Business networking is not as popular as other forms of generating leads and sales, but when done right, it can be incredibly efficient. Business networking can also help you further nurture your relationships with existing contacts and even learn more about your niche. In this read, we are going to look at the importance of business networking and how you can properly integrate it into your sales and marketing strategy.
Most business owners have a business plan and marketing campaign, but shockingly, only 2 of 10 businesses have a networking strategy. Sit down and assess how much sales or leads stem from word of mouth recommendations, direct networking and referrals. If you are like most business, you’ll find that at least 80% of business comes from these areas. So, if most of your clients or sales come from these sources and don’t have a huge marketing budget, you need a solid networking industry and ONLE Networking.
Online and offline networking not only generates enquiries, but it also heightens relationships and provides helpful information. However, most business owners do it in an on-demand manner that they never enjoy optimal results. That said, here are a few things to implement to increase the chances of your campaign succeeding.
Step 1: What are Your Networking Reasons?
The first step is to assess the following questions and rank them from most to least important. Are you networking to:
-Find new clients, contacts and introducers?
–Build and retain current relationships?
-Enhance career prospects like finding another job within the organisation or another company?
-Create a team of experts?
-Position yourself in the industry as an expert?
-Benefit from support?
-Enhance your knowledge on the niche, market or target audience?
-Make your existing relationships stronger and motivate the team?
Step 2. What are Your KPIs?
Every person you come across can add value to your network. When you come across someone interesting, add them to your contacts, and depending on your business goals, you can estimate how many you need in order to meet those goals. So, for instance, if you are looking to find new clients, introducers or business, you can implement the following monthly action plan.
-Take 50 clients and ask them to refer your business to others. Get to know 20 of them and develop better relationships by either engaging online or attending the same events.
-Join a membership organisation with the aim of meeting at least 5 potential clients. Connect with several sales staff within the organisation, at least 5.
If you already have introducers, at least 5, ask for referrals. Try and increased this number by looking for more introducers through offline and online marketing (target 10). By doing this, you will have a minimum of 15 contacts and a maximum of 70.
Step 3: Identify Contacts
The last step in creating an efficient networking strategy is to identify your contacts. The best way to do this is by creating a list of contacts that you can ask for referrals. To start the list:
-Create a list of introducers, be it accountants, suppliers, employees etc.
-Make a list of ideal memberships or networking entities that you can join and would be useful to your business.
-Create a list of requests that you require from the networking entities or memberships. An example would be getting feedback on your latest offers on services or products.
-Make a list of firms, names of people and job titles that you wish to build and nurture relationships with. See what events they are attending or even suggest a few that would benefit both parties.