There has been so much buzz regarding business networking lately that some might think it is one of the greatest marketing tactics a business has ever come up with. We hear so much about the benefits of business networking tips that we start wondering if there is a unique trick to it.
The truth is, even though there is no mystery about it, we do need to remember two critical aspects of business networking. Firstly, the concept of a business networking group is nothing new. The only thing is the internet offers so many creative networking tools that we often get confused about which ones to pick.
Human beings have been networking with each other ever since they existed. You are known by the type of friends you make. The gang you hang out with affects your personality. In the olden days, when tribes exchanged information about good hunting spots or sources of fresh water, they were networking.
But what does networking mean when we talk about it in the context of a business?
What is Business Networking?
Business networking is simply the process of building and cultivating relationships with those who have similar aspirations and interests as yours to get mutual benefits. It is an ongoing strategy that helps businesses create their brand awareness, open doors to new clients and opportunities, and capitalize on their personal and professional networks to drive more sales for their business.
Many businesses build a networking strategy with the sole objective of generating leads that have a high potential of converting into sales. If you have an extensive professional network and business referral contacts, it can help you a great deal in your career.
For an organization, business networking tips can help hire quality employees, improve business practices, sell more products, penetrate new markets, and ultimately generate more revenue.
Professionals and business owners these days use traditional methods of business networking as well as contemporary tactics. Some commonly used methods include joining online communities, attending networking events, making connections through social media platforms, and organizing seminars.
If you are running a business in this 21st century, it will be as good as you make it. This implies that as an aspiring entrepreneur, you need to work to the best of your ability by using all types of competitive and modern strategies in your struggle to make your business thrive. Learning how business networking works is one such step you can take.
In this post, we will give you some solid business networking tips, and guide you through each so that it becomes easy for you to implement them in your business. But before that, let’s talk a bit about business networking groups.
What are Business Networking Groups?
All human beings actually have a group everywhere. If these groups benefit your business, you can call them business networking groups. For example, you might have relationships with people who, in one way or the other, guide you in your business or help in spreading the word about your brand. You might meet somebody at the gym and end up discussing your new product idea with them. You might even meet someone at a sports event, just to find out that they have been looking for the exact kind of service that you offer.
Various groups and communities often don’t mention their main goal as business networking. Still, they are actually a good source for entrepreneurs and marketers to interact and exchange ideas. Anyone you get to know one-on-one and communicate about your business can become part of your business networking group.
10 Business Networking Tips
Here are 10 business networking tips to help you successfully incorporate this concept in your marketing.
1. Build a Network Before You Need It
Business networking should be practiced continuously. It is not something you can start immediately when you need it. It has to be a norm in your organization’s culture to make friends and contacts who are somehow related to the industry you operate in. When you operate this way, you can properly capitalize on the benefits of business networking.
2. Stay in Touch
Don’t just contact the people in your network when you badly need them. Keep in touch with them regularly. Make them feel special by occasionally inviting them over to your office and discussing the latest trends and industry gossip with them. Business networking is most effective if done from a place of sincerity.
When you respect your business contact, they reciprocate respect and trust. This is how to maintain healthy relationships with those in your business network. If you sign an agreement with close contact, you’ll be confident that the contract will mutually benefit both parties because you would have known the person for a while through effective business networking.
4. Have Clear Goals
Just like any other action you take in your business, your business networking should also be done with a clear goal and objective in mind. Focusing on your goals keeps you from wasting time networking with those not relevant to your business.
5. Know What You Can Offer
Business networking is not just about taking benefits. It is also about giving to the other party. As you develop your network, make sure you know clearly what you can offer to those who join your business networking group.
6. Do Your Research
Even though business networking is a good way to keep up with the competitive pace in your industry, it doesn’t mean you can survive without your own market research. You must keep yourself updated with the changing market trends and consumer preferences at all times.
7. Show Genuine Interest
Business networking is not about pretending to be interested in the other party’s initiatives and preferences. You must show genuine interest in the other party. Only then will they be interested to know more about your business. Relationships are always a two-way street.
8. Meet Up In-Person
The presence of social media platforms and digital communication apps have made business networking quite easy. You can build contacts without even meeting with them in person. But that doesn’t mean you plan to maintain your relationships from behind the screen alone. Make it a point to meet up with your contacts in person every once in a while.
9. Keep Your Word
If you get into an agreement with a business contact, it is essential to keep your word in it. Show your commitment by delivering on time and coordinating with them effectively.
10. Be Responsive
You have to be responsive towards your business contacts if you want your business networking efforts to be fruitful. Don’t avoid messages or calls from your contacts. Communicate properly and don’t ghost people.
Benefits of Business Networking
Here is a list of a few benefits of business networking.
It helps you produce quality leads that have a high chance of turning into sales.
It builds a good brand image, especially if you follow the aforementioned business networking tips.
It has the potential to drive more direct sales into your business.
It helps in word-of-mouth marketing by spreading the word about your brand and products.
It might create a snowball effect in your marketing efforts, making your brand message go viral.
It builds a community where people can interact to share honest feedback, news, and ideas about the industry.
It can open channels for the growth and expansion of your business.
Here’s a pro tip before you begin with your business networking efforts. Have a beautiful and professional website to showcase your products and services. This will give a good impression about your company to your contacts.
Instead of getting overwhelmed with the idea, keep reading. You neither need to do any programming or coding nor have to hire an expensive web developer to do it for you. Simply sign up for a free account on Strikingly, and select one of our ready-to-use website templates. The template that you choose will serve as your ready-made web design.
Image taken from Strikingly
Add your website content using our drag and drop interface. Hit publish to make the site go live. That’s all! Your website will be up and running in just a couple of hours. The best part is you will barely need to spend any money in the process.
Whenever you meet a business contact after this, share your website URL with them and encourage them to visit it. Taking small steps like this can go a long way in expanding your client base.