Many of you know that I am a big fan of networking, but generally have less favor for the traditional leads group. It has been my personal experience that forcing leads does not end up being quality leads. To this end, I became involved with Linking Winston Salem, and tried to get to as many Linking Greensboro events as I could. I have in the past been a part of WS Chamber leads groups, BNI for a short while, and other groups.
I think what we have in our hands is a situation of quantity over quality. Like Bill has stated, there are too many. People are not attending. There is no purpose really being that if you miss one, you will see them later in the week at another event.
Through Linking Winston Salem, we would try to have a speaker or a program that would be of benefit to each individual that attended. It is our hope that conversations would be started, connections made, and business done/friendships formed. We would bond over a meal and a program. and make lasting connections. No pressure to hand over someone’s information, just relationship building.
The Triad needs more relationships, and less forced commerce.
Can we enjoy a little Honesty Hour? Okay, great. The truth is, networking in the Triad is full of a bunch of silos (groups) that crash together randomly without ever really moving anywhere. Think on it. You have groups like your 336 Events crowd, the Piedmont Club crowd, tons of leads groups, BNI groups and then random organizations that make networking groups just to say they have one. When you see these different people in places outside of their group’s reach, it’s obvious they’re like fish out of water. Too many of them generally place a label or stigma on what type of business and person you are based on what group you’re part of. “Oh you’re not with so and so? Oh you must be blah and blah”. It’s just all…such a snooze.
A lot of groups I’ve tried to join were too transaction-based–as in it…
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Typically I reserve this space for questions or affirmations. Today is the rant. I am going to give neighbor benefit of the doubt, just because I am nice that way. Here is the synopsis. We needed to have 20 dead red tips removed from the back fence line, which is on the border of a 40 ft wide by 100 ft long power line easement. I worked with all the neighbors on our side of the easement to allow the tree folks to get in and do their job. All was going smoothly until today, when they arrived to bring down the remaining 10 trees, and chip all the branches and things into mulch. They have one of those big chippers that you see cities and tree people use. I get a panicked phone call from my tree guy, and it seems there is a pile of dirt, and a trench dug right in the path of where they needed to drive through on to my property. In the next door neighbors easement. That I had permission for them to cross. This was by neighbor diagonal to us, and not in the path of any of my tree work. To add insult to injury, they had tossed all the dirt from said trench on to the neighbor that is directly behind us. (confusing yes, but think of a foursquare court, and all of this happening on the middle line.)
No help from trench neighbor. Wouldn’t answer door. Wouldn’t respond to dirt pile neighbor asking.
So morale to this tale, and something I will preach from the rooftop if given the opportunity, (and stable platform). “Know your property lines”
The stakes from our survey, 15 years ago, are still there. That way we all know. Its not a bad thing, or a rude thing, to agree on where your property begins and your neighbors ends. In fact, it, like fences, make for great neighbors.
I will yank my survey out and make proof if need be.
Wow, was that a pretty weekend. Getting out to goof around in the yard, hitting some golf balls, and just enjoying the sunshine. That is a testament to why North Carolina is one of the greatest places to live.
One other thing hit me this weekend too. The time for planting this years veggies is coming soon, and I have yet to plan one bit of it. I keep debating on whether or not to grow my own or just join a cooperative and have a box of goodies each week. I know that hanging out in farmers markets and other local purveyors of good fresh things is a ton of fun. It opens all menus and possibilities. So what do you all think? Do the co-op? Grow my own? Just haunt all the farmers markets and other local places? What are your favorites.
Over the last few weeks, I have taken to plopping my job searching self in a coffee shop. It gets me out of the house, where too many distractions (ie honey-do’s) keep smacking me across the attention span, and I do not concentrate on the job search like I should. So I found a comfy place in a neighborhood shop. One good thing, maybe, is its not my neighborhood. The shop I haunt is in an older neighborhood in Winston Salem, on a busy mix of medical, residential, and commercial buildings, on a little two lane street. Its the perfect convergence of old and new Winston Salem. Great mix of professionals, ne’er do wells, and just your average folks.
What has struck me the most, is how Sarah and Justin, the owners, have created a welcoming, fun place to gather. They are warm, quick to say hello, and usually have a great story to tell. For the customer that wants to talk coffee, they know their bean too! Its all around a good hub for connections. The atmosphere is that of openness. Eavesdropping and inserting yourself into the table behind you conversation is encouraged. Making connections is what builds community, and community is what we need in these times. We need all stripes of people to be expressive, and understanding. People helping people, as a friend of mine says. Next time you are needing some connections, drop into a local. Observe, and interject, you may just be surprised at what you learn.
Pick a dog friendly one.
Seems today on the good old interwebs, we hear of more customer service fails by the companies whose products we consume, and then need help with. Well, earlier this week, I had the most pleasant customer service that I have encountered in months. From a financial institution even. So today, I am giving applause to Truliant Federal Credit Union, here in Winston Salem. It is car purchase time for the Jones house, and we needed a loan. I have spent the last few weeks getting things maneuvered so that debt is minimal, cash flow is good, and all that, in order that this purchase can be as painless as possible.
As an aside, I hate shopping for cars. I love the research, and the test drives, but the haggle back and forth and negotiations and all that rot drive me up the wall. Car buying should be like buying underwear, you know what style fits, what colors you like, and most of the times, what you want is easy to find. Plus, you know the price. Might get lucky and catch it on sale! Car buying should not make a person that finds no joy in the haggling want to yank his eyebrows out 3 hairs at a time.
Anyway, after looking at different dealer financing, and other bank financing (when I got a call back that is), I did some exploratory searching on Truliant’s web site. They had an online chat option, and so I clicked and got a wonderful chat with Mayra. Ten minutes of online chat, I had my questions answered, her extension so I could call with the rest of the information, and within 30 minutes, all was approved, even with us having not decided on which car we might get. This was Thursday.
Friday comes, and I wanted to make a change, and left a message. Got a call back, all was handled, and I could run by a branch on Saturday and get the things I needed. Saturday morning, I appear at a branch, and within 15 minutes have had the entire loan package explained, papers in hand, and ready for me to go shop, guaranteed financing in hand, at a rate that I know. Done.
I have been handled like I was the only client they had. It was wonderful. So Mayra and Meranda, you are my customer service heroes. Thank you.
I do believe it is not that hard to give customer service when employees charged with delivering it are given the tools and the power to solve issues, and encourage dialogue with the customer, so that trust is there if the issue has to be escalated.
It also helps for us, the consumer, to maintain a pleasant attitude. Yes we may be upset, but use your manners. You might just be surprised at how much faster your issue gets resolved if you are a nice person instead of an ass.