I was sitting at my favourite Crows Nest cafe this week waiting for my client to arrive. Norah Jones was playing in the background (CD not actually playing:), the rain was drizzling outside and I went into observation mode.
I could over hear two men having a business meeting. Both impeccably dressed (cufflinks and all) and one says to the other "we need to establish better relationships". Then they proceeded to use the R word in every other sentence as they named all the blue chip companies they want to do business with and brainstormed ideas together.
Funnily enough, the meeting that I went on to have had the same focus.
- How can we leverage our client and potential client networks?
- Can you help us develop a plan to network more effectively at our networking events? and mainly,
- how can I get my team to realise the long term benefits of networking? (as they keep using the time constraints excuse at the moment).
I have long said that you need to get the WHY before you learn the WHAT and HOW of networking. Networking takes work, so it helps to have all bases covered to ensure behavioural change and the embedding of your networking strategy.
It's one thing to be good at small talk and collect cards here and there, but it's a whole other thing knowing how to create a two way mutually beneficial business relationship.
Want more proof (the why)?
The biennial IBM Global CEO Study, based on interviews conducted in late 2009 and early 2010 with 1,541 CEOs, general managers, and senior public-sector leaders from 60 countries and 33 industries supports my notion regarding relationships and talks about the importance of 'Co-Creating' and 'Collaborating'
Here are some exerts from MarketingProfs LLC article titled; 'CEOs Rethink Customer Relationships as Business Complexity Grows'- Published on May 19, 2010
Above other business priorities, CEOs want to reignite customer interest and loyalty: 88% say getting closer to the customer is the most important dimension to realize their strategy in the next five years.
Asked how their customers' expectations of them would changes in the next five years, 82% of CEOs expect customers will demand a better understanding of their needs, while 70% say customers will demand new and different services.
Some 69% of CEOs say customers will expect more collaboration and information sharing—a priority driven largely by social networking, which has exponentially increased the degree of interaction customers expect of organizations.
I leave you with this question to ponder - How can you make the R word part of your vocabulary today?
Add your Comments - E.G. Is there a focus on relationships at your organisation, are networks a priority? How are you getting closer to your customers?
As always, get in touch to discuss.