Monday, January 11

QeH2 Interviews Strategic Local Partner REV Networking

Powerful, fun, efficient, and effective speed-networking in 6 minutes is the focus for Marilyn Manning and the explosion she has created within the networking industry. Marilyn and I sat down earlier this week to talk about the motivating force she created not three years ago called REV Networking; 18 business professionals,6 minutes with each attendee, exponential growth for your company, priceless. With her horn and stopwatch, Marilyn has been connecting people from Denver to Boulder, Summit County to Vail, all in the name of business. Connecting people through the “human touch” and actually helping businesses grow through face-to-face interaction has helped some organizations like QeH2 to expand their business.

After meeting Marilyn and talking about this great state that we are both natives of, I really started to see how powerful this revolutionized way of networking really could benefit all organizations.

Alex: Tell me a little about yourself Marilyn?
Marilyn: I’m a Colorado native; I have two children, Ethan (8) and Chandler (11). My husband Sean is a CPA and has two companies: an accounting firm and a payroll company. Between the four of us, we’re very busy.

Alex: You’ve spent time in many different areas within the sales and marketing arena; what experiences helped you to create REV Networking?
Marilyn: My background is in sales, marketing, and advertising. I got my sales experience in college and coming out of college I worked in small market radio. That’s where I got the wheels rolling. The neat thing there was that it was a small enough market that you kind of did everything yourself. I made the cold calls, I’d go out and sell it, go back to the station and create an advertising campaign from scratch, write the commercials, go into the studio and produce it, and go out in the field and do live remotes. My mantra was taking these little businesses from “nothingness” to “somethingness.” It was fun and I was good at it.

In terms of my marketing experience, I worked a corporate job for a little while getting a taste of what that looks like. I worked for some very small advertising agencies and then had a really fun job doing public relations and promotions for some ski areas, a company called Ski the Summit (now owned by Vail Resorts). I learned a lot doing that.

Alex: How did this idea or, “tool” come about?
Marilyn: I’ve had the business for three years just that in itself shows the longevity of the industry. The networking industry by itself is kind of icky, it’s the bar scene. People think you’re doing business but you’re actually getting a date. In my opinion I have turned the networking industry upside down. The concept of speed dating has been around for a while now; to turn it into a networking idea makes for a lot of fun. What used to be five minutes, now six minutes per business, allows you to have a legitimate conversation with true business professionals, getting straight to the point. You will actually know within the first 40 seconds or so if you like this person and if you see yourself doing business with them.

Alex: Specifically, what is the service REV Networking is providing to consumers?
Marilyn: Basically, I’m a people connector. I tell people we can have all the technology under the sun but it comes down to knowing one another. My passion and the difference in what I’m doing is helping people be successful with their business. Prior to the event, I coach people on the phone to get them thinking about how they market their business and themselves. I ask them what they generally do to get their name out there and ask that they focus on why a consumer should chose them out of the 800 other companies out there.

Alex: What do you see as the differences between business representatives meeting prospective clients one on one as compared to over the web or through telemarketing?
Marilyn: I think the best form of contact is what I like to call the “human touch.” Being able to look at someone and shake their hand and take their business card can make all the difference. Having a safe, structured environment for business owners and representatives to come to, they know exactly what they are coming for. At other “after-hours” events, people tend to stick to the same group of people; at REV, you’re going to talk to every single person. REV Networking attendees are going to grow their network and database exponentially after just one event within the next week.

Alex: Do you have a target market?
Marilyn: What I’m looking for are business owners, organizations with multiple employees, and professionals that work in a large corporation in the sales or managerial arena. I’m very discretionary with who I let attend the events. One question that’s asked quite a bit is, “will there be a lot of network marketing companies there?” I leave one seat available for a single network marketing company, this is because there are some really awesome businesses professionals out there doing network marketing and they want to connect with business professionals too. People coming to the REV events don’t want to be bombarded by network marketing companies. Knowing there will be only one seat available to these companies takes a lot of stress off of business professionals looking to expand their network.

Alex: What are you doing to get business owners interested in REV Networking or is it creating a buzz for itself?
Marilyn: REV is becoming very well known in the Denver marketplace. There are a few things that set us apart from other networking organizations, the first being my price point. By not being the cheapest networking event in town, I only draw serious players to the table. The cost alone in looking for valuable leads can easily exceed the price of a REV event. The concept of speed networking is something that people love as well.

Alex: Are you seeing other organizations trying to mimic your model?
Marilyn: It’s funny because I’ve had people from cities like San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Chicago attend REV events and there is nothing like this there. There are speed-networking events all over YouTube from around the world. Nothing comes even close to what I’ve created here in Denver.

Alex: Can you tell me about the different types of sponsorships available for each REV Networking event?
Marilyn: There are three types of sponsors for REV Networking. The first is a Host Sponsor where the event comes to your location. You provide tables, chairs, and some sort of refreshments, in addition to a site that is conducive to these events. At the end of last year, I had catering companies fighting for the chance to sponsor events.

The second form of sponsorship is an Event Sponsor where a business sponsors a specific event. This gets their company and contact information on my email blasts that go out to roughly 3,000 businesses professionals in the Denver Metro area. Recognition as the Event Sponsor and giving a 3-5 minute overview of their organization to all the attendees before the event begins, are other perks of being an Event Sponsor. This puts them at a strategic advantage because each time they sit down with someone during the event, they can get down to more specifics about their organization.

The third level is corporate sponsorship, which is how QeH2 supports REV Networking and there is a plethora of marketing for your business. As a Corporate Sponsor, your stuff is on everything for the event. I endorse you personally at each event; there is a strong presence of Corporate Sponsors on the REV Networking site as well.

Alex: What does a typical REV Networking event entail, from conception to the event itself?
Marilyn: I generally try to plan events at least three months out and it takes two things to make each event happen; people and a place. From there it’s getting the businesses to contact me to sign up. Finding a place to host the event is the next step and it hasn’t posed a problem because of the opportunities associated with sponsoring a REV event. The day of, is really just showing up with my bag of tricks, horn, and stop watch and run the event.

Alex: Do you do any sort of follow-up with the attendees to see how REV may have helped their business?
Marilyn: I have done surveys in the past. A lot of the feedback is coming via word of mouth and I am working on putting together post follow-ups through email to get more feedback. I do follow-up with an email to all the attendees from each event to thank them and answer any post-event questions they may have. The most important feedback for this event is the success of the participant. Hundreds of thousands of real revenue dollars have been generated from these events.

Alex: What do you see the future partnership between REV Networking and QeH2 looking like?
Marilyn: Sticking with REV is very important. I need to utilize your organization more to help grow my business, and you guys have seen the benefits of utilizing what REV has to offer. Our partnership is great and I just love the QeH2 guys.

There are REV Networking events every month at different times so be sure to get your name on the list and experience the revolutionized and speedy way of networking. Space is limited, so get involved.

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