The statement, ‘It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know’ proves to be so true in our everyday dealings and even more so in achieving business success. It is a powerful philosophy that can lead to endless possibilities if well utilized but unfortunately many people don’t understand how to leverage on it.”If it takes you too long to get what you need then review your network”
Business networking is way more than just exchanging contact details with a new person at a formal event or social gathering, rather it is an intentional investment that must be carefully planned out. Like every other business activity that requires careful planning, business networking should also be given priority and looked at as a strategic tool in achieving your goals for the year. Questions like, who do I want to do business with this year? Or What level do I want to be in my industry space? Should guide your thinking and help your networking plans. This planning phase is what a lot of us forget to do and end up not maximizing every opportunity we get to meet potential clients.
Executing that plan is the key to making this tool a profitable venture. Knowing what you want and where you need to
be should keep you alert and ready to maximize every opportunity as they come. Things to bear in mind at these events, bring your business cards with you and strategically share. Not everyone in that event should have your card. First impressions count a lot and so attention to your appearance is very necessary. Whether nervous or not, always have your brief elevator speech in mind to introduce yourself and your business, the value you sell with that speech is very key so be strategic. Stay clear of spending time with people you know and connect with new people. Avoid concentrating solely on what you want to ‘sell’ and make concise efforts to know them and then what you can do for them.
Most times we think networking ends at that event but it has only just begun because after the event is when the real work starts, investing in that new connection. Without that effort of investment, they become mere contacts which negates the whole planning in the first place. It is always better to have 5 mutually beneficial relationships in your database than 50 casual contacts! Many of us fall under the latter and we will remain stuck if we don’t approach this very necessary business activity strategically.
So what are you going to do differently with those contacts? What are you going to do differently at your next networking event?
According Robert Kiyosaki, ‘The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work’. Marinate on that for a minute!