Do you ever wonder how some people are able to grow their client list and business quickly while others flounder?
And do you also wonder how those same successful people seem to always know everyone in their industry?
Sure, maybe some of those people are gifted with charisma, business acumen and unlimited funds.
But more then likely they have figured out the key to developing, nurturing and growing business relationships.
They know that connecting, collaborating and learning from others is one of the most effective ways to grow a business.
More simply put, they know how to network.
And yet, for some reason, thinking about how to network in business terrifies people.
It even makes extroverts like me uncomfortable sometimes.
Today I am going to talk about how doing JUST ONE THING will take that anxiety out of networking.
Identify Your Goal for Each Business Relationship
The secret to networking in business is to identify your goal for each business relationship.
Before you can effectively grow your network you need to identify why you are talking to that person. You need to know the out come you want to achieve.
That’s it. This is THE KEY STEP for simplifying networking in business and easing the knot in your stomach.
Before you do any work on growing business connections, collaborations or relationships (networking) ask yourself what your goal is for each relationship.
It is so much easier to start a conversation and grow a connection when you know ahead of time what you are seeking from the relationship.
Potential Business Relationship Goals
Networking can be for both professional and business development. Not all networking is to make a sale.
The following is a sample of possible goals for developing, nurturing or growing business relationships.
- Updating your mentor(s) on what you are currently working on
- Offering support or guidance to someone new in your industry
- Asking someone for advice with a particular business hurdle
- Gaining insight on new industry trends or upcoming industry challenges
- Learning about upcoming industry or entrepreneur events
- Growing relationships with other women who work from home
- Meet other Solopreneurs
- Collaboration with others
- Find a business best friend
- Practicing introducing yourself and your business
- Generating a list of new leads
- Nurturing an existing lead
- Asking for referrals
- Asking for the sale
- Closing a sale
The list is endless!
The KEY, again, is to have a goal for why you are developing each relationship.
This works really great for events and conferences you are attending. The more specific your goal the better.
What to Do Once You’ve Identified Your Networking Relationship Goal
The best part about using networking to grow relationships is that there are MANY DIFFERENT TACTICS you can use depending on your goal for the outcome of the relationship.
Once you know your “why” – your goal for developing or growing the business relationship – it’s time to choose your tactics.
Tactics are the plan and strategies used to achieve a specific goal.
I love to break goals down into tactics and actions plans.
Action plans are especially helpful to take the emotion and mental gymnastics out of goals that require trying new things.
Professional Development Networking
I’m someone who loves professional development networking and you will too. It’s just a matter of mindset.
I love to learn about other people’s career paths and how they have accomplished their successes and addressed road blocks and failures. Networking for professional development gives you an excuse to ask about someone else;s path.
Working at home is awesome but it can also isolate you from what’s going on in your industry and with your colleagues.
Networking with the goal of developing professionally helps you spend time getting up-to-speed on your industry and the people in it.
3 Tactics for Professional Development Networking
The following are just a couple of examples of personal development tactics that you can implement today for specific networking goals.
1. If you want to develop professional friendships but networking happy hours don’t work for you.
- A tactic could be inviting a colleague you like, but don’t know well, to meet for coffee.
- Or you can nurture a new professional friendships friendship virtually.
- You can do this by messaging with someone you meet through a related Facebook Group.
- Kickoff the conversation by talking about things that relate to the Facebook Group you are both in to provide a context for your outreach. (The objective is to make a friend not look like a stalker.)
2. If you are in need of guidance for your business or you are interested in building a relationship with someone who can be a mentor try one of these tactics.
- Make a point to attend an industry lunch and then actually follow-up afterwards with the people you meet there.
- You can also use a tactic college students use – the informational interview. Reach out to someone you admire and ask if they have 20 minutes for a video call.
3. Maybe you feel out of the loop with on what’s going on in your industry.
- Spend some time re-engaging with former colleagues and nurture old relationship.
- Reach out to a former boss and invite them for coffee (or virtual coffee)
Sales Networking Goals
To have a successful business means you do have to sell something, right?
You might be thinking the goal for sales networking is obvious, it’s to sell something.
However, my goal for sales networking is to develop relationships that become warm leads and sales while also nurturing relationships that refer warm leads.
Whether you are selling a physical product, digital product or a service it’s a lot easier to sell to a warm lead then a cold lead.
Tactics for Sales Networking
A common tactic for generating warm sales leads is being the guest speaker at an industry event. chamber lunch or on a webinar/video summit.
Being the speaker at one of these events give you an opportunity to warm potential clients or buyers.
BUT to convert warm leads to sales you will still need to ask for the sale. I’m going to share a simple three step strategy for doing this without feeling salesy or icky.
- Include your website or blog address in your event bio.
- As you wrap up your presentation let the audience know you have an ebook or course on the topic if they like what they heard and want to lean more.
- Mention that it is available on the website listed in your bio and include it on your last presentation slide.
Follow those three steps up with taking questions form the audience about your presentation.
Another tactic to meet your goal of obtaining warm leads and referrals is to simply tell people who you know what you are working on. I’m always amazed by how many people forget to do this!
You can do this through casual conversation, at the end of an email or even by using social media.
LinkedIn is a fantastic way to tell a lot of people quickly what you are working on.
An easy way to do this is to share 100ish word posts on LinkedIn.
- Write a brief post highlighting your excitement about the up coming release of your new product or service offering with a link to your sales page.
- Follow that post up a week later with an updated message about the actual release .
- One week after that post a note about great feedback you have received or share a testimonial.
It’s as easy as that!
To get the most benefit from LinkedIn, I encourage you to spend a little time on LinkedIn each day for few weeks. Interact authentically with your network’s posts.
With a small time investment a couple days a week LinkedIn generates a good ROI.
By identifying your goal for each business relationship you can grow your networking skills and learn to enjoy networking opportunities.
One of the most effective ways to grow you business is by connecting, collaborating and learning from others. Business relationships also need nurturing for them to grow.
There are an unlimited number of relationship goals in business. And these goals can be both for personal development and professional development.
Once you establish the goal you are trying to reach choose tactics that will help you get there.
Sometimes those tactics might be in person meetings and sometimes they can be virtual video calls
Choose by identifying your goal and choosing a good tactic you can expand you network of people who know like and trust you.
And people that know, like and trust you are more likely to help you successes, refer you to their network and select your products and services.
Grow a great network so your business can flourish.