A successful business most likely has good business networking. As a way to know each other, networking becomes a part of a business’s marketing initiatives. Sadly, most solopreneurs and small business owners think networking means getting as many business cards as possible.
However, business networking is beyond that. Building business networking is more than filling in contact details on each other’s phones. Then, how do we maintain good business networking beyond card exchange?
Develop a networking goal that you would review each year
One doesn’t simply do something without reason, not even business networking. You need to figure out what your networking goal would gain for this year. Examine your business to see the necessary steps you need to take and to create a networking web amongst your business or relations. Who knows, someday you’ll need them to help your business, and maybe they’ll need you as their client to be served.
However, it doesn’t mean you can delete all those business contacts you have saved during the networking session. Maybe someday you need a balloon maker or a clown community for your commerce business. Review the goal each year to see what you’re aiming for this time.
Develop an elevator pitch to help your networking partner to know more about you
Networking business is beyond exchanging contacts; it is a chance to let people know about your business. However, the opportunity does not always come in handy. Sometimes you only have a few minutes to talk about your business to your networking partner. Then, you need to develop an elevator pitch that lets people know your business in about 3-4 minutes, just as long as when the lift takes you to the floor you want.
Educate instead of selling
Never sell your product in front of people who have just known your business for 2-3 minutes. They will most probably not listen to what you say. Try to educate the person instead of selling. Educating your partner about your business allows them to imagine what they should do with their business using your service.
Ask how you can help them or look out for referral opportunities
Networking is all about giving and taking. With no contribution, you cannot expect something from your contacts. So, during the introduction, you can ask them how you can help their business. If you keep taking without giving anything, no matter what happens, your partner will never give you what you want.
Develop good listening skills
Better networking needs to understand one another. To build a good understanding, you need to develop listening skills. Listening is not about hearing what your partner says but looking into what they need for their business or life. Start your conversation by looking at their business capability in solving some problems. Let them finish their explanation before asking questions.
“Thank you” goes a long way
Maintaining a good business relationship is related to your attitude to your partners. Instead of only saying goodbye after a meaningful conversation, strengthen your relationship by saying “thank you”, a simple phrase that means a lot when gaining respect in your relationship.
There is nothing wrong with exchanging cards while maintaining a good relationship through business networking. However, good networking is more than that. It is a long-term game with rules. If you stick to the rules, it will lead to a good enhancement of your business. However, like any other skill, it has to be measured and refined. Always maintain a positive attitude so that your skills are constantly growing.