We are in the process of running a series of webinars across the Baltic States and Scandinavia; this is part of our Look West program where we assist companies get a foothold or expand in North America. We are often asked if we know anyone in a particular industry. For example, do we know anyone in the marine industry? Have we got any connections with dairy equipment manufacturers? And the answer often is: ‘Yes, we know all sorts of people in many different industries'.
However, while it may seem appealing to have that contact, or even a sales lead (we are often asked for those too), there is some crucial information that a company needs first in order to make best use of those precious conversations.
Be clear about what you do, who you do it for, and how you make a difference; with that in mind you may have a more compelling reason for someone to connect with you. Positioning your company is a crucial element of your market and business strategy – it becomes the reference point for all other work you do – including having those ‘conversations’ with people that we may know. Andrew's post from last week talked in more detail about positioning.
So, before you go on a hunt for new connections, answer these self-reflection questions first:
The answer should not merely lead you to formulate your ‘elevator pitch’. Instead, it is part of ensuring that you can clearly visualise what you are trying to achieve - your company's strategic goal and how this conversation fits into that. Graham talks profoundly about that in 'Doing Strategy'.