The trick with networking is being proactive. This means doing something about it, instead of just talking about it. But then, you also have to be smart to get the kind of results you need.
Networking is a socioeconomic activity by which business people meet to form relationships and to recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities
Networking is developing and using contacts made in business. It is sharing information and seeking potential partners for ventures.
Business Networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people, potential clients and/or customers. The primary purpose of networking is to tell others about your business and hopefully turn them into clients.
Smart Networking Strategies
The trick with networking is being proactive. This means doing something about it instead of just talking about it. But then, you also have to be smart about it to get the kind of result you need. The following tips will help.
- Have a goal: Set a goal for what you expect from any meeting you attend. Your goal could be to discover industry trends, new prospects or connect with peers outside your circle. Having a goal in mind before you walk into an event will keep you focused. You could also set a goal to meet at least three new people at any event (conference, training, luncheon or dinner) you attend. This means that you’ll make a move towards newcomers instead of gravitating towards familiar faces as usual.
- Try new groups regularly: Determine what business organization(s) is your best fit based on your goals. It could be a professional body, a civic organization, a social group or a non-governmental association. Once you decide, make it a point to interact with these associations regularly and leverage
onthe connections you make.
- Don’t rush to sit at an event or sit by people you know: Instead, take advantage of the valuable networking time to meet new people. You may be in that seat staring into space or browsing through your phone for hours, so don’t be in a hurry to limit yourself by sitting with your friends. It may be more fun to socialize with faces you’re familiar with but remember that you have a goal in mind. Use your time wisely and get value for your money.
- Be pitch ready: You’ve probably heard of the term elevator pitch. It is a synopsis; a brief persuasive speech that tells all about your unique selling point and the value you have to offer. The fact is, networking takes so many forms and sometimes you might have just a minute to make a great sales pitch and leave a positively memorable impression. Have your card and/or contact number ready to be exchanged
- Be willing to give: Networking is a two-way street. Don’t expect new contacts to shower you with referrals and business if you are not equally generous. Always share information or leads that might benefit them. Provide value without asking for anything in return. That’s how to get people’s attention. In turn, they’ll proactively try to help you.
Benefits of Smart Networking
- New contacts and referrals you can follow up and add to your client base.
- Opportunities for partnerships and new areas of expansion for your business.
- Visibility to raise your personal profile and keep you in the minds of the right people.
- Keeps you current and updated with the target market conditions and overall trends in your industry.
- Access to the knowledge and prior experience of others in and outside your industry. Taking advantage of the experiences of others before you invest time and money in a particular venture can be invaluable.
- You can often find solutions to your business problems and best fits for open positions via networking.
- Boosts confidence. Most business people are optimistic and regularly associating with such people can be a great morale boost, particularly in the early phases of a new business.
A core purpose of business networking is to increase business revenue in the long run. Results can be immediate such as in developing a relationship with a new client, or happen over time such as in learning a new business skill. If your networking strategy is not yielding results, it’s probably time to change it.
She has a Masters Degree in Human Geography with a focus on Sustainable Utilization of Resources. She also volunteers with Olive Tenders; a non-profit organization for the cause of children and young adults.
Ruth enjoys generating ideas for innovation, proffering solutions to problems and relating with people because at the end of the day, being in business is about the value you have to offer people.