Deirdre and I were enjoying our ‘one to one’ over a great espresso – right after our network Forum when suddenly she came out with a statement that took me back a little …
“I really do need to start getting some orders out of the group soon; I need to make it pay.”
I hadn’t seen this side of Deirdre before. I mean, we’re all working hard (to work smart) in cultivating the business aren’t we? For some of us we simply needed to ‘try the different angle’ I replied.
So we chatted and I suggested to her that if she stays true to herself, supports her group and continues to offer help when required – and of course take any additional exposure offered, all things being true, the reward for all the effort would be plain to see.
“I hear you, I just need to start picking up referrals otherwise it’s not worth my while.’
‘Not worth my while?’ I poured more coffee.
It’s times like these that bring a certain salience to the purposes of network relations. I couldn’t help myself; I had to ask what was her while worth? What was the number?
I’d made my own calculations. We don’t ‘pay’ a member fee, there is no training programme to support and neither do we have a compulsory promotions strategy. The only numbers were the lunch and the time spent away from the office …
OK, I know I’m biased. Networking has been a great support for my own business and I do understand that some who inhabit ‘network-land’ need to be claiming reward for their ‘relationship building time’ and efforts spending their ‘worth’ but I really don’t ‘get’ the time limit for referral when the bigger picture is there to see. We know it takes time to gain the confidence of others so that when I introduce Deirdre to Dear Fred who introduces her to Joe Bloggs who happens to need a whole host of regular purchases … then of course there are the other outlets they may have …etc.
Sure, the ‘hunter’ sales mentality is still around; it has to be for some like Deirdre who inhabit ‘sales’ or ‘account management.’ For me this won’t change until the ‘culture’ of the organisation itself evolves.
These days it’s so much easier to buy much of what you want, at the price you want when you want online and the ‘hard sell’ just does not form part of the culture.
We need to give more time, give our audience reasons to engage us, to learn and understand our offer. ‘Pre-sales service’ plays a much greater role than many realise and even though it wasn’t working with Deirdre’s company, I’m sure many ‘savvy’ businesses are beginning to see the light.