Two words that have had a modern-day overhaul are social AND networking. Together they conjure up some digital jiggery-pokery that only the young and geeky can get involved with. Funny how time can change the meaning of words in our English language. But the social networking that I’m writing about today is not about the online community, it’s about how to network – socially – with your peers.
I’m often asked about how I approach new business for Liberty and how the agency has retained its clients. It’s been a wonderful experience over the past 15 years requiring hard work and attention to detail, building knowledge of my subject matter and working with some fantastic talented communication professionals; all the ingredients that have led to success. However, when I look at the companies and the industry people that make up our client base, more often than not, they are contacts with whom I have crossed paths over the course of my working life and who have lent their support to my business ideals – and made Liberty what it is today.
I’ve never considered myself a salesperson, far from it. I’m certainly not going to cold call anyone, or door stop someone at an industry event in the hope they might consider dropping their existing communication consultancy for Liberty Communications. My approach is much more subtle and it starts as every relationship should, with an open mind, an ability to listen and a willingness to share – whatever the outcome. Like all relationships in life, they should be based on mutual trust and respect and not on the assumption that if you cozy up to someone, they will automatically reward you with their business. In my experience it’s all about the depth and breadth of the relationship between two like-minded professionals. On that basis, you can bring something to each other and mutually benefit from the pairing.
I’m lucky enough to be involved with an amazing VIP networking organisation called the Centurions. We’re dedicated to mixing socially with peers and sharing ideas. Centurions is for the great and the good from the digital entertainment world. We don’t hold presentations or wear name badges, we just relax with good conversation and great stories shared. Whether business follows is not the point, but it has and that’s the outcome, not the upside. Networking socially for me is what Centurions is all about – it’s not the hard sell and it’s an absolute pleasure!
I’m off now to join over 100 like-minded digital industry folk – I know I’m in for an inspiring evening!
For more information on Centurions, visit www.centurionsconnected.com – and mention my name