Business networking for IT 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 IT 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 IT 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.
There is really no secret to building your network of contacts. There are a lot of resources out there giving tips and tricks on building business networks and expanding your realm of influence, but there are some basic principals to follow that can have a significant impact on how successful your networking events and strategies are. Paying attention to the basic details is often a more effective approach than using any "secrets."
What is the point of business networking? It is the process of building relationships with complementary businesses, business owners, and business managers to increase your influence and position within a specific market or industry. There are two points to take away here - building relationships and increasing influence and position. Relationships will naturally increase your influence, and influence creates opportunity and improved market position.
The most important value in business is the relationships that are built. Customers, clients, vendors, and colleagues all shape the relationships within a business. Like any other area in life, the quality of the relationships can have a huge impact on the outcome of your interactions with existing and potential clients, vendor/reseller relations, and every other aspect of your daily operations. Focus on building and maintaining positive relationships with your contacts (both within and outside of your company) you will quickly begin to increase your influence with your contacts.
How do you practically build good relationships with new contacts? There is balance and communication to work on. All relationships tend to follow a similar tract: introduction, follow-up, acquaintance, interaction, commitment. There is room between each stage for varying degrees of influence, but most relationships in business tend to fall somewhere in these five categories.
In the introduction stage, you first meet the contact, give some overviews about yourself, find out who they are, exchange contact info, and independently decide whether or not the person is worth a follow-up action. If there is the potential to have a mutually beneficial relationship, or the new contact can possibly benefit you, request permission to follow-up with that person. If you can benefit them, let them know that you would be open to a follow-up communication.
The follow-up communication is where most individuals drop the ball. It is difficult to make time in a busy schedule to get in front of your computer with the intent to follow-up on potential leads or new contacts. If you don't follow up correctly, a few things can happen:
1) you can loose out on a potential referral,
2) you could loose out on a potential client,
3) you loose out on a opportunity to get connected to a whole different network of contacts, and
4) you can loose credibility by not following up when you expressed an interest to.
If networking for increasing influence and position within a market is important to you, then follow-up opportunities should be created, not missed.
If you can get through the follow-up process, your hope is for a favorable response from the people you contact. When favorable replies are made (either by phone or email), you gain an opportunity to create an acquaintance with the contact. This is the real first step in developing a relationship. At this stage, you have made a favorable enough first impression to engage someone a second time, so use this opportunity to win them over. This third step is usually the opportunity to give out some usable information, such as potential leads for each of you, or a request for proposal (or a request to offer a proposal) for services.
Once you have had a few interactions with your contacts, you begin to develop an acquaintance with them. At this point, you both know each other and each others businesses, but you aren't close with them yet. You may or may not have had any business dealings with them, but they are at least on your radar for future deals, or as someone who you can send referrals to. Most business relationships don't grow past this phase, but if you continue to follow up with them and remain in contact, often times you will either get a lead or be able to give a lead to someone you stay in contact with.
The final step in the business relationship process is developing a commitment with the new contact. This doesn't have to be any formal commitment, but typically means that you both agree to continue interacting with one another. Hopefully the commitment comes in the form of a new customer or a referral that turns into a client, but either way, you have built a new business relationship that will only grow from here. It is important to not loose contact with individuals in this stage of the business relationship because they can often be the most influential people in your growing network.
Most business-savvy individuals are always looking to grow their network, which means that follow-up and continued interactions are welcomed. It is your responsibility to bring value to the relationships that you build - don't just look to your own interest, but to the interest of your new contacts. In doing so, you will begin to increase your influence and position within your industry.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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 IT 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 IT 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.