One of my clients who is an IT expert asked me this question:
“Hi Wojciech! I am following all the posts and learned quite a bit how to network with other businesses. Thank you for that. What happens is that at some networking events I come across people who are doing the same or similar things that I am doing and it keeps me wondering how can I network with them? Is there any special etiquette? Can we find maybe some common ground in business? I will appreciate your advice”
I answered: “Yes! Your competitors can be a great source of business and contacts, and forging competitive partnerships can help you grow your business more quickly and easily.”
The client: “How can I do that?”
I said: “Sharing knowledge, experience and information can be mutually beneficial. Just think outside the box and find out If you are able to exchange a piece of information that your competitor needs. There are plenty of things your company can offer without giving away any major trade secrets. Helping your competition is a great way of starting a great relationship. There are always going to be situations where a competitor can get involved and help you in return. In the end, both businesses could benefit from that give-and-take.”
Three months later I have got this message…
“Hi Wojciech, I have met with another IT consultant following one of the networking meetings in London last month. It transpired that even though we do have similar services we can actually collaborate and generate more business together. A week ago, he called me to ask if I can take care of one of his new clients as he had no capacity to help the client. I have accepted this opportunity and offered a recommendation fee, so it is a “WIN-WIN” situation for both of us. Thank you for sharing your expertise and helping me to generate more business.”
Well, networking is really working!