Every now and then we all get the opportunity to refer someone to someone else.
Many in business have made a profession out of “networking” – to me, its just something you do – help people out, introduce one person you like to another person you like, as and when a need arises.
A couple of years ago I introduced two of our friends to each other, both nice guys, both running established SMEs, each of whom have passed me very useful information, insights and contacts over the years.
One of them – Steve Pearson, owner of Valve & Process Solutions, needed a Forklift Truck for the new warehouse facility in his rapidly growing company. The other, Shaun Hessey, MD of family firm Peterman Forklift Trucks, advised Steve, arranged the appropriate machine, and Steve’s team, who thought they might use the truck once or twice a month for the heavy lifting and moving, are now using it every day.
What I liked about this new business relationship was the “birds of a feather” attitude: All three of our companies work on trust and a dedication to provide the right solution – it would have been easy for Shaun to sell Steve only what Steve thought he needed; many “order taker” sales people and businesses would have taken the opportunity for a higher ticket item and greater margin sale – but it wasn’t what Steve needed.
Steve has the same attitude to his customers, saving them time and creating longevity where it didn’t exist before his advice was taken – so they hit it off well.
We produce all Steve’s marketing materials, branding, campaigns, websites etc, the company is ambitious and going from strength to strength – but Shaun not so much – simply because, at 50 years old this year – Peterman could use more creative marketing, but don’t “need” it.
The last website we designed for Peterman is well over a decade old (yep that old) so with their Golden Jubilee upon us we decided it was time they had a change.
Seriously – from a creative design point of view my mate Shaun is a nightmare! It’s like pulling teeth!
Then a slice of inspiration dropped into the conversation.
Whenever we have conversations we discuss family, business and Shaun’s interest in sport: Football (obviously we support different teams in the City) the Sharks and Hatters both of which he and the company have and are sponsors/supporters of – Sheffield Theatres where he is part of a working group, Whirlow Hall Farm charity and The Archer Project – a particular passion of Shaun’s where he suggested The Breakfast Club – each sponsor company providing breakfasts for the rough sleepers of Sheffield – once a year for a week Shaun goes along and takes his company’s turn paying for and then volunteering as servers for the meals.
The logo on the back of the Sharks shirts, who are a much bigger outfit in a much bigger sport than they were when Petermans first offered sponsorship and the odd banner here and there, is one thing that Shaun could make more of publicity wise – but his involvement with the charities, the Hatters and the Theatre is even more low profile, to the extent of it not being mentioned beyond personal conversations.
As I told him – it’s ok being altruistic / charitable for no personal or commercial gain; that almost Victorian reticence which seems ingrained in many Brits – but if you don’t tell a wider audience about your passions you are denying those same charities and causes access to further sponsors you could be inspiring.
So it was, finally, that Shaun was “bullied” into having a new website for the first time in a decade – by dedicating its front page, during their Golden Jubilee year, to the causes, clubs and charities Peterman have supported for years (He even gave in and allowed us to give him a presence on social media!)
Want to do something for your reluctant friends?
Find their personal passions – go with that.