In recent conversations with people in business, I have come across a worrying approach that many of us have. I know I have relied on this in the past, and it resulted in my business downfall.
We cannot rely on one or a limited source of business leads. I have been told “My leads are given to me by the franchisor” and “All my leads are referrals. I don’t need to look anywhere else”.
Now firstly, kudos to the person who is getting so many referrals! That is an excellent way to do business and she should be really chuffed with her reputation and deliverables.
Only I am sure there is room for more. When we rely on only one source of leads, when that source dries up, so does our income. And worse than that, yes, worse than reduced income, is the fact that when it eventually dawns on us, and we start to panic, it is then too late to create those income streams or sales pipelines and in any case, we are in no emotional or mental state to actually begin to be creative and have the patience to nurture them. We need new clients. Now. Fast.
So even if you don’t currently need any new business, don’t assume that your good fortune will last forever. The world is constantly shifting and a ‘sure thing’ today could be a ‘never again’ tomorrow.
That is why I value LinkedIn. It allows you to build relationships over time, nurture those that emerge as really worthwhile, share your knowledge to build a reputation of being an expert, a go-to and generous person, and then when the day comes that you need an introduction, a new referral, or even a new job, you are not approaching with a begging bowl, but you are in fact about to be courted.
And even if LinkedIn is really not your thing, and you are convinced that this ‘online stuff’ is all a fad, then for your own sake, nurture those relationships in person, and keep notes in your little black book.
The platforms may change, but the essence of good, professional behaviour does not.
Start now, while you still have the mental space to see the long term possibilities, and the time to do justice to a professional relationship with a colleague.