Friday night networking

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Written by Jean-Marc Flambert

A Haitian Sri Lankan living in London who has worked with multiple tourism brands including hotels, DMC's, MICE and destinations - and he is a BUZZ.travel Ambassador as well.

Published: Jun 14, 2019

I am certainly thrilled with the evolution of CRM tools, professional social media like LinkedIn and BUZZ.travel, business card scanners/readers, and phones that can store more than 100 contacts! Through networking, I have met well over 10,000 people in my professional life of 26 years and unfortunately don’t have all these contacts in one place. It seems that weekly I am shaking hands with, exchanging ideas with, pitching to, or listening to the pitch from a multitude of people. Some meetings go back to 1995 when I was on the organizing committee of AISEC international conference, some to the opening Le Kandyan (re-branded Amaya Hills – 100 roomed hotel, and others met when I was speaking at conferences or exhibiting at a travel fair. Most of these people and their contact details were deemed to the property of the organization I was with at the time, so I did not take them on to my next role. Do I have all those people’s telephone numbers and e-mails? Do I know where they moved to when they left the organization they were at when I met them? The simple answer is no. However, I am connected with 4,000 of them on LinkedIn or Twitter. I hope to shift this to BUZZ.travel – a platform built for our industry.

Social media has allowed us as professionals to establish ourselves beyond our current role in our current organization. This is extremely powerful as I am first “Jean-Marc Flambert” and then the role and the associated brand. How do we leverage this in todays world of business where people make deals with people and not organization ? You choose who you trade with and you generally choose to deal with some one you know, some one you trust and some one your like – ceteris paribus (everything else remaining equal). I have there for created a target for myself that every one that I meet professionally should be placed into 1 of 3 boxes (this dictates how they have to be left feeling after we have met) :

Three boxes I place people in

  1. People I know who respect me professionally
  2. People I know who respect me professionally and would refer me
  3. People I know who respect me professionally, would refer me and do business with me

The first category will accept my invitation to connect on a professional network like BUZZ.travel or LinkedIn
The second category will refer me for a job or a contract of work within their network
The third category differs from the 2nd as they have the need for my services directly also

Any one else I meet who don’t fall here, means that I have not succeeded during my first or subsequent meeting with them.

So based on the above, my business success =

10,000 people met professionally
4,000 connected via LinkedIn so I hold the relationship
I can then assume (based on experience) 1,000 would refer me
I can then assume (based on experience) 100 are doing business with me

Options to grow effectiveness

So, I have a few options

  1. Increase the business I do people in 3
  2. Work with those people in 2 to harness their contacts
  3. Engage with more people professionally

I love meeting people and getting to know what they do and what makes them click. Whether I am at a friends house for dinner and they have invited another friend who I have not met, whether I am at my son’s school play or out partying on a Friday night, I always have a purpose in my line of questions a new acquaintance – to see if I can fit them into one of the three boxes. I then come back and connect with them the next day via social media if possible, recalling the connection and making a relevant suggestion of a next step – let’s connect/let’s talk with a view to you understanding what I do and how I can add value to what you do/let’s meet as I think it would be worth your time and mine as I can add value to what you do. In the past, I have used LinkedIn, but now BUZZ.travel is opening a whole new and focused set of opportunities.