The best business networkers are regularly updating on social media, attending business events, commenting on their blog or writing to the local newspaper. They know everyone and everyone knows them – but how do they do it?
The fact is, truly amazing business networkers have mastered a few skills and combined these with a little self-belief. Here are four methods that likely helped get them to the top of the networking ladder.
1. Strategic networking in business
Unfortunately, there are a lot of time-wasters and people who, no matter how hard you try to get on their wave length, are going to prove impossible to relate to in business – your standards are different, your goals incompatible. A good networker knows when to cut their losses and move on, and knows there’s no point talking to everyone. The secret of strategic networking is to look for that person who has a positive energy, who has achieved something that you admire or respect, and has an offering you want to tap into. Those are the people worth pursuing.
2. Long-term business relationships
A successful relationship is not the same as a successful sale. People will be put off if you see every meeting as an opportunity to sell to them, or get something from them. Don’t think about what the relationship can do for you, think about what you can do for the relationship, with give and take on both sides.
Don’t expect an immediate pay-off either – effective networking is all about building relationships over the long-term. This means you’re much more likely to have a strong network, that works for you in terms of generating leads and referrals.
3. Taking care of (day-to-day) business
Networking and nurturing relationships takes time. Effective networkers know how to delegate and use the latest business tools and communication systems to save time on everyday tasks – time which can then be better spent on building up their networks.
You can stay on top of all of your office communications for example by basing your phone answering and fax systems in the cloud (storing and accessing files and software online). eFax’s online fax system enables your computer or smartphone to use Fax-to-Email. This means you can send or receive a fax using email by just attaching the document to an email, then addressing it to a fax number (you can add a digitized signature too).
4. Keeping in touch
This is the most important habit every top networker has. They know that regular communication is vital in fostering and maintaining relationships over the long-term, and they are adept at it. So, get into the habit of staying in regular touch with your contacts, even if it’s just a quick email or posting a link to a useful article on their social media page.
And finally, join your local business network, attend events and take the time to network in person as well as online.
Networking is a key business tool when it’s done in the right way, and it can be very worthwhile in helping raise your profile and generate new business.