In business, who you know is just as important as what you know.
Having well-connected contacts can help you in various aspects of your business from sales to marketing.
Suppose you're in the fashion business but in need of a lawyer or an accountant.
Having access to contacts in the legal and accounting industry can prove invaluable in such times.
So it’s essential to have a strong network of connections in order to succeed. But how do you go about networking? Keep reading to find out some here.
1. Research Attend The Right Events
What else place can be better than an event to meet new people and get exposed to new ideas? Research your industry events, seminars, and workshops in your area.
If possible find out who are attending. You're sure to come across some key contacts through these events. Now not all of them may not belong to your business niche, but that's not a problem.
Because networking should not just be limited to your industry. And remember, you can network with people online as well as offline. So, join mastermind communities too. You'll learn key new trends to help grow your business.
2. Socialize In Your Off-Hours
Networking can't be just limited to your work hours, stretch it beyond that.
Arrange a meet-up with some of your influential customers if possible. Or take out some time to grab a coffee with some relevant and necessary contacts you met on LinkedIn.
Pick up important contacts and connections whenever possible and keep nurturing them. If you're good with timing and managing your off-hour socialization and networking, you'll be able to combine having fun and growing yourself.
It's also easier to build trust when you know someone at a personal level. And this makes it easier to negotiate, close deals, and come up with partnerships.
3. Follow Up With New Contacts
If you think exchanging a few ideas at an event or having a casual conversation at the coffee shop is enough to network, then you're wrong.
Your job is far from done. Keeping in touch with these new contacts is key to successful networking.
Take the initiative and be the one to follow up with new contacts.
Send out thoughtful messages, emails, and invite them to your business events. Just make sure to keep them in the loop and send them a reminder of your existence from time to time.
Doing so makes you familiar with and engages them with your content. And this is critical if you want to ask these connections for a call or to sell something to them later.
4. Build Your Reputation
Now networking is not just by working with others but by also developing yourself.
Start building your reputation in the market by doing freelance work and offering some consultancy services.
You can also do volunteering for the cause you support. Attend or hold such charitable events and you will draw the attention of people who support the same cause.
Or start a blog to showcase your expertise and interact with the readers online. You can even create thought leadership content to share your knowledge and help others.
In this way, you build your reputation just not in your niche but in the entire community. You can't achieve all these through marketing effort alone but it's a good place to start.
5. Connect With Your Ex Co-Colleague
This is an important one. You never know when or what situation will arise that requires the help of your ex-colleagues.
So stay in touch with them and keep nurturing your relationships with them.
Don't forget them once you leave the organization. A simple text like 'how are you?' or wishes during festivities will do the job.
And connect with them on social media or professional networking arenas. Hopefully, you've maintained a cordial relationship with your peers which will allow you to tap into your relationship as a resource in the future.
6. Join Social Media Groups & Communities
Social media is not just for digital marketing. It's a great place for networking too.
You'll find numerous groups, and communities on Linkedin, Twitter, and forums relevant to your niche. Join these communities to get an idea of the industry, trends, and the major players in it.
Don't shy away from posting your ideas, and opinions or joining in conversations on forums. You never know who is following your posts and conversations.
uSE Professional Networking Tools
You have the strategies, now let's learn some of the tools that help with networking.
Networking is not just limited to physical events anymore. Here are some of the business networking tools you should be aware of -
1. Bumble Bizz
Heard of Bumble? A dating app. Well, Bumble Bizz is an extension of that app but for building professional relationships. In simple words, for networking.
It revolves around the same location-focused tech of dating apps to locate beneficial business professionals and build connections with them.
This app doesn't locate professionals as such but it helps you build solid and healthy relationships with similar-minded professionals.
It allows users to join the discussion channels, audio chat, text, and video messages with their co-workers.
LinkedIn is still the most popular professional network for business relationships.
It is the best place to find prospective clients, partners, and other professionals in your field.
You can join groups or create one of your own to connect with your target audience.
Or else you can accept the connections of others and then find useful people in their connections and start networking.
So this sums up our guide on professional networking.
No matter how big or small your business is, networking can definitely help you grow it if done the right way
So it’s time you start building strong relationships with people in your circle and outside of it. Take into account the strategies and tools mentioned above and you should be fine.
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