Successful Networking

Good day to you.
My name is Bob Messenger and for the last 15 years I have had the pleasure of founding and managing 3 global logistic networks.
I’m writing to share some insights gained in that time to offer some advice on how to get the best out of your network.

1. I think when agents join networks, there are 2 mindsets.
One is simply, what can we expect to gain out of this whilst the other is to look at the whole picture.
That picture being you suddenly have a global system at your disposal and how can you use it not only to develop business but enhance your own supply chain links to deliver better service to your own clients.

If you enter any network with the first mindset, you will find the network experience short and disappointing. As very quickly your new members realise you are in to take all and not give anything.
That happens and produces short life memberships, the exercise has not worked for the applicant or the network, so the answer is departure.

My philosophy is we want companies who are looking at the longer plan, and want to be proactive from day 1. That means reaching out to their new partners, especially in target areas for them, and formulate good new relations.

If you expect to join and sit back and do nothing and let it all come to you, you will be disappointed!

So be pro active and committed long term and you will see rewards!

2. Secondly, be professional and reliable, build a good name quickly.
Make sure from day 1 all your details are shown correct and always maintained up to date.
For example if you move let the network know, if your main sales manager departs, again advise the network of the details of the new appointee, etc.
Accurate information is key, always.

3. Fast Responses are Critical.
If you delay, your competitors will not. Ensure your network partners receive all requested information in the shortest possible time, anything less will see the business go elsewhere and your own network partners start to cool off using you as they have lost business because of your delays. In the case of large complicated movements, its ok to give regular updates so your network partner and in turn their client is kept informed regularly.

4. Silence is not golden, and is a sure fire turn off.
Some companies I have housed over the years have had a policy to just not answer if they do not have the information, this has just compounded the problem, so always provide updates.
Any update is better than no update at all.

5. Payments, always pay on time.
To delay paying your own partners, and by extension, your global family, you risk losing your good name. News travels fast in groups via internal chat, so don’t think that waiting a few weeks will actually be good for your cash flow when all it does is make partners completely lose confidence in you, and once that happens, they do not come back.

6. Meetings
Never underestimate the power of the one on one meetings. Our annual surveys proved that historically over 15 years 75% of all network business was generated by our important face to face meetings at our AGMs.
It’s the human touch, people like to see who they are dealing with, get a feel for the person and the business and get on as well. In short people go away and if they have a good feeling about you, they will use you, simple as that.
If you join and attach no importance to the meetings, you will not grow your network business, so you need to invest in personal appearances on a regular basis to get the maximum out of your network.

7. Your Own Website is a reflection of you.
It is your shop window, so pack it out with everything you are proud of, news of your movements, news of your good relations, name your clients, what accreditations you have, your history, bios, anything that brings interest to the viewer.
The more interesting your site is, the more inclined people will be to contact you.