Networking; the good, the bad and the ugly.

In 2008 I rebranded and re-launched my company, Light Films. I devised a strategy that would enable our business to grow over an initial 5-year period.

One of the early physical marketing activities was networking. I made my way around most of the clubs in the local area. I audited the busineses, formats and the people that were involved in the events. I chose the clubs and events that I felt would benefit me most, and have always completed regular ‘return on investment’ audits to ensure the clubs continue to be lucrative for my business.

Someone recently said to me “with networking, you get out what you put in” and they’re absolutely right but only if there are the right people in the room.

We all know the goodies and baddies of networking. There’s at least one of each in every club!

Sometimes even us experienced networkers get it wrong, though.

I pride myself on my ability to establish a person’s character quite quickly and whether it fits with the way I conduct myself in business. The useful questions I ask myself are:

  • Would I use them should the need arise in my business?
  • Would I refer my best client to them?
  • If the above two are a “yes” then I ask myself how I can help them grow their business?

Of course this isn’t purely altruistic, as I can often reap the rewards of “getting out what I put in” in this situations.  

However, although you can sometimes develop a strong business relationship with someone who has an excellent reputation and you refer business to them; helping them in any way that fits naturally with what you do on a day to day basis, it sometimes isn’t reciprocated in the way you’d hoped.  

I have a number of business contacts that I’ve made referrals to over the years. Business has been achieved at the end of a lot of the referrals and in some cases I’ve not even been thanked let alone had any reciprocal referrals in return. It’s been by coincidence that I’ve even found out that the business had been done, and don’t get me started on “referral kick back fees” – that ended badly too with promises made and nothing at all being delivered apart from an awkward tension.

These mistakes in judging characters to be as mutually helpful will continue. I’ve not seen my last mistake been made, and won’t for years to come! But I will still continue to refer business to good people because, guess what? It works.

The majority of good people will see what you’ve done for them, or attempted to do, and they’ll keep their eye out for opportunities for you.

Choosing my Club

I belong to an independent referral-based group that has worked wonders for my business as I’ve taken the time to understand my fellow club-members’ businesses and likewise they’ve done the same for me. There will always be a selection of people you find it hard to refer business to, but the fact that you’re willing to try to get them work can go a long way in gaining their trust.

I’d like to think I provide good referrals to my fellow members and this all comes from how I conduct business with my own clients and prospects; and how well I get to know them and their needs very early on in my relationship with them.

 Chrissa W

 Chrissa W 2

The Synergy Network at Notts County Football Club

Photography by Paul Carroll Photography

What style of networking has worked for you? Have you come across a situation that hasn’t been reciprocal or even a referral that’s not been gratefully received?

Written by Chrissa Wadlow

Chrissa has extensive experience in business and project management having spent her early career managing large teams within retail and later moving on to a business solutions company where she successfully launched a new business division. Chrissa joined Light Films in 2008 as an independent Business Consultant, where she rebranded the company on the strength of it’s product and gained the awareness and financial revenue that it deserved. Chrissa has brought Light Films into the limelight and her commercial acumen and expertise has provided the missing piece of the puzzle at Light Films.

Chrissa lives in Derbyshire with her husband and two daughters, and can often be found with her Nikon DSLR round her neck!

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