Most of us experienced folks will give you a side-eye at the mere mention of the word networking. It has connotations of uninteresting salespeople, shoving their crap ass business cards into your hand without so much as a care about who you are and what you do.
This post is NOT talking about that kind of interaction. For our purposes, we’re talking about true networking, building relationships, anywhere and everywhere. NOT those spammy networking events. Well they’re spammy to me, so I guess I’m biased, but I digress.
Networking has always been the best way to find a job, get recommendations, and increase the buzz about any business. Yes, always. It’s been going on since there has been trade and barter.
The golf course, working lunches, after-hours business functions, and more will always be important for connecting with other professionals. These have always been the traditional ways in which business men and women get together to be social and get to know each other. It’s a great way to build relationships outside of the business but in a way that improves the business.
Why You Should Be Networking to Increase Your Opportunities, Leads & Sales
Networking can occur anywhere if you communicate from a position of service to others. Aside from networking events, you can connect with people at virtual events through chat rooms and Facebook groups. You can connect with people offline at conferences, meetups, workshops and more.
If you think of networking as simply connecting with others to share ideas and resources, you will find opportunities to network during the course of each day. Through connecting with people both online and offline you can increase your business opportunities in many ways, such as:
Networking Gets You More Referrals
A referral is considered a “hot” lead. This is someone who has already likely been sold on your business products and or services from the referrer. All you have to do is give the referral with the information they want, follow-up, and close the deal.
Networking Builds Trust
Trust is one of the foundations of business. People are more likely to want to do business with someone they trust. Networking events give others an opportunity to see you outside of your element and in a new way. Seeing you as a human being will build the trust, as you work toward building relationships that last regardless of what they can do for you.
When You Network, Word of Mouth Will Skyrocket
A well-honed networker has higher word-of-mouth buzz than others because they have demonstrated, through their actions, that they are a resource to others. It doesn’t matter what you sell; if you are vocal about your business, but also helpful and provide advice freely, you’ll be the first person people think about when they need to offer someone a referral.
Networking Increases Career Satisfaction
When you are happier, it shows when you present your opportunity to others. If you are not happy and don’t understand why you are doing something, it shows too. By practicing presenting your ideas and business to others at events, online and offline, you will gain confidence in your abilities and it will show through.
Networking Provides a Great Market Education
When you are more knowledgeable about your market, you will create more opportunities for yourself and your business. Connecting with peers is great for referrals and comrades, but networking with your audience also provides an education in your market that you cannot get any other way, if you’re listening.
Networking Improves Your Communication Skills
The more you network with others, the better you’ll get at communicating with others. The better you are at communicating, the more people will like and trust you. The more people like and trust you, the more business you will get.
Networking Forces You to Be Ready At All Times
Just the act of going to an event can force you out of your comfort zone. If you embrace networking, it will make you study your business, your audience, and understand what type of education you need to succeed. It gets you outside of your bubble in a way that nothing else can.
Networking Gives You the Ability to Test Prior to Production
When you network with honest people, especially your peers, you can try ideas before putting them into practice. You can see what their reaction is before you waste too much time and money.
Please, whatever you do, do not forget the follow up. Follow-up is essential to the networking process.
Networking is one of the best ways to increase opportunities for you and your business. It always has been how work got done, and always will be. Isn’t it time you started connecting with others?