Adam Harris on networking, referrals and the “Check-In Strategy” – MAF199

My guest this week is speaker and author, Adam Harris.

We chat about networking and referral techniques and how he came up with the “Check-in Journal”, which helps companies with goal setting and accountability.

Welcome to episode 199 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Adam’s unusual presenting style
  • What Adam has learned about networking
  • Why you need to be clear on your target market
  • How to approach people without appearing salesy
  • The inspiration for Adam’s book
  • Why businesses need to set clear goals

Who is Adam Harris?

Adam started off working as Sainsbury’s at 16, qualifying as a butcher and baker.

Ready for a change after a couple of years, he attended university before setting up an IT recycling company, then other IT business. 10 years ago, following the merger of another IT company he owned, he found himself at a loose end. He asked trusted friends what he was good at, and they said he excelled at making introductions and asking great questions.

Today, he helps senior staff make connections to leverage better opportunities. He’s a coach for CEOs and MDs, supporting them to become better leaders by giving them the right tools to get the most out of their teams.

Summary of our chat

When Adam speaks on stage he responds to the energy in the room, making his presentations an exploratory process. He challenges the audience and encourages them to think differently. He gets them to participate by asking them to work in groups or play games.

Adam developed his skill at making connections at networking events into a framework for individuals to get themselves in front of the right people. He says regular networking with like minded people does work, so long as the group you’re in includes members of your target market.

To get clear on your ideal customer, look at your current client base. Work out where they’ve come from and who are the top 20% who make up the bulk of your business. Take time to understand them, and use that information to ask for referrals and grow your company.

To approach people the right way, Adam says you should think about the methodology you use. If you’d be annoyed by the style of approach, don’t do it. You should be focused and narrow your target. Be specific when you ask someone to make an introduction.

Adam noticed that people agree action points during meetings which they rarely follow up on. He found a personal development journal, but realising there wasn’t a business equivalent, was inspired to create one. His “Check-in Strategy Journal” can be used in companies to support goal-setting, developing focus and being accountable.

Adam says that businesses often set goals they think they should have, rather than what they want. Goals can and should be reviewed and changed. It’s also important to balance the ambitions of employees and the organisation to benefit both and encourage growth

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One Thing Adam Would Like Listeners to Take Away

In Nando’s restaurants, there is a wooden cockerel on the table. After the food has been served, the staff come back to check if everything is ok. If it is, they take the rooster away, and if it isn’t, they deal with the issue.

Adam implemented a similar system in his IT business, where they followed up with customers twice. This allowed customers to raise any problems and have them resolved. We don’t like to complain in the UK, but giving customers the opportunity to get their feelings off their chest is a great touchpoint to have in place.

A Marketing Campaign or Product Which Grabbed Attention

Adam offers advice to people who aren’t happy with their situation: If something isn’t working, speak, understand, challenge, get the support and find a way of doing something for yourself.

He often sees people who are stuck in a fear cycle. Our bodies and minds will often take the path of least resistance, but if you want to do something different and be challenged, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes people can do this themselves, but often they can’t, and need support to bring about change.

A marketing campaign that grabbed Adam’s attention

In Nando’s restaurants, there is a wooden cockerel on the table. After the food has been served, the staff come back to check if everything is ok. If it is, they take the rooster away, and if it isn’t, they deal with the issue.

Adam implemented a similar system in his IT business, where they followed up with customers twice. This allowed customers to raise any problems and have them resolved. We don’t like to complain in the UK, but giving customers the opportunity to get their feelings off their chest is a great touchpoint to have in place.

Recommended Business Book

Adam recommends Radical Candor by Kim Scott, which talks about the ability to be open, honest, vulnerable and challenging to the people in your life. If you’re holding back, you’re not doing yourself or them justice. It’s appropriate for using in your work and personal life, as she gives advice on how to be challenging without being aggressive, to help you improve relationships and deal with problems.

And this is the Check-in Strategy Journal – Adam’s book.

Links and contact details

They have a limited number of $500 dollar vouchers available to listeners in America and Canada to spend with the company – either mention the Marketing and Finance Podcast in the chat facility or contact Natalie directly.

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