Is it time to step out from behind your computer and network face to face for business growth in 2019? Writer Aja Frost revealed in a blog for HubSpot that “almost 100% of people say face to face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships”
Networking is defined as “the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.” These interactions and exchanges allow us to build a rapport with people and hopefully turn them into clients and customers.
How do you network for success?
Avanti MD, Victoria Sharp gives her top 5 tips for business networking…
- Be Yourself – allow people to know the real you, what drives you, your background, and your goals. Your fellow networkers will invest in you before they invest in your product or service so remember that first impressions count and being yourself makes the biggest impact.
- Plan – Some people are great at presenting off-the-cuff and getting it perfect every time. If you’re not as polished, take time to plan what it is that you want to say- Avanti Networking was established in 2009, and I networked before that, but I still prepare a script so that I can convey a clear, professional message to my fellow networkers.
- Bring New People – All networking groups strive for a consistent membership, but it’s the flow of visitors that keep things fresh and allow members to reach further markets.
- Be Open Minded – Don’t judge a book by its cover. When you meet someone while networking, you may benefit from making them as a contact, rather than turning them into a client. Whether they provide new business or offer you advice – they may be of value to move your business forward.
- Be Giving – Adopt an approach of giving rather than taking. Whether its referrals, your time, a shared interest, supporting events- find constructive ways to give your time to the members. Be prepared to offer something of value to the group.
“It’s Not Just a Meet and Greet—It’s a Hope to Remeet…
When attending an event, it’s important to have the perspective that your goal should be to help others first.” – Mark Hunter
What are the benefits?
We all know that business is a rollercoaster, whether you’re looking to make contacts, build your client base, or gain advice and support during a period of development, if you network for business successfully, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
- Visibility – Attending regular meetings will raise your profile and help you to keep in front of the movers and shakers in your business community.
- New Contacts – It’s obvious but we all want to make new contacts through networking, what we see consistently with Avanti Networking is the forming of strategic partnerships- designers, copywriters, photographers all coming together to work on projects for other members for example.
- Personal Development – The positive environment of Avanti Networking encourages members to flourish. Whether your business is start-up or established, Avanti can take you to new heights of confidence – making you an unstoppable business force.
- Expertise – Make the most of the face time you have with a room full of experts and be prepared to share your expertise too. By adopting a listening nature, you will become a more rounded networker and business professional.
- Growth through referrals – If you take the right approach, your referrals will happen organically. Deploy your USP, cultivate relationships and business will be passed. Value your referrals and follow up on them even if you are unable to help- a positive transaction will leave a lasting impression.
If you’re looking to network in East Anglia, contact Avanti for information about a group in your area, with category lockout, convenient monthly lunchtime meetings and an unpressurised environment – contact Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org
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