Many people understand business networking as ‘selling’ yourself, your business or product individually to people who are in the room with you, but that is not the case.
Business networking is much more about building relationships. While working in a room, you may encounter people who are in a competitive or similar business niche to you and your company, and under normal circumstances you may avoid them. I would like you to think of them differently. Consider what you can learn from a competitor, what you can share with a company in a related niche. Thinking like this is what allows people to become successful business networks. Sharing is a vital element of business networking.
make yourself attractive
Business networking is more about making yourself and your company/product/service attractive to others than just selling to them. How many ways can you think of to ‘share’ with another company? What can you give as ‘added value’ to a prospect? What social platform can you use to attract prospects? What information are you willing to share freely? What is it about you that will encourage other business owners to refer someone to you? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on a serious business network.
Learn networking skills
You don’t have to be a natural socialist to make the most of business networks. Networking skills can be learned quite easily through the right courses. Most business networking courses will build on the skills you already have and teach you simple techniques that you are comfortable with.
People buy from people they like
There is a real fact about business networking that we tend to forget. People buy from you because they like you. No matter what you do or say, not everyone will like you all the time. What you have to do is identify those who like you. More importantly, identify those who like you and also have a need for your type of business, whether it’s a direct or indirect need.
What Qualities Do You Possess?
Consider those with whom you currently do business. Who are the people you deal with directly? Why do you deal with them? Sure, they provide the service or product you need, but it goes above and beyond, doesn’t it? You deal with your printer because he not only provides you with what you need, but he is a good listener and always friendly. Stop and think about what qualities you have that other people appreciate in you when they work with you. write them down
Let your qualities shine
Before you attend your next social networking or business meeting, read through the lists you’ve written and keep those qualities top of mind as you meet and greet and stand up to give your 60 seconds. Let those qualities shine through during your presentation. These are the qualities that will spark those initial introductions and get you started on developing the relationship that is crucial to successful business networking.