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Networking Tips


1.  FOUR TRUTHS ABOUT NETWORKING THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT TELLING YOU

               Article contributed by -  Dr. Amit Punjabi, Phd (HC)

               Consultant (Author) - Chapter Bliss

Over the last decade, business owners have chosen to invest a good amount money & time in meeting other business owners at networking events & networking platforms. However, not a lot of business owners have been able to grow the value of their business effectively through networking. They may have done more business in terms of volume but they have not been able to grow in value or brand value. In most cases this is simply because a lot of business owners tend to get attracted to aspects of networking meets that don’t generate enough value rather than spending time in working on aspects that would actually bring them the value they are looking for.

Here are 4 truths about networking that people are not telling you:

It is not about the size of audience/participants at an event

A lot of businesses have been attracted & have also agreed to spend huge amounts of money at events because of the event having thousands in attendance. It is important to know that most of the crowd that participate at such huge events spend time outside the event areas trying to have conversations of business in a hurry to be able to talk to more and more people about their work & exchange cards, in the process they fail to create an impact during their conversations & have any recall value. The truth about large gatherings is that it is distracting & also confusing for people who could use your service because of way too many options. Confusion does not trigger intuition & will just encourage them to throw away your business card & never contact you.

Most people attend networking events & meetings to find opportunities & not to buy your service or product

Yes it is true; I have been attending networking events & meetings for over a decade now & my line of work has encouraged me to observe the behavior of people that I interact with. It is only after interacting with thousands of people at networking meets have I accepted the truth that most people only want to meet other people & find an opportunity to either collaborate with them or talk about their product or service but their most important outcome to attend the event or meet is not to buy anything from any participant.

There is no sure strategy of receiving business

I have come across many business owners over the last few years that find it a challenge to receive any business. Senior members & associates at any such forums have addressed these challenges with to do lists & defined methods that they say you must use to receive business for sure. However, the fact is that there is no sure or a defined way of receiving new business in any networking forum. It is important for us to find our way to realize needs & only pitch if our product or service will fulfill those needs. In any networking forum, it is important for you to experiment to find out what works for you. The strategies that have worked for business owners in the past may not be relevant to you & what works for you may only work for you.

It is more about database & not branding

Most people assume that meeting more people at such forums & platforms will help them increase their reach & even become visible as a brand. It is true that all businesses want to & must focus on becoming a brand to grow in value but this is not possible at networking platforms. Branding is a lot more than just networking & telling people about your organization or work. Networking platforms or forums are primarily for you to have a database to reach out to. While this could help you promote your business, it will not help you establish yourself as a brand. So if your business requires you to have & increase your database to may be send out emails in bulk or send out survey forms to develop a better product, then make sure you use your membership effectively to do exactly that. Over a period, this may also lead to sales but establishing yourself or your organization as a brand will require a lot of good strategies for positioning instead of just networking.

 

2. BUSINESS INTRODUCTION:

           Article contributed by -  Sharat Khadri, founder B&B

Business introductions happen during conferences, business networking forums or at business exhibitions and events wherein the time available to introduce and make a mark about our business, is very limited. Hence the following steps could help us as a guide to give a powerful business introduction

  • Name, company name, industry: Mention your name, company name and the industry you operate in, at the beginning of an introduction.
  • Brief profile about the company: A brief description of what you do in your business i.e. your areas of operation / expertise would give an idea of what business you do.
  • Achievements if any: Achievements can be mentioned to add credibility to your business introduction.
  • USPs / how is my company different from competition: This makes it easy for the listener to help you get business referrals from his/her contact sphere.
  • Specific ask / what kind of clients am I looking for: Any business introduction should result in a referral for us in order to consider it as a powerful and effective introduction. This can be possible only if the listener knows what kind of clients you would be looking for. This could also avoid receiving irrelevant referrals from the listener

 

BUSINESS NETWORKING – A Double Edged Sword

                Building a wide contact sphere to help business growth can also have a negative effect on business if our product/service excellence is not taken care. This means to say that as we grow our business network, it is also important to keep our product/service quality at its best. Else the same network which was built to help business growth, can now start spreading a negative word of mouth about our  business thus destroying a well-built castle of business.

 

SERVICE ENTREPRENUERSHIP – Attitude while networking

                Every businessman thinks he first has to be a salesperson to drive business growth. Hence the tendency to sell our product or service at every given opportunity tends to become a way of life for many. This needs to change in this era of business because a person who is always trying to sell is never liked or preferred by people any more. The attitude has to be to know how we could help others in their business. Hence a question like “How could I help you in your business?” or “How could I help you in growing your business?” should be the approach when we meet business / entrepreneur friends. This is an attitudinal shift required in our new age of business networking. This would make the other person welcome you for a  discussion and he/she too would be eager to help you in your business growth. So the mantra to be remembered is “Givers are the ones who get as well – in life as well as in business!






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