Apr 27 2010

Have You Inventoried Your STAFF Lately?

When times get tough, 

                                     

the tough get going,

                                             

but they also

                                      

inventory their staffs!

                                                                            

     It’s easy to do, costs nothing, takes almost no time, and can produce an avalanche of valuable sales and business contacts. Pass around a short survey every six months that asks the people who work with you what they’ve been learning lately outside of work, who they know, what activities they choose for family fun, what kinds of careers family members have… 

     With a little prompting on your part, and some representative examples you can offer to promote useful responses, you may learn nothing of value . . . but you could be astonished! And until you flat-out ask, you’ll never know. Your administrative assistant may have a brother-in-law who runs a company that’s a perfect fit with your business mission.

     Your operations manager’s sister might be married to a board member of a neighboring business you’ve considered courting for shared marketing expenses.

Maybe your shipping clerk or receptionist is active in the same church as a key supplier who’s been giving bigger discounts to your competitor, but you’ve never had enough of a shared personal connection to feel comfortable enough to approach her about it.

                                                                

     Why wouldn’t you know things like this already? Most people who are not running a business, or in sales, rarely think about networking, or have experience in the qualifying question process that’s usually needed to uncover valuable connections. It’s human nature to not volunteer “personal” information.

     You have a goldmine of untapped resources under your thumb. Start to draft your survey page.

     Avoid probing personal questions. Unless you have more than a hundred employees where processing answers could start to get unwieldy, avoid multiple choice or yes/no/maybe questions. Keep things open-ended and “optional” so no one feels you’re poking around to get in his or her closet. Explain that good business contacts can come from stretching awareness of existing resources, and that you would be very appreciative of any information shared, even if the respondent didn’t consider it valuable.

Who do you know in your neighborhood, or your family or immediate circle of friends that might have some work or career connection with our three major prospects/customers?

Would they mind if you or someone from your organization contacted them or used their name to make contact with that prospect/customer to help open up a channel for dialogue about the services/products we offer?

What would it take for that to happen?”

                                                                                       

     A question flow like this will of course get answered more enthusiastically and more thoroughly when you can provide some reward — a bottle of champagne, a day off, a charitable donation in that individual’s name, a percentage of potential sales commission, a small piece of some resultant new revenue stream that a connection produces. Use your imagination here.   

     The bottom line is the old reminder that you never get anything if you don’t ask for it. And when you do ask, you may be pleasantly surprised. What’s the worst thing could happen, the questions produce no contacts? At least it will serve to get people thinking.

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT Day for someone! 

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