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The Importance of Networking

The Importance of Networking

What is networking?


It may sound like a simple concept, but how do YOU create real potential business leads from simply turning up to an event with numerous companies present, equipped with nothing apart from a bunch of business cards? In reality networking is a business skill, one acquired over time that demands far more intuition than the direct and superficial;


'Hi, my name is Mark from James, Stanley & Co. would you like us to be your accountant?'


From merely breaking down the title 'network' it gives you a clue, indicating that there is some '-work' needed to be successful.


So what makes a good networker?


I believe networking, like with any marketing tool in today's working society requires a personal touch and approachability to your strategy. If your tactic is to charge in with hard selling right from the beginning, you will find more often than not that the receiving individual will do nothing more than file your business card under "B".


Remember, although you are intending to attract companies it is individuals that you are directly liaising with. With this, there is a requirement to apply the normal "people" skills you would address in a social capacity.


Start off by asking what they do, take interest in what they are selling and try to make connections with what your company does and how it could benefit.


The phrase "giver's gain" is very applicable here due to the fact your contact needs to feel wanted and appreciated. If you go out of your way to merely suggest how that business could benefit either yourself or your connections, immediately you have a captive audience.


Building relationships


Networking only generates new business if you are willing to take the time to build the bridges and forge a relationship necessary to engage in trade.


It is foolish to think that your initial communication at the networking event will immediately create sales. Instead go into the networking event with the sole aim to create 2nd meetings with your fellow attendees, as from the 1-2-1 meeting you can then really spend the necessary time to deliver your company's values and personalities that creates value to a prospect.


What are the best networking events to be a part of?


This can be summarized in 3 words. "Referral-based networking". Now what is this?


As mentioned previously, hard selling directly to potential customers often has the opposite effect (being your name written in the black book). Now consider how that potential customer would feel if somebody else was praising and promoting your company's services?


As you can probably imagine, this is a very powerful tool, one of which is intangible and therefore very hard to recreate by your competitors.


To give an example of this process is a global organisation called "BNI". This is based on the principle of building relationships within a group, with the intention of over time to be recommended to their own business contacts. As you can appreciate, with the average business owner encompassing 500 contacts, it does not take many business relationships to eventually access thousands of new leads!


Key aspects and conclusion


 Below are the key aspects to become a great networking professional and more importantly turn those leads into sales;

        - Take interest in your prospect's business and try to help them

        - Take time to build those relationships before pushing your services to them

        - Be an individual, not a company.

 


 

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Disclaimer


The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal or accounting advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website's terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact us and one of our accountants will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.

 

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