Interview with John Ahern of CBD Financial Planning Group
The following business networking advice comes from John Ahern. John is a business owner specializing in wealth creation and management with CBD financial planning group (CBDfp Group).
Josh: John, how do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
John Ahern: You may or may not of heard of these sayings around networking before, however, they are powerful seeds to help you start thinking differently around the way you do business. Things like, “Networking to Win”, “If you’re not networking you’re not working”, “Be Seen, Get Known, Move Ahead” or even this one, “Network or perish”.
When you take a moment to really think about the message in these words it spells out the impact of people in your business, and for that matter, your entire life. For me, and this may also be true for you, people are the most important ‘thing’ (to use a term) in your business and life. Here’s the motto; “People first, great systems and profit will follow”.
Ok then, if people have the most impact in your life and business, why do so many remain strangers?
When you take this to a higher level of thinking, you start to realise that networking is a life skill, not just something you do when you want something. It’s about giving to receive and elevating your business and who you are to add value to people. The very same people who own businesses and have influence with others. By continuing to search for opportunities to add value, your networking and business becomes meaningful work.
Taking another step, if you will, meaningful work creates a sense of purpose and people with purpose are people with passion. People with passion are people who perform and naturally attract others. Others that want to do business with you and are not driven by price or competition. It’s about creating a culture through people and networking that your customers take pleasure in the buying experience.
Take 30 seconds to burn this into your mind, it’s easy to be competitive, however not everyone is creative. You see, anyone can be competitive and run a successful ad campaign or marketing strategy that sells a product at a similar or discounted price to their competitors. However, creativity is the currency of the future… People want more out of your business than price.
They want more out of you then just a client number. People are looking to be engaged and searching to feel good with the experience you provide.
Better than that, there is no greater place to be creative in providing a wonderful experience than in networking. In saying this, not only is NETWORKING an essential life skill, it is also the most basic business building tool in today’s competitive/creative market place. It gives you the opportunity to use the currency of the future… creativity. Not only that, you get to learn and grow through the experience of other master networkers.
One final spin on networking. It’s available, free and open to everyone, without exception and as long as your networking values are strong, ethical and transparent you will ‘create’ a new experience in win-win relationships with people who are important to you and your business.
Josh: Can you share one idea that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?
John Ahern: So People first… then great systems and profit will follow. This is my number one idea that you can put into practice… it’s like “be prepared”, “people first” when networking.
The next important idea, is be yourself and understand the nucleus of your own customer value proposition. How do I add value to others?
The third important idea is; “intention without action equals squat” or, in another way, “intention plus action equals will”. So take action and get involved in networking and you will grow as a person, your business will have meaningful work and you will add value back to people.
Here’s something else that you may or may not already know that’s not an idea, it’s the next piece in the equation. Besides, respect, integrity and sincerity in your networking you need great systems in place to continue growing the experience for the people you come in contact with.
Systems, like an adequate data base, that allows you to be constantly making strong connections, following up and keeping in touch. Multiple contacts builds trust and trust is the atmosphere for business transactions.
Finally, may I leave you please with the next level of thinking to networking. It’s creating win-win strategic (healthy) alliances and mastermind groups.