14 Jun Friday night networking
I am certainly thrilled with the evolution of CRM tools, professional social media like LinkedIn and WTN, business card scanners / readers and phones that can store more than 100 contacts ! Through networking, I have met well over 10,000 people in my professional life of 26 years and unfortunately don’t have all these contacts in one place. It seems that weekly I am shaking hands with, exchanging ideas with, pitching to or listening to the pitch from a multitude of people. Some meetings go back to 1995 when I was on the organizing committee of AISEC international conference, some to the opening Le Kandyan (re-branded Amaya Hills – 100 roomed hotel, and others met when I was speaking at conferences or exhibiting at a travel fair. Most of these people and their contact detailed were deemed to property of the organization I was with at the time, so I did not take them on to my next role. Do I have all those people’s telephone numbers and e-mails ? Do I know where they moved to when they left the organization they were at when I met them ? The simple answer is no. However, I am connected with 4,000 of them on LinkedIn or Twitter. I hope to shift this to WTN – a platform built for our industry.
Social media has allowed us as professionals to establish ourselves beyond our current role in our current organization. This is extremely powerful as I am first “Jean-Marc Flambert” and then the role and the associated brand. How do we leverage this in todays world of business where people make deals with people and not organization ? You choose who you trade with and you generally choose to deal with some one you know, some one you trust and some one your like – ceteris paribus (everything else remaining equal). I have there for created a target for myself that every one that I meet professionally should be placed into 1 of 3 boxes (this dictates how they have to be left feeling after we have met) :
Three boxes I place people in
1. People I know who respect me professionally
2. People I know who respect me professionally and would refer me
3. People I know who respect me professionally, would refer me and do business with me
The first category will accept my invitation to connect on a professional network like WTN or LinkedIn
The second category will refer me for a job or a contract of work with in their network
The third category differs from the 2nd as they have the need for my services directly also
Any one else I meet who don’t fall here, means that I have not succeeded during my first or subsequent meeting with them.
So based on the above, my business success =
10,000 people met professionally
4,000 connected via LinkedIn so I hold the relationship
I can then assume (based on experience) 1,000 would refer me
I can then assume (based on experience) 100 are doing business with me
Options to grow effectiveness
So, I have a few options
1. Increase the business I do people in 3
2. Work with those people in 2 to harness their contacts
3. Engage with more people professionally
I love meeting people and getting to know what they do and what makes them click. Whether I am at a friends house for dinner and they have invited another friend who I have not met, whether I am at my sons school play or out partying on a Friday night, I always have a purpose in my line of questions a new acquaintance – to see it I can fit them into one of the three boxes. I then come back and connect with them the next day via social media if possible, re calling the connection and making a relevant suggestion of a next step – lets connect / lets talk with a view to you understanding what I do and how I can add value to what you do / lets meet as I think it would be worth your time and mine as I can add value to what you do. In the past I have used LinkedIn, but now WTN is opening a whole new and focused set of opportunities.
A Haitian Sri Lankan living in London who has worked with multiple tourism brands including hotels, DMC’s, MICE and destinations – and he is a World Travel Nation Ambassador as well.