You want your business to grow and a great way to do that is through networking. Not only is it highly effective, but it's also incredibly affordable and gives you the best return for your effort. We've put together a collection of business networking tips to help you maximise your success.
16 Business Networking Tips
Face to face networking is very traditional. From working breakfasts to drinks after work, physical networking has been on the scene for many years. A recent arrival is online networking, where business owners and their employees meet, help and support others online. Needless to say, both forms of networking provide multiple benefits for businesses. In order to make the most out of your networking opportunities, we've put together a collection of 16 business networking tips for you.
- Join the right networking groups - more is not better when it comes to business network groups. Be selective and only join groups which are targeted at likeminded members to you.
- Mingle with others - inside an online networking group, it's much easier to chat with members you have never met before. In a face to face group, not so much. It's important that you get to know others in the group, and they you.
- Avoid self promotion - while it's more acceptable to discuss your business in a physical network, avoid doing so in an online environment. No one likes being spammed.
- Be supportive of other group members - you don't need to solve all of their problems, but offer advice if you can. Empathy and the sharing of experiences can also go a long way in building relationships within a network.
- Never follow up unless asked - whether it's via email or PM, it's not okay to send a cold follow up to another member unless you are asked to do so.
- Be active - online, comment in the group on a regular basis. In person, chat with other members.
- Give quality leads and referrals where you can - once you've built up relationships, refer leads to other members you trust.
- Share information - rather than thinking of it as giving information away for free, consider it as a way of building up your reputation amongst members so you become their go-to person.
- Take time to know other members - ask questions about your fellow members. Discover what makes them tick and what their business is about.
- Use member's first names - people like to know you see them as important.
- Remember eye contact - look people in the eye, in person and not online that is!
- Keep a hand free - once again something only needed for personal networking, and so you can shake hands with other members when necessary.
- Dress professionally - while online this is not important except in your profile photo, dressing appropriate forms a great first impression.
- Ask lots of questions - you'd be surprised at what you learn by asking questions of other members, rather than talking about yourself.
- Be positive - it's fine to be having a bad day, but don't be negative within the group. Others will quickly begin avoiding interacting with you.
- Bring a friend - invite other likeminded business owners and employees to join the networking group with you!
If you are a NZ business owner or employee, please consider joining our free online business networking group. Created specifically for NZ based businesses, we're a friendly bunch of experienced and new business owners and would love you to join us!