Networking v’s Pushing Sales
No matter your industry, you’re going to rely fairly heavily on your network and effective networking is an important skill to have.
It’s only through building strong relationships that you can ensure your business success.
Business networking gets a bad rap
Many people have negative mental associations with business events.
They imagine a sweaty salesperson in an ill-fitting suit trying to pitch to everybody in the room. Nothing irks us more than the desperate business owner.
These people hand out hundreds of business cards, talk all about themselves and are not the slightest bit interested in you unless you’re going to spend some money.
This is the wrong attitude to have about meeting new people.
Serve others when you are Networking
When you are meeting other people, you should go in with an attitude of service. This means using your two ears and one mouth more often.
You should think about how you can help anyone you meet. Meaning help them before you help yourself.
What can you do for them?
There are a number of potential benefits to networking:
Meet new connections – Meeting new people is fun. Learning more about them and their business is so refreshing in this busy life.
People like the person who takes the time to learn all about them on a personal level not just about their business
If you go to a networking event with 50 people you might only truly meet 2-3 people properly. This is why in real life events are so important to build authentic, long lasting relationships.
Learn something new – These events should also be seen as an opportunity to learn something new. Always come with an open mind and a notebook and pen.
You can learn from people you meet and also from guest presenters.
Make money through referral partners – There are different networking events. Some events/groups, like BNI (bni.com) for example, are about getting referrals for your other group members.
Referrals are an important source of customer growth for every business and networking is a great way for you to find more referral partners.
Building your business on referrals helps you spend less money on your marketing.
Sell more of your product – Whilst it shouldn’t be your key goal, it’s possible that you may find some potential customers at an event that you attend.
But you should not try to sell to them on the night. Build that relationship and make time to catch up.
Networking is incredibly powerful if done right
For many, networking feels like a chore.
Can I just say that if you feel this way you are doing it wrong?
Networking should be fun.
It should be inspiring, motivating and best of all you get to make new friends or collaborations.
Most important is Follow-up
Once you meet people at a networking event you need to follow up with them.
You should create a plan of how you are going to follow up – whether via email, via phone or in person.
Give priorities the people you meet via immediacy and importance of follow up.
It may be that you connect via LinkedIn or Facebook.
Networking is a great way for you to grow your business
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