The Intense Power of Networking in Your New Business Process
sir, must keep his friendships in constant repair.
If a man does not make
new acquaintances as he advances through
life, he will soon find himself left alone.”
— SAMUEL JOHNSON
THIS IS THE ESSENCE of good networking: Work on staying in touch with your professional and personal contacts on a regular basis, not just when you need their help like when you're looking for new business. Ideally, you do not want to find yourself losing clients/customers and suddenly having to start from scratch in building your network.
I realize that when we are working, we can get busy in our day-to-day business. As a result, sometimes we do not find the time to stay in touch with the people with whom we have developed business and personal relationships with over time. That blasé attitude, however, is a mistake. We need to slow down and get back to connecting with people in a genuine way.
In study after study, networking is consistently cited as the number one way to get new customers.
Networking is like one big scavenger hunt. In the beginning, you have no idea where it will ultimately take you. At times, the path will not seem obvious, but whatever you do, don't become complacent and stop networking. Keep following the clues until you land the job or gain the customer!
Fortunately, here are a lot of clues to keep you engaged in networking. Never prejudge a clue (or contact) because you never know where or, more importantly, who it will lead you to.
A vast amount of resources exist on the internet that you can use for your networking. In addition you have all the books that have been written on the topic you can consult.
It's important to keep in mind that approximately 90% of new business leads are found in the hidden business market. What I mean with hidden business market is industries, categories or new markets that you have not been considering before. Now is the time to think outside of the box in terms of who else could use your product or service with some slight modifications. A new untapped market that you have not thought of to this point. More importantly, the most efficient way to tap into that hidden new business market is to utilize networking techniques.
People you will be networking with will primarily fall into three categories:
1. Those people you already know personally and professionally (A)
2. Those people your current personal and professional contacts know and the people to whom they may be able to refer you (B)
3. Those people you are aware of but whom you and your current contacts do not currently know personally individuals will predominantly exist in your target companies. (C)
When it comes to networking, three seems to be the magic number. There are also three levels of potential new business networking leads.
1. People who will provide you with helpful information and advice
2. People who will be able to refer you to a company and an internal decision maker.
3. People who will know the actual decision maker or their supervisor, or purchasing agent for a department that your product will serve—(Leveraging such an opportunity assumes you have the correct professional background for the company, department, and contact person.)
Some basic rules apply to networking that remain the same regardless of the situation and approach you are using.
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