The Company of Others
Reading all entries in category 'Business Referrals'
Pay it forward and help others achieve success
Posted in 'Relationship Building, Collaboration, Networking, Social Capital, Business Referrals' on Fri Jun 8 2012
|A fundamental key to networking success builds on the old fashioned idea
of generosity: "you will
only be successful as you help others to be successful and help others
to achieve." If you want your networking to reap the rewards you seek
you must first look for ways to help others in you network succeed. Look
for ways to introduce your contacts to potential clients, recommend
them, offer them help and suggestions, and send business their way. It is most important
that you look to do this as opportunities arise, not just when you are not looking for something from in return. Be sincere
and genuinely caring about their personal and professional well-being - it's a
hallmark of networking leadership that
will set you apart and allow you to build valuable connections.
Generosity attracts generosity.
Quality networking offers many
rewards. Master this important skill will and doors of opportunity will fly
open for you. You will be enriched by the relationships you make as you
help others to achieve their goals while meeting your own objectives.
Short-term pain for long-term gain
Posted in 'Relationship Building, Collaboration, Networking, Social Capital, Business Referrals' on Mon Apr 2 2012
Some time ago I was talking with a sales manager at one of the big 4 banks. During our conversation we discovered there was a common connection with a manager at another of the big 4 banks. He wondered why I would maintain a relationship with this person considering that at the time, she was be a competitor to me. I told him that as a finance professional it was crucial for me to maintain relationships with other people in my field as there are some times when I cannot meet a customerís needs. On other occasions there are times when I need to call on other expertise to be able to fully meet the needs of my customer.
As an example, I went on to describe a situation where I did not have to a particular financial
product to fully meet a certain clientís need. I could have tinkered and cobbled together a
reasonable solution but this wouldnít have been in the clientís best interests: and as Iíll explain, it
would not have been in my long-term interest either.
My solution was to introduce the client to another finance professional who I knew through long
term contact, was best the best person to offer an appropriate solution. My colleague was happy
and so was the customer. I knew this because some months later I received a referral to a sale
from the very same customer and the relationship with my competitor has gone on to be a source
of consistent and valuable knowledge.
This scenario illustrates how patterns of connections and disconnections in a network are really
just opportunities. When you find yourself standing in a gap between disconnected people or
groups of people you enjoy an advantage. In most case it will be an advantage of superior
knowledge. In the situation I just described it was that I had knowledge about my customerís
needs but my competitor didnít. The customer knew about my product and service but not about
my competitors. The question is: what do you do with this knowledge? Should I go for short term
gain and make the sale (which in this case I could have) or do I share my knowledge of the better
solution and refer the customer to a competitor?
Both the customer and the competitor are part of my network but neither knows the other exists.
If you choose a "unionĒ strategy and introduce the parties you loose the sale but you gain a
reputation for professionalism and the long-term appreciation of the customer. The other option is
to maintain the gap between the two. You make an immediate sale but youíre left knowing you
may not have acted in the customerís best interests. There is also a good chance that this will be
the end of the transaction.
The union strategy offers you the chance to maintain a relationship with the customer: a follow-up
to make sure their needs are being met as you expected. In my case, the follow-up delivered a
referral so the relationship I have with this client continues. Had I chosen to sell the lesser option
I would probably have permanently damaged both my long-term relationship with the client and
my brand. The union strategy is also the most effective allocation of resources. Parties with a particular need are being efficiently introduced to the party with the most appropriate solution providing the best social and economic outcome.
I'm pleased to say that in my experience, most enlightened businesses take a long term view of their customer relationships and the reputation of their brand to deliver on their promise. Many businesses enjoy competitive relationships but also know and respect their competitors. They truly care about their customers and would not hesitate to adopt the union strategy, sharing their knowledge of their industry, respecting the customerís needs and referring them to a supplier who can truly meet them.
Building social capital sometimes means giving things up where someone else can do a better
job. Even though there might be some immediate, short-term loss, there is long term gain for all
parties in the future.
"I Hear you're looking for a Job?"
Posted in 'Collaboration, Networking, Social Capital, Business Referrals' on Tue Mar 6 2012
"I hear youíre looking for a job? I know someone who would be interested to meet youĒ
How good would it be to hear some one say that to you?
I guess it depends on whether or not you are currently looking for work of course but think of the
things you need and want and then think of the best way you could get them. One of the greatest
ways to achieve those things would be to have people offer them to you Ė wouldnít it? When
someone hears that you say "I need this or thatĒ they offer a solution that goes some or all the
way to helping you. How good would that be: to have people ask you how they might help you? To have someone genuinely inquire about the projects youíre involved in and then informing you about the contribution they could make.
How is it then that you might find yourself on the receiving end of a statement like the ones
First, to improve your chances of such things happening you would probably need a reasonably extensive network of contacts. Itís statistically obvious that itís much more likely that a job offer will materialise if you know enough people.
Second, those contacts would need to know you and also trust you because they risk their reputation when they refer you. But, if youíre like most people this will be a problem because most will agree their networks are "too small, too homogenous, too inwardly focused and too much the result of accident rather than choiceĒ+
. This is not determined by occupation or management level. Our research and experience tells us that people from all walks of life often demonstrate extremely limited networking depth.
So if youíre like most people you need a better network. But ask yourself "Why do you want to
build a better network?Ē Your response: to get a better job, to get more leads, to get more sales,
to get more whatever of course. This is what itís about after all Ė isnít it?
Paradoxically not, you need to do the opposite Ė you need to focus on what you can give to your
network rather than what you can get. Rich, well operated networks facilitate the flow of
resources. If a network exits and itís not promoting exchange then itís not a network. Fixating on
what you can get doesnít initiate movement toward you. Rather itís your generosity towards
others that generates the movement of resources towards you. Itís your willingness to give that
stimulates interest in you: your ability to focus on the needs of other people that will ultimately
create interest in you and what your needs are.
I hear youíre looking for a better way to network and might have something to give. I know a group that would be interested to meet you.
. Wayne Baker: Achieving Success through Social Capital, (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2000) p. 70
Art of Referral
Posted in 'Networking, Social Capital, Business Referrals' on Wed Feb 22 2012
Thereís a difference between a referral and an effective referral.
Two key factors need to be in place for someone to refer to you effectively. That
person needs to trust you enough to put their reputation on the line when they
introduce you to one of their contacts (trust is paramount). They also need to
understand your business in enough depth to be able to recognise opportunities
that are appropriate to you.
The limitation with relying on networking groups for direct referrals often lies with
the number of people present. There is little opportunity to have in-depth
conversations with attendees and get to know them better. This makes it difficult
to build anything more than a superficial relationship and itís unlikely that you will
develop the levels of trust and understanding that enable mutual referrals and
support. While there are those that do manage to secure new business, itís not
surprising that people who focus their networking purely within the group meeting
struggle to achieve the optimum from their membership.
12 must have "habitudes" for Social Media Success a large number of people still believe that Social Media is about the tools you choose and the content you create. ... read more
| "Jaeneen is a dynamo for results! She delights with enthusiasm for connecting others for mutual benefit. A great host, facilitator and entertaining mover and shaker"