by Cathy Paper on January 6th, 2016

Starting a conversation is one of the easiest ways to expand your network. Add value, add your expertise by sharing one or two items of interest that will make you memorable.

One of the most interesting aspects of my work with business owners is to see extremely talented, smart and accomplished leaders hesitate to ask for what they want from their network.

And I use the term "network" loosely, as it could be people they've worked with for years or people they just met yesterday.
Yes, it's human nature to be cautious and to consider carefully what you are asking for. You do not want to overstep your bounds.
Do you avoid asking because it feels too salesy? Or are you not sure how to ask?
I know I personally used to hesitate from asking, but I now only pause, since I have figured out how to ask by sharing my expertise — which I know will help other people reach their goals.

Here are five ways to reach out:
1. Make a specific request
Many people I work with want to do more speaking. Ask people in your network if they are on the boards of associations or organizations and might need a speaker. Tell them what you are doing and that you have the experience to be able to give a great speech or that you've spoken to a Rotary already and you want to do more speaking in 2016. If one person in your network introduces you to one person, then you have expanded your network.

2. Ask for an introduction
This sounds so basic, but we don't do it. And I don't care for the LinkedIn introduction feature. I prefer to ask my network directly by phone or email if they will connect me to a person that I know they know. I tell them what I am looking for and I ask them to introduce me. I always give them the opportunity to say no, but almost every time they say, of course I will connect you. This is using your voice to reach more people.

3. Ask for exposure to their networks
Many people work in organizations or associations where they post weekly or monthly blogs. Ask to be a guest author and post your content in a newsletter that goes out to your target audience. People read emails from their associations, but may not read an email from an unknown person. By posting a blog you are stepping out and saying what you stand for and can share your expertise. Again, a great way to increase your visibility.

4. Ask for a new client
You've probably been asked about your ideal client. Can you answer the question? Can you answer it quickly? Can you be specific? This is a great question to ask your network. So for example, if you're meeting with your accountant, you can say, "I'm looking to expand into the manufacturing space, do you know anyone who runs a business that I could call to learn more about the industry?" So, you didn't ask for the account. You asked for more info and that makes it easier for your accountant to make the introduction. In fact, he or she might want to join you for a lunch or a quick meeting.

5. Ask what you can do for them
People talk about reciprocity in networking. To deepen the relationship, take the time after a meeting or a networking event to call the person who made the referral to find out more about what he or she does. Ask, "How can I help you, and what do you need?" Often, people are so startled that you genuinely want to help that they will ask you what they can do for you. And then you ask for an introduction or for them to keep you mind if they hear of anyone who needs your services.
Starting a conversation is one of the easiest ways to expand your network. Add value, add your expertise by sharing one or two items of interest that will make you memorable. Ask for what you want, and please be polite when you ask.

Cathy Paper is president of RockPaperStar, which coaches, develops and markets select business owners, authors and unique speakers to national status. The 91-day RockStar Plan impacts marketing plans, career coaching, and business development. Her clients include Harvey Mackay — the No. 1 New York Times best-selling Author of "Swim With The Sharks" — Riley Hayes, Best Buy, and Paramount Studios.

​As seen in American City Business Journal. Click to see other articles.

by Cathy Paper on August 22nd, 2015

3 strategies for networking while on vacation

Vacation is vacation, but there is always room for one more relationship.

Maybe you've heard that you always want to talk to the people sitting next to you on the airplane. I take a more creative approach to meeting new people, but I still also talk to my seatmate.

Here are three approaches that can help to combine relaxation on vacation with potential networking opportunities.

1. Be curious about things that interest you
On vacation, I like to shop and observe the trends and differences between my home state of Minnesota and wherever I am visiting. Store owners and clerks are great for questions about something of interest.

On a recent trip to Hawaii, I happened to be in a store where one side was an upscale shaved-ice business and the other side sells nicely branded clothes and accessories. I commented on a display and boom, there went the conversation. The owner and his brother had another business in San Diego, but were born and raised in Hawaii and just opened this store and launched a new brand, with a fabulous story about home, family and adventure. If I hadn't said what I did, the conversation wouldn't have started.

2. Try new things
Enjoy the adventure of vacation. If you're curious about skydiving or renting bicycles, give it a try. When you explore new activities, you never know what you will learn.
On this particular trip, we went snorkeling, and the instructor showed us a nine-minute film before encouraging us to ask questions of the staff and lifeguards. My husband asked about the route and we received great information. Later, when we went to say thank you, I complimented the guide on his instruction, and that stared a conversation about his volunteer work. Another new connection made just by trying something new and engaging fully.

3. Be looking to expand your network first
Be patient. Later down the road, the order will come. I've been fairly active on social media for the past six years. I started as a way to learn more information and keep up with the newest trends.

On vacation, I used Yelp to find good restaurants and as I would check in, my Twitter traffic increased as local companies thanked me for my comments. While I didn't secure any new business, I made many new relationships that I am confident will blossom into work.
Networking can be as easy as just saying hello and starting up a conversation about something you have in common. Curiosity can lead the way, no matter how many miles you are from home.

Cathy Paper is president of RockPaperStar, which coaches, develops and markets select business owners, authors and unique speakers to national status. The 91-day RockStar Plan™ impacts marketing plans, career coaching, and business development. Her clients include Harvey Mackay — the No. 1 New York Times best-selling Author of "Swim With The Sharks" — Riley Hayes, Best Buy, and Paramount Studios.

Check out these networking email tips from HubSpot.

by Cathy Paper on July 19th, 2015

I decided it was time to use my own voice.

So, I started writing what I know, marketing, networking and promotion.  And maybe a little bit  on sports!

And, the more I write, the more I realize it's a great way to tell the success of other people. Whether it's an author who recently sold nearly 1,000 books in the first few weeks of book launch or a recent college graduate that found her first job by learning a few new networking skills.

I'd love to know what you think of these columns.

by Cathy Paper on May 29th, 2015

It's always nice to see speakers get connected to their message.  They learn how to speak to audiences and to land the ideas and stories that make the most impact.

Along the way, they find their voice.  But there's their voice and the words that come out and then there's their voice that they need to protect as one of the strongest instruments they have to connect with an audience.

One of my clients is Carr Hagerman, an experienced speaker, voice-over talent and performer.  Carr works with people to help them find both their voice and to improve their delivery.  He gives people the tools to know what happens if you drink dairy before you speak and how to use softer tones to draw attention to key points.

These are just several of the strategic points he makes with people wanting to really use their voice.  If you've never worked with someone to help you deliver your message with more impact, I strongly recommend you find a professional to work with.  Your audience will thank you and your voice will last longer than if you don't learn these tips.

by Cathy Paper on March 23rd, 2015

Spring training  it's a season all to itself for some.  I'm lucky enough to go to Arizona  every year and this year I've taken my 12-year old son with me. I've never been to Spring training before and in fact baseball is not one of my top four viewng sports.  But I'm here.  

My son is in heaven.  We have see almost a half dozen games; four, maybe five fields and countless practices. He's received autographs on balls, card, hats and possibly his shirt. I've watched all this from close-by, had a few peanuts, Diet Pepsi's and kettle korn to pass the time when they are not playing the slow moving, yet strategic game. 

Heres what I notice and why this feels "blog-worthy":
1. Every player, minor or major, keeps improving on their skills of a game they clearly love.  
2. Past experts are able to share their wisdom in the form of coaching and managing 
3. Not every player is gracious, kind and considerate to their young fans.  I understand it may be a timing thing but they would be served to err on the side of extra generous for a kid that watches a two-hour practice.  And I mean the only kid and then sign his baseball card before going to the locker room.
4. The  good players are still having fun playing the game and are coachable. 

So whether you are writing a book or building a career, consider some of these "practice" tips to make your spring training productive and engaging for your fans.   I've never seen an author not sign a book for a fan.  And I've also seen the best professionals show class in every situation.  Rock on!

by Cathy Paper on March 15th, 2015

More than four months after launching his first book, Doug Hennes, is still receiving press for his bestselling book, That Great Heart: The Life of I. A. O'Shaughnessy, Oilman & Philanthropist.
It's all happening because his book tells a great story of a great man who had a great impact. Enough greatness? Yes, but sometimes press comes when you can make a connection to why this story matters.

And this article, one of many, makes the connection about the legendary Oilman and philanthropists connection to St. Paul, Minnesota during the traditionally Irish time of year, St. Patrick's Day.

Take a moment to read this story and see how a mug of beer and the ability to tell the truth changed one man's direction.

Rock On!

Cathy Paper

by Cathy Paper on February 11th, 2015

In the May 2014 issue of Minnesota Business magazine, we introduced The (Real) Power 50 of 2014— linchpins in their companies, connectors in their industry, and some of the best people to know when conducting business in the state. (Stay tuned for the RP50 of 2015, coming soon!) Below, we hear from Cathy Paper, president of the business consulting firm RockPaperStar, which specializes in delivering bestselling book launches for authors, speakers, and business leaders.

Who is your role model and what key lesson did you learn from them?
My parents. Relationships are everything and your reputation is what makes you successful in life and business. 

Pets in the office: love it or hate it?
Love it! I prefer dogs. 

Describe your approach to networking.
Meeting people through existing relationships is the best way to network when possible. Always bring someone else with you to a networking event and introduce them around. Networking must be genuine and you must both have something to offer the other person. If possible, sharing a common interest like sports, books, or an association is a great way to get to know someone. Always volunteer to be on committees to get to know people. 

What are your strategies for attracting repeat clients and establishing ongoing business?
Do a top-shelf job and you will get repeat business. Ask for feedback. Say you're sorry when you make a mistake. Help other people in your network succeed. 

Why Minnesota?
For its 10,000 lakes ​and its high concentration of arts, restaurants, and Fortune 500 companies.

by Cathy Paper on February 10th, 2015

Why is it so challenging to sell books? 
Is it that there are so many books to choose from?
Is it that authors don't like to sell their ideas?
Is it the publishing industry?

It's a lot of things and we've been working with authors for more than eight years and we think it's that it is really hard work to be strategic about why your message needs to stand out.

So, we created 14 days of free marketing tips for you to gain new ways to reach your audience.  Give it a go!

by Cathy Paper on January 9th, 2015

Do you do the same old things each day, month and year with your network?  Do you even know what I'm talking about when I talk about your network?

Do you value the people in your personal and professional life enough that they will help you reach your goals and you will help them reach theirs?  Most often the answer is sort of.  Well, you must be clear about who is in your network and why.  It's a crucial part of your professional success and overall life enjoyment to know the people around you.

Relationships with people are what make the difference between a good life and a great life.  You may have heard the expression we do business with people we know like and trust.  It's true and if you don't know very many people than you might need to work on your network.  I can help.  I love building relationships and helping people.  I never thought of it as networking until a few years ago and now I know that it's just a way of life for me to think about, coach and connect others.  I landed my first client for RockPaperStar off of networking.  I'd be happy to tell you the story, since it was my first client Harvey Mackay, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and share one tip with  you how to expand your network immediately.   Start your networking make-over right now!

by Cathy Paper on December 18th, 2014

it's really important that we choose carefully how we spend our marketing dollars, agree?  If you're waiting until your book is complete, you may be missing sales and momentum.   

There is great power in having a plan, before AND after your book is published.  RockPaperStar excels at showing you how to be strategic with your resources and maximize results for the long haul. Remember, it's never too early or too late to launch!  Our 91 Day Traction Plan™ works no matter where you are in the process.  JOIN Cathy Paper for 30 minutes on Friday, Dec. 19 at 10:00 am for a FREE, LIVE training called, "Super Book Marketing" 

We will dive into these 4 things:
  1. How to sort out marketing efforts and set goals--define success. 
  2. Brainstorm ideas and tactics to reach the stated goals. 
  3. Map out a plan, ideally 91 days and results don't happen overnight. 
  4. Checklists. Lots of checklists.
Our years of experience has taught us A LOT of valuable tips and tricks and we will openly share them with you. 

Register now by clicking HERE.   

Hope to connect with YOU on Friday!

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