From Networking to Dealmaking

About a month ago, Seattle hosted our first Alley to the Valley (A2V) Summit with 65 handpicked influential women who are entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate executives.

What hooked me about being a part of this, is that the point of A2V Summits is to get past networking, and get to dealmaking. It’s a day to make things happen for each other and accelerate your goals.

While there were some powerful speaking sessions, the most important part of the day was the Ask/Offer Sessions, when each Dealmaker shared who they are, what they are asking for and why. For example, women asked for funding for their startup, for intros to strategic partners, for co-founders, for board seat opportunities, etc.

Here’s what I learned:

Get clear on what you most want
What is the domino that will start knocking over the rest of the dominos? What do you need to find out first before you can choose a certain path? What doors can this specific group of people help you open that would be harder to do without them?

Figure out who can help
Do your homework and know your audience. Pick an ask that they can help you with and think of how you can provide value to them ahead of time.

Tailor your profile
We’ve all accomplished so much, but the key is to focus your profile. Our amazing coach Keita Williams taught us that your supporting materials (aka your bio, LinkedIn profile etc.) must support your ask. Meaning, if you’re raising money for your start-up, your profile should talk about your business and your entrepreneurial chops. Or if you’re a VC, your bio should talk about which type of start-ups you invest in.

Craft your ask for the audience
Everyone in the room is busy, so make it as easy as possible for them to help you. Instead of asking for intros to executives in the auto industry, provide a list of company names and executive titles you’re looking to meet. Get as specific as possible, provide examples, and demonstrate that you won’t waste the introduction.

Follow-up and make the magic happen
Once people have offered to make an introduction or offered to help, it’s on you to follow-up. You may have to follow-up a few times with gentle nudges. Think about how to make it easy to help you. For example, you could write a sample introduction email that your contact can copy and paste.

Give and share your network
Most importantly, what introductions can you make, or advice can you share to help someone else advance their goals? We each have built networks and can help open doors for others.

The conference was designed around this dealmaking format, but this ask/offer framework can also work in many situations. I love it because it helps the conversation get past small talk to thinking about ways we can support each others in our goals.

What is your biggest ask? Who can open doors for you? How can you help others achieve their goals?

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Stop Waiting To Feel Ready

Are you waiting to feel ready or feel more confident or more courageous to get started? Newsflash, stop waiting! You don’t have to feel ready or more confident, you just have to train yourself to take action.

It’s a losing bet to wait to feel ready. Why? Because you can’t control how you feel.

The good news, is you can control how you think, and how you behave.

If you only make decisions based on feelings, you’re robbing yourself of joy and activity. [More on this in Antonio Dimasio’s TED Talk on “The quest to understand consciousness.”]

Mel Robbins has a little hack that can help. The next time you find yourself hesitating to take action (the brains signal to try to prevent you from taking action), count down 5-4-3-2-1 and then do. This can help you break the habit of hesitating.

To learn more about this technique, check out Mel Robbins’ interview on the Lewis Howes podcast. There are tons of great nuggets in there.

What do you do to help you take action?

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7 Books to Broaden Your Perspective

In the last month, I’ve been on a reading tear. (To see how I read so many books in a month, check out How I read 12 books in 3 months).

For this week’s Inspira, I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading:

Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes.
For one year, Rhimes said yes to everything that scared her. This is her story about how she learned to love her truest self. This woman has accomplished so much.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
I read this book a year ago and listened to it again. The book is an intimate letter to Coates’ son about “race” and what it means to be a black man in America.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown.
The subtitle says it all, “if we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This book is about what it takes to get back up.” I laughed, cried, and grew by reading this book.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.
The volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people—consistently, correctly, safely. A checklist can make all the difference. Worth reading to see how pilot checklists are created (not as easy as it sounds).

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport.
Mastering deep work is the super power of our time. Newport not only tells you why, but how you can transform your mind and habits to support this skill.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dean Heath.
This is a classic book for Marketers. It’s about what makes ideas stickier.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks.
I’m fascinated by the psychology behind how people make decisions in impossible situations. This book shared dozens of perspectives of surviving the great zombie war from across the globe. Listen to this book; you’ll recognize famous voices.

As you pick out your next book to read, I challenge you to think about the authors you chose to read. When I examined the books I read last year, I realized that a big percentage were written by white men. This year, I’m purposefully looking for books to broaden my perspective (more on this soon).

What should I read next?

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Massive Action in the Next 100 Days

If you ever feel paralyzed by having too many goals, you’re not alone.

I have so many ideas I want to execute on, habits I want to implement, articles I want to write and people I want to meet. The challenge is, we can’t do it all at once.

Rather than being paralyzed by choice, this is how I developed my 2017 goals for the next 100 days.

First I created a very long list (this is the easy part). Then I picked just two goals in each category, two areas that will really move the needle. Each of these two things REALLY excites me, they aren’t “have to’s”. (More on that here: Stop Setting Goals You Don’t Actually Care About).

Many of my male mentors publish their monthly and yearly goals. I find value and inspiration in seeing them, so here are mine. [Note: some, like Stefan James, list the exact dollar amount they earn and want to earn. I’m more private about financial numbers (and details about my marriage) so I’ll leave those out, but know that I do have goals in those areas as well].

My list of goals for the first 100 days of 2017:

Work (I head up Marketing at Apptentive):
Hire a rockstar Performance Marketer
Raise the bar on my modeling/forecasting skills (know of a course or coach??)

Mind/Body Health:
Complete a health reset: 5-day cleanse + 30-day gluten/sugar/dairy free experiment
Complete Kayla’s 12-week workout program and start over (I’m on week 6)

Go on four experiences (things we’ve never done before) with my querido
Plan a girls weekend

Launch and raise $20K in sponsorships for Alley to the Valley Pipeliners Program in Seattle (deal making for up-and-coming women)

Relax and explore Spain & Barcelona
Meet Tim Ferriss

We can accomplish a lot in 100 days, but we better get working towards them. It’s not about intentions. It’s about taking massive action.

What are your goals for the next 100 days?

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How to Identify Impact & Leverage Points

Jay Abraham - Quote - The Inspira

What is the highest and best use of your talent, your brainpower, your money, and your time?

On the Lewis Howes’ podcast featuring Jay Abraham, Jay talks about focusing on what matters most, specifically impact and leverage points. These are the small triggers that make a dramatic difference.

For Jay, maximizing first impressions, and identifying the highest value customers where two of his biggest leverage points.

First Impressions: What is the first impression you give off when you meet someone new, a prospect, or potential mentor?

Jay tells stories about how by spending a little extra time perfecting first impressions – greetings, headlines, opening phrases in an email, music in the lobby – made all the difference (500X sales ROI!).

By taking extra time upfront to prepare a thoughtful first impression, you can build up trust. This gives you more leeway later on.

Highest Value Customers: Who are your highest value customers?

When you know this, you can look for prospects who fit this customer profile, and you can make sure to spend the majority of your time on the most profitable customers, rather than the other way around.

This reminds me of the 80:20 rule – 20% of activities yield 80% of the results/success/pleasure. Knowing where to focus reaps exponential results. In a world full of too much choice, this helps me focus and stay calm.

How to Identify Other Leverage Points:

In addition to improving first impressions and identifying the highest value customers, these are other questions I’m asking myself:

  • What skill can I learn that will help me grow exponentially at work?
  • Who can I meet that that will open exponentially more doors?
  • What 1-2 behaviors can I modify that will have the most positive effect on my relationships and marriage?
  • In what way can I serve exponentially more people?
  • What changes to my diet, exercise, and well-being routine will yield exponential results?
  • I hope all these questions made you think. As I read Tim Ferriss’ beast of a book Tools of Titans, where he deconstructs the habits/behaviors of 200+ impressive people, I’m thinking about which recommendations will help me reach the highest and best version of me.

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