“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.
Building rapport and trust through your social networks.
Someone once said, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” I’m sure you’ll agree that you must know what you’re talking about but having just started up oconnorandkelly.ie earlier this year, the second half of this saying rings true. By strengthening existing relationships and through them, building some new ones, we have been able to find customers for our fledgling business.
Of course it’s not all straightforward and getting that first face to face meeting can be difficult, but it is essential to build trust and rapport. New connective technology does make it easier to maintain or develop new relationships, but even better, it allows you some extra time to network offline further.
I thought about offline networking recently, as I waited to meet a business partner in a pub (soup and sandwiches). I was people spotting and reckoned that in the lead up to Christmas more people were out for lunch meetings. The place was packed with suits and it was quite the eye opener to watch the various situations unfold. You would imagine that we all know how to behave at a business lunch but here are just six things I noticed around me. They might even form a checklist of sorts:
- One guy kept ringing an office to see where his host was (avoid re-scheduling).
- A guest kept checking his watch for his hosts arrival (be there before your guest).
- It was obvious that the proprietors knew the host (use a venue you know best).
- A host ordered a three course meal, his guest ordered a salad only (don’t order first).
- A guest kept checking his phone messages (put the phone on silent – in your pocket).
- Never argue over the bill – you invite, you pay.
I was distracted suddenly by about ten Santa’s who arrived in to the pub for lunch. They were a bunch of people out on the town raising money for charity, but very obviously enjoying each other’s company. In fact, I believe that they also raised the spirits of everybody else in the establishment, with their bells and flashing fairy lights. That is when the title for this blog came to mind. Everybody seemed to be mingling and jingling.
They were a network of friends or colleagues mingling for a cause. Just like my own networks, I thought. Yes, I said networks, plural, because I guess everybody has many networks such as friends, family, work, sports and business etc. As I thought about this I reckoned, now that OC&K is in a start-up phase, Aidan and myself were using all our own networks to get referrals. And actually, through our networks we had access to many experts in many fields.
Tips and Timesavers.
Obviously you should not be afraid to segment your networks definitively and from a business networking point of view, I have five rules that I adhere to in an effort to build rapport and trust.
- I offer help in any way I can without asking for something back.
- I always try to find out the person’s area of expertise before I meet them.
- I don’t have hidden motives – if I’m looking for business, they know it up front.
- I don’t get too personal and allow them lead the conversation.
- If they are a specialist in a particular area, I don’t look for free advice.
Networking is a powerful way to grow your business and to promote yourself as a thought leader. Of course you must earn the reputation in the first place, but when you do, your networks will be an integral part of spreading that message both offline and online. It is a huge asset to have relevant networks available that are willing to help your business succeed. Happy Networking.
If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page. Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers. Jim – O’C&K