The way of developing business strategies is changing day by day. Business Networking is an effective and low cost marketing method that has been used vastly in past decade to develop sales opportunities and contacts, based on referrals and introductions.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
The term Business Networking is far different from Computer networking. Where computer network connects several devices, Business Networking connects people, organizations or entities. Business networking offers a way to reach decision-makers which might otherwise be very difficult to engage with using conventional advertising methods.
In 21st century, with the help of new transportation and communication technology, the market span grew and consequently led to specialization of the industrial economy. And it also becomes important to build contact with other enterprises, also from foreign countries. Business networking is a way for you to make the maxim, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” work for you. Management is also using it as a tool to increase efficiency.
Source: Robbins, Judge & Campbell. 13th edition, 2010.
Business networking in the new economy can be seen as the coordination of process within and across companies. More precisely, it is the management of IT-enabled relationships between internal and external business partners.
Some essential tips:
At first, we have to consider that all sorts of professional people outside of the business community can also be very helpful networking contacts. For example, scientists, lecturers, educators, councilors, etc. Here are some tips for effective business networking. These tips can be applied to any sort of business networking- face-to-face, organized events, business social networking websites, etc.
- Have a plan: Your plan and goal should be specific, like, when and why you are intending to create a contact.
- Be professional: Greet and say goodbye correctly. Dress up and attitudes are also need to be professional.
- Stay in touch: Even is your aim has been reached after creating contact with some persons, never end your connection with them. Because you may need them again or they might need you.
- Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
- Help Others: Always prioritize helping and giving to others ahead of taking and receiving for yourself.
- Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
- Acknowledge them in your social media. Discuss their work, congratulate their accomplishments, and keep them in your discussions.
- Schedule a time in your calendar to think about and research each contact.
- Build trust and reputation. Building trust is essential for growing a strong business network. Lack of trust prevents successful business networking.
- Life balance: A healthy balance in your life – of work, pleasure, business, social, etc – promotes and gives off a feeling of well-being, which is helpful for networking in many ways.
Like a computer network, business network of contacts needs to be created before it can help anyone in the network. So, create the network first, and then you will get the benefits of it.