How to Network to Grow Your Business
When done right, business networking can open up a world of endless possibilities. After all, having the right connections can be the key to uncovering exciting new opportunities, ideas, and insights. It can also play a significant role in advancing your career, launching a startup, or growing your business.
Unfortunately, most people still don’t get it right. Some are paralyzed with fear that they can’t even find ways to start. If you’re experiencing the same problems, here are some useful tips and suggestions that can help you get the most from your networking efforts.
7 Tips for Successful Business Networking
1. Know where to hang out.
Go where the people you want to meet spend most of their time, whether online or off. Start interesting conversations and offer helpful suggestions to build rapport. It’s always a great idea to reach out to all types of people, even if they don’t belong to your business network, since you’ll never know whom they are connected to.
2. Establish a strong presence.
Make your presence known by joining credible business networking groups and attending conferences and business networking events. Be visible in business networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook and explore how business networking apps (e.g. GroupMe, Invitly, etc.) work. Let your network know what you’re doing by keeping in touch through face-to-face meetings, social media, blogging, and emails. Note: If you’re in the Atlanta area, Eventbrite has a long list of networking events lined up for the rest of the year.
3. Give more than you take.
Help people whenever you see an opportunity. Provide immediate value by sharing your knowledge, expertise, and ideas, and don’t hesitate to connect people who may be helpful to one another. Keep in mind that the more people you help, the stronger and more relevant your network becomes and the more they are inclined to reciprocate the favor. So, invest in building a network today and you’ll reap immense business networking benefits in the future.
4. Learn to listen.
If you want to have a successful business network, master the art of listening. This gives you a definite edge since it lets people know that you are genuinely interested in them and want to see them succeed. Through active listening, you’ll get to know people better, learn about the specific challenges they are facing, and identify ways to help them,. Thus, listening paves the way to building a stronger and more valuable relationship.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask.
You won’t lose anything if you ask for it so go ahead and ask for that introduction, meeting, or advice. There’s a risk that they may say ‘no’ but there’s also a chance that they will act favorably so take the chance!
6. Go for the long term.
Making a connection can open doors but you don’t want to stop there. If you want to close deals, start building mutually beneficial long-term relationships since people prefer doing business with someone they know and trust. Admittedly, this takes time and effort but the results are definitely worth the wait.
7. Welcome rejection.
Rejection naturally comes with networking. Some people will disregard your calls, emails, invitations, and request for introductions but don’t let these things hold you back. Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t stop trying!
Nobody said that business networking would be easy but just keep working on it and you’ll eventually see amazing results.