Tuesday, January 29, 2013
"Business networking is a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like minded business people recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities."
Your business network is a very valuable resource for your company. Networking is, at its core, relationship-building. You are making a connection that stands to benefit the parties involved. There are a few ways to build your network. We will discuss a few in this article.
Lets keep in mind that anyone can be in your network. The reason I say this is because many people do know someone in business and can refer you or your company to someone else. I am not saying to put every person in the world in your network but keep that in mind when searching.
Getting in touch with the right people
This is important because everyone you meet will not be in the same industry as you. So now you must start researching how to get in contact with the right people. There are a few ways to do this.
Think of your industry and the different settings you can meet other professionals that share the same passion. This can lead you to your local Chamber of Commerce. Your Chamber of Commerce promotes networking between businesses. They can refer you to the right people or events that will help your company get in touch with the right people.
Expos, Trade Shows, Conferences
These events can help build your professional network almost immediately. Trade Shows, Expos, and conferences have many people within an industry in one spot. It also gives you information about other businesses, what they are doing, new approaches, etc. A business professional can meet others in their industry, share thoughts and ideas, and stay connected.
Networking in groups
When networking in larger groups or at events it is important to remember why you are there. You are participating to learn and to also make others aware of who you and your company are. Keep your information organized. Arrive early! This may seem simple since we want to be on time for important events; however some individuals do not like being the first at an event. The benefits are you can get a feel for the atmosphere and also set a tone.
Ask easy questions. No one likes to deal with really complicated things. When you are easy to understand and ask basic questions you let the people you are speaking with know your interested and then you can both decide if a more in depth route is the way to go. Capture the interest first.
LISTEN! I can not stress this more. You do not want to come across like your stealing the show. It is not all about you but about all of you. When you actively listen to others they do return the favor.
Ditching the sales pitch. Do not start off selling. Create a simple way to describe yourself and what you do. If someone is meeting you for the first time and ask your name, do not say "I'm Mike Johnson the CEO of INV Ventures who is the leading travel company on the east coast worth over 3 billion dollars." That is a bit much. Some will think to themselves, Dude I just asked your name. Introduce yourself, your company, and then ask who they are. Become genuinely interested in the other person. Try not to hijack the conversation.
Share your passions and why you do what you do.
Remember to smile. This actually sets a tone and make you more approachable.
Remember to follow up! This is crucial. Try to do it within 48 hours of the event. You won't seem to eager but also within a short time frame for people to remember who you are. Reference your conversation so they remember you. Offer a lunch meeting so you can get to know the individual better and they can learn more about you.
There is a lot more to networking but these are a few points that any professional can learn from. Visit our website to learn more about Akutagawa International http://akutagawainternational.com. Sign up for our news letter at the bottom of our website to get the latest on business service news