Many businesses use networking as a key factor in their marketing plan. … Suppliers and businesses can be seen as networked businesses, and will tend to source the business and their suppliers through their existing relationships and those of the companies they work closely with.
1. Don’t get bogged down in your own industry groups.Although they can be helpful, I don’t spend much time with people in my field because they don’t buy our services; they are usually our competitors. Instead, I seek groups that bring together an array of industries and perspectives. Many times they are our clients and prospective client events. The big message is to get out from behind your desk. You should be your own brand ambassador because no one is more passionate about your business than you are. Your travel budget may skyrocket, but so should your bottom line. I attended an event where one of our prospective clients was speaking. I sat on the front row and after his speech, I was the first person to meet him after he spoke and which gave me a chance to hold a meaningful conversation based on the speech he just gave. Within a week we got a call from him and today his company is a major client. When preparing your statements among potential customers, be genuine and relevant to each individual.
2. Building relationships takes time. Follow up is imperative, but easier said than done. When you meet a person who you think will strengthen your business, you should be in touch at least once a quarter. Send something relevant and of value to them. This takes planning, discipline and creativity. Eventually you will be on their radar. If I asked your top five prospects, “Who wants your business,” and they cannot name you or your company, then you will never get their business.
More Than What’s On Paper: Becoming What I See
3. Get involved in a big way. If an organization is worth your time, you should be right in the middle of the action. Seek to serve on their boards and committees. Otherwise, drop out. When you are all-in, you will build relationships that matter. People will see how you work when you are at your best. These types of relationships build trust and friendships that almost always lead to business opportunities.
Realize that a very strong code of reciprocity is involved. I will help you and when the time comes you will help me. The silver bullet is if I can do something for your child—even if it’s just a call or coffee. Nothing endears you to a person more than helping their daughter or nephew to get a leg up in the business world. Nothing. Period.