Dream on

So Doug said that I was only looking out for myself, lining my own pockets and that I really only make ‘it’ all up as I go along …

There are times when hearing a declaration such as this that I deny all knowledge, refute the evidence and argue until I was almost ‘blue in the face.’

I’d just finished a conversation suggesting that Doug’s working practice was not conducive to better business. I tactfully (so I thought) pointed out that he couldn’t keep breaking appointments and disappointing colleagues, therefore it was in his own best interest and that of the Forum, that he should consider standing aside so that another might take his place as the ‘specialist in the room.’

It hadn’t gone down particularly well …

‘But they’re my friends, my customers.’ Came the reply.

Really, so is this how you treat your valued clients Doug?

Doug was right about a couple of things though. I was making up the business model as I went along. After all, I had twenty-five years experience in such matters and by now I had a good idea of what worked and perhaps what did not. It was also true when Doug suggested I was out to make a living for myself.

After all, as a business Forum, most are attending for the connection, I am no different to anyone else who habitually met with others at a given time and place to discuss lead and referral. The opportunity is there for anyone wishing to inform and inspire others to collaborate.

I’m attending regularly, offering myself the same valuable ‘air-time’ as anyone else who regularly attended the network Forum. We’re not having to think about ‘fees,’ or any direct competition in the room, this particular field of business is dead level, completely transparent.

An easy environment to tell us what you want so that we may see how we can help you.

If you are not attending we do not see you, if we don’t see or hear you, we cannot develop the relationship or consider the trust, let alone the referral.

Think reputation Doug.

Embrace the Process

The trouble with the process?

Here’s the deal … a friend of mine has just found a certain amount of recognition with a rock band he is working with. See Nervus.

I’ve known him a while, since he was a youngster and when catching up recently I was pleasantly surprised to see the confident young fella he’d become. As a kid he wasn’t particularly keen on the company of people, he actually went out of his way to be less than social, preferring the association of just close friends. His bandmates.

Over recent years though, association and experience have contributed to this development. Now here before us is a fellow who has learned much from his fraternity/peers. Being in the company of those close friends and colleagues, being part of ‘a band’ of people with the same goals and following a given process have contributed to his success.

Not that success has been plain sailing … after all, it rarely is for those who become successful. There’s time spent failing, falling out, picking up again. Time developing the trust and intent among colleagues.

Similar can be said for the process of networking for the referral.

Most understand that networking is the process of engagement, developing relationships, trust and partnerships.

For some though, the net just doesn’t work for them.

Many of us in business find that a certain hiatus comes along in most strategic processes until any significant results are seen at all. Success is dependent on such things as product, service, clarity. Persistence. Trust. It depends on the message, the transparency and the “bizability” – the art of being on the spot, familiar to your audience and available for business.

What does it take to be successful at networking?

Understanding the process. The trouble with the process … is that not everyone embraces the process. Ask Nervus.

December, morning coffee…

It was a typically dark, cold December morning and I was more than pleased when Natasha (and coffee) arrived, just as I surveyed the setting for today’s business over breakfast.

We wouldn’t be alone for long though, as approaching headlights suggested the first of our company this morning were on their way.

Nice and early Martin!’ I said, glancing at the clock on the clubhouse wall, 06.45.

Courtesy of the ‘Missus,’ Charlie. My car had broken-down over the weekend so Sue and the kids kindly offered a lift, they needed to be at school early anyway … I’ll be meeting ‘Bruce the garage’ here as he’s running me back after today’s meeting to attend the vehicle.

‘Sounds like a plan Martin.’

The tail-lights of ‘taxi Sue’s’ car receded in the distance, dawn was finally on its way as were others for our weekly business meeting.

Even in the midst of winter, we enjoyed a good attendance, plenty of interaction, lots of  discussion, the business flowed and with a near full-house … apart from ‘Bruce the garage.’

Martin had received a message to say he’d been called out for ‘an emergency’ and that he’d be in touch asap.

‘The best-laid plans eh, Martin?’

Any chance of a lift over my way Charlie?

Among those at the meeting, someone managed the lift Martin needed with an added bonus … the driver knew he could hook-up Martin with an alternative local garage – a ‘start-up’ looking for more business so it wasn’t long before Martin was back on the road and ‘taxi Sue’ back in the old routine.

‘Bruce the garage’ had left an impression, sadly nothing to enamour his reputation as the ‘go to’ service either.

Today in business, relationships matter. Even more so if you are a service provider, business is personal. It’s not what you have or what you can do that impresses your next best client, it’s how you relate.