Business networking works – in terms of creating awareness and customers. However, you have to go about it the right way. Here are some networking tips, which we hope you find helpful.
You are in the relationship business. If you focus on building relationships, business will come to you. When you’re networking, think about what your contacts want – not just what you want. Some people turn up at networking events and only talk about themselves. They grill each person they talk to, in order to find out whether they are a prospective customer. Unsurprisingly, they soon discover that networking, somewhat strangely, does not work for them. I imagine that they go back to hitting the phones (otherwise known as ‘cold calling’).
Do not expect instantaneous results. Take time to learn about other people and build trust. The more you invest in networking – the higher the returns.
Networking is now an established part of business life. You can network whilst eating your breakfast and at coffee time, lunchtime, tea time, supper time, dinner time and through the wee small hours if you are find it difficult to sleep!
Networking is particularly effective for those who are willing to share their knowledge. ‘Customer education’ is a powerful approach. You should share at least some of what you know with your network, i.e. by giving talks. You can quickly build a positive reputation as someone who is willing to help, which will attract customers to you and your enterprise.
Effective networkers can win substantial amounts of business. I met one of my networking contacts last year and asked him how his business was going. “Cranking!” he replied. “And you know what – it’s all through networking.”