Small Business Tips: Networking Basics

The concept of “networking” is nothing new in the working of business. While the tools we use today may differ from those used in the past, the idea of developing a broad list of contacts, colleagues and clients is as old as business itself and is the cornerstone to any successful organization. However, the age old question is: How do you successfully turn your networking activities into realized revenue in the form of customers or new business?

Here are some basic rules to follow when developing your network.

1.)   Be Active
The best sales people wake up with goal of connecting with as many people as they can possibly reach out to during the course of a business day. They play the numbers game. In doing so, they are not only increasing the strength of their relationships but they are also learning more about the business community landscape than their competitors.

2.)   Have a Plan
If you are active, then you know that having a good gameplan creates the kind of productive / efficient work week. The best of the best have mastered the art of planning calls, meetings, coffee, lunch, etc. weeks in advance. If you wake up each day without a gameplan, you lose valuable time organizing the day as opposed to taking advantage of it.

3.)   Share
I know you learned this when you were 2 years old… It was tough then and it is still tough for people today. However, if you change your perspective from “What can you do for me?” to “How can I help you?” you will start to notice that reciprocity can be a powerful thing. There is no question that individuals that share contacts or pass on leads receive more in return than those who simply keep their contact list close to the vest and wait for someone else to pass along a prospect.

4.)   Get Online
In the past, networking was just a handshake meeting or phone call away. Now, you can network even more efficiently online. If you are not familiar with social media by now, then you are way behind the curve. Get online and start connecting via Facebook and LinkedIn for starters.

5.)   Be Consistent
Networking is like shaving… if you miss two days in a row, you look like a bum. So, stay on course and commit to making networking a part of your daily routine. When done right, you will feel more productive and fulfilled each day at the office which translates into more confidence and more sales.

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