11 NETWORKING STRATEGIES FOR BUSINESS GROWTH
“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Networking does work for professionals in all fields, but there’s a lot more to it than putting your company’s name in an business directory. To benefit from networking you must be organized. You need to know your target, develop a strategy and then have a work plan.
To achieve this let’s look at the following strategies:
1) Don’t make everyone your target: Plan your networking strategies specific to your target. People love to do business with who they know. It will be waste of money and time to advertise where you do not have your target market. Your kind of business should set the tone for the target audience you are seeking to network.
2) Be Yourself: Don’t fake who you are. Make sure you are well prepared. Have an idea of the set of people you want to network with. Be smart. Wear a winsome smile. Make sure you are noticed. Respond to questions asked wittingly. Work your body language and do not allow yourself to feel lost in the crowd. Stand tall
3) Join Purposeful Groups: Take up membership of industry related and community organizations. It’s not just enough to be a member but you must be an actively participating. Get yourself involved in sub-committees; contribute meaningfully to discourse as this will enhance your visibility before the people. Take time to build relationship first before talking business. You are very likely to get a business deal from someone you have built a relationship than with someone you just barely exchange greetings at your group meetings.
4) Online Presence: It is expedient for you to have an online presence for your business to grow. Networking brings you in contact with people who might be interested in what you have to offer. Usually, you may not be able to close a business deal in a single meeting, armed with your business card, prospective clients may want to look you up online and eventually decide to do business with you if they are satisfied with what they have seen and read.
5) Give Tailored Speeches: Be ready to give talks in the area of your expertise. Make due diligence and do a thorough research before you step on the podium to give that speech. Know your audience and know they are your potential clients and your ability to drive home your message and eventually win their hearts can make a huge difference for your business.
6) Look Beyond: Don’t let it end at that single meeting. If you connected with someone, don’t let it end there. Do a follow-up email, or send a thank you note and let the person know how glad you are to meet him or her. Ensure you keep this as professional as possible because at this stage, you may be under pressure to hurriedly get the deal close and may get things messed up in the process. Keep it professional while being real.
7) Be Media Friendly: You can’t light a lamp and put it under the bed. You must get yourself out there. People will not know what you have to offer if you are not before their face. Let the media houses know what you represent and that you are available for interviews. There are newspaper houses that can help with advertorials for little or zero cost. Networking will be much easier when people already have ideas regarding what you do or represent.
8) Don’t give up: That you didn’t get it right with your networking the first time does not mean you have failed. Remain determined! The world is at the feet of those who are persistent. Keep attending those meetings; be involved in those committees, keep updating your online profile and information about your products and services, with time all these will pay off.
9) Move from Known to Unknown: Networking is not only about connecting with people you already know. It is launching out to uncharted territories with potential for networking to improve the growth outlook for your business. Don’t spend so much time on people who already know you and your business. Direct your energy and time on building new network away from your present circle of influence.
10) Pay the Price: There is a price to be paid in networking. You may sometimes need to travel far and wide just to locate your target audience. Always know that the interest of your prospective clients comes first and not what you want to sell to them. Take an interest in what excites them. Be courteous and selfless in your dealings with them. Be ready to absorb the heat. When you pay this price, you will eventually win the prize.
11) Put God First: Always let Him lead the way in all you do. He knows where you can find the best clients who will take your business to the next level. When you commit these steps unto the Lord, He will lead you through and you will not be disappointed.
Hope you have been blessed reading through this article, please leave me a comment. Thanks.