Business networking for Business Development is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting method you can use to grow your business. But if done incorrectly, it can be harmful to your business.
Business networking is a lot more than giving out business cards. It is about building trust. For Business Development the networking is a lot more than meeting people. It is about connecting with the right people.
Business networking is a lot more than collecting phone numbers. It is about staying in touch, about listening, addressing needs and looking for opportunities all at the same time.
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It is how as a Business Development we approach relevant business networking sessions that makes it work for us. Networking is about being authentic and genuine, building relationships and trust, and helping others. Although increased sales is the end goal, don’t participate in business networking to sell.
Build relationships and sales will follow naturally. People have to trust you before they’ll do business with you or refer you. Relationship capital is an immensely valuable part of business success. Put your energy, intention and attention on business networking.
When Henrik Balmer became the production manager and a board member of a newly bought-out cosmetics firm, improving his network was the last thing on his mind. The main problem he faced was time: Where would he find the hours to guide his team through a major upgrade of the production process and then think about strategic issues like expanding the business? The only way he could carve out time and still get home to his family at a decent hour was to lock himself—literally—in his office. Meanwhile, there were day-to-day issues to resolve, like a recurring conflict with his sales director over custom orders that compromised production efficiency.
Networking, which Henrik defined as the unpleasant task of trading favors with strangers, was a luxury he could not afford. But when a new acquisition was presented at a board meeting without his input, he abruptly realized he was out of the loop—not just inside the company, but outside, too—at a moment when his future in the company was at stake.
Henrik’s case is not unusual. Over the past two years, we have been following a cohort of 30 managers making their way through what we call the leadership transition, an inflection point in their careers that challenges them to rethink both themselves and their roles. In the process, we’ve found that networking—creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information—is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address.
Their discomfort is understandable. Typically, managers rise through the ranks by dint of a strong command of the technical elements of their jobs and a nose-to-the-grindstone focus on accomplishing their teams’ objectives. When challenged to move beyond their functional specialties and address strategic issues facing the overall business, many managers do not immediately grasp that this will involve relational—not analytical—tasks. Nor do they easily understand that exchanges and interactions with a diverse array of current and potential stakeholders are not distractions from their “real work” but are actually at the heart of their new leadership roles.
Like Henrik (whose identity we’ve disguised, along with all the other managers we describe here), a majority of the managers we work with say that they find networking insincere or manipulative—at best, an elegant way of using people. Not surprisingly, for every manager who instinctively constructs and maintains a useful network, we see several who struggle to overcome this innate resistance. Yet the alternative to networking is to fail—either in reaching for a leadership position or in succeeding at it.
Watching our emerging leaders approach this daunting task, we discovered that three distinct but interdependent forms of networking—operational, personal, and strategic—played a vital role in their transitions. The first helped them manage current internal responsibilities, the second boosted their personal development, and the third opened their eyes to new business directions and the stakeholders they would need to enlist. While our managers differed in how well they pursued operational and personal networking, we discovered that almost all of them underutilized strategic networking. In this article, we describe key features of each networking form (summarized in the exhibit “The Three Forms of Networking”) and, using our managers’ experiences, explain how a three-pronged networking strategy can become part and parcel of a new leader’s development plan.
Identify which networking events you should attend. Pick groups that’ll help you achieve your goals. Find venues that make sense for your business. When you register for an event, schedule it like a meeting.
Determine how often you should be networking. How many times in a week, month, or quarter? Visit as many groups as possible.
Attend events with a plan and always try to learn something new. Prepare yourself for the event. Develop open-ended questions to ignite a conversation. Bring business cards but don’t give your business card to everyone you meet. Give cards to those who ask you for it. Try to sit with strangers. Don’t forget to mingle.
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Keep track of people you meet. Keep in touch with them and deepen your emotional connection. Establish a mutual beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients/ customers. Meet with the group members individually so you get to know them better and try to build quality connections. Consider other group members as resources. focus on the group; listen and think about how you can help them. Focus on giving. Build trust within the group.
There are many ways you can succeed in network marketing and earn a decent living. But there are many more ways in which you can fail. Unless you know all the angles out there, you're not going to move forward in business. This article will explain some great tips you can use, to help your MLM campaign to flourish.
Keep track of your shortcomings and analyze why they exist.
It is important to keep track of the money you make in your network marketing strategy. There has to be a point where you choose whether or not to continue if you're not making enough profit to survive on. When that point is can be set before you sign up so you won't have any doubt in your mind if that time comes.
While you should build a site for network marketing, social networking sites can help you get started. An interesting and well written blog, frequently updated blog is a good technique to add, can give you a good start. Your network will grow more quickly if you establish your online presence.
When you're engaged in network marketing, it's imperative that you are able to visualize success as you define it. That may seem overly simple, but in network marketing, it's important to be able to visualize the future. After all, your future network size has a lot to do with how successful you will be in this field. Using positive future visualization is an accepted, and widely practiced part of network marketing.
Whether you cultivate the lists from the people who have signed up on your site or you purchase it, it is imperative that you have a rather large email list to help you continue to grow your business.
When building your network marketing business, adhering to a schedule is one of the best things you can possibly do. Setting and sticking to a schedule allows you to treat your marketing efforts like a real business and will keep you from procrastinating and taking lightly what you should be focusing on intently.
Become the leader in network marketing. Use one-of-a-kind promotions to make your creativity to create a campaign that stands out. Try to find a specific niche for your network marketing business, as you should always be as original as possible when marketing.
Avoid using network marketing jargon when you're speaking to a prospective client. There are many phrases that are commonly used within network marketing circles that will not be understood by people who do not work in such a circle. Explain terms if you must use them, but be careful not to talk down to clients.
It is important to be knowledgeable about the product you are selling. Customers are more inclined to join a higher likelihood of joining your network if it is apparent that you fully believe in your product. If you learn about the product enough, you will be able to give truthful testimonials.
Work towards a goal of making money in your sleep. Network marketing CAN lead to passive income through your downline. So make your goal to have enough referrals to pay your bills entirely. After you hit that goal, every new referral becomes "gravy", extra money for you to use for fun things like trips.
Look to the organization's leaders for ideas. Imitating these people will only help you closer to the top.
When recruiting a new lead, speak to them in terms they can understand. Instead of saying why YOU like the job, listen to what they talk about and figure out why THEY would love it. Let them know about perks that fit into their lifestyle, like a flexible schedule.
Video marketing can help you drive targeted traffic to your network marketing websites.
Help your downline by setting goals for them and giving them a reward for achieving them. Hold a contest to see who gets the most referrals in a month and reward the winner with some sort of prize, like an iPad. Building motivation through incentives is an excellent tool for your repertoire.
Look at independent distributors to see how to model yourself when using network marketing professionals are doing and learn from their successes.
When it comes to network marketing, it is extremely important to consider that your content needs to not only be easy to read but also presented in a unique way to your subscribers. This is important because you want people to be attracted to your content as well as be able to digest this information quickly before becoming bored and turning elsewhere.
Choose a network marketing company that has products of interest to you. If you have a passion for these products, you will be able to more effectively market them and may translate to them being more interested.
Avoid dictating goals to potential recruits when you are recruiting for your network marketing program. Telling recruits what they should want out of your program alienates them and destroys the trust that good recruiters develop during the recruiting process. Let your recruits express their own goals and then tell them how your program will fit them.
Everyone loves to get something great for only a bargain! Seek out network marketing company that include coupons you can give to your customers. People will be more likely to take an interest in the product if they have a bargain rate.
As you read previously, there are many ways in which you can reach success, but even more ways to fail. Network marketing is unforgiving and thus, you need to approach it with as much knowledge as you can. What you just read throughout this article, are some great ways to help you succeed. Do not take them for granted.
Do not expect to receive benefits right away. Do volunteering work for network groups to stay visible and give back. As a responsible Business Development you must show up regularly and on time, show others how you deal with business meetings and associates. Give quality referrals and leads. If someone gives you a referral, follow up on it in a timely manner. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. Take a referral seriously.
Don’t spam on social networks. Use the platforms designed for Business Development to build relationships and expand your network.
Limit self-promotion. Don’t sell. Build relationships. Be as helpful as you can. Share relevant information with others as people love to learn new things. Participate in discussions. Let others know you’re real. Be approachable. Treat your online connections just as valuable as your offline connections.