Business networking has long been a mainstayformain businesses, used as a method of consistently driving new business in a regular, consistent manner.
How and why networking works is not that complicated, it is based around the following 10 core elements;
1. Building Relationships
Life is all about relationships, and business is no exception. They say that it’s not what you know, but who you know and that is true. People do business with people. If you build positive relationships with your fellow networkers, you will increase your business.
2. Face to Face
Networking face to face with other business people, espeially local business people is a great way to become known in the area. Interacting face to face gives you an advantage over the modern trend for email only business deals which lack the personal bonds that make for long term growth.
If you attend a networking group regulalry, you become a familiar face, a trusted face and their expert in your particular niche. If you want to receive new business referrals from your fellow networkers, attend every meeting and become familar.
4. Personal Recommendations
Generally speaking, people recommend people, not companies. “Talk to John at XYZ Company, he’ll help”….. if you are the John then your business will boom.
5. The Law of Reciprocation
When other people in your networking group ask for an introduction, listen carefully and do what you can to assist them. You may not know the first 10 people they ask for, but one day you will and when you arrange that introduction for them, you will put into motion the law of reciprocation.
The law states that when you do something for someone, they will not only return the favour, but over half the time, will repay you with a bigger favour than the one you did them.
Be consistent. In all your business dealings, especially when you are networking. As with most things in life, bad news will be half way round the world before good news has got his boots on, so be consistent…. consistently good and deliver on everything you say you will do.
7. Asking for Introductions
The power of business networking is in the introductions you can recieve.
In any given networking group, you will find a subgroup of businesses that while non competing, share a similar client base.
Your goal is to tap into the client base of similar businesses, and to become their recommended supplier of services (or goods).
If you don’t know who they might do business with (and you more than likely don’t), ask for business niche introductions.
8. Networking with Similar Businesses
Similar businesses have similar clicnts who will quite often be willing to listen to your pitch. If you can offer a superior service, lower prices or superior products, why wouldn’t they?
9. Demonstrate your Expertise
Networking is an opportunity to demonstarte your knowlwdge and expertise, use it.
10. Become “Their Guy”
In time, you will become the networking groups go to guy for your specific goods or services. When a few people have used you and recommend you then more will do so and before you know it you will have a regular stream of new business opportunities.
Next steps: Visit a reputable networking group such as The Room, one of the leading weekly networking groups in Bedford and get to know your fellow members.