When running or marketing your business, you will often hear how critical the aspect of networking is to the process of growing your business and achieving your goals. Through reaching out to a network of personal and business connections, you can leverage these contacts to provide a steady supply of business. Business networking is one of the most effective low-cost marketing methods available to you. Often times, networking is absolutely free – the only thing it costs you is a small amount of time. When there is a cost involved in networking, this cost is generally for attending conventions and other industry events.
The individuals you connect with on a regular basis are often the people who understand your business the best, and who have their own network of prospects they can turn into referrals for your business. Through networking properly, you can drastically increase your business through word of mouth marketing alone.
Consumers trust recommendations from individuals in their network, and are more likely to become a customer if referred to by someone they know or work with. For example, a recent study by Nielson shows that 92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising.
When beginning the process of networking, it is easy to become frustrated and overwhelmed. It’s important to approach networking for business growth in a strategic and focused manner. Reach out to individuals who you think you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with. Remember to be proactive; you should always keep networking top of mind when you are meeting new people. When forming new relationships, consider how you may be able to leverage the relationship or partnership, and also what you can do for them. The key to networking is reciprocation, you have to give as much as you get – but with a strong network, this will be easy to accomplish.
There are many groups available for the business owner. These networking groups are full of individuals, like yourself, seeking to reach out and meet other professionals. Because there is an expectation of networking in these groups, it is often the easiest place to begin.
In the end remember the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Learning and mastering the skills to build strong relationships will create a competitive advantage that any savvy business professional can utilize to create endless business opportunities.
If you’d like to learn more about Networking and how it can help your business, lets talk. I can help you learn about groups in your area and help you to evaluate why one group may be a better fit over another.
Thom Torode is a NJ based Executive & Business Coach. He has owned over 5 different businesses and is currently the Managing Director for Sunrise Business Advisors. Additionally Thom is a Director Consultant in the middle NJ region of BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.
Inspiring Greatness…Developing Success!