Gone Fishing

Networking is a little bit like fishing. It takes time.

We need to pick the spot – find the right conditions for you

Is it fairly local?

Fair Weather, without any competition or potential snags?

Do we have the right tools? A smile, business cards, pen perhaps …

We need to prepare the pool to ensuring the audience know that we are regularly around and that we have a better chance with our cast (or message in this case)

The Lure – are the conditions right?

People buy seasonally, try and adapt your offer to the marketplace

Have patience.   And throw the little ones back. It takes time …

After you plant the seed, give the potential a chance to grow, if the work on offer is not right for you, say so and point your colleague in the right direction.

You know they will be back and that you will be rewarded down the line.

 

Avoid disappointments. Give more time

Developing the relationships through networking is important it is the foundation of success. Most of us are aware of this although there comes a time when we need to step back and think:

‘Is the relationship i value really a priority for my network colleagues?’

I’ve had my own personal experiences with supposed allies, friends even! Those go-to like-minded associates who carry the same vision and principles as yourself, only to see it all goes sour – for lots of different reasons.

The most common influence, not just in my own experience, is impatience and greed. Especially true of course during our recent unsettled economic climate.

The lesson I’ve learned from this experience is that trust is an ever more valuable commodity in the business world. Trust is built over time and enables the fast track to business development and success. These days I give my networking more time. I am much more selective and of course much more wary of whom I befriend of who I offer help and ultimately to who I offer my trust.

Business is personal and there are givers and there are takers.

We may have our own business priorities although when assessing our business ‘partner,’ it is my view that we need to really understand where they are heading.

What is important to their business?

  • Is it regular cash transactions,
  • New business partnerships,
  • Network education or
  • Diversity through people?

In most instances it is a combination of all of the above although the time to be wary is when you find that the only relationship your ‘trusted’ business partner is interested in is the regular cash transaction – this is a relationship that has no solid foundations and in my experience greed soon possesses your once trusted partner.

So what happens when you find your trust is compromised for the sake of a run of cash transactions – or the gain of a ‘quick buck?’

Walk away, and remember to close that kitchen door behind you!

Look after your mates

 

 

The one topic that the referral handbooks don’t cover is the question of … internal disputes. When partnerships fail and the rogue is uncovered … the apple-cart tips!

As a referral partner, should I shout about it? Whisper the warnings? Maybe report the offending operator as a dud and not worthy of anyone else’s’ attention – or all of the above?

Our Business Forum is a great place to be – even more so now we’ve just recently introduced a reporting process for grievances and it’s working well…

Here’s a recent example …

In this case the offender had withheld payment for services completed by a long-standing referral partner. (Yes, someone within the same Group.) Usually the work provided is paid by return and there is a clear understanding to the working relationship (to a point!)

The supplier (referral partner) had recently moved locality through necessity and advised the offender although with this change the offender saw opportunity and decided to renege on the existing long-standing relationship by withholding the outstanding dues.

Now it goes without saying that the outgoing supplier was/is on good terms with the Network Group, with many solid relations and as an influential figure, he is someone that others, when in doubt, looked toward for guidance.

Our Network now have in place a simple direction for resolution:

Reporting the issue by email to the Network ‘Chair’ and copying in to the solicitor/mediator within the Group quickly had the desired effect, supplier paid, lessons learned and job done, we move on.

So what of the alternative?

Would you shout about the situation to anyone listening … that the offender was to be avoided and certainly never trusted?   Unlikely, although this could happen.

Bringing the organisation into disrepute through malice has a devastating effect and should be avoided although no one is happy being ripped-off by those who were once trusted.

This is one instance where we see that ‘business is indeed personal,’ and that even long term relationships are scuppered when greed rears it’s ugly head.

Shut that door!

Networking or Netconnecting?

Over the last few decades, networking has devolved into an endless series of cattle-call events full of barn-style open bars, pizza and a mingle coffee meets and the inevitable gathering tub-thumpers …

Perfect strangers, after a long day at the office, agree to show up and bump into each other, randomly exchanging business pitches for business cards.

Needless to say, traditional networking is not working anymore. For successful 21st century business people, large networking events and the mountains of business cards they produce have become a waste of time and valuable resources. It’s time to re-evaluate why people buy people.

Networking will feed you today. And for some of us, this is why we ‘do’ networking. We know this, but connecting … really connecting and playing the longer game, understanding that properly developed relations is what makes for some amazing and sustainable opportunities that stretch far deeper than simply the one-off business opportunity.  

So let me ask you … are you Networking for today or Netconnecting ?

Shut that door – the Hunter again!

Looking to nullify the effect of the inevitable “Hunter” present in your Network Forum?

Here are just a few more tips from our series of …

How to combat the sales-hungry ‘Matt Le-Fatt’ type…

As in earlier post, Matt Le-Fatt is our fictitious ever-present shark-hunter type. A not unusual species and often seen circulating even the best of Network Forum, our shark Le-Fatt is ever-present in the kitchens, waiting for the uninitiated to arrive.

Therefore …

1. Best you arrive EARLY for business besides, nothing gets people talking better than the early bird arrival. The right impression is made with visitors curious what the buzz is about – you all cannot be here simply for more business, right? The visitor will soon be ever so grateful for your support.

2. Volunteer to HELP. As above, why not make a point of arriving in good time to help – and ask if your colleagues need help, don’t just assume it is not required. Also, Hunters don’t like others arriving too early – as it spoils their own sales pitch …

3. Be happy, smile. Another antidote to certain Hunter-types. You are more appealing when you smile – and in stark contrast to the Hunter-cook who, in fear of missing out cannot help the but send out expletives emanating from the kitchens as another sausage goes up in flames … don’t forget we are protecting our visitor here …

4. Listen to your visitor. Don’t be tempted to do a Matt Le-Fatt and over sell just as the niceties of introduction have cooled. No-one likes to be sold to – especially over breakfast.

5. Relax, and be yourself … People buy from people – remember?

6. Book a One to One … Try and educate your visitor on the above psychology before the Hunter Le-Fatt reach them. You cannot possibly know all about your new network partner during open networking – if you think you do, you will start sending out all the wrong ‘Hunter’ messages. Book a One to One asap.

7. Support each other …Inevitably the visitor is going to be cornered by the lone shark at some stage – Matt Le-Fatt is renowned for it and has all the moves. So by offering your support to the visitor, mentoring and removing the threat of the Hunter you shall greatly enhance your position of confidant and ‘go to’ person, which can only be a good thing, right?

8. Most importantly, during networking (or any time,) if you say you are going to do something – always do so. Nothing destroys the opportunity for future referral more than neglecting the follow-up.

9. Ask for help. We are all good at offering our support although many misunderstand the power of the need for assistance. People like to help because it offers a clear path to the relationship. So ask if you need help, better relationships are part of the reason MOST of us are in business for

10. And finally, if you cannot seem to get a word in conversation because of the ever-present Matt Le-Fatt Hunter …

            You will realise only then, that you forgot to shut that kitchen door!

More to follow …

 

The BIG – A. Ambition or Apathy?

Attitudes are contagious

Which attitude is prevalent in your network forum?

Easy or edgy, positive or negative, go with the flow or grow with inspiration?

If you find the attitude is not right, then how do you turn it around?

As people-persons we all need a reality check at times, because it is easy to fall into a routine of ‘this is safe, this is normal or ‘we like it like this and this is how it should be.’

Because we are in a people business I believe we regularly need to gauge whether the common theme is positive and supportive, and if there’s a problem, then do something about it … check for the negative influences, make a move to remove those stumbling blocks to success – and when we find them simply …

Educate for change, speak with the culprit and if it doesn’t work … remove them or give the hint and simply shut that kitchen door!

Nothing discourages ambition faster than apathy.

Attitude meets diversity

Without doubt professional variety plays an important part of our network.

Without variety there would be a particularly dull meeting, this is why we invite our guests.
The same can be said for attitude … and when the positive attitude mixes with diversity the magic of word of mouth referral has the potential to bring dividends for all

That is unless you have one too many negative amongst you.

One such  minus, convincingly portrayed by our network newbie, cook and ‘sausage-sizzler’ extraordinaire, Matt Le-Fatt!

With attendees low and catering numbers down and with the Le-Fatt toaster left standing the attitude may not be conducive to good networking … unless of course … and this is regardless of catering numbers … we have the appropriate diversity in the room. An attractive presence with the pre-requisite qualifications may be just the antidote for the le-hot Le-Fatt.

How sweet it can be …

So how do we dissuade the rampant Le-Fatt, who with one salacious glance or remark might just poison the network ‘garden’ and cut-short any network recommendations our attractive guest ‘diversity’ may be prepared to pass on?

True, there are many different types of people who look for referral – although should we be selective and invite just the ‘Le-Fatt’ tolerant amongst us? A difficult decision for some … especially when we know that with the right attitude and abundant diversity present, the Net really does Work.

One suggestion is warn the guests, another might be to sack Le-Fatt … or even change venue?

Or it could be simply be a case of … if they don’t listen, we shut the door …

  More from Le-Fatt files coming soon …

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