The Network effect – for your personal growth

B2B, compounding, Networking, relationships

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.

Carpe Diem!!!

Making the customer a part of the solution

B2B, Customers, Trust

I read this statement many years back when I was starting out. I don’t remember who was the author. But he had given so many examples that I believed him and thought of trying it out.

Since then, one of the reasons for whatever success I have had in the B2B space, is because I always take the customer into confidence about the challenges that we have and then ask how we can find a solution.

In case of a delivery problem I tell the truth about where or how we are going to fail . After hearing the truth, the customer may initially fire me because the job is not done. But because she is a partner in the solution she then figures a way out.

Similarly if the customer trusts you because you have provided exceptional service in your earlier deals then you can use him to figure out a solution. This is especially useful when there are cost constraints. If you can have the customer advice you in building the solution which ensures that the key challenges are met, while non essential items are reduced to keep costs in control, gets you to win the deal.

In both the above cases , this is only feasible if the customer trusts you. When they trust you and then give you advice, they feel obligated to make your solution successful. The downside is, if you screw up then she will help you only till it does not impact her own reputation in the organization. If her reputation is put at stake because of the fact that you did not deliver, then she will drop you like a hot potato and ensure that she never ever works with you.

Robert Cialdini calls this the concept of Co-Creation. He even cites various data points from research, even from non B2B situations . So this is a universally applicable advice.

Try this and let me know your success or failure when using this idea, in the comments section below.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Zeigarnik effect – Mystery books

Human Brain, Marketing, Worry

Are you enthralled with mystery books. I have been reading them ever since I can remember , initially it was Enid Blyton, then Hercule Point, then Allistar Macllean. Till now I if I get to read a mystery thriller – I just can’t keep the book down till I have finished it. Same is the case with movies or web series which are mystery oriented. If I identify a good series then I will finish all the episodes in one sitting.

I have written about the Zeigarnik effect earlier also. I will not go into the details about this here. However if you are interested, there are more than 500 articles that you can search giving details about this Lithuanian lady and her research. Like any scientific theory there are also people who don’t agree with this theory. I am however not interested in getting into that debate.

For me, whenever there’s an unfinished task, I have this nagging / worry feeling that I need to finish it and it keeps coming back into the foreground ever so often. For all these years I used to think its a personality trait with me alone, but then I happened to get hold of this theory and I realised I am not the only unique person who has this trait.

Today however I was reading the book Pre-Suasion, yes that’s not an error. That’s the exact name of the book by author Robert Cialdini. He had earlier written the blockbuster book Influence. If you are in marketing then you need to have this book in your easy to access reference guides.

Robert writes very exhaustively and his books are very dense with enough proof to back his theories.

While reading Pre-Suasion, Robert gives the reason why I have the tendency to read a mystery book in one go. Once again, this is not a trait unique to me, its because of the Zeigarnik effect. Our brain like to get closure on things. Till it gets closure, its in active mode to get the item closed. So until I understand how the mystery gets solved, I am not able to be at peace.

That’s the reason why the people who make multiple seasons of web series always put a hook right at the end, so that when they come out with the next season, there’s an audience waiting to watch it.

Imagine the usage of what I thought as a personality trait is also being used in the entertainment world.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Riding the elephant – Using the power of relationships – networking

Influence, Marketing, Networking, Partners, relationships, Symbiotic relationship

Usually when you make friend with an elephant, you also tend to make friends to the elephants in the herd. Elephants generally move in herds. Which means you can always make more than one friend at a time. Networking is all about making multiple friends and helping them – first.

Its similar when you are able to move with one contact in a large OEM organisation which is starting something new – and this is key – if they are already well established they will not be interested into building a deep relationship. That time the relationships are more transactional.

When they are getting in new – even if they have been established, but they are getting in a new product or service – then if you can make them succeed, then the team involved with you gets into a deeper relationship with you. They are willing to recommend you.

In this the principle of reciprocity plays a big role. Robert Cialdini first articulated this principle in his book Influence. Its worth reading the book if you have anything to do with marketing.

Once you help the team which is targeted for this new offering launch, succeed with you or because of you then if you ask them for a favour to connect you with other members of the team in other regions, other countries, they oblige.

I built a lot of my international network of people because of this. Now I ask my team members to do the same thing. Being a small company we are always limited on resources, but building networks doen’t need resources. It needs humility, it needs you to be paying in advance and things work.

Most people don’t get this right because they go into any relationship with “what’s in it for me” rather than “what can I do for her” . Let me however put a caveat here – you will find some selfish people who will take advantage of this. I had given this same advice to my son and he did this with one of the restaurant owners for their free photo / advertising and she just took the photos and used them herself. But for every such incident, I have also had one person referring me to at least 6-7 new people, so it pays off. And these become long term relationships.

Till next time use the herd of elephants to build your networks and take you places.

Carpe Diem!!!