Six Key Networking Elements Of Building Successful Business

network-577009_1280Networking has become a very popular way to meet people, and for most Business owners it is the main source of list making, prospecting, and meeting new contacts. Sadly, this is where networking stops for most. Sadly, the majority of people going out to networking events have little or no knowledge and experience, thus fail to take advantage of the endless opportunity that well planned and prepared networking strategy can bring.

When attending networking events, people often go unprepared, and furnished with the wrong expectations, resulting in fiasco. They come out of the event with a bunch of business cards, and will either place them in the draw of their desk, never to be seen again, or may call someone who is most relevant to their immediate needs. There is hardly any planning or well thought strategy implemented. In the end, we hear many negative opinions about networking, from those, who really let themselves down.

                             “Networking is simple, but it is not easy”. – Ivan Misner

Networking is a skill, it requires knowledge, practice, commitment, and effort to learn and apply consistently. You cannot walk unprepared into a meeting of potential networking contacts and suddenly become an expert in networking. Networking is about building and nurturing beneficial relationships, which bring new connections with a large number of people, some of whom will become your customers. Via networking you are also in touch with other resources, such as solicitors, accountants, and experts in a variety of disciplines, who may help your business in many other ways. It takes time, to get where you want to be, but over time, you will generate new business and the bigger profits.

Networking is fast becoming the mainstream business development technique. Business people who invest in themselves by learning how to network like a professional will be rewarded with a long term sustainable and profitable business. So what are the six key networking elements of building successful business?

1. The Mind-Set. Building relations with trust, it is building Social Capital, which is often valued much higher than Financial capital. It means that one gets access to amazing resources which include ideas, knowledge, information, opportunities, contacts, and referrals. As well as trust, confidence, friendships, good deeds, and goodwill. Therefore, we need to be prepared to give rather than gain. The Law of reciprocity is coming into play as when you are given business opportunity to someone even a competitor, you will get referred back.

2. To get successful with networking, you need a strategy that will put you in contact with the right people. Thus, you need to know who are your prospects, where can you meet them, and who do you want to meet. Bearing in mind that this is more about “farming” not “hunting”, networking is not about selling your products or services. Different target market requires different strategy. For instance, if you are an Accountant, you might be targeting small business owners, shop owners, who don`t really hire a full time bookkeeper, therefore you will most likely need to network with groups of people in these categories. In order the strategy to work well, you might have to be prepared to think outside of the box. Researching for the right type of networking events is very good, as it will save you lots of time. Start networking on line, particularly via Linked In.

3. Face To Face Networking. When taking part in networking events, you will meet many people, and approaching them may be a difficult task. Observe the body language of people in clusters, see how they are configured and approach the ones that are open. Avoid closed clusters and people who seem unfriendly. Prepare before going to an event and think of these points:

a. Look the part

b. Ensure that your body language sends the right message

c. Compose yourself and get your act together

d. Be ready with the first 12 words to come out of your tongue – about what you do

Think of where is your attention focused. Experienced Networkers listen more than talk. This is because they are placing their attention on the other person. By being focused on getting the other person to talk, you stand a much better chance to attain success with getting a potential client, or be referred to someone. Your goal at a networking event should be to make yourself memorable without talking about yourself.

When asked, be specific about the contacts you try to gain. Be prepared with either the name of a person or a position and the company name.

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4. Make Your Network Working For You. How big and how deep is your network of contacts? In order to be strong, your network should have deep roots. Know the difference between a contact and a connection. A connection is someone who knows you and trust you, because you have taken the time to build a relationship with them, and have established credibility with them. Work toward establishing yourself in VCP- a three phase process of creation, growth and strengthening of business, professional and personal relationships, and getting referrals. VCP stands for: Visibility, Credibility and Profitability. So, be seen, and work for your credibility – trust. Having these you will profit.

5. The Secret Of Master Networkers. Become an expert at what you do, and learn to provide information without being overwhelming. Network at non- networking events. Talk to people where ever you are, be it a wedding, a birthday party, or other outing. The key is that you never know, whom other people know, and sometimes you will get a contact with someone on the top of your list, when you least expected. Of course you must be sincere and be your own chief networking officer. Be in touch with your contacts on a regular basis. Take Good care of your contact list. Always Thank your referral partners.

6. Ensure That Your Networking Is Working. Network with others in such a way as to get referred by them. Here are ten ways to get your contacts working for you. They can:

a. Display or distribute your marketing materials.

b. Make an announcement.

c. Invite you to attend events.

d. Endorse your products and services

e. Nominate you for recognition and awards

f; Make initial contacts with prospects

g. Arrange a meeting on your behalf

h. Publish information about you

i. Form strategic alliances with you

j. Connect with you online

Whatever you do, please learn, implement and monitor your networking. Otherwise, you will have issues with keeping track of things. “Deciding to do the work of developing your network`s effectiveness is only one step In the process. You have to DO IT.” – I. Misner. Keeping yourself accountable will enhance your network and results.

Abut the author:

Maria KompanowskiMaria Kompanowski, Business Growth Advisor, Dolphin Seminars Ltd

More than thirty years of business experience in many areas of business. Starting back in 1978, she has worked in hospitality industry for more than twenty five years fulfilling variety of positions starting low and being promoted to more senior levels and responsibility. Maria has started several businesses from stand still and helped to rebuild at least twelve other businesses that were about to close down.

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Dominika Miernik
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About Dominika Miernik

Dominika Miernik is an award-winning Career and Expat Coach, with over 20 years of living and working abroad, in the countries like Italy, the UK and France. She helps ex-pat and globally mobile women to create a fulfilling career and business around their international life. Currently, she is enjoying a laptop lifestyle while travelling across Italy and Europe.