As an experienced networker, I often get asked about the benefits of networking. I have met 90% of my clients and contacts through networking, and as my contacts list builds, so does my reputation and so does the number of people wanting to meet with me to see how we can do business together.
Networking is renowned for taking it’s time – it is most definitely not an instant way to win business – but I would always recommend networking to anyone looking to grow their business.
So how does networking work best?
Well, longevity is the name of the game. Building up trust with people you see regularly at the same networking events is vital. It creates an understanding of each other and each other’s businesses.
The chances of you happening to be in the same room as someone looking for your exact product at that exact time is pretty small. BUT when they do need your product, you are the one they will think of because they’ve created a relationship with you through regular meetings at networking.
Networking is all about ‘How can I help?’ NOT ‘What can I get?’.
Everytime you meet a new contact, you are effectively being introduced to their connections. Never judge a networking event by which businesses are in the room, instead think of the actual people. After all people buy from people! Even if you work in a niche market or have a niche clientele, you don’t know who knows whom and therefore never dismiss someone because you can’t see how they can help you grow your business.
It can help with personal development and well-being as well as business development. There have been many people who I have developed a friendship with who keep me going on the days when business and motivation becomes a struggle. They lend an ear, make me smile, remind me of how far I’ve come and boost my flagging confidence, which is invaluable.
It is for all these reasons I set up the JK Business Club, which is professional networking aimed at business leaders, SMEs, corporates, entrepreneurs and start ups.
I am also teaming up with management consultant Nick Hodson to launch a peer to peer business group in February 2019 - watch this space for more information.