Networking is one of the most important things you can do for your business. It gives you opportunities to build relationships with other professionals, which in turn increases sales, customer loyalty, and overall business resilience.
This is achieved through knowledge sharing and establishing yourself as a trustworthy provider who goes above and beyond when it comes to delivering on your proposition.
A successful approach will help ensure that both your business and its new connections yield benefits not only now but well into the future.
However, there’s usually more to an effective networking strategy than meets the eye. To help ensure that your own efforts pay off, we’ve rounded up some of the key things to consider as part of your business networking strategy.
Understand your audience
Many small businesses claim that they cater to anyone and everyone. If this sounds familiar, you may want to rethink your approach and target a segment of the market on which you can focus your efforts.
This is because knowing exactly who you’re talking to is vital for any successful business. It allows you to speak your audience’s language and understand what makes them tick, making it easier to communicate your offering in a way that motivates them to take action.
Meanwhile, if you cater to ‘everyone’, it’s much more challenging to refine a message that will resonate with the people who will really benefit from your offering.
The same goes for business networking. If you want to make the most of your opportunities, you need to understand who your ideal target contact is and what they’re looking for.
Creating a buyer persona is a great way to get started with this. Once you know who you’re talking to, you can start thinking about how best to connect with them.
Be proactive and persistent
Proactivity and persistence are two of the most important qualities for any successful networker. You need to be proactive in your efforts to connect with new people, and you also need to be persistent in maintaining those relationships over time.
This means going above and beyond sending connection requests on LinkedIn or the occasional mailshot to your contacts. Instead, you should aim to nurture your connections at every touchpoint they have with your business.
You can do this by sharing valuable content that will help them to achieve their goals and by scheduling regular catch-ups to understand their needs and share knowledge.
Above all else, remember that effective business networking is all about give and take. Your contacts will be more motivated to stay in touch if you commit to keeping an eye out for potential referrals or mutually beneficial opportunities.
Get out of your comfort zone
Many business owners who have tried their hand at networking are already familiar with attending face to face networking events to expand their network.
However, the Covid pandemic shifted the way many of us network, and digital platforms are getting far more attention. After all, they don’t require any travel, and it’s much easier to find the people that fit the characteristics of your buyer persona.
While getting out of your comfort zone to network used to mean getting more comfortable with entering a room full of people and sparking up conversation, it’s now about getting comfortable using digital tools that enable you to network more effectively outside of events.
Net Hub is a great place to start as it allows you to connect to relevant people and manage your network in one place rather than having to jump between various platforms.
Tracking leads and the value of your network
Effective networking isn’t just about adding new contacts to your network – it’s also about analysing and understanding what value they can bring.
By tracking the results of your networking efforts, you can get a better idea of which connections are most beneficial for your business. You can then monitor how these relationships evolve over time.
This is another area where Net Hub can help. By signing up, you’ll have free access to a Network Relationship Management system that enables you to track your leads and analyse the value of your network so that you can prioritise those that provide the most value to your business.
Get more value out of your network with Net Hub
If you’re serious about networking and want to get more out of your business relationships, Net Hub can help. Our cutting-edge platform enables you to manage, nurture and track your business relationships in one place.
What’s more, our free plan gives you all the features you need to get started, including contact management, analytics and access to a whole range of relevant groups in which you can interact, exchange knowledge, find relevant leads and more.
Want to find out how Net Hub could benefit your business?
We run a weekly support session for new users and those that would like to know more about how Net Hub works. To book your place for our next session, click here.