Business Networking and Building Relationships

I  launched this week a new 4networking group Nantwich (Cheshire) based at the superb Wychwood park Hotel, it was a great meeting and a successful morning. I love connecting with people and making introductions, you can not underestimate the power of relationships in business; Robert Kiyosaki wrote in his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” that most people go to work at a job that they don’t like and smart people build networks.”

Can you survive in business today without doing some form of business networking? The old say comes to mind “it’s not what you, know but who you know”. I know my success in business IS due to the relationships I have built with colleagues, strategic partners and clients. I have joined various networking groups in the past and attended many events, both industry specific and open groups, if you go in with an open mind and be open to opportunities, you just never know who you’re going to meet!

I have been rewarded both in financial and non-monetery terms, I get so much more from networking than just business referrals, although that’s why we all go in the first place! People who understand networking will tell you “it works, just try it!”. Here are some tips so  you approach business networking the right way!

  • Be Patient, it takes time to build relationships. 4N’s ethos is MEET-LIKE-KNOW-TRUST, until you have reached the trust stage people are unlikely to refer you to their valued clients. Of course there are cases where a visitor has attended a meeting and picked up a 20k contract but this isn’t the norm. So how long does it take? This depends on your personality, your business and the groups/events you attend. If networking isn’t working for you do not question networking, ask yourself what you are doing wrong?
  • Go in with the attitude ‘who can I help today?’ not ‘who can buy my products?’. I have witnessed people walk into a networking events and just try to sell to the people in the room, they are missing the bigger picture. Once people trust you, they become your extended sales force, so much more powerful than a one of sale!
  • Go beyond your industry and never assume anything! Connect with people on a variety of levels from a wide range of industries, you can never second guess who people know and how they could help you.
  • Develop the habit of introducing people. Connecting like-minded people is a powerful way to enhance your network. Stealing the BNI networking groups phrase ‘Givers Gain’!
  • Follow up! Don’t forget to follow-up after networking events to deepen relationships.

Share any networking tips below! You can join me at the 4Networking Group Nantwich on Thursday 27th September, the group meets every 2 weeks be great to see you along!