Networking In Business and its Importance
The gathering of the clan (well, some of them) at the Chesterfield Networking Event in Mayfair – but is person-to-person business networking still worthwhile in the social media age?
Networking In Business and its Importance
We are constantly bombarded with advertisements, emails, status updates, special offers. But do you ever feel that someone is making an actual effort to get to know you properly? Or do you feel just like you have lots of junk and out-of-touch nonsense rained down on you through your in-box?
Networking in business is the single most powerful marketing tactic used to increase and sustain success in any business. It provides the most productive enduring tactic to build relationships with other businessmen and women. To succeed you must continually connect with new people to grow your network.
“When trust between a divorcing couple is damaged, each needs professionals they can trust. So, to offer a divorcing couple the highest quality service we need to learn – through networking with other skilled professionals – who will work in the best interests of our clients.” Adriana Galimberti-Rennie – Associate Fellow, British Psychological Society and owner http://www.painlessdivor
What is peer to peer networking?
Networking is about making connections and building the foundations for a mutually beneficial relationship. The more people you include in your network allows the ability of the expansion of your sphere of influence. Making sure that it is mutually beneficial for both parties is key, as no-one wants to offer more than they get in return. Networking is also making sure as many people as possible know who you are and what you have to offer.
Or at least that is the most common belief.
But perhaps the real value of peer to peer networking is being able to connect with other professionals and business owners in an enjoyable way, focused on sharing good practice, ideas and support for each other? Not only is that more fun than thinking “how many sales am I getting out of this?” – but it also can be more productive.
“People buy from people they know, like and trust, which means establishing relationships. One of the most effective forms of building relationships is to network with other professionals and businesses. Face to face networking on a regular basis provides a supportive community that you can learn from and share knowledge with. Being part of a community is an innate emotional need for all human beings” Andrew Spence: Wellbeing Coach
Regular consistent networking, building ongoing relationships (not 1-hit wonders) through further events and social media interactions, not to mention 1-1 meetings to understand each others’ services in more detail, will often lead to referrals from your networking peers rather than direct sales. But that’s OK! In fact, having an unpaid team of referrers out there guiding prospective clients towards you, is a nice thing. And of course, you will naturally do the same for them.
Whether you are a senior executive or a politician, whatever your role, the skill of networking is worth taking time to develop. Carry it out as a habit, as it is something that needs to be ongoing. There is an almost endless supply of people out their each day for you to get in contact with.
“Be prepared to give and you will receive. It’s all about making the first move, about building a professional relationship and showing interest and that you have listened and not just tried to sell your services. I also network amongst my clients too. It also pays to build up local and regional relationships as people move around the country. It’s all about people and trust. Show you know and understand their business and personalise your communications. A CRM system is a must as there is a limit to what you can store in your head. This will help when organizing events and ask invitees to bring x2 guests.”
Why is it so Important?
Networking allows the chance to build personal relationships that enable you and your business to stand out, shine above all the others. People notice when you put the effort in on a personal level. Creating positive memories that people can refer back to, rather than just another email or voucher.
Think of personal relationships as a sort of catalyst. The people that you do business with will begin to not only like you but more importantly – trust you. By serving as a useful resource to people, this will benefit you through recommendations to clients or invitations to attend events which allows you to bond with other business people and potential customers. Creating a referral network is very important in the growth of any business.
“Networking and 1-1 chats offer me the opportunity to better explain how my favoured therapeutic tool, EFT Tapping and Counselling skills benefit those going through divorce. Emotions run high and physical health suffers; reducing stress and anxiety levels will only benefit and allow resolution to be achieved perhaps quicker and potentially with better results.”
Susan Cowe-Miller: Hampshire EFT
How do I get more out of my peer to peer networking events?
- Follow up with an email to the people you just met. This gives the impression that you are genuinely interested in their business and keen to start a collaborative relationship.
- Take all those business cards that you have stored in the draw of your desk, which you tell yourself ‘I’ll do it later’ – and do it now. Add them onto a CRM like Hubspot (it’s free)
- Connect with people as soon as you can by LinkedIn, twitter and/or other social media while its still fresh in your mind, but more importantly, still fresh in their’s.
There should be no reason why you have to reintroduce yourself again later. Make sure they remember you by reinforcing that initial connection.
Most importantly, only do it if you have a passion for connecting and interacting with people. You really need to enjoy it, otherwise you could be potentially wasting time and energy on something you aren’t all that interested in. If you have a burning desire to build collaborative, mutually beneficial and enduring relationships with people… start with face to face networking.
But remember – without the follow ups and continued connection through social media, you will not be getting the results you need for the time you spend networking.
Digital Marketing Consultant