Monday, June 30, 2008

The Art Of Networking - An Interview With Danielle Hampson

Networking is not only crucial to business success - it is business success. It has been said that nothing happens until something is sold. However, I would put forth that nothing is sold until one person 'networks' with another.

Networking is not selling - it is joining with another to achieve a common goal. It is so basic to accomplishment that it cannot be separated from it, any more than breathing can be separated from being alive. However, that 'skill', (if we can call it a skill) can be learned and improved upon.

Danielle Hampson is a leading expert regarding networking.
She is the CEO and founder of The Art Of Networking (TAN), the founder of Mind Your BIZness, a talk show host, speaker, author, and an international business consultant.

That being said, Danielle has taken networking to an entirely new level; creating something we have never seen before. Any person wishing to experience any level of success would do well to listen carefully to her guidance. I had the opportunity to interview Danielle recently. I listened very carefully. You should also . . .

  1. Danielle, WHO Needs to Network?

Unless you live on a desert island, you need to network, we all need to network. Our society is such that networking is a must for all of us whether in business or not, because we cannot sustain just on our own. And we have been doing is naturally since we were able to walk and talk. As children, we decided who was going to be our best friend through networking; we just did not know it was networking. We met new kids, we talked to other kids and decided if we had any affinity with them or not. That is all part of networking.

  1. WHAT Is Networking?

There are many definitions of networking, and the one I personally like, I did not write it but I adopted it – courtesy of Networking is the interaction of an extended group of people with similar interests or concerns, who remain in informal contact for mutual assistance or support.

Notice that nowhere does it say anything about selling, and I will elaborate on that further down.

  1. WHERE Should You Network?

Chambers of Commerce, industry & professional associations, networking organizations, churches, beauty parlors, PTA meetings, sporting events, supermarkets standing in line. Everywhere, provided it is done in an appropriate manner for the event you are attending.

  1. WHEN Should You Network?

You should be wearing your networking hat at all time because you never know when opportunity will come knocking. And I don't necessarily mean a sales opportunity. I mean any opportunity, including that of helping someone else without expecting anything in return. One never knows who THAT person may be or WHO that person may know. Other people’s circles of influence are crucial to successful networking.

  1. WHY Do You Need to Network?

As I said before, our society is such that we must interact with others, if for no other reason than survival. We all are in business to sell something, that is a given. And if we have something to sell, we need someone to sell it to. That is the very nature of conducting business. Therefore we must connect with others. We must communicate with others. Networking and networking events are conducive to that kind of interaction, they facilitate that process

  1. HOW to Network?

There is “Peter’s Principles” (people are promoted to the level of their incompetence) a book written by Canadian sociologist Dr. Laurence Johnston Peter which most good business people have read, or at least should have, and there is Danielle’s 4 Principle of Networking, which I call “The Disch” pronounced “dish”: Discover + Share + Communicate + Help. I can expand in detail on each principle.

  1. Why is networking so valuable?

It’s life changing! From a strict business standpoint, networking is word of mouth marketing and is still the best form of advertising. You need to incorporate networking in what ever business you do, whether it’s a product or service, you need to go out there and network.

Surrounding yourself with the right people can help every relationship in your life personal and business.

They say, to get ahead in life, it’s about often about who you know. So where do you find those you need to know? Through networking.

  1. What are some of the mistakes business people make when they network? Or is there a right or a wrong way to network?

There are tons of mistakes but I will focus on the top 3 mistakes many make when attending networking events.

The mishandling of business cards, those we give out, and those we receive (handing them over the wrong way, not looking at them when on the receiving end = lack of respect and courtesy, shoving cards in people’s face). I can expand on the proper technique to hand out or receive a business card. Networking without any business cards at all and/or refusing to hand out a business card when asked for it = unprofessional

The misconception that networking is about selling. Networking is not about selling, it is about building relationships. People buy from the people they like and trust. Networking is a process that takes time. Rushing/aggressive networking is counter productive. Networking is not about instant (sales) gratification it is about finding out about each other. The concept is not much different than dating, but on a different level. You want to see if there is a possible fit and the fit does not necessarily mean a sale to that very person, but possibly to that person’s second or ever 3rd tier in his/her circle of influence.

Networking is not about you, it’s about them. People love to talk about themselves, and most of us are guilty of being so wrapped up in our widget that we talk the other person to death. Listening is much more valuable as it helps you gather information, and it helps put the other person at ease with you, hence it fosters the development of the relationship

  1. I often hear some people are born great networkers; must you be born with networking skills or can you acquire them?

I will give an example of a totally introvert person who was a very poor networker and who, in just 2-3 months turned that totally around to become known as an expert networker, and the impact on that person’s life, both personally and professionally.

  1. Social networking is rapidly becoming very popular. Do you consider that to be a viable way to network, of face to face networking remains necessary?

Networking can be done in many different ways, boots on the ground, through social networking sites, and with the advancement of technology, you can even network and interact LIVE with others while doing a “show & tell” of your business and widget from the comfort of your own home or office, saving precious time and gas money in the process. And you can do that locally, national and internationally, to a vast audience at one time (i.e. T.A.N. O.N.E – The Art of Networking Online Networking Events). In all forms of networking, the key remains your own demeanor, how you personally interact with others, how you conduct yourself, how you are perceived. All forms of networking are viable if your interact with others in a courteous, respectful and professional manner, without being pushy and without playing the game of “one upsmanship”.

Do yourself a favor. Consider getting involved with T.A.N. O.N.E. I can think of no better way to position yourself and your business for mega success.

Visit today.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Interview With Daniel Charles, CEO, Global Racing Alliances

Every now and then I encounter a business that is so cool, so out of the ordinary, that it is simply irresistible. Daniel Charles is an extraordinary entrepreneur who has developed two companies. Now, imagine for a moment, that you could get behind the wheel of an actual race car and drive the thing in a country such as, oh maybe France! Would that be great? Well, you can. This is what Mr. Charles can arrange for his clients. I spoke with Mr. Charles on June 10 . . .

1. Please tell us a bit more about who you are and what do you do?

I am an entrepreneur that has 2 businesses currently directly focused in the Motorsport industry. I started doing business at the age of 12 when I wanted to explore other avenues of careers other than the traditional path of going after a degree and getting stuck in an office cubical for the rest of my life. So I devised many plans to create unique business concepts. These concepts can range from multi-million dollar investments and small time start ups. This was what I enjoyed doing in my spare time, even when I was young. While everyone was out playing with marbles and catching spiders, I was working on developing business plans for my future. Currently I run 2 companies. One provides motorsports equipment from helmets to gloves, and the other provides Motorsport Racing experiences in 120 countries around the world, where just about anyone can have the chance to drive a professional racing car.

2. How did you put together all the resources needed to start your business? For example: getting the start-up capital, hiring staff, doing sales and marketing, advertising, etc.

When I started out, it was initially just working as a middle person, freelance. There’s not much start-up capital needed because when someone makes a purchase, you order and you just make the difference at no charge to the client. After that when a real expansion was needed, I needed real start-up capital. That’s when I borrowed from my parents and my relatives - about $10 000. I used that money to buy some stocks for marketing and I networked with more people in the industry. After that, when that started to make money, I decided to outsource this marketing to agencies. I just got it started from day to day marketing and started one sale at a time.

3. How hard was it to start up this business?

Well it was really hard because at that time I was still pursuing my studies at a local college and I had a ton of school work. So while everyone else was out partying and getting drunk on the weekends, I was investing my time into creating the business. I soon found out that there was much more to starting a business than simply selling something. There were so many calls to make, so many meetings to attend and so many issues to consider ( budget, staffing, deadlines). After I got my first business started, I was still studying and trying to deal with the numerous number of orders and the business that was coming in. It was about 3 years after starting my first company that I decide to run Global Racing Schools, a Motorsport Experience Sales Agency. Although I have spent countless of sleepless nights on my business and studies I'm glad I came out doing well at the end of it.

4. So tell me a bit more about your business.

DNA Motorsports ( is a regional South East Asian Distribution company that sells Professional Karting chassis, 6 brands of Engines, 3 brands of suits, gloves, shoes and helmets. We provide Racing equipment to the entire Automotive industry in general. Global Racing Schools ( is a company specialising in Motorsport Experience in any part of the world. We will arrange a unique experience for the client to allow the client to feel like a Professional Race car driver for one day. They will have a professional instructor along with their racing machines. These can range from Ferraris, Formula 1, Indy Cars, Stock Cars and many more. We are the largest Motorsport Experience Sales agency in the world with over 300 racing schools located all over the world. On top of that, we help our clients arrange private jets and hotel bookings to aid with their travel arrangement needs.

5. Why might someone use the services of Global Racing Schools?

First, it is free to use our service! Let's say a client wanted to go to France for 1 week and he wanted to have some kind of driving experience while he's there. He could google the schools in France, call them up, check the prices, check the dates, get explanation of the course and make his travel bookings. This has to be done several time because the school will need time to process the requirements and get back to the client after checking with the track and so forth. Another ways is for the client to come to Global Racing schools and let us know what they are looking for, budget, number of people, etc. We'll make all the arrangements for them! We'll save the clients so much time in making the arrangements. The best part is that we do this for free! And because we have so many choices of racing schools, we can help the clients make an informed buying decision based on our unbiased advice about the school because we have no obligation to any school. Saving time and getting an unbiased opinion is why clients use us.

6. So what is a typical experience that you help your clients set up?

Usually clients/ companies come to me to inquire about a certain date and experience. We'll make the suggestion as to what program will best fit into their budget and location, after which we will proceed to book the experience for the client. A typical program will start at 9am and end at 5pm. The day will include several laps around the track with the professional race cars with plenty of seat time and car swapping between the drivers. Instructors will be on hand to ensure safety and to correct the driver mistakes that may occur. Drivers will get a perfect chance to bond with each other which makes a great networking session for companies. Most of the time, after the day ends, customers stay in touch and establish further friendships. This is what a typical experience is like. We have clients from 14 year old kids to large companies looking to organize a unique experience for their staff or VIP guests.

7. Who could use these services?

Just about anyone. Many people think that these experiences will be very costly but actually that is not true. We have experience programs that start from USD 200. We can help in fitting the program to any budget that the client might have.

8. So whats the next step for you and the companies?

I am currently working to start up 2 more companies which will be launched in another 6 months time and we are establishing an office in Australia and another in London in the next couple of months. I am currently working with professional drivers to offer our services to them also. The next years will be very exciting for both myself as a businessman and my companies.

9. How can you be contacted?

Depending on location, the following information can be used to contact us:

Daniel Charles
CEO, Global Racing Alliances
US/CAN Toll: 1 866 276 6560
US Tel: +1 (305) 6001 038
UK Tel: +44 (0) 8442 329 563
UK Cell: +44 (0) 8442 328 632
Singapore Tel: +65 6483 2608
Singapore Cell: +65 9297 0785

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