By Marlys Roddy, Sales Manager for Summit Staffing and CWCC Member
In business, don’t bother networking if you aren’t in for the long haul it takes to develop those win-win relationships. With that being said, the rest of this article may not be of interest to you, but thanks for stopping by. If you are still reading this, congratulations on wanting to grow your business with solid relationships built by networking.
For any business to be a success, it must start with networking. Any business today that has effective leadership is because they are out there networking. Your success in the role as an employee in management position or as a business owner is dependent on just how good you are at networking and building relationships.
Too often, people join networking groups only to quit after one or two meetings. When asked why they aren’t coming any more, they will say they didn’t get any business. One network meeting is not going to make you a millionaire. You have to work at it so people get to know you and like you. So, to be successful at networking that will build those relationships, we offer a few tips:
Know Your Focus Market
If your business is in construction, you don’t want to join a network group for daycare owners. Sure, there may be one that could be looking for a bid on a new building, but this isn’t the network group for you. Do some research and choose strategically for networking opportunities that fit your business. Good networking it not for meeting a lot of people but for meeting the right people.
Know What You Have To Offer The Network
You have to have a clear agenda on what you are able to offer the network, not just know what you want to get from the network. Ask yourself “What am I offering this network that the member would want to network with me?”. In addition to be willing to put the energy and time into networking, make sure you have to offer something for the group that makes your membership in the group effective.
What Is Your Intended Goal?
Determine the objective you want to achieve from networking. Just as any part of your business plan, you want it to be profitable and make sure it fits your overall plans of building your business plan. In other words, know exactly what you want from your networking and how you’re going to use it once it starts kicking in.
You Have To Give In Order To Receive
To be successful at networking, know that is not all about what you get from it, but what you give to it as well. You should be building solid relationships that are a value to all parties. You should be able and willing to give from the heart just as much as you receive.
Prompt Follow Up Is Needed For A Win-Win
If you are going to network, you have to follow up with the connections you make, or don’t bother. It is simply wasting your own and other’s time if you drop the ball. Networking is intended to give you a way to develop relationships and to build relationships that are productive, both sides should get to know and like each other and build a trust. When one doesn’t follow up, that trust is never built. Networking isn’t just to achieve your intended goals but to help fellow members achieve theirs as well. Networking is one of the best ways to grow your business with long-lasting relationships that very often go beyond just business. If you are not able and willing to put the effort and time in doing it full hearted, then don’t even attempt. You can’t expect to gain immediate relationship either, it may take some time.
When you find the networking group that fits your business, ask yourself “How can I help the other members succeed?” Your answer will tell you if it’s the right group for you.