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Networking 101 – Getting to the Decision Makers

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According to Michael Gerber, who is the author of The E-Myth only 4% of ALL businesses make it past 10 years. How scary is that?

Gerber has shown that 80% of all businesses fail in their first 5 years and then 80% of the remaining 20% fail in the next 5 years.

For me, the reality is that it is not what you know, but who you know that makes the difference. Actually if the truth be told, the reality is more, who you don’t know, who know who you do know!

The reality is that no matter how fantastic your product or service is, if you cannot sell it, you will starve.

The reality is that building a successful business is about building relationships and trust.

The reality is that getting decision makers (whether they are from a Corporate type environment or a small ‘one man’ type business) to do long term business with you and it will mean getting them to trust you. They need to know that you really care about their needs.

Now how are you going to get into seeing those decision makers? Where will you find them (other than ‘cold calling’ which I detest with a passion)? For me, there’s only one place and that is at a Networking event. Even if you only attend one Networking meeting a month and you only connect with one or two people, it is still quicker and easier than trying to set up appointments with people who have no clue who you are and what it is that you do.

Not only does Networking provide me with an endless source of new decision makers, but it also affords me the opportunity to engage with people who are like minded. It allows me to ‘brain storm’ with people who have engaged in the same struggles as the ones that I have been through.

By its very nature, the people who attend Networking meetings come from all walks of life and therefore represent many industries and a variety of businesses. I have never, for example, been to a Networking meeting that was attended by 20 people and all of those people were Accountants!

The reality of it is that at proper Networking meetings, we are encouraged to share and discuss ideas. We are encouraged to ‘think out of the box’. Innovative thinking is a goal that we all aspire to achieve and transferring those ideas from one business to another means successful business for all concerned.

The reality is that although there may be competition from people who are in the same or similar businesses, collaboration is encouraged. Joint ventures are encouraged and strategic alliances are definitely encouraged.

Often, what we cannot achieve on our own, becomes highly possible when we share, like the tender that is too big for one person but can be successfully tackled by two or three people who are in exactly the same business and who would have on their own been unable to deliver.

Don’t automatically view your competition in a bad or negative light, but look for opportunities where you can work together successfully or even add to each others value.

 

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