Talk about

Talk about others. It’s great for business.

Referrals are something we all aspire to, some of us go out of our way to cultivate the new business by doing all the ‘stuff’ we’re told by the gurus, those abundant soothsayers and community influencers.

So what happens when you do all that which you’re supposed to be doing only to find that the recommended ground work is just not working, literally, the only new life you’re hearing are those crickets again … away in the distance …

Let’s get unselfish. Good business comes our way when we stop worrying about why it’s not coming our way – have you noticed that?

Try this, it works for me, it may not be right for you just now but just give it a go – after all, it’s just those pesky crickets, right?

Each of us in business knows lots of other people, some we see more often than not and of course, it’s natural that those we do see most regularly are those we tend to want to help when required.

‘Help? Ok, but how?’ I hear you ask

Simply talk about them. Spread a little good news about your mates.

For instance, when you meet up with a friend and they ask:

‘How’s it going, what have you been up to?’

Avoid dwelling on me, me, me for just a minute …

Try telling them you met up with a great professional the other morning, someone who has a unique line of business and someone you would highly recommend.

Give them a reason why your mate is so referable. Talk them up, shine the light and really give your friend a reason to make mental notes as you both discuss …

‘OK, so I talk them up, but how is this helping me?’

Bear with me. Chances are the next conversation your friend has with you in mind he is going to also mention your recommended new best friend – he’s going to mention your mate and of course he’s going to talk about you, your business, how he knows what it is you do, and how well connected you really are.

Word of mouth, let’s not underestimate the power of a good conversation – especially when you are talking about someone … behind their back!

He’s no one hit wonder

 

Ben, it’s great to hear you enjoyed the holiday. Welcome back.

 

“Thanks, Charlie, I did enjoy the time away from the factory, I took the opportunity to do a lot of thinking …”

Holidays are good for thinking Ben, have another biscuit with the tea … what do we need to discuss?

Ok, I’m thinking of offering our tailor made line online, you know, the additional income stream you talked about? Networking is great although I’m not getting a lot of ‘hits’ with my engagement – any reason why do you think?”

Hits Ben? The online store is a great idea …

The efforts you put into your business, your people and your network are a progressive development of the ‘reliable, dependable, Ben.’ It’s about you becoming the person your contacts can rely on, not only for the so-called ‘hits’ but for direction, advice and support.

Sure, you will find and always welcome the odd single order for your fine, bespoke footwear although is that the end game here?

What do you mean? Of course, I want orders, that’s what I’m networking for isn’t it?”

Ben, anyone can buy a pair of shoes that suit the budget, we get free financial advice, accountancy solutions or websites in a box, logos for not much more than a fiver, it’s all ‘out there’ Ben.

The meaningful partnerships in business surpass all of the above. The reason those ‘in the know’ are networking is the fact that the road to fruition is that much shorter with the help of our colleagues. Even if your network is the slow-burn, the odd order here, the single referral there … think about what you are cultivating Ben.

Your scope of contacts – even over a short time networking while developing the relationships and trust is enormous. Think of the connections others have and who they are able to refer you to given the relationship. Never underestimate leverage. Think also of the advice and support, the range of services at your fingertips for the sake of caring about others a couple of hours per week.

It’s not about the ‘hits’ Ben, it’s about your leverage and quality of connections, who knows you and who may then introduce you to others.

Have faith Ben, you are no ‘one hit wonder.’

So, what else did you do on holiday apart from thinking about work?

Doubt your happiness ?

‘Thanks Charlie, I’m back in a fortnight, without the doubt I promise, and we can follow up then, ok by you?’

Ben was away for a well-deserved holiday. Together we’ve put in place a short-term strategy for success, something Ben is more than capable of achieving if only he could lose his doubt.

Stepping out of the shadows of his parents business was hard for him. Finding himself now in charge, the dynamic had changed for him. Ben found all this uncomfortable and he needed to swap those shoes.

Considering his was the successful business of footwear – as a Cordwainer – you’d be right to suggest it shouldn’t be too difficult …

Ben was indeed a ‘worry-guts.’

 

‘The existing clients love mum and dad. What if they don’t like me, Charlie? How do I maintain the relationships, the status-quo in the community? I know not a lot about sales either, what happens if I don’t hit the targets?’

Ben’s expectation of life was scuppering his happiness – it was time for a holiday.

As a young man, unclear about how he should follow in mum and dad’s footsteps, Ben was beset with doubt. You know, the kind of uncertain feelings we all collide with from time to time, for whatever reason.

Ben … I replied, we have the contingency in place – no doubt you and half the population are taking a break this time of year, you have a trusted support staff who know the business. Your only concern should be how to cope with the business of ‘holiday mindset.’

What do you mean?”

When we’re away from site Ben, ‘off the familiar patch,’ life works the magic, releasing the not so important ‘stuff’ enabling us to realise what is most valuable …

Our happiness.

Success Ben, is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal.

Take some time, enjoy the holiday and understand that each small step takes you closer to those goals of personal and professional happiness.

It’s just not for you!

I pulled up a chair …

George had suggested that networking just wasn’t his style, he was adverse to ‘breaking the ice’ with those he hadn’t met before and being ‘nice’ just because … and the whole ‘first-date’ scenario left him less than warm …

Getting out of the comfort zone is just not for me Charlie, I’m comfortable here with comfortable.”

‘I’m not entirely sure face to face networking is relevant. Besides, all the new business is on-line now anyway. I can strike up a conversation with anyone I so desire, I connect and like and in turn get liked by all kinds of people with the same interests I have without even meeting them!’

I asked George if he’d like to grow his customer list, if he was still in the market for more business?

Charlie, we have a whole bunch of customers and when they’re busy the company is busy so no, I’m not really looking to grow my database. The networking breakfast sounds fantastic though!”

George had a well established company providing an on-line service and had been growing ‘organically’ over the years – all by ‘word of mouth.’

‘So, are you happy where you are with the business George?’ I asked.

Sure Charlie. It gets a little isolated now and again from where I sit now but in the main I’m content.’

I like George, he’d been around about as long as I had, worked on the business with the right people, understood the referral business enough to know the value of the right connection but now he was ‘comfortable, being comfortable.’

I can see why you inhabit the network though Charlie,” said George …

I know you value the input from others, hearing about their business, the advice and mutual support and direction. Not to mention the diversity and mentor opportunity – and yeah, that breakfast does sound good; but hey, does that really drive you to get out of bed at that time of day?”

‘It’s not the breakfast George, I’m just naturally nosey …’

I couldn’t bring myself to remind George of the ‘organic business by referral growth’ his own business had enjoyed and thrived on over the years. Sure, structured networking relies on your input and what you bring to the room. Networking is about desire, the attitude and your understanding of the value people bring to the business.

George, despite his delight at the thought of a fine network breakfast, had simply lost his appetite.

Like George, if you are comfortable with the bottom line then that’s one reason networking may not be for you but for a whole host of reasons regular face to face networking really is still relevant as we understand why ‘people buy from people.’