In this article, let’s look at increasing your success in business networking. Networking is one of the best ways to meet new contacts and clients. The problem is that many people approach networking incorrectly. Networking works, but you need to do it correctly. So let’s start with the basics first. This something I regularly discuss with business coaching clients.
I use to own a business networking organisation and use to share the following metaphor with people who were new to networking. Comparing networking with hunting and farming helps to understand how to successfully approach networking so that you.
Hunting or Farming?
A hunter sets off in the morning to hunt for deer. He needs to bring home the “kill” or the family goes hungry. Some days he gets home with the meat, but more often than not, he gets home empty handed. He be out all day and seen lots of deer, but comes home empty handed as he missed the target. This is like somebody going to a business networking event and seeing lots of potential customers. However they don’t make any “sales”, as they miss the target by being over eager to shoot off their sales pitch. Trying to “sell” their solution, without getting to know what the other person’s needs are, will leave them going home hungry.
A farmer wakes up in the morning and sees to the fields or animals consistently over the year. He takes his time to grow the crops and fatten the animals before the slaughter. The family is fed for the whole year as there is always another animal or another crop to harvest. This is like a person going networking and taking time to get to know their fellow networkers and their actual needs. By doing this, people build relationships of “Know, Like and Trust.” This leads to long term business relationships that may yield consistent business for years to come.
Business networking is about building relationships
Business to business networking is a about building long term relationships and not getting a quick sale. Most people who fail at networking, do so because they expect to sell to the other people in the room straight away. Don’t be fooled and think that it is the people in the room you want to sell to. Find out who they know. Who are the people they may be able to introduce you too consistently over the fullness of time.
Would you go back to a restaurant that you had good service from and felt warm and welcome? Of course you would and you would recommend it to friends and family as well.
If you felt you were just a number and the restaurant wanted to take your money and get you out to take the next cover, you would certainly not go back.
So if you are considering business networking as a means to getting new clients, remember that it is more about farming and not hunting. Networking events are a very profitable way of meeting new contacts. Both as direct customers and people who could refer business to you for many years to come. Take the time to get to know the other people. Remember, the more you give, the more you will receive. Most people don’t like being “sold” to, but people do like to buy. Give your fellow networkers the time to see that they need your solutions or products. Give them time to get to know, like and trust you. They will buy from you when they are ready.
Increasing your networking success
In the next article, I will give you a number of tips and things to do that will increase your networking success. Until then, find out what networking opportunities there are in your area. You might also want to see if there are networking events that are specific to your niche.
Until next week, happy networking and enjoy the rewards of building relationships on the foundation of “know, like and trust.”