That glittering prize …

Living by the coast, I spend much of my spare time along the shore-line. The combination of energy by the sea, oxygen in abundance, space, the solitude and of course, the dog are a great combination for inspiration.

I inadvertently scour the shoreline for washed-ashore treasure. Just fragments of colour glistening amongst the sand and pebbles perhaps, the cast-off once loved bits and pieces. The sunlight draws me in and catches them and I’m always tempted to pick them up and slip them into the pocket. It’s become a bit of a routine now.

You can picture it can’t you? The dog bounds aways one direction while I’m stuttering along, picking up pieces of broken ‘treasure’ in the hope of discovering the best piece yet.

Much to the dismay of Mrs Kenny (known as the ‘better half’) I’ve managed to now gather a really healthy collection of ‘pocket trinkets’ that are regularly brought to her attention as they somehow manage to confound the spin dryer …

A little like networking?

No, not the spin dryer! I do spend a good deal of time with my network colleagues, it has become another routine. The routine here though is keeping an eye out for the glittering prize of referral, all shapes, all types of referral.

These come along through a developed understanding that when I’m ‘on the patch,’ when I’m attending The Forum I have the opportunity to hear what others are looking out for. Learning how can I help them, where might I find the prize they look for. I’m learning to keep an eye and an ear open for those friends I see on a regular basis.

Good referrals, treasure, do not come along readily enough for some. Maybe it’s because they don’t frequent their patch often enough? This is often the case when people errantly declare “networking doesn’t work for me.” Of course, these miss out, they are not available to give and receive, or perhaps they have yet to determine exactly what prizes others seek.

Know what treasure do you seek? Make the networking routine, embrace the structure and the opportunity of picking up the not so perfect and understand that we are learning, training our senses for the time we recognise the glittering prize.

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.

Your story?

So, what’s your story?

How do you, stick in the mind?

All around us media often appears full of ‘stuff’ that’s intended ~ just for you ~ right at those ‘peak times,’ perhaps that ‘stuff’ hits you just before you jump in the car and head off to the office? Over the car radio or during lunch break, perhaps the commute home maybe?

Everywhere there are stories to stick in your face so that it’s stuck in your mind.

So, the way I see it being sticky can be useful if we intend to be successful in business life. Business/life. They’re closely aligned, right?

Think about how people remember you. What do they recall of you when next you catch up or more importantly when they meet up with mutual friends at the regular network soirée?

Being a witness to this conversation, would the conversation be something you’d expect? Are you being remembered as being the best that you can be?

The thing is, every interaction we have with someone leaves an impression and it’s sometimes a lasting one. So for me (I know this is also true for many of my close friends,) it’s important that MY STORY is a faithful representation of what others expect of me each time we meet up.

Why? Think of YOU as your own mini media outlet.

‘What?’ I hear you say.

Just hang on a minute, bear with me for a second …

It’s true. What kind of sticky are you? What stories do you conjure, what memories evoked, how do people see you in their life? It’s simply the same as that current ‘hot branded’ company vying for your time and attention even before you’ve ordered the best-ever morning coffee and … the cake!

Showing kindness on a regular basis is important. Agreed.?

Love? That’s a no-brainer for me also, but in today’s ‘circus’ of life … if we are to really embrace the power of relationships, affinity and trust let’s leave the right messages out there.  Better still, let’s ensure our closest allies have every chance of passing on the definitive message of how YOU and your story should be remembered.

Comfortable vs remarkable

‘Hey Charlie, I think I’m getting comfortable with this networking ‘thing’ now. I do understand when you say that it’s all about spending time, being familiar with the expectation, you’re right, it takes a while.’

Good things take time Ben …

the key is to stay the course and following through.

‘Well, I’m managing the routine now, gradually booking the appointments and I’m learning, so feeling happier.’

I can tell that Ben, just by you opening up and discussing the situation tends to show you are growing in confidence, understanding the process.

‘The process?’

The referral process. This is your ‘realisation,’ Ben, others are beginning to appreciate you as they see you grow, they come to understand your character, ask your advice and how you work. Just as you do with others.

Just now is the start of the process.

Continue with the visibility, book the meetings, the one to one and understand your marketplace. Learn from others and keep the antenna flying for possible introductions for others. The more you help, the better your ‘bizability.’

‘But I’m just getting comfortable Charlie, I’m happy where I am now.’

Where you are is great Ben. Not too comfortable now though because ‘comfortable’ brings stagnation and this is something that should never happen within your network.

Stay the course Ben, follow through, continue your path. If you are happy then the ‘process’ is working.

Next step is to begin to lose the comfort zone Ben… go the extra mile and actively pursue business on behalf of others – don’t just wait for it to happen, be the referral process you would like to see happening for you.

Nothing remarkable ever comes from being comfortable …

The resource for referral

It’s been a BIG year for Clarice, lots of new resources and the business looks now to be heading in the right direction.

‘What now?’ I asked – just as the festive mince pie hit her chops …

Once composure was regained Clarice informed me exactly of what I already knew.

‘More of the same Charlie, please.’I don’t know where I’d be without the resources I’ve discovered since becoming a regular attendee of the Weeklybiz network.’

Not everyone shares the vision of Clarice. Indeed many choose to overlook the structure that creates the opportunity when knocking on the door of business. The lure of an easy ‘fix’ is too strong for some, those with deadlines for success, targets to meet and so the real value of resource available in ‘the room’ is simply not given the time to flourish.

Not so for my companion.

‘The resources in place then Clarice?’

‘In place and I can see the path to my goals Charlie …’

‘Look who is on my team Charlie. We’ve a business planning specialist, marketing guru, software and I.T. ‘geek’ as well and more. The people I am in immediate contact with, developing relations and trust is phenomenal.’

Social media is just part of it and I can call upon these resources within Weeklybiz, money people, recruitment, law and human resources as well. Not to mention events, training and coaching.

‘We’re lucky I guess Clarice?’

‘It’s a gift, a great opportunity Charlie, I knew that when I first arrived and I cannot understand those who dismiss Weeklybiz networking as simply a hunting ground. I have now learned to covet and protect my position within the group as I work to cultivate the key relationships that take my business to new levels.’

‘Merry Christmas Clarice … another mince pie?’