Building relationships are always better than ad hoc business
In the kind of networking we do we are often asked to introduce someone somewhere due to the fact that another of our members needed help right now. In the long scheme of things this is what we are here for. This is what we live for. But there is a bit of a drawback here for the two getting thrown together. Though this is for both of their benefits it can be a bit rough going.
Simply because this is the first time two parties have done business. This means that there is no history between the two parties. They might not mesh for a number of reasons. Maybe their aims and goals are different. Maybe they have built different systems. It could simply be a chemistry issue. This also means that there is not a financial track record between the two and often complaints come because the contracted party might demand payment up front. (Which they have every right to refuse a credit line to companies they have never done business with.)
I’d like to add that most of the time when we make the requested ad hoc introductions like this it works well for both parties. They become new partners at least in the short-term but possibly even long-term. And these cases are a joy for everyone. This is our aim. But the best of all worlds is that the proper relationships are made through our group even before business is done. And by this I am not speaking simply about introductions. I mean proper relationship building.
You have to consider your agents as a sports team. The accounts that you work the most would be your starters. But every bit as importing as your starting line up is your back up players. Your reserves. These are really the backbone of your team. They are your reservoir of strength. The lines you have focused on are your starting players and the business that you only get every so often, well, these are your reserve players. But these reserve players can keep you in bids. They can keep your competitors from grabbing a toe hold in your business because you don’t feel comfortable in quoting somewhere. And the backups can give you business as well. As such, you need to build relationships around the periphery of the agencies you have already built up. This gives you an entire arsenal of services you will be able to offer your clients. Building these guys into your network accomplishes what Harvey Mackay called “digging your well before you are thirsty.” I find that when we are able to help you do this it has an even better effect than when we just put two parties together on an ad hoc basis because one needs a quote.
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN’s networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), and AiO Logistics Network. Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.