With a tightening and highly competitive market across many service-based industries numerous business owners have increased their networking endeavours with the hope of sourcing their next potential client or business opportunity using this approach.
While networking should be an integral part of your marketing and communications plan (and overall business development strategy) there are some secrets which can make a significant difference between not really generating much success (and the potential for networking burnout) in comparison to building influential and productive relationships that open the doors to potential business opportunities.
To avoid networking burnout, ensure you’re adopting the top ten effective habits of highly successful networkers.
A highly successful networker:
- Is clear on their niche, their idea target market and can clearly articulate this when seeking support or communicating with members of their network.
- Has a clear understanding of their personal and business brand, their unique selling proposition and can professionally communicate their brand both in person and in online networking opportunities.
- Has up-to-date marketing material, (which can include business cards, brochures, website, business blog, and profiles on multiple social networking platforms) that highlights the solutions and benefits that you offer to a potential client as well as successes of your former/existing clients.
- Is able to speak confidently (not arrogantly) about their strengths and successes so that potential clients and key stakeholders are able to grasp the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) should they decide to invest in you.
- Has a powerful and memorable ‘marketing pitch’ that can be utilised as an introduction to networking events and that question ‘So what is it that you do?’
- Has a written strategic networking plan that encompasses regular attendance of both online and offline networking activities that allows them to continually expand and leverage a diverse network.
- Utilises a network management system to effectively track their networking endeavours and important information about each member of their network.
- Adopts an approach of regularly sharing relevant information with people in their network with a mindset of no expectations in return. They continually nurture their network as part of their long-term business management plan and not just when seeking new business opportunities, so that when they need to seek help from their network, people are far more open to supporting them.
- Knows how to frame and deliver the right questions to whom they are speaking to enable ongoing expansion of their network or an opportunity to speak to a key decision maker.
- Surrounds themselves with positive and supportive people who continue to strengthen and enhance the enthusiasm they portray during their business development and marketing activities. This is in complete contrast to being surrounded with nay-sayers who can seriously undermine your enthusiasm and ultimately your business development and revenue outcomes.
If you’ve ticked all ten areas, then congratulations – you’re a highly successful networker and are communicating your brand professionally and prominently in readiness for when that ideal client or business opportunity presents itself.
If, on the other hand you haven’t ticked all ten areas, then my suggestion would be to select, work on and integrate one new area each week into your networking plan so that you too can become a ‘star’ networker.
So which strategy are you going to work on this week?