How to build connections that understand what the future will look like in your marketplace?

Tomasz Sokół
by Tomasz Sokół on June 13, 2017
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Within the 5next team we are constantly looking at the networking behaviour of Business Development professionals in the USA, UK & Poland. These articles are a product of that reflection & also use material from the only accredited education in Europe on this subject: “The Executive Programme in Professional & Business Networking” which received accreditation from the ILM

This is article two in a series of five

This is what you will learn reading in this article:

  • An appreciation of how you should evaluate the construction of your network
  • A definition & explanation as to what type of personnel should be in your network
  • A definition & explanation where these people might be sourced
  • A definition & explanation as to how you might approach this source

(It will take about 30 minutes to take in)

We would suggest that the majority of the Business Development professionals we are listening to are described as Professional Services & Business to Corporate Sales representatives. They have the biggest requirement in the ability to network effectively due to their sales processes, sales cycle, client acquisition methods & competitive market space.

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Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

The ground breaking application 5next functions within the social concept you are the average of the five people you associate with the most. This concept was first published in business terms by the USA entrepreneur Jim Roan. The thinking within 5next is you should consider there are potentially 5 moving parts that will support business development success & how you master these 5 parts defines what is available to you.

We have broken these down into the following areas of network statuses:

  • Contacts with knowledge with regards to what is going in on your marketplace
  • Contacts that understand what the future will look like in your marketplace
  • Contacts that are doing business with your customers but are not competing with you
  • Contacts that are the centres of influence that your sector recognises as key players
  • Contacts 6° of separation from a client opportunity…we say who you know & the 5next

We believe that the above 5 concepts, as an average, represent your Business Development potential fulfilling the Jim Roan measurement.

This article is built from proven Business Development processes taken from the USA, UK & Poland by a group of thinkers & should not be considered as the thinking of some ‘Guru’ on networking. You must consider & challenge this material as it works for you.

The USA management thought leader Peter Drucker once remarked:
We are using the word ‘guru’ only because ‘charlatan’ is too long to fit into a headline.

I will talk you through what we recognise as ‘Innovation’.

Innovation can be considered as translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. .In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied by the company in order to further satisfy the needs & expectations of the customers.

We get our definition from here.

How does this fit in with Business Development?

Well, within your sector or market place you will have ‘futurists’ that are operating in a different method to you or your company. To be frank they may not be having great success in doing that as it is a tough place to play in.

If you’re not failing every now & then it’s a sign you aren’t doing anything innovative
Woody Allen

However even though they may not be succeeding in their endeavour they will certainly have a different network of connections than the establishment. Certainly to be a future thinker & operate in the innovative part of your market they will possess thinking & ideas that the rest of your market has most likely not connected with.

Now the 1st thing is that if you start to connect with forward thinkers successful or otherwise you will learn a lot more regarding what is going on that you have yet to consider. This may even influence your approach to selling & what you consider to be your own USP. So regardless of anything else it may inspire you to review what you are doing.

Innovation comes from people who take joy in their work
W. Edwards Deming

The innovation & future thinking part of your network is designed to support you have a clear picture of what the future could look like in your industry, your sector & your competition.
It can help you identify future decision-makers that you may want to know, what your product maybe competing with in the future & whatever other Innovation awareness that you need to make informed regarding Business Development decisions.

It’s not what we don’t know that gets us into trouble; it’s what we think we know for sure
Mark Twain

Listening to Million Dollar Round Table sales professional John R. Spence. He said that hearing completely different opinions on a sales process has continually helped to develop sales thinking in the field of Financial Services & that means connecting with futurists.

If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old
Peter Drucker

So this Innovation/forward thinking can include:

  • Who is the futurist player in your market place?
  • Who is the recognised futurist organisation you are competing with to get a contract?
  • Who is the futurist thinker in a particular sales transaction

Download FREE ebook - Strategic Networking

Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

We discovered that by being connected to start up Hubs & entrepreneur programmes you get connected to people that are the futurists in your own sector.

  • Maybe there are certain networking groups which are devoted to future thinking?
  • Maybe there are certain Innovation Boards that you should seek election?
  • We know that there are many forums & online boards.
  • Which journalist writes articles regarding the future of your sector?
  • Seek out business schools or business groups that educate your sector.
  • By becoming more & more informed as to the potential future of your sector it will help you reboot your business development arguments.
  • Without doubt you will become attractive to other ‘networked in’ people that want to connect with the future.
  • By association this will support you build your network via the leading players within it.

Once you start building the Intel/Futurist part of your network you will uncover a very different approach to asking for connections.

In your opinion who is the most Innovative person that you know in our field”?

Has anyone ever asked you that?

No, me neither & you will find that it opens so many doors in terms of improving what you know & how you develop your sales arguments.

As in Article One this is a very different approach as you are not seeking a commercial opportunity but actually you are seeking a commercial advantage.

There’s a way to do it better – find it
Thomas Edison

In our next article we will be looking at the importance of making sure that you network has contacts in it that are doing business with your customers but are not competing with you. (We call that Joint-Venture opportunities)

Download FREE ebook - Strategic Networking

Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

Summary
How to build connections that understand what the future will look like in your marketplace?
Article Name
How to build connections that understand what the future will look like in your marketplace?
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This is article two in a series of five This is what you will learn reading in this article: An appreciation of how you should evaluate the construction of your network A definition & explanation as to what type of personnel should be in your network A definition & explanation where these people might be sourced A definition & explanation as to how you might approach this source
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Publisher Name
5next
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Tomasz Sokół
Tomasz Sokół
Since 2002, the beginning of his activity in Internet, he has been promoting the knowledge and coding of websites according to standards, guidelines and accessibility - developed by the W3C consortium (in 2004 - 2007 he was active in the development team of Osiolki.net - where he helped improve over 800 websites owned by individuals, company and public websites. At the same time (2004 - 2010), he began working as a coordinator for Mozilla Developer Center PL, responsible for creating and translating documentation of thousands of developer articles. Work on MDC PL was carried out within the Polish Aviary.pl team, which is the official location team working for Mozilla. Since 2007, the owner of the interactive web agency Create Web, helping small and medium-sized businesses to appear on the Web. Co-owner of codewear.co - a full service agency that implements projects for UK and US clients. In 5next.io as managing director in Poland, last year he was responsible for the work of the team that is currently implementing strategic networking applications - 5next. After work father of two wonderful daughters and happy husband wife Joanna.
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