Successful Networking: Why Network and how to make it count.

As professional Business Development consultants, we have spent many years developing our “network”. We see it as a vital part of our business development strategy and would, quite frankly, be lost without it.

Whatever sector you are in, whatever job role you fulfil, having a network of like-minded, professionals you can reach out to is invaluable. Clearly, for those in a sales role, having a quality reliable network is more important. However, networking is not just about sales, it is about building a support network that’s there for you as you develop your career too. After all, your network is yours and will come with you if you change jobs or even change careers.

Most businesses have great intentions of building a strong network to support their sales and growth strategies, however, most businesses don’t execute it as well as they would like to and are very open about the challenges they face in doing so.

The story is by no means unique and the businesses we speak to can tell us exactly why their networking is unsuccessful. It can usually be attributed to 3 things.

- Inexperienced networkers
- Lack of consistency in attending events
- Insufficient, poor-quality follow-up

The problem is usually that the people doing the networking are not part of a sales team but are fee earners or fulfill another role in the business, resulting in their day job taking priority. Whether you own the business or have other responsibilities, it is difficult to set aside the time to be consistent with networking by attending events regularly and ensuring that you follow up and maintain contact with your network.

Below are some thoughts on networking, why it’s important and how to make your efforts count.

What is networking?

Networking is the process of building and nurturing relationships with other professionals to exchange information, resources, and opportunities. It involves connecting with individuals or groups in your industry or related fields to expand your knowledge, enhance your reputation, and explore potential collaborations.

Why is networking important?

Networking is important for several reasons:

Opportunities: Networking is a tried and tested way to generate new opportunities. Whether you are looking for potential clients, other businesses to collaborate with or to build a referral network, meeting new people networking is a great place to start. The more people you speak with the greater chance you have of finding what you are looking for.

Raising awareness and building a professional reputation: Networking allows you to spread the word about your business in a professional environment, establishing your business as a quality, trustworthy professional provider in your field.

Knowledge sharing: Networking enables you to learn from others, gain insights, gather market research and stay updated on industry trends and best practices.

How do I start networking?

To start networking, consider the following steps:

Identify your goals: Determine what you want to achieve through networking. Networking is not just about lead generation, there are lots of benefits to having a quality network to support your business endeavours.

Attend events: Firstly, identify your target audience and attend events where you are most likely to meet those professionals. These events are likely to be industry conferences, seminars, trade shows, or networking events.

Use online platforms: Join professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, participate in industry-specific forums or online communities, and engage in discussions.

Reach out: Initiate conversations with professionals you meet, either in person or online, by expressing your interest in their work, asking questions, and offering help or insights.

Follow up: After initial interactions, follow up with your contacts to express gratitude, share relevant resources, or suggest further meetings or collaborations. Once you have established a mutually beneficial relationship, keep in touch regularly to build and nurture the relationship.

How can I make networking more effective?

To make networking more effective, consider the following tips:

Identify your target audience: Who do you want to meet and why?

Identify the right events for your business: Do the research and attend events where you are most likely to meet the people you want to do business with. If you are an Accountant looking for new business, there is little value in only attending events where you just meet other Accountants.

Concise introduction: Work out how you want to introduce yourself and your business. Who are you and what do you do. Make it interesting, short and to the point. You can always elaborate through conversation.

Engage in conversation: Networking is about building relationships not pitching your business to every person you meet.

Gather contact details: You don’t need to gather the contact details of every person you speak with. However, you do want to be able to contact those you establish a mutual benefit with or have an instant connection with.

Follow up and stay connected: Maintain regular contact with your network by following up on conversations, sharing updates, or inviting them to relevant events or opportunities.

Build and nurture relationships: Networking is not just about one-off interactions. Invest time in cultivating long-term relationships by staying in touch, supporting others, and being reliable.

Remember, networking is an ongoing process, and building relationships takes time. Be patient, persistent, and consistent in your networking efforts.

Contact Us

If you want to understand more about our process or discuss our bespoke services please get in touch and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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