The Power of Networking: How You Can Turn Connections into Assets
Networking is a crucial component of business development in any industry. Whether you need contacts that can help you scale your company, advice to help you grow, or a partner that can take away some of the daily pressure, there’s no better way to achieve your goal.
Since it can become a lifeline for a business, networking relationships are critical to cultivate. These relationship-building efforts don’t stop when an event is over! It can be done everywhere, from the local grocery store to the office break room.
If you’re ready to harness the power of networking for your brand, here are some tips that can help you push toward the results you want to achieve.
How Can I Improve My Networking Habits Today?
1. You must go the extra mile.
The reason why networking fails for many professionals is that they do the bare minimum. They’ll attend a formal event, exchange some business cards, and think they’ve done the job. If you want to enjoy the power that comes from these relationships, you must attend several events, broaden the base, and be willing to dedicate time outside of business hours to get to know people.
2. Don’t forget to follow up.
Networking creates connections. If you don’t follow up with the people you’ve met, there’s no way to form a relationship.
Think about how you’d meet someone if they stood on the other side of a wide river. Even if you yelled at each other, it might be impossible to communicate. The rushing water would interfere with cell communications, and the rapids are too strong for a boat to go across.
Your best option to meet would be to build a bridge. That’s the work you do when following up with an initial contact.
3. Browse through old emails.
How many email messages are in your inbox right now? Are there 100 in there? Perhaps 1,000… or even 3,000? Even small things, like an old file you junked, could deliver a connection to a different business or agency that could expand your network. We sift through so much information today that it’s easy to forget about the contacts made in the past.
It helps to spend time sorting through the inbox, archiving items for further review when needed, to see what networking options are currently available.
4. Use networking apps to your advantage.
A networking app makes it easier to establish the first connection to someone. Several of them are available for download today, and each one has unique pros and cons to consider before investing time and resources into them.
If you’re not a big fan of apps, why not join a local networking group, community, or association? When like-minded people work together to help everyone find success, you start creating a rising tide that lifts all boats.
5. Have contact information available to distribute to others.
You never know when you might run into someone. Although business cards might seem like a dated way to distribute contact information, it’s still a practical option. One of the best things you can do is to offer someone two of them. That way, they can hand out the extra one to someone they know – multiplying the number of people who could potentially contact you for business opportunities.
6. Remember to take notes about the people you meet.
If you get a business card from someone, try to write a few notes on the back of it like a journal of the interaction. Did the individual mention they wanted content services? Were they looking for help with a new kitten at home? Anything you jot down can help you follow up with relationship-building questions that reinforce the strength of your networking efforts.
7. Find a partner to help you network.
Although this practice isn’t always adopted, it is an element of referral marketing that can expand your network exponentially. It starts by finding someone who is also out there making connections, whether it’s a colleague, friend, or a person you just met. Exchange a stack of business cards, then prioritize bringing up your partner’s name when it would be relevant in the conversation. The goal is to have them do the same for you in return.
It takes some time, effort, and luck to have successful networking experiences. When you set yourself up to have the best opportunities possible each time, ideas like these can help to deliver impressive results quickly and efficiently.