How to Lose Your Business in 30 Seconds…

How to Lose Your Business in 30 Seconds…

I was at a business networking meeting recently where there was another travel agent – they spoke for 30 seconds and suddenly all my contacts – the ones I’d known for years, the ones who knew, liked and trusted me – transferred their business to them. I lost everything in half a minute.

Is that a true story? Well, durrr, of course not. It’s ridiculous to think it could ever happen. And yet…that is the way that some business networking groups think. They seem to believe that the only way they can protect their current members is to block anyone who might be seen as competition. So-called ‘competitors’ are not allowed to talk; they’re not welcomed at meetings. It’s all about ‘protecting the category’.

But at Fresh, things are different. We’re about collaboration, not competition. We don’t subscribe to the ‘gag them’ school of thought – we firmly welcome ‘competitors’. Here’s the four reasons why:

1. The best service for each client

Your business won’t be the perfect fit for every client. Unless you’re Superman/Wonder Woman (and they haven’t joined Fresh yet!), you simply can’t do everything for everyone. Successful business relationships are based on the right match – in terms of services, location, personality – which might not always be you. With a range of people in your business network you can ensure the best service for each client.

Examples of this kind of collaboration abound in Fresh:

Julie Joseph and Karina Fox are both mortgage brokers in Fresh National Networking. Karina invited a guest who was also…you guessed it, a mortgage broker. Competition city? Or opportunity to collaborate? The guest (who wasn’t gagged!) talked about their home loan products for self-employed buyers with ‘outside the square’ situations. Julie had a client who matched this exact profile. She realised that the guest’s product would save her client $19k in upfront fees and a higher interest rate on their mortgage compared to what Julie herself could offer. So she referred her client to the guest who was, naturally, delighted and very impressed with Julie for getting them the best deal.

Michele Carson and Sara Pantaleo are both business coaches, both members of Fresh National Networking. They are also collaborators – Sara specialises in helping hospitality and franchise businesses to scale and grow, whilst Michele focuses on whole of business strategic action planning for SaaS tech companies positioning themselves for the next level of funding and B2B and B2C services wanting to scale through mergers and acquisitions. So they see the opportunity to offer the right service to a wider audience by collaborating and cross referring.

2. Enhancing your reputation

When you refer a contact to someone who’ll give the best service, you’re also enhancing your own reputation. If you have pool of high quality people to refer to, you look like gold!

In the travel world, I don’t really do holidays for families with kids, and I’m not an expert on certain destinations. So if I have a contact who is looking for a family trip to India, I am happy to pass them on to a fellow travel expert. The client gets the best possible service for their requirements, I come out of it looking like a hero, and I increase my own credibility and chances of referrals for the trips I do specialise in.

3. Focus on your value

If you feel threatened by a ‘competitor’, maybe it’s a wakeup call, and a reminder check your ‘know, like and trust index’. Wanting to avoid perceived competitors says more about you than them – it can be a sign that you’re not clear on your own value. If you’re relying on exclusivity rather than building relationships, it could be time to rework your pitch, schedule some more Get Fresh meetings, and focus on your key strengths. Once you feel confident in your own specialist area, you realise that others are not the threat you perhaps first thought.

4. Networking is about connections, not just referrals

Of course we all love referrals, but networking (or at least Fresh Networking) is about so much more than that. It’s about connecting people, including those who are in the same ‘category’ as us. At Fresh we’ve introduced people who have become employer/employee, friends and colleagues, as well as referral partners. Who knows, when the time comes to hang up your boots, you might even sell your business to a connection you made through Fresh!

At Fresh, we know that if our clients know, like and trust us, they’re not going to leave us based on a 30 second pitch. We’re not afraid of competition, we don’t have to gag or block our guests. Instead we welcome them and connect them, with our awesome spirit of generosity.

The magic of the Fresh community means that there is always someone in the network who can help you to serve your clients better, build your network, and make you look like a shining star!

So Freshies, think about who you can invite as your next guest, without worrying about ‘clashes’. And if you’re not a member, do sign up for a guest pass so that, whatever your business, we can welcome you into our community.


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