I’ve been involved with business networking for over three decades now and I’ve always found it to always be the best way to find a job, get recommendations, and increase the buzz about any business. Networking isn’t anything new, it’s been going on long before the advent of computers. Golf courses, after hours business functions, and more have always been the traditional ways in which business people get together to be social and to get to know each other. There is no better way to build relationships outside of business that actually improves a business.
Nowadays businesses should be networking online and offline to increase business opportunities in many ways, such as:
Business Networking Gets You More Referrals
A referral is considered a “hot” or “warm” lead, this is someone who has already likely been sold on your business products and or services by someone else prior to contacting you. All you have to do is provide the referral with the information they want, follow up, and close the sale.
Networking Builds Trust
Trust is one of the foundations of business success, its common sense that people are more likely to want to do business with someone they trust. Networking events give others an opportunity to see you outside of your business and in a new way. Seeing you as someone they can relate to build the trust, as you work toward building relationships that last regardless of what they can do for you.
Networking Helps Word of Mouth Referrals Grow
A seasoned net-worker has higher word-of-mouth buzz than others because they have demonstrated, through their actions that they are a resource that others can use. It doesn’t matter what you sell; if you are vocal about your business, but also helpful and provide advice freely, you’ll be the first person people think about when they need to offer someone a referral.
Networking Increases Confidence
When you are happy, it shows when you present your business to others, similarly if you are not happy and don’t understand why you are doing something, it shows. By practicing presenting your ideas and business to others at networking events, online and off, you will gain confidence in your abilities and it will show through in what you do.
Networking Provides a Great Target Audience Education
When you are more knowledgeable about your audience, you will create more opportunities for yourself and your business. Networking with peers is great for referrals and business help, but networking with your audience also provides an education in your market that you cannot get any other way, if you’re prepared to listen.
Improves Communication Abilities
The more you network with others, the better you’ll get at communicating with others. The better you are at communicating, the more people will like and trust you. The more people like and trust you, the more business you will get and generally the more networking you will do.
Business Networking Forces You to Be Ready
Just the act of going to a networking event forces you out of your comfort zone and makes you study your business, your audience, your competition and understand what type of education you need to succeed. It gets you outside of your own little world, in a way that nothing else can.
Networking Gives You the Ability to Conversion Test Prior to Production
When you network with honest people you trust, especially your peers, you can try out ideas before putting them into practice. You can see what their reaction is before you waste too much time and money on them and the feedback you get can help you fine tune things ready for production.
Business networking is and always will remain, one of the best ways to increase opportunities for you and your business. It always has been how work got done, and always will be, I just wish I could do more on the golf course.