Our Managing Director Adam Smith recently met with the Design Business Association’s Membership Director, John Scarrott, where they chatted about the many advantages of joining the DBA.
John was particularly interested in the way in which Buzzword use a combination of ‘logic and magic’ for successful networking, and asked Adam some questions about the blend of science and art used by us in growing our business.
We were pleased to read John Scarrott’s resultant article recently published on the DBA’s blog page:
Using networking to grow your business is about combining logic and magic. I spoke with Adam Smith, Managing Director of Buzzword Creative to uncover the blend of science and art that he and his team use; an approach that has led to the growth of their business. It turns out to be an efficient combination that gives them plenty to do when they’re not actively engaged with their clients that puts them in a good place to be engaged at a later date.
Let’s look at the magic first – the key behaviours involved, why they work and what to do to assess where you currently are.
“We think about our clients as people.”
The Buzzword team remember information about their clients and, crucially not just the work stuff. They take an interest in what is going on in their lives, keeping alert to any information that reveals something about their client as individuals. When it’s appropriate, they can drop that information into conversation. This helps to build a rapport and sustain the relationship dynamic between projects. By extending social behaviours and turning it into an aspect of doing business it makes the suggestion of a coffee or a quick meeting with a client, very easy and natural. This can then be scaled up to inviting a client to an event. All of this can result from the simple action of remembering their clients as people. So, what do you know about your clients as people?
“We think about what might be missing for our clients.”
This is a stimulating exercise for the Buzzword team. Just because they are not engaged with a client, it doesn’t mean their brains switch off. Crucial in the phrase is the focus on what is “…missing for our clients.” It’s not about them. Instead Buzzword make it about their clients situation and down the line, this might be a subject that their clients want to discuss with them or that they can start a conversation around. By starting with what your clients might need, this will subsequently lead to you getting your needs met. A win-win. How often do you ask, “What might our clients need…next?
“We create our own ‘care’ about our clients.”
This is an energising statement. They’re not waiting to be stirred, rather opting to be a self-stirring group of people. They are adaptable and able to generate their own interest in what their client’s doing and their business. Such enthusiasm and interest in their clients is contagious. This takes work. What questions could you ask about your clients’ businesses to get curious about them?
“We speak to our clients.”
Buzzword’s rule is “if it can be done verbally, do it verbally. Then back it up with an email.” This means they are building personal relationships using the telephone and through face-to-face meetings. All senses are stimulated and therefore alive to the feedback they receive from the client. These encounters create the spontaneity that can lead to opportunity. This cannot be achieved using email. There just isn’t the sensory content available. But email is still useful as a way to confirm what was discussed and agreed. Take a look at your frequency of communication and what you’re communicating. What does your balance look like?
Now to the science of their networking.
“We know our numbers.”
Buzzword know the numbers that matter in terms of managing their relationships. They know their total number of contacts. They are aware of the percentage of clients that have spent money recently. And they know which percentage of those they have a constant relationship with by how often they speak with them. Do you know these numbers for your own network?
“We make use of the numbers.”
The team have a list of what their clients spent last year compared with this year. And they understand this list. They know what percentage of the list are one off projects, which are annual projects, which are sporadic and which are regular clients. Do you know how your network looks across these areas?
“We create ‘pointers’ to focus effort.”
They look at their list of clients by spend and then cross-reference this against who they have spoken to. This helps them focus their efforts in the right place. It helps them to identify gaps where they can apply some magic. This is motivational because it provides the reason to do something. What are your pointers saying to you?
The mix of logic and magic that Adam and his team create is the key to their successful networking. Focussing on either element on it’s own is not enough. All magic and your effort relies on luck to pay off. All logic and you’ll have all the pie charts you can eat, but no emotion or motivation to turn the information into action. The place to start your networking audit could be with a logic and magic assessment. What works best for you in each area? How do they combine together? What might you do differently to get a better result for your business? What are you waiting for? Your next piece of work is right under your nose.
John Scarrott is Membership Director of the Design Business Association. For more information on DBA membership go to: www.dba.org.uk/membership. Follow John on Twitter: @DBAJohnScarrott