Networking can and will increase your share of the market. When done properly networking can help you gain ideas, provide work opportunities, and just an overall better perspective on business. Ask any successful business person and they would emphatically tell you that networking is a vital skill to have if you’re looking to grow your business. Here are 4 keys that every business owner looking to network should have.
Key #1 Aim to become visible
I often say that people don’t know what you do until you tell them. And in this day and age where there are literally thousands of new entrepreneurs, you have to stand out from the rest. By all means you need to let others know that you exist and that your product or service has value. Look for interesting events to go to; clubs, associations, meetings, seminars, conferences, presentations, breakfast briefings, lunches, or start your own networking club (which I have had success in doing). In addition take advantage of the massive amount of people located in the various social networking sites. No one will promote your company better than you. Use some if not all of these options to let people know that you are here in that you are ready to add value.
Key #2 Treat all events as networking
A good friend of mine who is a business coach often tells his clients to remember that you are always networking. You should treat every event, every time you go to the grocery store, eating at a restaurant as if it was in networking opportunity. Doing so will always place you in a position to add value to some one’s life with your product or service. People do business with those whom they know, like, trust. Generally, taking advantage of every networking opportunity will put you in the position for someone to get to know you begin to like you and ultimately trust you with whatever their need.
Key #3 Build your relationships
If people do business with those whom they know, like and trust. Build being effective relationships with your new and old contacts are imperative. Relationship building is not the going to lunch, it is not the late-night outings. Rather, it is the steady stream of open communication between you and the contact. To me building on relationships is a slow and steady process where you or showing your value. Showing how you can create value in the relationship will fortify it and allow them to get to know you a lot better. As a result it will begin to like you more because they are seeing the value that you are bringing to the table. Because of the value they will begin to trust you simply because your position is not of selfishness rather, it is one way you are giving of yourself to ensure the success of someone else.
Key #4 Be organized
This is the most important part of effective networking. Your ability to follow-up is crucial to effective networking. This is simply known as follow-up and it is vital to the success of your business. There are many tools that will allow you to create lists, file business cards and the fellow your marketing base. I would suggest the investment into a great customer relationship management system or software. A good CRM program will allow you to follow-up with greater ease. Organizing your contacts and proper follow-up will allow you to put your best foot forward and separate you from others.