Top 10 Networking Tips for Business Success
Networking is a central plank for most business success. It is particularly relevant for small business operators seeking to establish their brand in competitive markets. Your networking is often the final reason that a customer selects your business. So how can you become a better networker? Read on for some tips to impress.
Tips to help you with business networking
- Perfect your elevator pitch
- Get out there
- Have a plan
- Be a good listener
- Share your knowledge
- Focus on quality over quantity
- Hone your remote networking skills
- Get in touch via social
- Use LinkedIn for remote business networking
- Follow up with your network
What are the benefits of networking?
There are five key reasons to brush up on your networking skills:
- Generate new business leads
- Learn from others across every function in your business (e.g. marketing, admin, product, HR)
- Finding new suppliers
- Learning about innovations in your sector
- Understanding how others perceive your business
Building your network not only helps you learn about new developments in your industry, it also gives you the opportunity to connect with your community and collaborate together.
Our top 10 networking tips
Nowadays, we need to be as mindful about the opportunities to network remotely as we do in person. Our top tips list includes networking suggestions for both.
1. Perfect your elevator pitch
It’s essential to know your business and an elevator pitch enables you to let others know what makes you unique in just a couple of lines. If you are unsure if your elevator pitch is effective, practice it on a few trusted colleagues before using it at an upcoming event.
2. Get out there
Find associations, tradeshows and conferences that make sense for your business. Attending meetings and conferences for these organisations is an easy way to network with others in your industry.
3. Have a plan
Always plan your networking activity to understand your goals for the experience. For example, you might be at full capacity and need to know how to improve your production processes. Or you may want to find new suppliers.
4. Be a good listener
Listening is an excellent way to make a positive impression. Understanding another’s position, or the challenges they face helps identify solutions you may be able to provide. It also gives you the chance to learn something new.
5. Share your knowledge
Don’t be afraid to share information. This will help establish yourself as an industry expert, which is attractive to client prospects. People like doing business with those who know what they are doing and that are respected in the sector.
6. Focus on quality over quantity
It’s better to speak to ten high-quality prospects than to approach everybody. In order to do that, you need to put some effort. Do some targeted research before you start, so you know who you need to talk to and, where possible, a little bit about them.
7. Hone your remote networking skills
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual networking events have become commonplace. That may well continue. Virtual events appeal to business owners because they are easier to attend, you don’t have to pay for travel and they are time effective.
To ensure you get the very best out of every remote networking opportunity:
- Make sure your communications hardware is up to the job
- Ensure your internet is running correctly
- Dress professionally
- Test and tidy your background shot and even consider a branded backdrop to reinforce your connection to your brand
- In virtual meetings, use the chat and hand-raising functions
8. Get in touch via social
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook let you engage with your clients, but other networks — notably LinkedIn — let you engage with other business owners. Maintain and update your social media channels regularly with compelling content. Always make sure you respond promptly to any direct messaging. Also, use this time to comment on others’ social media platforms to initiate communication.
Find out more about how you can fully harness the power of brand on social media here?
9. Use LinkedIn for remote business networking
LinkedIn allows you to employ a range of remote networking techniques. It’s great for sharing industry knowledge and finding events you can network in person.
Why not create or join a LinkedIn group? They offer strong networking and information sharing opportunities with other professionals.
Posting regularly in a LinkedIn group and interacting with other group members can help you become a top contributor, making it easier for other group members to find you.
Try to post regularly and include relevant hashtags on your content which will extend reach beyond your first-degree connections.
Check out the “People You May Know” feature on the “My Network” tab on LinkedIn as an easy way to find and connect with people who went to the same school as you, who work in similar roles or industries.
10. Follow up with your network
You have done all the hard work networking, but it is useless unless you follow it up. Following up provides another chance to interact and build a relationship with the new people in your network. When you’ve finished your networking event, make a rule to be in contact within three or four days. If you have promised to provide additional information, do so. Otherwise, send a personal message thanking them for taking the time to speak with you. Make a note in your diary for a subsequent call or message.
Expand your network today
But be aware networking doesn’t deliver results immediately. Imagine you are having a problem with a supplier. Then you remember that this supplier is related to an industry network you met two years ago. Now you can call that contact to see if that can help resolve the issue. Who knew that a contact from two years ago could become integral to your business success?
Networking can provide a host of benefits to your company. You can connect with other business owners, see your business from a new angle, generate new ideas, and promote your company using word-of-mouth advertising.
Want more suggestions? Learn more creative marketing ideas to take your business to the next level here.