We live in a fast-paced world with ever-changing technology and new ways of doing business. Although people tend to connect more through social media and online, business is still done best in person. Making connections and building your network is important. Yes, it takes time and patience, but when done correctly, it can help you build your business while giving you confidence and an increased network of individuals to go to for advice.
The following are several networking tips, as outlined on Forbes.com by business coach Sharon Michaels, to help you create meaningful relationships with business contacts and potential clients/customers:
Understand your target market
Research well so you can network with your target market. It is important to strategically choose your networking opportunities since you are going to spend your valuable time and energy on this activity. Make plans to attend networking functions where you connect with your target market or with people who can introduce you to individuals within your target market. Build a quality network; not a quantity one—it is about meeting the right people.
Know what you bring to the table
Networking is not just about you. It is also about what you bring to table. Take a hard look at what you can offer as an effective networker. Are you willing to spend time and energy building those professional contacts? Networking is a powerful tool when it is a win-win for all involved.
Have a goal in mind
You should know realistically how networking fits into your overall business-building plan. What is your networking objective? How will you measure networking success? Don’t attend networking functions just to wander around. Think about what you want to accomplish, why you want to accomplish and how you’re planning to do so.
Give value to receive value
The entire purpose of building relationships is so that it creates value for everyone. Having a mindset where you give as much as you receive will take you a long way in building strong and trustworthy relationships. As per the law of reciprocity, whatever form of value you give, be it service or monetary, you are likely to receive the same or greater value in return.
Follow up promptly
If you don’t intend to follow up on your network of people, don’t waste your time and that of others. The purpose of building a network is to develop a solid win-win business building relationship. The goal should not be to collect business cards, but rather to starting building strong relationships. It is not just about what you want to achieve. Let your fellow networkers know that you want to support their success as well.
Finally, it’s important to remember that some relationships develop immediately, while others can take much longer.
For more information about creating a meaningful networking strategy, please visit the complete article online: http://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2013/05/21/heres-how-to-build-a-win-win-networking-relationship/
Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!
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