It’s likely you’ve heard the expression “Know, Like, Trust”. The key to successful business development is building solid relationships with prospects, nurturing them continuously, and leveraging the relationships to generate revenue growth over the long-term. Done well, making contacts using business networking can be an effective, low-cost marketing technique.
Business networking is about meeting new contacts and maintaining positive relationships with clients, prospective clients and other professionals in your field. With this important and ever-growing group of contacts, you can exchange insights, stay on top of industry changes, grow your brand awareness and generate referrals. It could also be the way you learn about potential candidates for growing your team.
Industry-specific networks can help you build your profile and keep up with industry trends. Additionally, joining a network your customers are a part of is an excellent way to find new clients. Consider expanding your contact list by becoming a member of professional associations.
Social media platforms are also worth taking into consideration, as they connect you with individuals who share your interests and face the same challenges. These like-minded people can impart their best practices, provide constructive advice, and help you focus on your goals.
You should make networking a priority and start before your marketing funnel runs dry. Reach out to others and form connections to build a successful business. In the following section, you can learn how to expand your business opportunities.
Knowing where to make connections is the first step in successful networking. Even though almost any activity or event can serve as a networking opportunity, attending local business events can be particularly beneficial for small business owners.
Presence at industry conventions serves as an in-person content marketing opportunity. Participating in an expert panel, presenting in a breakout session, or being a keynote speaker are all ways of practicing thought leadership, which can help to build trust, nurture leads and activate word-of-mouth marketing.
Determining what events and platforms would benefit your networking strategy is important for maximizing your time. Consider your networking goals (and how they compare to the likely audience at each event) and then see which in-person/remote gatherings best align with these objectives.
Generally, people prefer to build business relationships with individuals who can benefit them. Sometimes, it is only possible to make connections by establishing a high level of trust and reputation first. When you prove your credibility as someone who is helpful, talented, and valuable, people will be more likely to meet you and keep in touch, which will lead to a more robust business network.
A good elevator pitch should include concise memorable sentences to convey your core company values as quickly as possible (usually within a minute). Make sure it’s interesting enough that it piques the interest of your potential connections and encourages them to ask you questions.
As soon as you decide to build your network, this tool becomes a quintessential part of your interactions. Therefore, to get the elevator pitch right, you should understand your business, define your mission, and specify what you do before you attend seminars and networking events.
When you assist people in your network in achieving their goals, your connections will be more motivated to return the favour in the future. The stronger your network is, the stronger you become in return. You can achieve this by sharing your ideas and expertise and/or offering referrals to help them build their pipeline.
Networking effectively is more than just attending events. While outgoing individuals will likely be fine introducing themselves and meeting new people, those who are more reserved can learn to get out of their comfort zone and approach potential business contacts.
Confidence attracts others! For instance, a simple smile can go a long way toward demonstrating these traits. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much more positive your interactions will be if you smile as soon as you walk through the door.
As you build relationships, they become more valuable. Thus, establishing a connection requires patience and consistency. Remember, relationships close deals, not connections. There is more to networking than exchanging business cards and connecting on LinkedIn. Relationships formed through networking are most valuable when they are mutually beneficial and long-lasting. Therefore, stay in touch with your connections and wait for the right time.
The first step in establishing a relationship is making a connection; the second is maintaining the bond. Therefore, it is essential to follow up with your contacts occasionally. For instance, you could send them a friendly note around the holidays, forward them a relevant article, provide any additional information they may have requested, or invite them to a seminar or conference. Alternatively, you might suggest a meeting or phone call to discuss things in more detail. This will help you create a reputation as someone trustworthy and persistent who delivers on their promises.
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