Networking Tips: Come Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes you just need to face your fears ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 12/12/2018 @ 8:00AM
Most business leaders know that in order to develop their business they need to develop their own skills. So what stops some people taking the plunge? Imagine a baby elephant rescued in the Serengeti ...
Our friend the elephant feels safe with his keeper, but what if he did come out of his comfort zone and cross the river?
He is taken to a safe centre, fed, watered and his keeper Joe gives him a pat on the trunk daily and a ball to play with. He grows into a huge bull elephant and even years later he is still with Joe, who takes him down to the river to have a swim each day.
Down by the river he thinks "I wonder what's on the other side of the river? I'm so much bigger than Joe, I could just charge off and find out. It could be exciting! Maybe there's a harem of female elephants out there? I'd learn a lot."
Then he stops and thinks "I am well looked after here though. I have food and water and the humans here are kind to me. It's scary out there. What if there's a man with a gun?"
Continuing his thoughts, our Elephant mulls it over. "On the other hand things are changing around here and Joe gives me less time now he's so busy. Maybe it's time to move on? How can I do that and avoid the man with the gun?"
Of course this is a metaphor so forgive the anthropomorphic touches.
Is it time to come out of your comfort zone and invest in some new knowledge and skills for your business? Do you need to get some new tips for networking? Here's a few thoughts based on my experience of working with people who have chosen to come out of their comfort zone and work on their skills to get business through referrals.
Has your comfort zone become uncomfortable?
There is nothing like discomfort to shift us into action. If there was a drawing pin on our chair we wouldn't just sit there, would we? Usually, people come and work with me because they are frustrated in some way with their marketing efforts. Whatever methods they're using, either they aren't getting in front of enough of their ideal clients or it's taking an inordinate amount of effort and money.
They complain about their working hours and the difficulty fitting in networking. They oscillate from feast to famine, marketing and then getting too busy to market to find the diary empties out. They're afraid of not getting work so they say yes to every job and take on more than they can handle at one time.
Or they take on clients that don't fit their service or who are over demanding. They get really irritated with people who say they should work smarter not harder. Wouldn't we all do that if we knew how?
What stops you seeking help?
Is it your metaphorical man with a gun? Fear or anxiety is usually what holds us back although we usually rationalise this as not having the time or money. What we mean is we don't want to waste our time or hard earned money.
Stepping into the unknown is always a risk. What if I try something new and it doesn't work? Usually, they have tried something and it hasn't worked. Most marketing approaches work if applied systematically and with skill. Learning the skills and then applying the system rigorously will produce results.
In my experience people who gain regular business by referrals approach it as a business strategy; they do not simply turn up at networking events and hope for the best. The question then turns into ...
Who is the best person to really help me acquire the skills?
Seek out someone who offers help where you are stuck. The best way to overcome the fear is to test them out on something small first. If that isn't possible then look for evidence that it has worked for others.
Believe it or not, if it works for others it will work for you too!
What other fears do we have that stop us seeking help?
A lot of people are fearful about formal networking as they don't like rooms full of strangers. The fear is usually caused by not knowing how to act. What are you supposed to say? How do you join a group who are already talking together? What should you say when people ask you what you do?
And horror of horrors being asked to speak about your business for a whole minute! I remember spending 20 minutes in the ladies loo at the first event I went to as I was terrified!
We build these fears into monsters that then stop us acting to resolve them. The only way to overcome these fears is to do exactly what we avoid, seek help.
What about the excitement?
It's your personal equivalent of a harem of elephants. Imagine what your life would be like if you actually achieved what you wanted? First, be very clear on what you do want. For example, imagine if all your clients were like your very best client and you received a regular flow of them at the pace you want?
What would that mean to you? Is it worth investing in something which can do that for you? Is that worth a little discomfort whilst you learn in order to win your version of the whole of the Serengeti to play with?
Did you enjoy my business networking tips this week? If networking or getting referrals is your particular sticking point and you'd like to test out whether I can help, then give me a call on 07970 638857 or click here to ping over an email and let's talk about your fears and how together, we can get you past them and across that river!
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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