You, want to help me?

Yes Ian, I know someone who can help you with that …

My friend had expressed a need for a specific kind of business support. With my offer being anything but extraordinary, I was somewhat taken aback with the reply:

You do? But, why would you want to help me?

I quickly explained that helping others is simply something that I like to do, it’s part of my nature and by offering my support I feel good. As a people-person, it helps me when I am able to assist another. I’ve also learned that it’s good for business.

I was a little concerned after Ian fell silent …

Surely there must be something I need to offer you in return for your help?

Er, no, nothing at all. I replied. Although if my advice and introduction does help you in some way I’d be grateful if you would mention my name during the discussion?

A little later the presentations had finished and as the room emptied of delegates I caught up with Ian once again.

So many people wanted to help me today Charlie, why is that?

Ask Zig Ziglar … it’s the age-old formula for success Ian. You asked for help … and you received it!

You mean, if you don’t ask, you don’t get?

Exactly. We need to know what it is you are looking for, in order to help you …

Any concerted networker understands that by developing common ground we find clarity, going a long way to further the personal introduction, the lead and ultimately referral.

Trust is the important factor in any relationship, that’s why we meet regularly, trust empowers all of us, qualifies us to help as many people as possible.

Developing our own reputation as that go-to person goes a long way in developing the business. Engage, develop, grow …

All I’m looking for …

All I’m looking for is the same as everyone else Charlie. More business, I’m looking for more interest in what I have to offer.

So what are you doing about that Ben?

OK, I’m online, I’m so social it’s become anti-social! I’m taking pics with my right hand and posting with my left. Likes, retweets, mentions, the lot! I even go networking, just like you, on occasion, when I get the time …

Ever think ‘balance’ Ben?

Anyone in business is fishing to some extent. The look-out for the opportunity that may just influence our business prospects should, as you demonstrate, be a constant part of our psyche. But hold on for a minute, don’t you think you may be overcooking the (anti) social stuff, just a little? Perhaps think about changing your fishing lure, think balance, Ben.

Quality over quantity?

Exactly, let’s cut down on the ambidextrous stuff(!) and concentrate on the quality of the message. After all, if you can help people with differentiation and what makes you different while spending some time on specifics, you may just begin to attract like-minded souls who may be able to help refer your offer.

Make your offer scarce Ben. Be that difference. Encourage your next best customer to come to you.

How do I define my difference?

Just as I said Ben, try and cut down on the blanket media messages. Be selective, focus on the ideal introduction you are looking for. Spend time with face to face networks, encourage dialogue, build the familiarity and the relationships. Ask questions, find your fit. Bring your character to the fore, encourage the trust to create the future opportunity.

We cannot be all to all people Ben.

The Extraordinary

Surrounding ourselves with extraordinary friends, those of like minds, not only makes us feel good, it simply helps to get the job done, don’t you think?

I’m in the business of connecting people and although I’m more than comfortable having a room full of people – who perhaps don’t quite yet share my conviction of the powers of connectivity – I find the task of ‘technicolor presentation’ can be tough work at times.

After all, a room full of apparent strangers asking questions of each other is not a universal pleasure. A learning curve it could be said and not just for the aforementioned newbies either.

So therefore whenever I’m building these new groups, ‘the Forum of connectivity,’ I’m extremely lucky to be able to call upon those with an understanding of what it takes to go the distance, to follow the path of strategy for success.

It is mighty beneficial to include one or two network colleagues who have experienced the learning curve, taken off and bumped just a little coming in for the landing, a little bruised maybe, hugely better off for the experience … enlightened folk who have an understanding of the profound results networking may bring when the follow-up to that initial connection is delivered.

Connecting, really connecting for better business is essential if you wish to develop your referral potential. It can be fun of course (it should be fun) but never lose sight of the goal. Always follow-up and offer to help, find ways to be special, be the provider you’d like yourself to meet.

Strive to surround yourself with peers, those trusted friends who, like you, understand that by going the distance, doing extra when helping others is just what it takes to be extraordinary.

Consolidate the relationships by setting the example early, introduce those new connections to your trusted network, leverage those who work hard at being extraordinary by routine. Be remarkable and you cannot go wrong – your network will thank you for it.

Circle or Square?

Who’s happy? I asked.

‘I just seem to keep heading in circles,’ came the shout from the back of the room.

‘Great’ I said.

‘I don’t feel as if I’m achieving though, I feel I’m doing all the right things, for very little reward.’

‘Widen the circle perhaps, maybe you’ve become stuck in a corner?’ I replied.

‘Try knocking a couple of corners off here and there. I continued. We all need help with ‘the path’ at times, support in clearing the obstacles in the way of progress.’

‘I like to think circles. Ever decreasing circles, moving in circles through the business practice, as we maintain the flow, the awareness of what is to be achieved, those small rewards we offer ourselves and within our circle the vision of the path we’re heading toward – the end game is always in sight.’

‘Whaa … ?’ Came the reply as the room fell silent.

‘Think about it, just for a minute.’

‘Think circles. As business owners we have many different tasks and projects to accomplish at any given time and keeping focused on where we should be spending most energy can often be a struggle, more so with today’s eternal distractions.’

‘By thinking circle, a starting point within a given circumference we flow, we’re not held up, were avoiding seeing distractions, obstacles to our destination, we’re hitting the target(s) and flowing. Seamless business is, after all, better business.’

If you’re feeling lost, like minded friends can help. Effective networks offer support going forward, business connections working together offer vision, after all, that’s why were networking … think circles, don’t get stuck in ‘squares’ by overlooking the resources within the network.

So if you cannot get help within your circle? Let’s increase those connections.