”

All of these results demonstrate how necessary it is to stay in touch with people in your professional life, and the high price when you don’t.

Did a smart stay-in-touch campaign take a little time and thought? Yes, of course.

But look at the payoff.

A consistent Stay In Touch program will:

  • Get you more business with current clients and reactivate previous customers and clients.
  • Help you land more leads with key prospects.
  • Entice new referrals and
  • Open doors to lots of unexpected opportunities in your current business and beyond.

I’d going to make it super easy for you to create your own Stay In Touch/Pump Up Your Leads & New Clients Campaign with a simple 5 steps/10 minutes roadmap.

Just click on the link and you can download your complimentary Roadmap. It’s a smart and easy way to ramp up and stay up in your business in 2014.


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.

Why Depending On Getting Referrals Is Wrong For Your Business

Why Depending On Getting Referrals Is Wrong For Your Business

Who doesn’t love getting referrals?

There aren’t too many things that feel better than  when someone refers business to you and you land a juicy new client without doing anything more than lifting the phone receiver. (Well, giving referrals feels pretty awesome too!)

Many professionals depend almost 100% on getting referrals as their business development strategy.

This strategy is great – when it’s working.

But what happens if or when your usual referral sources dry up? What happens if, as is often the case, people recommend you but these referrals don’t call you?

Why Depending on Referrals Is Dangerous

Barry is a partner in a mid-sized accounting firm. For years, 85% of the business he and his partners received was through referrals. Business was good, the coffers were flush.

Then, the market changed. The competition got fiercer, other firms were out their networking, marketing, and using social media to bump up their visibility, keep their services fresh and foremost in potential clients’ eyes.

Barry and his firm started to see their referrals slow, then trickle, then almost stop.

They were stymied about what to do. There was only one partner who was a real rainmaker and he was busy working on his own practice; he didn’t have time to service his clients as well as feed his other partners.

Unfortunately, Barry’s situation is not an uncommon one among service professionals and business owners.

Obviously, I am not saying that seeking referrals is a bad business development strategy; I am saying that being dependent on referrals may very well be costing you and your business.

If Not Dependent On Referrals, Then What?

The smartest thing for building your business is a business development program built on a healthy mix of  action steps and  approaches, both proactive and more passive.

Proactive strategies include:

  • Targeted, relevant networking – connecting with ideal prospective clients, connectors, and introducers, as well as ideal referral sources.
  • Marketing – including blogging, newsletters, article writing, video, social networking and social media actions, pay per click advertising, and possibly a PR program – if your budget allows (*note: most PR efforts cannot guarantee a return on investment because so much is dependent on what the press considers hot and relevant to their audience).
  • Speaking engagements – getting in front of you ideal niche market, being seen as an expert in your field and then following up with attendees.

Passive strategies include:

  • SEO -Using your web content to pull potential clients to your site and ideally to contact you.
  • Referrals – Doing a great job for your current clients and contacts should prompt them to recommend you and your services  to people in their network. Obtaining referrals can also be proactive if you consciously ask your current clients if they would recommend you to people in their network.

Looking at the options available to you, can you see how important it is to have a mix of proactive and passive strategies if you want a healthy pipeline of business flowing in on a regular basis?

Where is your business development strategy weakest? Proactive? Passive? Both?

Are you missing a strategy entirely?

Being dependent on the memory and proactivity of others sending you easy referrals is both lazy and dangerous.

Yes, I said it.

Receiving referrals is great; being dependent on referrals is simply being lazy.

I would assert that Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs did not build their businesses by sitting around, looking at the phone and waiting for it to ring.

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.