Establishing a strong network online can help a business grow in many ways, from getting successful business owners and entrepreneurs feedback to opening doors to new business opportunities. Building a professional network should be something every brand is always working on. The right type of connections can lead to promising prospects, and as we have discussed during our free webinar training, you should always be looking for ways to improve your online business. Growth and an eagerness to learn can lead to greater success and hopefully making more money!
It may seem like a simple step to follow, but this simple technique can help your business grow tenfold. Take the time to listen, and you never know what tips can help your business thrive. Lifehack also shares why listening is so vital to business growth:
Listening is one of the most valuable, yet commonly overlooked, skills to have in networking and in business. People love to talk about themselves and appreciate when you take a genuine interest in what they have to stay. Listening will help you to get to learn about peoples’ challenges and get to know them better, which can ultimately lead to more productive professional relationships. Ask open-ended questions, be genuinely interested, and express interest and curiosity.
Sure, you can get involved in “real life,” but there are also ways to get involved online too. However, if you get involved, keep your business in the back of your mind and decide, as Forbes recommends, whether the type of event will benefit or potentially help your company grow.
If an organization is worth your time, you should be right in the middle of the action. Seek to serve on their boards and committees. Otherwise, drop out. When you are all-in, you will build relationships that matter. People will see how you work when you are at your best. These types of relationships build trust and friendships that almost always lead to business opportunities.
Realize that a very strong code of reciprocity is involved. I will help you and when the time comes you will help me. The silver bullet is if I can do something for your child—even if it’s just a call or coffee. Nothing endears you to a person more than helping their daughter or nephew to get a leg up in the business world. Nothing. Period.
Participate in Networking Events
Whether it’s online or in person, there are many ways you can network to get your online business out there. Millio provides a few excellent ideas on how to network with people online.
It does not matter if it is an online or offline event, as long as it involves networking. Moreover, all industries have, at some point, a national and international conference where you will have great networking opportunities.
You can also become a member of local organizations where you will meet other business owners like you who are open to share their stories.
On the other hand, you will find plenty of networking events also online. Think of LinkedIn or Twitter where you can meet a lot of professionals.
For instance, you can participate in a Twitter chat where you can meet people from around the world who might give you a brilliant idea that can change your business forever.
Give Before You Ask
It’s easy to ask for something, but it’s even better to give before you ask. Millio explains why this is the case:
Before you ask for a favor from someone in your networking group, it is always better to give something in advance. It will be difficult to receive help from someone whom you’ve never helped before.
Think at the law of reciprocity. You receive what you’ve given. So, if you’ve helped people in your network before, you will most likely receive their help when you need it.
Similarly, Lifehack discusses how being helpful can benefit you and your business:
When people in your network get stronger, you get stronger. By helping people in your network get stronger, they may be in a better position to be able to help you in the future. In addition, per the law of reciprocity, people may be more motivated to return the favor.
Share your expertise and ideas. Share information. Promote your network’s work and accomplishments. Be a connector. Business transactions are always mutually beneficial. One person is buying a product or service because it will benefit them in some way, and one person is selling a product or service because they can profit. If you can connect two people you know who would benefit from knowing each other, you can help two people as well as improve the strength of your network.
Identify the Type of People You’d Like to Meet
Do you have a plan in place of who you’d like to meet? Sandler Training says it’s a good idea to have a plan before reaching out to people and connecting with new people. Having a game plan will help you figure out what your goal is and how you both can help one another grow a business.
Before you step foot inside the event venue, you should know who is going to be there, who you want to meet, and what their value is. One way to do this is to volunteer to hand out name tags or drink tickets if the opportunity is available. This gives you an easy way to shake everyone’s hand who enters the event in a casual, no-pressure environment. Another method of maximizing your level of success is to scout out who the attendees will be (via social media or the guest list) and see who they are connected to. This opens avenues to even more qualified individuals and gives you another purpose while in attendance. If you can get the list of attendees ahead of time, do so, and then pre-qualify the participants to decide with whom you would like to speak.
Build a Reputation
Establishing a positive reputation online has a lot to do with how your business will do. Make it a goal to having an excellent reputation and as Invoice suggests, maintain it:
Building trust and reputation are essential for growing a strong business network. Lack of trust prevents successful business networking. Certain connections are absolutely impossible to make until a very high level of trust and reputation is established.
In a professional setting, people prefer to build business relationships with people they see as being valuable. By building a reputation as someone who is talented, helpful, and valuable, people will be more motivated to meet you and stay in touch with you. Let people know what you’re accomplishing and learning through blogging, emails, and conversations.
Social Media Strategy
Of course, no successful business is possible without building a strong social media campaign. Social media also happens to be an incredible way to network with others. According to Jeff Bullas, you never know what type of amazing connects you might make via social media networks.
If you want to use social media as a tool to promote your business networking events, why not be prepared to use it right? You need to have a social media strategy with special events.
A strategy, by definition, is a series of steps designed to achieve a singular purpose. In this particular situation, your purpose is to use your social media presence to attract more participants to your networking events.
To create a strategy, you would need to conduct a lot of research on who your potential audience is. Then, you need to find the best ways to reach that audience, grab their attention, and convince them that attending your event would be worth it.
Follow up With New Contacts
If you take the time to connect with new people, make sure you follow up with them! Huffington Post reminds business owners that not only is it essential to communicate with people but to also reach out to them again.
Make sure that you follow up with every connection you make. If you come home with a few business cards make sure to take a few minutes the next morning and send an email letting the person know it was a pleasure to meet them. This is also a great time to let them know they should reach out to you in the event that you can ever help them in any way.
Also, if you promise to do something — do it. There is nothing worse than not following through with something you told someone you would do.
Networking with new and old contacts can do wonders for your business, and who knows, it may also help improve your profits as well. In free webinar training continue to learn more tips on how to develop your business ventures and maintain an online living.