Networking, why wouldn’t you? 


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During my career I have trained numerous consultants, credit management advisors and account managers in prospecting methods, lead gathering techniques and relationship building tools.

I’m always surprised at how many of them do not see the value of networking which I find absolutely astounding.

It is an absolute cornerstone of business – I don’t care if you are a biochemical engineer or you are a steward on a super yacht – networking is of huge benefit to you both.

Networking brings the ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ mentality to the business realm. Take the networking group that I am in, BNI Elite here in Tauranga.

I have seen the group members help each other with issues that they just cannot find the right help for anywhere else – they simply ask the group for advice and instantly they have 25 brains networking – individual’s experience and educations all working towards one common goal.

Now let’s get ridiculously simplistic here – if I asked you to either pull a truck 100m by yourself, or I said that you can use 25 of your peers to help you, it would be a pretty simple choice. Especially given that you may well have a champion truck pulling athlete in your peer group (but you would never have had reason to know this otherwise).

In my current work we have a case that needed an expert opinion in the realms of auditing, contract law, large equipment finance and very specific commercial insurance.

When conducting these types of cases it can take a week of research, vetting, calling-around and trying to find someone who is not snowed-under, with the right experience, and willing to be involved.

In this case it took 15 minutes in total to find an acclaimed accountant with years of audit and company restructure experience, a lawyer who specialises in complex commercial law and encumbered asset distribution and a financial advisor who specialises in commercial equipment financing and refinancing who then referred a top insurance advisor who understands the very specialised needs of my client.

Me being in this network saved my client thousands in extra time costs and they had instant access to some of the best advisors in their industries.

At another group I was in, an accountant stood up and said, “I have a client that has been ripped-off for $1.3m by an advisor who stole their money and bought a house with it. The police won’t help and the client’s lawyer has quoted over $200k for legal costs. Does anyone know anyone who can help?”

As I was there, I explained that my investigations company does this kind of work. Within a month we had $900k worth of value back to the victim and handed on to an amazing lawyer we work with who finished off the case with a view to bankrupting the advisor.

In this case being at the right place at the right time was worth nearly a million dollars for the victims, at a cost that wasn’t even 20% of the quoted fees from the out-of-town lawyer.

I will be an ardent networker until I retire (at which point I will probably just network all day with other old fogies talking absolute bollocks to each other).

I have seen the difference that having a group of trusted business peers on your side can make to a person, a business and the business community as a whole. Competition makes for winners and losers; collaboration makes everyone win.

Just a thought.

Related: Pressure can make diamonds, but it can also make dust

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Nick Kerr
Nick Kerr
Nick Kerr is the director of IPI Group Limited. He can be reached on 021 876 527 and nick@nzipi.com.

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