As a business owner, widening your network is key to ensuring your business of steady and renewed sales. You cannot just sit around and pray that patrons come into your store. You have to go out and seek new relationships, new partnerships, new contacts, with the underlying hope of helping your business get more and more patrons. This entire process is called networking.
But networking is not just incidental or careless promoting for your business. Some keys characterize effective networking:
Providing value to others
Networking is not all about you making a sale. To be successful, you must be instrumental in helping others also. If you are in a networking event, others are just as eager to sell as you are. If you own a restaurant, while a person you met sells computers (totally unrelated to each other), then refer him to your friends whom you know are in need of good computers. You will find that this simple, seemingly small favor you do will reap you benefits. After all, who doesn’t want to eat good food at a good restaurant? Who knows, maybe this grateful new networking friend of yours might even consider holding all their future meetings in your restaurant? You then end up not only successful in your networking efforts, but you also got the chance to provide value or help to others too. Kindness begets kindness.
Create beneficial situations for your customers: It is not possible to force potential customers to purchase your products just for the sake of helping you make a buck. You have to make the sale worthwhile for your potential customer, too. Provide mutual benefit. Find ways to use your products to help out others. Sometimes, you need to give discounts in exchange for patronage, especially in bulk purchases.
Be at the right places
No matter how great your sales pitches are, or how wonderful your product is, if you are unmindful about your choice of networking event, then your efforts will be futile. If you sell high tech gadgets, then networking at your local Seniors’ event might not seem to be a viable move. You end up wasting your time, and others’ time as well.
Put some effort into research
Find out when and where you should be. Networking is not blind promotion – it must be targeted and precise, to minimize effort for maximum results.
Be sincere and truthful
Nobody likes to be told how wonderful a product is, yet get an item of poor quality. Nobody wants to repeat a deal with a networker who enticed you into buying by using his charm but turned out to have such poor customer service skills after making a sale. In short, be sincere when networking, because the best networkers can see through fakeness easily. When you attend a business networking event, stand aside and look around at the people who are there and who you should meet first. Accordingly, meet the required people and try to get their business cards as you get to know them. This will surely get your business well established among your competitors.