John Cartmell – Regional Director
This month’s guest blog writer is one of our Regional Directors, John Cartmell. John is currently meeting clients in Saudi Arabia, and frequently visits the region. He meets new people all the time, and relies on networking in his role, so we asked him for his thoughts..
I used to hear the word networking and immediately think ‘oh no! I’ve got to go into a room full of people I don’t know, make small talk, smile a lot and generally play business card swap’ in the hope that I may meet a prospective client, somewhere, somehow. To be honest, I dreaded such events: I found some events lacked focus, the whole process was very time consuming, and ultimately diverted me from other key priorities.
I’m certainly not saying such methods don’t work, there are some very good and focused networking groups out there, I was looking for something more.
Thankfully, networking has evolved to a social platform with fabulous tools such as LinkedIn, allowing us to network in an unobtrusive way, providing a seemingly bottomless well to develop our network from: not just chance encounters, but with like-minded individuals, from the exact market sector that we’re looking to engage with.
I was at a conference recently and heard a story about the outlaw Jesse James. Jesse was a bank robber, and when he was caught, he was asked why he robs banks. Jesse thought for a while and said ‘well, its where the money is’. To use the analogy, LinkedIn is where the money is today. I urge anyone serious about developing a solid, sustainable network to utilize LinkedIn and social media generally, to the full.
Social media is also a fabulous way of keeping in touch with prospects and clients. I quoted for some business a couple of years ago to a client in the Middle East. At the time, the work didn’t materialize, but I kept in touch with the client via LinkedIn, and in the last few weeks, that client has approached us to re-evaluate that work from two years ago. I guess there are two messages here:
‘No’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no, never’, it can mean ‘no, just not now’.
Even after a no, remain on good terms and keep in touch – you never know when your paths might cross again.
Having written primarily about the virtues of social media and specifically LinkedIn as a sales tool, I do want to stress that networking (be it social or face to face), isn’t just about doing business and making that sale. For me, networking should be mutually beneficial and be a tool not just to be used to win new business, but also about sharing knowledge and expanding our overall sphere of influence.
If you’d like to join my network on LinkedIn, I invite you to, click here.