Business networking is interacting with business contacts to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. Have you heard that your network is your net worth? There is power in building relationships. A few years ago, my business revenue soared to 7 figures after being introduced to various women networks.
Having good business networks will help you gain social capital. Building relationships is like a bank but instead of keeping and growing your money, you are doing that with people and relationships. The more people you know, the luckier you become – it’s a game of numbers. It also brings you better opportunities, advances your career and helps you get better revenues.
There are many steps to building successful business networks, let me show you some:
Empower your mind
The first thing you need to do is reprogram your mind. Sometimes approaching people, especially for business, can be awkward for a lot of people. But you need to be confident, believe in yourself, be positive, speak affirmations, and expect good results. Once your mind is set for positive results, then you can expect a positive outcome.
Have a plan
Just like you do with other important business plans, it’s important to have a plan when networking. Here’s an example of how I would plan to build a potential contact:
Who? My goal is to network with Yetunde.
Why? Because I am passionate about empowering women.
What do I want? To partner and do collaborations with Yetunde.
Where would I find her? On Linkedin or SheVentures.
How will I network? Send her messages, meet up and attend events.
Once you have your plan, you need to locate those you wish to network with. You can locate your business networks through alumni’s, customer databases, groups on WhatsApp, religious groups, social media groups, business groups, phone contact, and webinars just to name a few.
Have you ever met someone at an event and exchanged details but neither of you stayed in touch. You need to nurture relationships. Get to know your new contacts, schedule appointments, send birthday wishes, celebrate your contacts, and comment on their social media pages.
Give before asking
A lot of people have the wrong approach to business networking and that is why they are not successful. Have you heard the saying, “a giver never lacks?” That’s the same approach you need for business networking.
Give engagement, compliments, free advice, referral, and suggestions before you ask. Ask open-ended questions, business, and referrals. “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want” – Zig Ziglar.
Another wrong mindset when it comes to business networking is expecting too much too soon, and being overbearing. That is the fastest way to get blocked by those you are trying to build a relationship with. Don’t stalk your contacts, be polite, seek to add value, leave a good impression, send thank you notes, stick to time and follow through. Finally, don’t approach networking as transactional, see it as transformational, and be genuinely interested in those you wish to network with.
So go ahead and network.