B+K Blog

Our collection of material and articles which will help you master the art of successful networking.

If You Only Had $500 to Spend/Month to Grow Your Business or Career How Would You Spend It?

If You Only Had $500 to Spend/Month to Grow Your Business or Career How Would You Spend It?
Recently I was asked this question which I thought was really a good one.What a great question. How would you answer it? Think about it before you read further. I think the answer is crystal clear and applies to any size business, from a one-person start-up to a Fortune 100 corporation. It applies equally to developing a career as it does to accelerating the growth of an organization. I cover my answer in my recently published book I would spend (“invest”) the $500/week by I having a business-related networking breakfast meeting at least 5 mornings a week. Let’s say the average tab for two people having some eggs or pancakes will be $20. Assume also that maybe occasionally the other person splits the check or picks it up in total. So a week’s worth of breakfast meetings should cost you less than $100, leaving a few bucks left over that you can use to have some fun. Why meet over breakfast? Almost everyone will agree to do this before their work day starts These discussions are typically to the point and under an hour They cost less than doing it over lunch or dinner. Networking at dinner meetings cuts into your...
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Jack Killion Discusses His New Book “Network All the Time, Everywhere with Everybody”

Jack Killion Discusses His New Book “Network All the Time, Everywhere with Everybody”
Our own Jack Killion was interviewed by Esther Surden who publishes a Blog on New Jersey Tech Weekly. Her article discusses the Power of Business Networking and why Jack wrote the book. It answers many questions including how Jack and Andy Bluestone formed the partnership Bluestone + Killion. It closes with Jack quoting the three key take a ways from his book: Network all the time, everywhere with everybody. That’s why I titled the book that way. Incorporate these efforts into your lifestyle, and help others around you develop their own skills. Forget about what you can get from networking. Concentrate on what you can contribute to others. I equate successful networking to rock climbing. When you meet people, you try to find finger holds. Once you find finger holds where you have some areas of common interest, dig in and try to figure out how to help someone’s personal or professional life. Lets all congratulate Jack and read the article in full at NJ Tech Weekly
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Is Your Firm's Culture a Competitive Advantage?

Is Your Firm's Culture a Competitive Advantage?
Every organization has a unique culture. Every law firm has one—whether a one-person firm or a leading international one. Certainly families have their own cultures as do schools, corporations, charities, governments and countries. Cultures can be an important competitive advantage or can drag on performance. In my career as a management consultant, business leader and owner, entrepreneur, adjunct business school professor and board member or trustee, I have observed thousands of cultures. Very few are truly top notch and very few are deliberately developed. Too often the culture of an organization "happens," generally reflecting the style and actions of the organization's leaders.You can safely assume that as the world economy becomes more global, more volatile, more competitive and more complex, the organizations that thrive will be the ones with a deliberately crafted culture that attracts and retains talented difference makers and fosters open, fluid cooperation, collaboration, loyalty, trust and innovation throughout the entire organization. Organizations that "get" the importance of having and developing a strong culture will have an enormous competitive edge. Going forward this will be one of the key challenges faced by law firm leaders. What Does a Winning Culture Look Like? It begins by recruiting the right people....
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An easier way to meet someone in your network

An easier way to meet someone in your network
Why does meeting someone in your network seem so daunting? Is it the confidence in your own ability to connect? Could it be the environment you are in at the times you network? Meeting the right people in your network seems harder than ever – we are all so busy and have a small band width to spend the necessary time to network. There is a paradox in meeting, spending time and procuring new business: we are more connected than ever before, through social media and online networking. At the same time, we are more disconnected than ever before. Our computers, Smartphones and Blackberries make the connection faster than ever before but just because we connect faster, are we really connecting? I’m not sure it’s better, in fact I would argue the reliance on technology connections reduces the opportunity to make genuine connections that last a lifetime. You can’t make a ‘real’ connection through email, texting or friending. The very act of being face to face creates an entirely different connection. You observe the body language, listen to voice inflections and look into their eyes to make that connection really stick. This is when the true connection happens, that belly to...
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Relationship Development: What is a Network?

Relationship Development: What is a Network?
What is a Network? A network is a group of people with links to one another. These links are most common through work, career activities, family, neighbors, friends, community, religion - the list keeps going on. An aspect that clearly defines and differentiates the connections in your network is the support system. People in the same network lend support, give advice, and are available for friendship and help. Think of it as a circle within many other circles that are often connected by influencers who know one another through your network. Your network Your network is constantly flowing with the sharing of information, ideas, contacts, and common experiences. The more attention you give to your network, the more powerful the sharing of information becomes - leading to more connections and fulfilling relationships. Like an atom, a network requires activity to create cause & effect. Activity generates an action that will lead to a chain of activity for all the network members. It starts with communication - the power of your network. The most profound communication comes in the form of being a resource; being proactive by looking for ways to pass along what you know to your network circle. As the...
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A Distinguished Career Starts With Networking

A Distinguished Career Starts With Networking
To me, a really successful lawyer has it all by: doing great, impeccable client work having a loyal client base despite often paying above market fees attracting new clients and clearly being a rain maker partner in the firm having great working relation ships and friendships with others in the firm enjoying an interesting personal life with time to pursue his/her passions and interests finding time to find ways to give back to the community developing and pursuing a broad range of interests having a solid family life with all members thriving I know many, many good attorneys who can check off some of these boxes. I know very few who can check them all off. Almost all law schools turn out graduates more than capable of being good lawyers. So, if the class room isn't where the super, really successful lawyers separate themselves from the herd, when and where does the separation happen? I maintain the factor that generates the top, mind-boggling successful lawyers from the rest is their ability to network and develop important long-term relationships. And the shift from good to really successful starts when the nouveaux attorney recognizes that networking is a key factor for long-term professional...
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11 Networking Skills Learned Along The Way

Recently, we had lunch with a highly-successful partner in a boutique, full service law firm. We were sharing networking stories & experiences and telling him about the networking and relationship development coaching provided by our firm, Bluestone+Killion. He "gets it" and is obviously a skilled networker in his own right. He has developed a substantial book of business using his networking & relationship development skills. We hit it off immediately. I am sure we will be sharing connections starting almost immediately. But mid-way through our discussion, he asked: "Do you think you can teach and coach professionals and business leaders to be strong networkers and relationship developers?" We were astounded when we realized he was serious. He didn't believe that other professionals who are less experienced and less active networkers could be taught these critical skills. What do you think? Please share your thoughts with us on our blog. Our coaching experiences We know that professionals and business people can be taught to be much more effective networkers & relationship developers. We know that those with these skills can really drive new business for their organizations. On a personal note, over the years both of us have learned & worked hard...
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How to Find the Hire You Want by Networking

The fact is, someone you know knows just the person you need If I were looking to recruit exceptional people, I would forget about advertising on recruiting sites (unless I loved reviewing hundreds or thousands of irrelevant resumes) or going through a search firm. The way I would find my new talented people is the way I have found hundreds of them over the years: by networking. I network consistently and get real benefits from it. I learn a lot about a lot of things. I learn about new opportunities. And I get to meet amazing people. As the owner of my own businesses, I have a huge advantage vs. corporate types when it comes to networking: my schedule is mine to control. This means I can network with relevant people in my talent search whenever it works best for me. I can meet for breakfast, for lunch, for afternoon coffee, or for dinner. I can meet Monday through Friday or on the weekend. (Hint: one way to weed out candidates is to suggest meeting at unusual times. Sometimes suggesting a Saturday morning initial meeting is enough to flush out the weaker applicants.) My Never-Fail Networking Process First, define as closely...
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Get Your LinkedIn Profile Setup

Get Your LinkedIn Profile Setup
It's surprising to me that there are so many professionals with incomplete or no LinkedIn profile. Originally thought of as a tool for job seekers, LinkedIn has become a prominent and important resource for business growth. A complete profile enables people - potential clients and potential new business connections - to check you out! It is common to meet people and then "Google" (when did this become a verb? ) them to learn more and become familiar with the business. LinkedIn provides business owners and professionals with an immeasurable opportunity to enhance their networking success. It is simple and it's free! Let me repeat...it is simple to navigate and it's FREE!! We can no longer be passive about how our clients, customers and potential relationship are using LinkedIn. Further, being a LinkedIn member will provide you and your firm with Google recognition and ranking, a tool to enhance online search for potential new business. Your professional profile should include your previous experiences but most importantly, it should reflect your current situation and employment status. Although LinkedIn allows you to post your educational and work background, resist the urge to make it look like your online resume. Instead, focus on your strengths...
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Jack Killion Published in New York Law Journal

Cross-Selling: A Key to Growing a Successful Firm In most law firms, an effective system is seldom in place for encouraging and coaching cross selling among the leaders of various practice areas. Each silo remains pretty much focused on serving clients and business development within its practice area. Typically, very limited thought is given, or action taken, by silo leaders to help generate incremental revenues in the other practice areas of the firm. That's too bad and a huge waste of talent resources. Failure to Facilitate Cross Selling Can Have Damaging Long Term Consequences. The lack of an effective approach to cross selling can have serious consequences, including: Leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars (and, in larger firms, millions of dollars) of lost revenues on the table annually. Leaving the door open for other law firms to get a toehold in client organizations by providing a service and solving a problem clients were unaware their current law firm could provide. It happens. Creating an environment in which practice area leaders view themselves almost as internal competitors (for status, internal resources and compensation) versus being strategic alliance "partners" with the other practice area heads, all committed equally to building all the profitable...
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Be a Generator. Learn to Hunt

Every organization includes two types of producers: advisers and associates – Hunters and Gatherers. Hunters represent approximately 20 percent of advisers and associates, but consistently produce 80 percent of the new business in a firm! Why is that? Well, if you study the hunters' habits and traits, you'll discover they have seven characteristics in common. It all starts with your network and your ability to build the trusting relationships that generate positive, rewarding results. Study the hunter, adopt the hunter's behavior and become a generator! Hunters are prepared. They invest time in uncovering prospects and bring the right ideas to the meeting. They believe spectacular achievements are the result of unspectacular preparation. Hunters are relationship builders. They know that all things being equal, prospects buy from the sales rep they know, trust and like. More importantly, they understand that all things NOT being equal, buyers do the same thing -- they buy from sales reps they know, trust and like. Hunters work at the right things. They focus on those few sales activities that are attainable and make a clear difference in the lives they touch. Hunters always have a sales call objective. Intention creates a "bottom line result" as they...
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Jack Killion Interviewed by Steve Adubato

Jack Killion Interviewed by Steve Adubato
Our own Jack Killion had the opportunity to discuss Networking with Steve Adubato1. This 7 minute interview, broadcast on the New Jersey Network, gave Jack the chance to challenge the myths about Networking and explain that it is an essential skill that can be taught. Said Killion "I think Networking is equal as a skill to reading, writing and arithmetic. I think it should be taught in every school in the country and I think it is one of the ways people can really enhance their lives, their family lives, accelerate their careers and drive the profitable growth of the companies they are with.." He went on to explain how Bluestone+Killion was helping train people to harness the power of networking. Watch this video, share it with your friends and see if Bluestone+Killion can help you or your company. [1] Steve Adubato, Ph.D. (born October 7, 1957) is an American author, broadcaster, motivational speaker and politician. Also a university lecturer, Emmy Award-winning television news anchor, and Star-Ledger columnist, he earlier served in the New Jersey General Assembly in the mid-1980s as New Jersey's youngest state legislator at age 26. Video provided by Caucus: New Jersey, an Emmy Award-winning public-affairs television series,...
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Networking Summit- A Success

Networking Summit- A Success
The 1st Annual Leadership and Networking Summit was a smashing success! 55 people, mostly partners from professional firms, "C" level corporate types and some business owners attended. The speaker from Alliance Bernstein did a really nice job with the presentation of positioning the economy in '13, covered a lot of ground very clearly. Feedback has been great!! Thank you to all who came, we are already in the planning stages for the 2nd Annual Summit...stay tuned. Jack and Andy. To be sure you get the latest News about B+K be sure you are on our mailinng list.
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Wrestling to Find a Network

When my son was young he was actively involved in the community youth sports programs. Dylan loved soccer, baseball and basketball, and I enjoyed attending and coaching his baseball games while watching him grow as an athlete and teammate. At the middle and high school levels many kids drop out of sports programs as they begin to realize they are not as talented as some of their peers. Dylan too began to recognize that his skills were merely average compared to friends who were starting to excel in baseball, his preferred sport. As a matter of practice, in my family we have family standards; school work and doing your best to get good grades is a priority, playing an instrument, community involvement and participating in sports is mandatory. None of my kids are star athletes, but good enough to qualify for teams of choice. More importantly they are all academically successful and actively involved in extra-curricular and community activities. Dylan, the last of my three, when leaving middle school proclaimed that baseball was going to be his sport in high school. He realized the competition was tough, that he would struggle to make the team, and that he may even sit...
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B+K Wins Billion+Change Award

Number4 This article was originaly featured in the November Billion + Change Newsletter. Bluestone + Killion Wins Anniversary Phone-A-Thon Drawing   On Nov. 2, we celebrated our one-year anniversary, and many of you joined our Virtual Anniversary Celebration Phone-A-Thon to recruit more companies to join our growing campaign. Thanks to your efforts, nearly 260 companies have joined A Billion + Change and have stepped up to lend their best and brightest to help tackle critical community needs. But we'd like to give a special shout-out to Andy Bluestone and Jack Killion of Bluestone + Killion for signing up for our virtual phone-a-thon and winning our drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card. In our information--age where networks provide critical support and exposure for nonprofits and businesses, Bluestone + Killion's pledge to A Billion + Change focuses on providing pro bono networking coaching programs for charter schools, military personnel and board members of nonprofit community organizations. Groups they support include: The Charter Discovery School in Newark, NJ; New Jersey Food Bank; Medical Missions for Children; The Park Avenue Club; Garden State Woman Education Foundation and Preschool Advantage of Morris County New Jersey. Congratulations Bluestone + Killion!
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He Gets It

We are all born with different personalities, making it easier for some to be more comfortable reaching out to people, certainly part of becoming an exceptional networker. But all professionals and corporate leaders can no doubt improve their networking and relationship development skills regardless of their personalities. None of us are born with God-given, networking & relationship development skills. We all have to develop these tools either by: observation, being mentored, being self taught (there are plenty of books and You Tube clips on the topics), trial and error or being taught in a more formal sense. Both of us learned primarily by observing others and trial and error over the past 35 years. Since we are both long term entrepreneurs we had to really get good at networking and developing win-win relationships that led to profitable business growth. We learned along the way how to: Overcome the challenges that most face when trying to get better at networking and relationship development Reach out comfortably to all kinds of people, all the time, everywhere Cold call when absolutely necessary, which is not often the case Network one-on-one Network at events and in groups Follow up in the right way Build our...
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Bluestone+Killion Joins A Billion + Change to Envision the Future of Corporate Service

200 companies pledge nearly $1.8 billion in pro bono services to nonprofits. Bluestone+Killion has joined A Billion + Change, a swiftly growing national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based volunteer services from corporate America to build nonprofit capacity. In less than a year, 200 companies have pledged an estimated $1.8 billion worth of skills-based services to nonprofits, keeping the campaign on track to inspire 500 companies to create or expand a skills-based volunteer program in their workplace by 2013. Bluestone+Killion will join the campaign at the White House on June 27, 2012 for a forum on "A Billion + Change in Action: Connecting to the Future of Corporate Service." Leaders in industry, civic engagement and policy will convene at this forum to discuss opportunities for businesses to scale efforts and partnerships to meet the social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century through skills-based service. They will also explore ways to align corporate skills-based service programs with national initiatives to boost innovation, competitiveness and models of effective collaboration. "We are proud to be a part of this campaign and pledge our commitment to community schools, community activities and community centers involved with children's education. Bluestone+Killion's...
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An Observation

In many corporate and professional organizations we see too much being done within silos. In the course of developing our business model for providing networking and client development coaching and training to "C" level executives and their teams, we quickly discovered how poorly internal networking is being done within the majority of organizations. Apple and Disney being two possible exceptions. They "get it." They know their people need to work together if they are to generate great products. In many corporate and professional organizations we see too much being done within silos, with very little interaction between the silos and even limited interaction within the silos at the various levels of seniority. Weak internal networking limits two things that can be critically important to the growth of your business. First it limits your organization's ability to cross sell complimentary services and products that can very positively impact your clients. We see this often in major CPA and law firms where we believe big bucks are being left on the table and all client (professional and personal) needs are not being met. In addition, the deficiency of successful internal networking slows the development of younger employees. These key people lack sufficient time...
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