Kristen Heyen Noble, Sales Representative, and Amanda Sciarratta Meetings & Incentives Department Assistant had an incredible evening at the Rochester Business Hall of Fame dinner last evening. It was a very inspiring experience. The recipients; Art Finocchario, Robert Latour, Donald Tomeny,the late Drew Morris, Ronald Ricotta, Michael Nuccitelli,MarkDavitt, and James Hammer gave great speeches. All of these gentlemen had a few common characteristics that I am certain led to their success. They all were obviously very intelligent, were honest, cared about their communities, treated all those who worked for them kindly and with respect, and had a strong loving support network. Inspiring.
Face-to-face Networking is Still the Key to Connections.
How important is face-to-face networking to sales, relationships, career, and success?
I asked my commercial insurance agent, John Cantrell, to give me a synopsis of his networking strategies. John has been a friend, client, and vendor for the past 22 years. Here are two important facts about John:
1. His insurance business has exploded with growth over the past 22 years.
2. He is a MAJOR business networker in Charlotte.
I wonder if these two facts are connected? (Hint: THEY ARE!)
I asked John to tell me what networking has meant to him and his business over the last 20 years. His immediate answer was, “It has been the foundation of my most valuable clients, friends, suppliers, and relationships!”
Here’s the background of how to succeed as a local business networker from arguably the toughest sales category on the planet: insurance.
Here is John’s story and tips in his own words:
When I started in the insurance business, the first things I did was join the Charlotte Chamber. I started in the insurance business in 1993 as a fresh graduate from East Carolina with a finance degree. My dad gave me an opportunity, a desk, a chair, and a salary with a declining scale. He wasn’t going to throw me into the 10 foot deep water immediately, but he did make the impact known that I had to learn how to eat what I kill.
Shortly after joining the Chamber, I was a little discouraged. One of my best friends, Richard Herd, and I were talking one day about me not continuing to participate in the Chamber. It was about six months after my joining and he said, “just stick it out, get involved, get on some committees, and see what happens after a year. If you don’t like it, I’ll pay for your membership.”
Little did I know that 20 years later some of the people that I met then would be my best friends and longest term clients. People like Richard Herd, Jeffrey Gitomer, Michael Meehan, Eileen Covington.
Here is John’s networking and leadership history in the Charlotte Chamber:
1. Business Growth Network. Served on committees welcoming new members and meeting other small business owners.
2. Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Committee Member and Chair for three years. Involved in selecting, interviewing, and running the event held at the Convention Center.
3. Charlotte Chamber Business Owner Peer Group. For five years he met monthly with non-competing business owners to discuss business problems. How to hire, fire, train, and market business.
4. Chamber New Member Orientation. For two years he chaired and led a monthly meeting to explain how the Chamber works for new members.
5. Charlotte Area Councils. John has been involved in this for ten years and he’s still active at the monthly lunch meetings where they bring in a speaker and offer time to network.
6. Business After Hours. Cocktails after work with other business professionals at different venues around town. Great way to keep friendships current.
7. Charlotte Chamber Board of Advisor. A higher level membership that attracts more of the high-level business owners and managers.
John says, “It’s about the developing core networking places and participating, getting involved, and establishing a leadership position. But, everyone is different. Some people are morning people, and some are night owls. Work at your best system and process that lets you get the most done in the time that you dedicate to networking.”
Here are John’s other core networking groups described in his own words:
Rotary. I have been in Rotary clubs since 1997, where I was the founder of Mecklenburg South Rotary. Rotary has been a great organization to participate in. It is not a sales networking organization. It is a service club that gives you the opportunity to meet and network with others.
Leads groups. I have been in numerous different groups that have differing levels of success. One of the best things that you can do in those is use it as opportunities to build relationships with people that you trust and value and work in similar circles as you do.
Van Zile Travel always believes in a personal touch.
Van Zile Travel Service has been in business for decades. We have kept up to date on all issues and technology in the world of travel. There are many reasons we have been successful. We’re not a call center. Each of our business accounts receives a designated Agent Team as well as an Account Manager. Our personal touches and professionalism is what we take great pride in. We’re professionals. We say and prove that you only need to tell us something once. Our agents guarantee a response to a voicemail or email within 30 minutes. Call us today!
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