It doesn’t matter what you know, what matters is who you know.
A lot of internet marketers will talk about this when selling their mastermind programs. Some of it is actually very true. If you’re in the right masterminds , where people are of the sharing type, then you do get to learn a lot.
But since my focus is on the corporate type of environments, the so called B2B space, just the simple concept of meeting and knowing everyone from the peon (junior most level) to the CEO is very valuable.
I continuously emphasize this to my sales team. A lot of times the small talk with people at the junior levels can give you insights about the organization and its situation. Most senior people are generally formal and carry a facade. They meet a lot of people all day and they are conditioned to give out only as much information as necessary.
On the other hand people at the junior level are not used to getting attention. So if you genuinely, they key term is genuinely, give them the attention and respect, they will open up to you and talk freely.
The other thing which happens because of this is that they also help you navigate into other departments within the company. Due to this you’re able to figure out either more opportunities or more applicability of your services or products.
However with these pieces of information, its your responsibility to put all of them together to figure out the insights and accordingly add value to your customers.
Today’s customers can get almost 80-90% information from the net. But in a lot of cases they are starved for insights of how they can do better. If you can become that advisor, you can pick a lot of sales.
Till next time then.
If you search Wikipedia the network effect is how the value of the good or services increases with the number of participants. Companies which operate on this kind of a phenomenon grow in value exponentially. Think Amazon. The more the participants on the market place that they have created, the more the customers whose needs will get fulfilled and they will buy more, more often. This is positive feedback loop with more consumers on the marketplace, more the people who will want to sell on the Amazon Marketplace. The growth of these kind of companies is exponential.
In case of B2B having connections with people and keeping relationships alive is a big positive. While social media helps getting connected to people, it does not help build relationships. So while I may have a 1000+ connections on Linkedin, my relationships would be very limited.
You build relationships by giving first. By doing that you invoke the reciprocity principle espoused by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. What is however even more important, is to keep the relationships alive. People keep moving. They changes places, they change jobs. When they do that, they get connected to more people. To emphasise the value of your individual network, Joe Polish runs Genius Network which is a network where super successful entrepreneurs network and master mind.
The more people you know, the more people who fall into your network. I have had introductions to people because of my relationships that I cultivated over years. Those connects in turn helped us get even bigger, because now there were more people who got connected to us and invited us to work with them. Such people who can connect you to such major influencers can change the trajectory of your business completely. The more pf these kind of people you form relationships, the more influencers you get connected to indirectly.It was typical to the definition of the Network Effect I spoke about earlier. This kind of exponential growth is compounding over a period of time.
You have to however be patient. “Rome was not built in a Day” applies to building relationships as well. Also not everyone you “give first” will reciprocate and you don’t know the timeline when they will reciprocate, if they ever will. But you keep doing this work on a consistent basis because when the critical mass is reached, there’s a sudden explosion in the kind of business you can grow.
Till next time then.
While I keep writing about this concept, I am amazed myself by the amount of benefits that “riding the elephant” can have for you, if you nurture the elephant well. The elephant is very loyal and friendly creature if you take care of it and feed it with bananas. But if angered it also tends to go o a rampage and destroy things.
So if you nurture the elephant then while you can take 5 small steps, it can take one large one, so if you are riding it, you can cover a larger distance through the forest versus on foot. Also other wild animals won’t attack you when you riding the elephant.
Some of this is also true with hitching your bandwagon with a large partner (like an OEM) your market reach expands at an amazing speed. These large companies have massive growth agendas so they have big plans to execute and go out in the market. Once they start trusting you they will also take you along with them. You will need to do networking within these companies. Being large it is difficult to navigate through the matrix structure, but if you are determined, and take affirmative action you will be able to find your way. It may take time, so you need to have marketing stamina to last in the market.
As a small company you may not have the bandwidth to fund that kind of a growth, but with the help of the partner you can actually get the volume of business to fund your growth.
There’s once challenge though. Since the partner wants to grow rapidly they will expect you to comply with their demands in terms of the margins you make. These situations you have to manage delicately. What can help is knowing the life time value of a customer. So you know how you will make money from the customer in the long term.
If you know how to manage relationships, this is one of the best ways to grow your business.
Till next time then.
Being in marketing and sales I am always looking to find ways to get opportunities. Some of the methods I have written about in separate posts are finding the right “elephant ” to ride so that wherever the elephant finds opportunities, it takes us alongside.
Then I have written multiple times about other partnership mechanisms to help you get closer to opportunities.
Today I will write about what Richard Koch talks about in his wonderful book, The 80/20 for Manager- the power of loose and distributed networks .
One network is what you build consciously by nurturing various people, by giving value in advance. This is something that Joe Polish calls his Genius Network. With these people you stay in touch, help them and they in turn help you. So when they see an opportunity they join hands with you to address the opportunity or you take their advice to get that opportunity.
Then their are networks where people know you through other people or because you have at some point worked with them. In either case they remembered you because they believed that you are good person and good in the job.
It is these kind of people who refer you for an opportunity to a friend or to a third party , without any possible gain to themselves, except the feeling of helping someone.
It’s then that opportunities come searching for you. If you have helped enough people, and you’re known for doing a good and honest job , then people love recommending you. This is what happened today with me.
Out of the blue today somebody came seeking me out to showcase our products/ services at an event they are doing and they won’t be charging me anything. We are always looking out for opportunities to showcase our solutions to a wide audience and this is a God send eventhough the time is very short.
It comes back to my basic philosophy to always help people, excuse some where the Karmic cycle plays its role.
Till next time then.