Last November I went to the CIPD Annual Conference in Manchester, in fact I’m going again this year but last year I was there purely as a blogger and was at the time not gainfully employed. I wrote a post at the time about people’s reactions to me given the lack of weighty job title. If you remember it…ummmm….well done! For the rest of you, you can find it here
Since getting stuck into my new role I have called some of ‘The Usual Suspects’ who will hopefully be doing some work for me and likewise some people have taken the opportunity to give themselves 6-9 months off from keeping in touch but have rediscovered their interest in communicating with me – for the life of me I can’t think why…
Having said that this isn’t a whinge about people wanting to contact someone who can spend money with their businesses (well not completely) but I wanted to make two points that for some of you will have you nodding your head and for others maybe an insight into the people you are pitching.
1. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again – networking is mutual, it shouldn’t be all one way. Don’t make contact just to sell, develop a relationship with the individual and maybe, just maybe something will come of it. If most people are like me then they look after ‘The Usual Suspects’ not just in their own organisations but with referrals and recommendations to friends and colleagues.
2. Introducing a new supplier to an organisation is not as easy as having a meeting, signing a purchase order and agreeing the work. ‘Landing’ a new supplier requires influencing the organisation that they are the correct people for the job, are credible and are better than the alternative/the incumbent. That requires two things on behalf of the person who may be your client – taking a risk and spending some personal collateral. They are staking part of their organisational credibility on you and they are likely having to use some of their collateral in persuading the other stakeholders to go with you. They are far more likely to do this for a) people they know and b) people they feel have a vested interest in something longer term than their next deal.