September 17 2021
The three most effective networking tactics to help your business grow
Probably the oldest strategy for business growth is making new and maintaining existing business relations. This statement may seem obvious, however many scientific papers have been written about it, and there are many organizations all over the world that organize and facilitate networking processes. Read about the three tried and tested ways of making new and maintaining promising contacts that will help your business grow.
Be prepared and don’t even think about sales at your first meeting
Networking is all about actively making new relations during cyclical meetings such as business breakfasts and conferences. Key factors are proper preparation and attitude. If showing initiative, short self-presentation and giving out your contact details such as a business card come naturally to you, it is probably enough jut to set a goal of making a certain number of contacts at each of such meetings. The results will then just be a matter of time. However, it is good to be prepared for the meeting in which you are taking part. The people you introduce yourself to are most probably there for the same reason you are. That’s why you must remember that the goal of the meeting is making the relations – not trying to sell your goods or services. One of the core rules of networking says: “nobody likes try-hard sales, but everybody likes buying stuff.” You should always look the part, have a short self-presentation speech prepared, and keep a bunch of business cards in your pocket. However, your first contact attempt should be based on the promise of assistance should the need arise. Being helpful is the essence of networking, and this attitude guarantees success. An important element of the meeting is making sure that you look appropriately and trustworthy. Business casual style is a bare minimum, but you would do well to remember that the more “official” look is often required at business societies meetings.
Focus on the needs of the people you are talking to
Networking is, in essence, an exchange of useful business information and recommending helpful contacts to the other party. This goal is best served by the meetings organized by business clubs and societies. The key there are short, to-the-point statements, the language of benefits and asking the right questions.
– The model opening of the new business contact is a well prepared ‘elevator speech.’ The name comes from the story about an American businessman who would spend days taking elevator rides in a big office building where interesting companies operated from, and he would make succinct presentations of himself and his services, and then give out his business cards. It is said that on a single day, thanks to the well prepared thirty second presentation, he could acquire a dozen useful new business contacts. I don’t know whether that is true or not, but every day I see people making new business acquaintances at our localizations, and they help businesses grow, and also often become seeds of new business ventures – says Marta Kamińska from Solutions.rent.
What should be there in a good elevator speech? First and foremost – the presentation of yourself and your business. Second – tangible benefits your services provided to the clients. It is crucial to support your claims with hard numbers such as ‘sales increase by 23% in the next quarter’ or ‘acquisition of four clients with combined budgets of PLN 1.5 million’. And the third important element is asking questions that lets the other party shine and, perhaps, tell you their needs that you may be able to satisfy.
You may also be interested in: 5 Secrets of Elevator Speech
Plan your networking activities and maintain existing relations
Before you start practicing your elevator speech, answer a very important question – what kind of contacts are you going after? Contact details of potential customers may not necessarily be the most beneficial to you. Just think – maybe someone whose business offers services complimentary to yours will see an opportunity to start cooperation after you present your offer to them. The so-called networking hubs are almost invaluable contacts – they are the representatives of companies (for instance sales reps) who have widespread contacts in the industry or the segment that is particularly interesting to you.
“Networking is much like farming, it takes time” – says Ivan Misner, the creator of the worlds largest business recommendations organization. It is paramount to maintain newly made business relations. For sure, social media and professional forums can help in that. As your memory can fail you, it is good to write down the time and place of making an acquaintance on the reverse of a business card. This will let you easily start a conversation during your next meeting, for example at a conference or a trade event.
It is a good idea to show up a few quarters before the official start of a networking meeting. This will let you meet more people. While talking, remember to keep an open responsive posture and try to find out as much as possible about what the other party may need. This will let you acquire new clients in a more natural, organic fashion, lead to shortening the distance and facilitate building the professional relation later on.
Are you looking for a comfortable office space where you can make some new business acquaintances? Check our offer Solutions.rent.