Networking is essentially building a relationship and rapport with another person. In business we all need a solid group of people we can trust and respect. This of course works both ways.
When attending any sort of networking event (whether social or business) the principles are the same. People gravitate to people that they like and feel comfortable with. There is always some ‘connection’ of like minds which sparks the initial interest.
When business networking, you are often in a structured environment (such as a WIBN meeting) and are faced with new businesses and individuals. Often it is very quick to assess who may be able to help you at these events, with contacts or business particularly when you may be in similar type of business sector. Sharing clients could be a quick win for you both.
However, networking is based on talking to people and getting to know people and this takes time.
The analogy that sums it up well is when you first met your best friend. There is rarely an immediate ‘best friend’ scenario but one that builds up over time, when sharing information and building trust. Business networking is the same.
When networking at organisations such as WIBN, you will get to know the members of your group by organising regular 1-to-1 sessions. In these sessions you will take time to get to know the individual better and fully understand their business. This is a crucial part of the process, for you to be able to help them with referred business. They can also learn more about you and your business too and reciprocate with business opportunities.members3
Visitors at our meetings may walk away with excellent contacts and leads or even new business, but this should not be expected. Networking should be viewed as a long term strategy for your business when entering the business networking circuit. You will of course experience a few ‘quick wins’ but allow time to fully experience what networking can do for your business.
Building the trust with the other person gradually means you can judge their expertise, their professionalism and most importantly, if you now feel confident to do business with them. At this point you may decide to share your valued contacts with them, knowing they will not to let you down or the prospective client.
Networking is about how you can help the other person, not how they can help you. With this approach you will realise that the other person will want to help you naturally as you have helped them. Over the course of time, getting to know each other better will bring many benefits in terms of contacts, leads and referrals.