This year Viljoen Consulting turned 14 years old. There were some times after the 2008 crash when I actually doubted that I would get through the quagmire, but I did and I survived and I came out better in the end. What has remained constant throughout though has been the fact that all of my business comes through Networking and Referrals. Probably around 90% of the referrals that I get are born out of relationships that were developed through Networking.
Networking works, but like most things in life, you have to work at it . . . hard. To make it work for you, you have to Network on a daily basis. You have to work at the relationships that you want to cultivate, just like you would work at a relationship with your significant other.
You have to make Networking a natural and integral part of your daily routine.
You have to make sure that where-ever you go, be it waiting in a queue or meeting friends for coffee, that you are always aware of the opportunities and that you make the most of those opportunities as and when they present yourself.
So find yourself a Networking opportunity – they are happening all around us and start building the relationship.
Your bank balance will love you for it.
Anyway . . . on a lighter note, but still being proactive.
So this is what my friend Peter Carruthers said about to the response to his first webinar on the subject of PoPI (Protection of Public Information Act) that recently took place. Please see below (my weekly tip) for the link if you were not able to attend the last webinar.
“Last night I was stunned at the number of questions asked at my Free POPI/ Protection of Personal Information Webinar. Great questions. The event lasted for two hours.
But it was when we began to look at the costs of compliance that the brown stuff hit the fan. All the expensive training on offer tells you what to do, but not how to do it.
So, on Wednesday night at 8 PM, I’m going to present the webinar again. I will build into the core material the answers to the questions I was asked. (250 people ask many questions.)
This POPI issue is a little like my uncle Stanley. We know he’s there, but we are all a little afraid of him, so we don’t want to go too close.
The bottom line is 670,000 businesses in South Africa have to comply with this new legislation. It doesn’t matter whether we think it’s bogus. The option is simple: Comply or Consequences.
Compliance will cost money. It’s going to cost time. Lots of time. And it’s going to cost effort, learning what needs to be done, and doing it.
Consequences will be a whole lot more expensive if we choose to ignore this.
In this free webinar I’m trying to offer a fast track that we small business owners can use.
I was told last night that this free webinar offers as much useful content as seminars costing R3000 upwards and taking up an entire morning or afternoon”
Here’s the deal . . .
Please feel free to engage with me, or not. Please feel free to send me your own snippets of information, early warnings, appropriate funnies and what have you, to share with other like-minded individuals, entrepreneurs and start-ups.
I hope and trust that you will enjoy the journey with me.
This weeks’ Blog:
NETWORKING 101 – Working the Networks
By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC
Many of the people that I meet at networking meetings, seem to have this very naive concept about how networking works. You see they seem to think that it’s enough just to pitch up at a networking meeting and if they make themselves available to whomever is there, the work will flow in. Clearly, work will just fall like manna from the skies or claw its way out of the earth, to land very neatly into their laps! Must be their pure magnetism that attracts it in the first place, whilst they, of course sit quietly, waiting for this momentous phenomenon to take place! Yeah right – and you’re going to marry a tall dark handsome stranger who is rich beyond your wildest expectations!
Ok, so let’s look at the statistics – nothing like cold hard facts to get logic back into the picture. Less than 3% of the people you meet in a networking meeting will actually contact you, do business with you or even take any kind of note that you exist. Should you actually be one of that 3% and you get some work out of a networking event – lucky you. Now you can sit back because they are going to refer you – here’s another cold hard fact! Less than 10% of referral business “just happens”.
What makes you think that you are so special that people want to walk around talking about you and your products or services? What makes you think that they want to walk around telling people how great you are?
Be realistic people – networking and getting referrals, like any other thing in life, is hard work and it is something that you need to work at – constantly. It takes hard work, actually to be honest – make that consistence, persistence and hard work!
Napoleon Hill, in his book “Think and Be Rich” (and if you have never read it, I strongly suggest that you need to get a copy), says “Persistence is an essential factor in the procedure of transmuting desire into its monetary equivalent. The basis of persistence is the Power of Will.”
Oh, don’t get me wrong, getting yourself to a meeting is a good thing – but it is essentially, the first step. Once there, you have to meet and introduce yourself to the people there, engage in conversation. Tell them who you are and what it is that you do (briefly), listen carefully to what it is they do and who they are. Then you need to follow up.
- Send them an e-mail with your business profile and a short message telling them to expect a call from you
- Actually phone them and book an appointment with them to have a ‘one on one’ meeting with them. No-one knows your business better than you – can you explain in three minutes who you are, what you do and why people need your products or services? No, well neither can they. So get together, have a coffee and chat.
- Pitch up for the meeting! This is very important! If you don’t pitch up, believe me – they will not refer you, no matter how fabulous your product is or how wonderful you are. By not pitching up, you are telling them, very loudly that you are not reliable and you cannot be trusted!
- Tell them who you are, if you have any marketing material, this is the time to give it to them and explain it, yourself, your product and your service.
- Listen to who they are and what it is that they do – listen carefully (you expected them to listen to what you had to say, so return the favour). Take notes, ask questions – satisfy yourself that you understand (even if it is only on the surface) their business.
- Make a list of all the people you can think of in your database, who might need their product or service or who might be able to introduce them to the people who might need their product or service.
- Introduce them to those people (I usually do this by means of an e-mail to both parties).
- If you are given a referral – contact the person you have been referred to. These introductions are like gold, treasure them. Also remember to thank the person who has referred you too.
Once in your database, you can now relax – well you have their contact details and they have yours, so now they have nothing better to do than send you work!
Wake up people!
Constantly remind them that you are available for work. Send out regular e-mails or newsletters or invitations to other networking events. Get into their faces and spaces (and I mean that in the nicest possible way – no spamming or stalking please), so that they don’t forget you, so that if an opportunity does arrive, the first person that they think of is you!
Easy hey? Very – as long as you work at it constantly, persistently, every day, everywhere and all the time.
Look what happening in the world of Pete Carruthers.
A new law kicks in soon. It affects each of the 670 000 businesses in SA, including yours.
Most small business owners know nothing about it yet. They may have heard about the R10million fines and the 10 years in jail, but that’s about all most people know about PoPI.
Find out what you must do to survive the Protection of Personal Information Act, coming soon to your business.
FREE Small Business Course
Click Here to join 200 small-business owners online at 8PM Tuesday 5th September.
60 minutes of bright light cast upon this new looming law that every business owner must adhere to.
- Changes to Direct Marketing
- What Needs Doing
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Please share this email with another business owner. They will thank you. So will I.
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