I love it when people get an “Aha” moment from knowledge I pass on. It’s even better when it results in a new colleague to join me to pass it on to yet more people.
This week’s blog I am handing over to Russell Parker, Consultant Coach in Asentiv to share his epiphany on “going networking”.
Every week on a Wednesday morning my alarm goes off just that little bit earlier. Not by much but its enough to make a difference. So much of a difference that my head still feels like its asleep as I get ready.
To go to a breakfast network meeting.
This is where a collection of local entrepreneurs get together over breakfast to do something called 'networking'.
Does this sound familiar?
Now I'm an ex IT engineer that moved into project management and has recently found myself training people in that area and becoming their business coach. I'm used to being viewed as a little bit different and in fact I used to be ridiculed for it back in school so I'm not the best at coming forward in group scenarios. I've been used to sticking my head down, not getting noticed and getting on with my work.
If you put me in a room with a bunch of strangers early in the morning, ask me to stand up, self promote and sell 'me'? I'd rather stick hot needles in my eyes!
When I started up my own consultancy though this is what people told me to do.
"You have to network"
"You have to join as many network groups as you can"
"Get out there and sell yourself in networking groups"
This was just some of the advice I was given. So I did and guess what?
It didn't work.
One of the benefits however of being a member of these networking groups is that sometimes you get to attend seminars or workshops that give you useful advice on aspects of running a business. It was at one of these workshops that I was introduced to Jacky Sherman from Asentiv.
Jacky’s workshop enlightened me to other ways I could utilise my network with Asentiv’s unique relationship marketing strategies to create communities of like-minded entrepreneurs i.e. working with people on the same wavelength as me. Asentiv provide business consulting and coaching in some unique relationship marketing strategies to create communities of like-minded entrepreneurs.
Asentiv has shown me techniques in this workshop that were not only useful in their application but showed me that actually I was looking at this networking activity from the wrong perspective. My network is not just the people I meet in a weekly get together over breakfast. Its everybody I know from past clients, work colleagues, friends and many others I have done business with.
I was also fascinated to notice that some of the other attendees at the workshop were not there for the first time. Entrepreneurs that had attended before and found the techniques really useful were coming back for a quick refresher.
So I joined Jacky’s group of entrepreneurs undergoing her Asentiv Life programme to learn more.
Just one of these Asentiv techniques shows you that by analysing your network you can clearly distinguish the right people to work closely with. Those people who can not only refer you, but also you can refer them as well. It’s a relationship that helps you both to generate not just more busines but amazing business together. As a plus you can do it without ever having breakfast with each other… unless you want to, of course.
There’s more to this relationship than just referring.
I strongly believe in teamwork in business whether that be within a company or as entrepreneurs. In the corporate structure you have the different functions like finance, marketing, sales, logistics, IT and others. As a project manager I've often found myself leading a team of people from these different areas to introduce a specific change. These projects would not be successful if these people don’t work together as a team.
In the entrepreneurs environment you still have a need for these functions even though your individual expertise might only be in one of these areas. For example I come from the IT function as an engineer but running my own business as a consultant and coach I also need to do accounting, marketing, logistics and anything else that comes along. It would be daunting and overwhelming if I was to try and be an expert in all these things so I rely on other entrepreneurs that are accountants, lawyers and all to help me.
My clients need help with many of these functions too. I can add value to my relationship with them by referring on others I know and trust to work with them. Then together we grow our respective businesses together.
Because we work together in this way with people we know, trust and like, the nature of the business we generate is better. None of us likes doing a bad job, we like it even less if we let down someone we know and trust. A feeling that is reciprocated across my network.
So I do network, absolutely, it is this best way I get and do amazing business. However now I target events to attend because I know what I’m looking for and I spend my time looking for quality of contacts not quantity. I look for business people that share my ethics and values that I am passionate about helping so we can grow our businesses together. So, guess what?
I actually enjoy doing that!
Recently I’ve been given a fantastic opportunity to join Asentiv as a trainer and help other entrepreneurs by passing on this knowledge and techniques to others so they too can generate amazing business together through strong reciprocal relationships.
I'm a specialist who understands the pressures of running a technology based business and how to integrate a referral strategy in that particular world.
To talk to me about how I can help you build your business with reciprocal relationships