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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Celebrating Our 18th Year of Helping Our Grads to REALLY Connect!

Monthly Lunches
It’s back!  Monthly lunches are now on the calendar for 2019.  We will again be at Smokey Bones, 512 W Dussel Blvd, Maume, from 11:30-1. The dates of the lunches in the first quarter are:
       Feb 18
       March 18

This is the second Monday of the month.  We are going to ask you to register in advance which means you can use your business credit card to do so.  The fee for lunch is $15 and the link to register is:

Social Events
We will also have two after-hours events this year, one on May 16 from 5:30-7pm, at Rusty Taco (formerly R Taco) 1470 Ford St, Maumee.  The other will be Sept 26 from 6-7:30pm, at Clara J’s Tea House, 219 W Wayne St, Maumee.  The owner and young executive chef, Gretchen Fayerweather, has breathed new life into this old location.  To say the least, it’s not your mother’s tea house! There will be other beverages served that have nothing to do with tea!

Mini Classes
Coming up in 2019, we have several mini classes on the horizon.  Stay tuned as we begin to schedule for the next series of mini classes.

New Class
Our first 2 hour “Why” class was completely SOLD OUT!  We will be offering it again probably in June or July.  In the meantime, Debby is willing to present in-house to companies that may want to help their team members to understand and know what their why is and how it can impact their success.  If you know of such a team, have them contact Debby.

Social Media
Stay in the Know!!
Never miss out on a networking event again!  As CN confirms an event, it is set up under the Events tab on our Facebook page with all of the info and links to register if applicable.  While on our Facebook page, simply click on the Events tab and you will see the Subscribe button on the right just above the list of events. Click on it and you are set to go! You can also invite people to the events and share them to your Facebook page as well! Visit our page at today!

Member Spotlight:

Bill Wilson 
by Kerri Brimmer,


Turbo-charged! Bill Wilson, told by many that he is quite memorable, is one of the most energetic and enthusiastic speakers you will encounter. And he has a story to tell. At this point in his life, he finds public speaking to be an adrenaline rush... but he didn't start out that way. Bill was a high school drop-out with no vision for his future when he took a job in an auto repair shop. A fast learner, by age 23, he had a reputation for being a whiz with transmissions. 

Bill will tell you that BNI and Connext Nation were instrumental in the profitability of his business. Asking him about it really fires up his jets. He says that the class, and the constant learning since, have transformed his life, and he is happy to share.

Bill broke off with his first business partner and set his sights to make himself the best, and fastest, transmission service in the area. Why? He wanted his beautiful wife and son-on-the-way to want for nothing. He was driven; obsessed with succeeding.  

Bill's business, Express Transmissions, was moving along when he lost his "superman" employee who handled customer care. Bill had to step forward from running the back of the shop to moving up front. He was thinking of quitting but also considered moving in the direction of remanufactured transmissions. He really wanted fleet service contracts, but his sales staff was bringing in nothing. A friend suggested joining a BNI. "I was excited because I did it, but scared to walk in; scared to speak." said Bill. 

Taking on the weekly sales presentations was very awkward at first but helped with his speaking which he described as "spit and sputter and trip all over myself". In his first year with BNI, he focused on all aspects of his services, including tires, repairs and oil changes. After his first year, with mediocre results, he had a 1-2-1 with Jason Madasz, Executive Director of BNI in NW Ohio. It was a turning point in his business success. From that point he focused on the business he wanted - transmissions. 

Bill connected with BNI Platinum Partners chapter member Brad Hughes who took him under his wing. "I liked the way he did things, so he was my BNI mentor. That led me to meet the phenomenal Debby Peters and getting my feelings hurt," shared Bill with a grin.  The first day of the Connext Nation class with Debby Peters, he volunteered himself as the "whipping boy" with his hand jumping up in the air with comments and a stream of questions. 

"Is your competition scared of you," Debby asked. Bill answered, “Yes!”... After all, he was Bill the Transmission Guy. Debby replied with, "Really?" and gave him that famous Debby look. He went home surprised, his feelings hurt, but returned resolved to absorb as much as possible. 

One memorable homework assignment was three questions to ask three people. Out of 10 requests, only Monnie Holman responded. He is still grateful to Monnie for giving him the truth.

What do I do well? Monnie: You know your business and are very good at it.
What don't I do well? Monnie: You need to listen. You talk too much. (ed note: The question is actually, “What could I do better?”)

He got a second answer from his son.
What do I do well? You know your business and are very good at it.
What don't I do well? You don't listen. You are hard to talk to.
What should I learn? Yoga. 

"Okay," thinks Bill, "Point made. I have to accept that I need to listen." From that point on he focused on really listening. "I followed everything Debby taught," says Bill. He made himself a focal point by sitting right in front of Debby and concentrating on absorbing everything the class could teach him.

"Every week I learned something and made a change in my business. I threw out all marketing materials to start over," Bill shared. He re-focused his marketing on one target product, transmissions, kicking general repairs, oil changes and tires to the curb. To this day, he still has a good working/learning relationship with his CN class members and has enjoyed connecting with the variety of personalities in the Connext Nation community. 

One of Bill's favorite memories from the CN class is discussing the determining factor to giving a referral... asking yourself, "Would I give my car keys to that person." On his homework, he stated that he wanted the keys to a Laguna Green Mini Cooper (Debby's car), receiving another "really?" in the margin. On a later date, during a 1-2-1, Debby asked, “How can I help you?” Then Bill pulled out a paper with three people he was working on referring and 3 people he already introduced to Connext Nation. Debby pulled out her keys laid them on the table with a laugh saying, "There you go!!!"

As the student becomes the teacher, Bill's advice is to not stop at what you learned in CN. If you stop, it is a waste of money and time. If you just maintain, you are losing. Leading by example, Bill is continually growing and improving his networking, skills and business. Bill calls himself a nudger." You have to have a plan. You have to move," states Bill. 

Bill is a founding member of the first Holland BNI, Prestige Partners. He is happy to report that his first year in BNI, the revenue he received was $14,000. That number is closer to $100,000 now. If you need some inspiration to use what you learned in CN, set up a 1-2-1 with Bill Wilson today!


CN Horn Tooting


Crystal Taylor, Crystal Clear Communications, LLC, has truly benefited from ConnextNation. Since graduating in May 2017, she reports that her business really has take off. Thanks to the work she did in ConnextNation, she closed her 2018 books with 39% Year Over Year growth. In 2016 she started with one retainer and today she has seven long-standing relationships that provide a great base for her business. She expects to have even better growth in 2019. 

Jeff Pettit, owner of Artistic Memorials in Perrysburg and Northwood, is celebrating 17 years in business during the month of February.

Mary Ann Mills, shares that while she’s still selling real estate with RE/MAX Masters, she is now a REIKI Master Practitioner. She loves it and feels blessed to be so drawn to it.

Barb Mullholand, ProHealth Partners, Inc., says that while not work related, she is very excited to be going on a cruise to Cuba!  She can’t wait to experience, the culture and the food. She will be leaving in March for 5 days upon Carnival with a ladies only group.

Bill McConnell, Dunright Building Services, Inc., tells us that Dunright was just named a 5 Star Contractor for Certainteed Corporation.  They are now only 1 of 3 in our area and they also received a National Award of Excellence from Certainteed Corporation for the Bloomfield siding project in Gibsonburg.

Greg Peters, The Reluctant Networker, was a recent guest lecturer at Eastern Michigan University.
How Are You Different Than....
By Debby Peters,

So many times I am asked, “What is the difference between Connext Nation and BNI? Are you competitors?”  My answer is always, “We are not competitors at all; in fact in NW Ohio we are strategic partners.  Then I go on to quote the best explanation of how we are different that I have stolen (or borrowed) from Jason Madasz, Executive Director of BNI in NW Ohio.  “He says it so well, “BNI is the toolbox, Connext Nation is the instruction manual.”  A simple, clear, easy to understand explanation.

How do you differentiate your business from others so that your referral teammates can talk about you?  Please don’t use the phrases, “Good customer service” or “We are the best at what we do.”  What are some ways you can figure this out?

Go back to your book, The Brand Called You by Peter Montoya & Tim Vandehey, that you received in the Connext Nation class.  Peter has so many exercises in the book that might help you to determine this concept. (ed note:  This book is available on Amazon if you don’t have a copy.)

Beyond that, ask you clients why they chose you instead of someone else. That’s networking at its best because it is also a great way to reinforce the relationship you have with them.  You might hear a theme emerge by talking with several.

I could probably give a thousand more reasons why CN is different than BNI, but why waste time when I have one that makes the person easily realize that they have a misconception.  With that put to rest, we can talk about something that might prove helpful to them.  It is a win for each of us.


Tell Me Exactly What to Say When Introducing Two People
by Debby Peters,
The article below is an excerpt from the upcoming book, “Tell Me Exactly What to Say: 33 Conversations That Will Make a Big Impact on Your Networking Life” by Debby Peters
As a great networker, you’ve decided that you want and need to introduce two people in your network to each other.  What should you do to make it as seamless and comfortable as possible?  While many people now use email introductions, I still am a huge believer in personal introductions.  I know that it takes my time, but guess what? If I want the same in return, I have to give at that level if I am going to get it back!  Additionally, it is the perfect way for me to get back into the presence of someone without having to stalk them to get another appointment.
It is now the day of the appointment where three of you are going to meet.  Since you have been the organizer, you probably got consensus on a date, time and place that worked for all of you.  Your role should continue.  You are now the host of this “networking” event.  The conversation will sound something like this.  To make this easy, let’s pretend that you are introducing Joe to Tracy.
You:  “Thanks so much for taking the time to meet.  As you both know from our emails, I thought it would be a good idea for you two to meet. 
Joe, as I said in my email, Tracy is a CPA who specializes in doctors, dentists and other medical professionals.  Of course she does have some clients outside of that sector, but she has become known as the expert to the medical community.  Tracy loves to kayak, Joe, as you do too! 
Tracy, you already know that Joe represents Offices R Us and he focuses strictly on the medical market.  He calls on both hospitals and smaller medical practices.  Along with kayaking, Joe does squeeze in a game or two each summer at the Mudhen’s Ballpark.  When I met both of you, I thought of how you might have synergy with each other that made me want to introduce you. 
Joe, why don’t you start by telling Tracy about how you helped that medical practice that you told me about last week?”
Basically your job is done for now.  You can sit back and just listen to Joe and Tracy while they chat.  You will probably learn something about one or both of them, just by being the “fly on the wall.”  At some point, if the conversation gets stuck, you can add a comment or ask a question to get it back on track.  If there is an important piece of information that is being left out by one of them, you can easily insert that sound bite into the conversation. 
When you sense that the meeting has reached its potential for the moment, again as the host, you can say:
“Joe and Tracy, I knew you would each have a few things in common, but who knew that you both were dog trainers in the past!  That’s something that I didn’t know!  Beyond dogs though, from what I heard, it sounds like today might have been a starting point for more.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide what that might be, but I encourage you to decide what they next step might be before you leave each other.  Again thanks for taking the time!”
Being able to make such helpful introductions will give you much social capital in the future.  Even without that in mind, you now have two people that will want to help you in the future.
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