In the context of business, networking is the process of creating a mutually beneficial relationship with a number of other like-minded business people and potential members of your target market (customers). The primary purpose and goal of business networking is to tell other people about your business and brand and in turn, have these people become customers of yours.
What was worse, is that 75% of people who were interviewed felt that the majority of the meetings they were in were unproductive.
We are however, not all born as naturally good networkers. There could be many reasons for people believing that they are “not good at networking”, these include:
· An apprehensive feeling with the networking process
· Simply not knowing or understanding the process,
· Being shy or uncomfortable speaking to strangers
· Or simply never having needed to network in the past.
In truth, networking is just a learned skill that is vitally important for entrepreneurs and business executives to make use of to grow the business and brand. There are additional benefits that can be achieved through networking with the right type of people. The cultivation of relationships that allow for giving and getting advice, information, leads and, most importantly referrals for business are just some of the benefits one can see by networking and expanding the contact sphere of personal and business connections.
Here are a few tips to assist you with becoming a better networker:
· While networking, be considerate and genuine – people want to do business with people they like
· Be open and honest, you will do more damage to your reputation if you lie
· Always arrive on time, this builds trust and shows people you respect them
· Be aware of your body language. By smiling and having open friendly body language, you show others they can trust you and you want to be there
· Listen as much as you talk. It is important to try to not monopolize the conversation. Exchange contact details and set a more in-depth follow up meeting
· Prepare. Knowing what you want to say, as well as how you are going to say it will help you to be taken more seriously and seen as more professional
By utilising the above tips, you give yourself the best chance to get more out of your networking and through that grow both your business and brand.
Crafted by Chris Midgley