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Networking for Business Success
Introduction
The overall purpose of business networking is to increase business revenue. Sales are usually developed through relationships that we have developed with other people. Networking provides an opportunity for us to develop our contact list.

Definition

•Business Networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people, customers /clients.
•It is deliberately establishing your new contacts beyond the people you already know.

Strategies for business Networking

Choose the right networking group or event.
Define the people you want to meet and where you can meet them,

Focus on quality not quantity.

You can’t create relationship with everyone hence  choose and concentrate on few strong relations.(the person who while talking to you, keeps his eye roving around the room is good at networking.) Make a positive first Impression.
•Dressing and grooming( dress for success )
•Hand shake: Greet people using your hands not waving .This somehow breaks the ice.

Give out business cards.
Ensure it has your name, position/title, telephone and email address – include your mobile number; Let it look attractive, readable and not overcrowded.

Spend most of your time with people you don’t know.
Those you already know or those who already know you, can always get each other, but spend most of your time with those you may never see.

Be the first to arrive and the last to leave.
You will have created time to get to know other people.

Strategies of Networking

Choose the right networking group or event.
The best results come from attending the appropriate networking events for your particular industry. This should include trade shows, conferences, and associations dedicated to your type of business. For example, if your target market is a Fortune 500 company, it does not make sense to join a group whose primary membership consists of individual business owners.

You can also participate in groups where your potential clients meet. A friend of mine helps people negotiate leases with their landlords. He joined the local franchise association because most franchisors lease their properties.

Focus on quality contacts versus quantity.

Most people have experienced the person who, while talking to you, keeps his eyes roving around the room, seeking his next victim. This individual is more interested in passing out and collecting business cards than establishing a relationship. My approach is to make between two and five new contacts at each networking meeting I attend. Focus on the quality of the connection and people will become much more trusting of you.
    
Stages in Networking (Link)

•Learning-our needs and those of others
•Investing-in making strong contact with other people
•Nurturing –deeper relationships
•Keeping the momentum going

Rules of Networking
•Make a positive first impression
•You shall drop the "what is in it for me?" attitude.
•You shall listen.
•You shall build a relationship.
•You shall give the first referral.
•You shall not tell others of the referral you require; thou shall "show them" with a story.
•You shall be specific of the type of referral.
•You shall reciprocate when appropriate.
•You shall participate in the network executive, functions, and network time.
•You shall thank the person who gave a referral.
•You shall follow up on the referral within 24 hours.
•Business networking is productive and fun, and that is why it will always be part of the Bigger Picture.

You have exactly one opportunity to make a great first impression. Factors that influence this initial impact are your handshake, facial expressions, eye contact, interest in the other person and your overall attentiveness. Develop a great handshake, approach people with a natural, genuine smile and make good eye contact.  “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Comment on their business, ask them to elaborate, or have them explain something in more detail. As they continue, make sure you listen intently to what they tell you. Once you have demonstrated interest in someone else, they will – in most cases – become more interested in you.


Benefits of Networking
    
Business Exposure.
This is one of the main reasons for joining any organization and is actually part and parcel with all the other reasons I will list here.
Networking with anyone and everyone is essential to the growth of any business, especially networking with those in your business. Some businesses are still fairly young and by networking with others, they can all work together to increase the exposure of your specific industry, thus increasing the visibility of each individual member’s business.

The opportunity to work with fellow members.
With the increased exposure of various industries, many veteran members may be finding their workloads are getting to a point where they have to outsource some of their projects. If they don’t know about you, they won’t even have the chance to consider sending you some of their overflow. Not to mention, most members may specialize in certain procedures and, should a task come up for a client that is not one of their specialties, they may need to subcontract the project.

Learning from your fellow members.
Even if you are an experienced business professional or new to the industry, there is always something to learn from others. Veteran members have been there and done that so they have the voice of experience to offer. Those new to the industry can sometimes be an excellent source of new, fresh ideas.

You have the chance to get involved in new ventures.
Many veteran members collaborate to initiate new ventures and projects to help enhance their industry. Usually, during the start-up phase of these new ventures, it is common to work with those that you know, respect and have them involved in the process. By being a member of an organization and staying involved, you become visible to your fellow members and thus may be requested to become involved in the newest industry-boosting project.

The joy of making new friends.
Many small business owners operate their businesses from home and isolation can become an issue. Being a member of any organization results in making friends with fellow members and reducing the isolation aspect amongst you. These friendships can also result in a mentor type relationship where the two (or more) of you share ideas that will help to boost each other’s businesses and even your personal lives
 
How to Increase Your Business Referrals
Create a most-wanted list of ten occupational categories whose members are frequently in touch with the type of client you desire. For example, a graphic designer who specializes in working with small start-up businesses might choose accountants, attorneys, bankers, business coaches and consultants, business teachers, career counselors, entrepreneurship center staff, office supply vendors, printers, and secretarial services.

Make the acquaintance of ten people in each occupation. Seek them out, meet with them, and familiarize them with your expertise and the benefits of the service you offer. Find out more about what they do and the type of clients they serve so you can refer business to them as well

When you connect with someone who seems open to sending you business referrals from time to time, you have found a referral partner. Add their name to your list. Ten people times ten occupations equal your circle of 100

Ways to Get Known
    
Get on TV.
•The beauty of TV is that viewers see you and if they see you in action, they start to think they know you.
•Search for TV programs that regularly feature guests and might see you as a suitable candidate. Then find out who the right contact person would be and

Get on the radio.
Radio is far from dead and being a guest on radio is another great way of getting known that relatively few are using. Seek out radio programs where you would be a good fit as a guest and contact the producer/show host with your pitch
    
Write a book
Focus on your expertise and come up with ideas for possible titles. Then choose one or more of these titles and write a chapter by chapter outline. (This will give you a sense of whether or not the project would work and how long the finished book would be.)

Create /sponsor an event.
Choose an event that you believe is important

Give lessons.
Offering lessons to the public related to your product gives you the opportunity to form a relationship with potential customers and introduce them to/kindle their interest in your products. And by giving lessons, you’re setting yourself up as an expert. The next time your “student” wants to know something about your topic, you’re the one he or she will contact.

Conclusion
Business Networking enables you to increase revenue and expand your market
 
 
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