A great deal has been written about business networking. Whether you are a self-employed business owner, entrepreneur, solo professional or an executive or manager with a large company, business networking is important for several reasons.
One of the primary reasons to invest time and effort into business networking is to get more business. Yet, for many the outcome of greater business remains elusive.
Business Networking—How To Get More Business
As a personal business coach one of the first things I ask a potential client, whether it be a self-employed small business owner or a corporate manager or executive, is if they are doing any business networking. Most of them will tell me that they do some business networking.
The main reason they do business networking is to get more business. When I ask how successful it has been the answers range from very successful to virtually no success at all.
How come one person has great success and another doesn’t. Is one’s product or service in greater demand? Possibly, but very often it has nothing to do with that.
Business Networking—Success Is About How You Fish
For a moment visualize a business networking event as a big pond with many fish. You have come together with a group of other people and all of you are fishing in the same pond. Some of you will catch fish, prospects, referrals and customers. And most of you will put your bait on a hook and come up with nothing.
What’s causing the difference in results? It could be the pond you are in. Maybe the fish you are swimming with aren’t ideal for you or your business. But, more often than not it is not the fish in the pond that is the problem.
The problem is how you are choosing to fish in that pond. Especially for small business owners seeking more small business growth and success how you fish is a critical determinant in your results.
Running a small business is a big enough challenge to your time and energy without engaging in business networking that is not producing positive results. So if the pond of your business networking is not yielding the results you desire, yet appears to be a good pond, then you must change the way you fish in the pond.
Business Networking—It’s About The Human Being And Not The Human Doing
How do you catch a fish? It’s easy. You give him some bait where he wants to bite on your hook. The best hook you have is you. It’s not your business. It’s not your service. It is who you are. Most people when you engage them do not need your product or service.
The key is that they certainly may need it at some point in time in the future. The goal is to start building a relationship with them based on who you are, not what you do. In the end they will do business with someone they know, like and trust.
The key to successful business networking is to get beyond the human doing, your business, and let others get to know the human being. Focus on learning about who someone else is. Reveal to them more about yourself. It will give you and them many more reasons to build a solid relationship.
Focus on the human being, not getting business. And, the last part is the most important. If you have business networking functions every month attend them regularly. Even if business is good and you feel too busy attend them regularly.
Great relationships aren’t built with intensity but with regular contact over a period of time. Be consistent in showing up and persistent in building your relationships. When you approach business networking as an essential marketing activity focusing on human beings instead of human doings you will start catching a lot more fish in your pond and even greater small business, large business and personal success.
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