I bumped into a friend of mine the other day who I haven’t seen for absolutely ages. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, she asked me how business is and if I was being hurt by the recession or the ‘R’ word as she called it?
Well quite frankly, I’ve heard about the recession and the ‘R’ word, but I have been extremely busy, in fact busier than usual so clearly neither the recession nor the ‘R’ word apply to me.
As most of you know, most of my business comes through referrals, which means that all of my business comes through networking. All the networking that I have been doing since 2003 when I started, is now paying huge dividends and I am swamped with work and am having the time of my life.
She promptly burst into tears! Tears mopped and composure back in place again, she told me how she has had to close her business and is now looking for work. She also told me how she regrets not having listened to me on the countless occasions that I have spoken about networking and referrals, and how to go about both.
You see she treated the networking meetings and events as a social gathering and despite having met a huge number of people and gathering stacks of cards, she actually did nothing else. The result of course, was that she had not built any relationships – secure (well so she thought) in the knowledge that her business came from the big corporate companies.
Sadly, the recession or the “R” word has had the most impact on the Corporate Companies, particularly the mining sector where she so enjoyed to play and one by one her contracts have been put on hold or not re-negotiated when they came to an end. Depressed and panic stricken at seeing her once thriving business deteriorate, she was unable to resort to her network for additional support and referrals – she didn’t have one.
Understanding that to network right now to get leads right now would make her seem quite desperate and would probably do more harm than good, she has elected to close the business – for now.
She assured me though, that whilst she is down, she is certainly not out. She is carefully going through all my articles on networking and she will be going to networking meetings – but from now on, they will not be treated as a social event, they will be used carefully to meet like-minded people, to interact and build sustainable relationships, so that she can, in time ask for and receive referrals and slowly but surely, build up her business until once again it is filled with successfully negotiated solid business.
I certainly hope that she is steadfast in her resolve, because if she is – I have no doubt that her business will once again become a really successful entity.
I also think that she now understands that Networking is about building relationships.