It’s obvious that to build any relationship we need a bedrock of trust. Trust builds business.
Who doesn’t know that?!
We all know it and that it makes perfect sense.
No one is going to build a lasting and meaningful relationship with someone they trust about as far as they can throw them. That would be like cosying up to a mamba and expecting nothing more harmful than a hug – just a teeny bit unrealistic – said the mistress of understatement.
Yet that is exactly what some of us do and then we wonder why we got bitten.
That was pretty much the premise of last week’s blog about poor old Bob coming unstuck with a new LinkedIn connection.
The big question is – who can you trust and how do you know you can trust them?
More importantly, if you’re interested in networking to advance your business ethically, how do new contacts and connections know they can trust you?
With digital networking and global reach, it’s not uncommon to have people in your network that you have never actually met. Nor will you, except with the acquisition of a Lear Jet.
I don’t know about you, but at Dragon Sisters we run to the cost of a couple of company cars and that’s about it. Except for a bunch of air miles. Cattle class. Not that I’m whinging.
One of the fail-safe ways to start out on a platform of reasonable mutual trust, is to do a lot of business through referrals. Michelle and I do the majority of our Dragon Sisters’ business through word-of-mouth referrals.
As a couple of old dragons we pre-date social media and had to rely on strong in-person networking and referrals back in the day. As a sales person, I hated cold calling and being a pest, so I learnt fast that there was a far easier and more pleasant way to meet new prospects and great like-minded people, who were immediately interested in talking to me, because they knew someone who trusted me enough to refer a friend or an associate to me.
We use exactly the same approach now that we have access to all the marvellous one-click-away contact of social media. And it is marvellous making instant connections provided you don’t lose sight of the fact that any new connection is just going to be one more digit on your vanity metric, until, or unless, you’ve forged an initial element of trust.
That’s what doesn’t seem so obvious now to many digital networkers and marketers.
Michelle wrote a while back explaining how networking and referrals can drive any business’ growth far faster and far smoother once you get the hang of it. Like driving a Ferrari! Yes, I have hankerings for speedy, expensive, transportation toys.
Right, I’m off to polish my Nissan now.
Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.