Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Frank Agin.Here’s that interview.
About the interviewee
In addition to being president and founder of AmSpirit Business Connections, Frank Agin is the author of several books and articles on professional networking, business relationship development, and social media., including Foundational Networking: Building Know, Like, and Trust To Create A Lifetime of Extraordinary Success and LinkedWorking: Generating Success On The World’s Largest Professional Networking Website.
Drawing on his personal experiences, the observation of others, and the results of studies conducted in the social sciences, Frank has a plethora of ideas and insights to help businesses as well as executives and professionals achieve greater success through networking.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
AmSpirit Business Connections … We are headquartered in Columbus, Ohio with three employees and 12 independent directors in three states (spread amongst seven metropolitan areas).
We are a membership-based business that uses a weekly structured meeting format that helps our member businesses generate quality business referrals from each other as well as create inroads into larger businesses and organizations.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
Our member clients are a wide variety of entrepreneurs, sales representatives, and professionals ranging in size from solo-preneurs to multi-state organizations with large sales forces.
What comes to mind when you see this topic?
Cold calling, whether to large organizations or the average American household, is ineffective. It is in an intrusion at best, as the timing is very seldom ideal. At worse, this intrusion insults the intelligence of the target.
Remember, businesses do not do business with other businesses. People associated with these businesses do business with people from other businesses. Moreover, people do business with those they know, like, and trust. Thus, the best alternative to cold calling larger companies is to network into them.
Large companies are no different from smaller enterprises in that they need certain products and services. Moreover, they want a reliable provider and do not have the time to sort through all the options. Consequently, to fulfill their needs with reliable providers without consuming valuable time and resources, the responsible people in large companies turn to those they know, like, and trust for recommendations, suggestions, and introductions.
What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?
To network into larger companies (and avoid having to cold call), entrepreneurs, sales representatives, and professionals have a two general options.
Determine who in your network is already connected to (or doing business with) the appropriate person in the larger company. Once you have, ask your connections for an introduction. If the person in the larger company trusts your contact, your association with the contact will bode well for you and future business.
Determine who from the larger company is involved outside the company charitable organizations and other community initiatives. Once you have, get yourself genuinely involved as well. Nothing is more powerful in establishing a relationship than working shoulder to shoulder with someone on a common cause.
Neither of these guarantees a quick sale. Each, however, is more effective than cold calling and is more likely to generate positive results in time.