Networking…it is critical to the success of many businesses. Numerous companies have become global juggernauts just by being a networking platform (Ref. LinkedIn, Facebook.) “Social Media” is built on connecting people in one way or another.
However, nothing replaces person to person interaction.
Recently, the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) hosted a conference in Regina. It was the first that CAFA has held in Regina in 5 years. The topic was “what the top farms are doing” in the face of current challenges and opportunities. Nine different presentations filled the agenda on all of the most critical topics that farming businesses must manage. Coincidentally, the topics are very similar to those of businesses in other industries.
Easily half of the people in attendance were people I had not met prior to this event. The feedback from attendees was very positive on not only the quality of the content presented, but also of the people in attendance. Many new connections were made.
Clients have expressed to me that one of the many benefits I bring to their business is a network of experts whose expertise is different than mine: lawyers, accountants, lenders, marketers, etc. I give much of the credit for that to the opportunities created by having membership in a professional organization. It is still up to me to make the most of the opportunity, but the organization does provide an open door.
It is from this networking that I have compiled a list of experts who I trust will do good work for my clients.
On the other side of the argument, many people take the position that they won’t refer their customer to anyone for fear of that referral not doing right by their customer and reflecting poorly on them for making the referral. While I cannot argue with emotion like that, I will suggest then that you do a better job of networking so that you have greater confidence in the people to whom you are referring your customers. If you leave your customer to find their own expert elsewhere, that person might be referring your customer to someone other than you!
Plan for Prosperity
In our ever connected world, it is more and more important to develop business relationships that are complimentary and mutually beneficial. We cannot be an expert at everything our clients need; trying to do so would make us generalists and leave us unlikely to truly satisfy any of our clients’ needs. Whereas if we remain a specialist with a developed network of other specialists whose expertise is different, yet complimentary, to our own, then we are better able to provide value to our clients in a variety of ways.
When is your next networking opportunity? I’m always interested in expanding my network; give me a call for a coffee sometime!