There is huge potential to increase the revenues of your business through an improved and well-organised business network. Equally, most people who venture into business networking without a solid plan and clear goals end up disappointed.
In general, business networking is essential for businesses with limited marketing budgets. According to research, more than 80% of customers of traditional online business networking come from recommendations done by word of mouth, referrals, and directly from business networks. With small marketing budgets, it is ideal and resourceful to leverage already existing clients. Here, experts of ONLE networking discuss some important steps.
Step 1: Know Clearly Why You Require Business Networking
The best way to determine your purpose for networking is to ask yourself the questions mentioned below and then rank all objectives from the most important one to the least important. What is your motive for networking?
- To get contacts or customers and introducers to potential customers?
- To get support from an external organisation in the form of a trade union, mentor, or financial sponsor?
- To deepen and strengthen relationships with already existing clients?
- To create an effective sales team?
- To improve public relations?
- To expand opportunities for career growth in a particular company?
- To secure relations with co-workers and encourage your team?
- To offer a path to acquire market intelligence in your field to predict buying patterns of prospective customers?
Step 2: Build Key Performance Indicators
Generally, the most important assumption when it comes to successful business networking is always bearing in mind that all individuals you meet may add value to your business. What’s more, contacts for interested leads need to be safely kept for later use. Typically, the approximated number of contact networks needed is identified by the scope of work for your business’ networking assignment.
Get to know prospective clients, and the best way to understand their buying behaviour is to look at the nature of the content in their posts or the kind of business dealers they follow online. Furthermore, you could also attend the specific events prospective clients are planning to attend.
You can systematically raise the number of introducers by taking advantage of connections and contacts online or otherwise. Build rapport and establish strong relations with the sales staff in the business institution – the objective is to connect with an estimated target of 5 personnel. If your actual networking motive is to broaden market intelligence in your field to better predict the buying patterns of prospective customers, your actual monthly action plan might look like this:
- Seek product and service reviews and feedback from 10 clients who buy your merchandise often;
- Look for honest suggestions from 10 clients who buy your merchandise often on how to improve the quality of the service or product delivery;
- Reach out to at least 5 of your current suppliers;
- Analyse the newly introduced products in the market from 5 prospective suppliers to gain more insight into the product’s competitive edge and demand;
- Perform a background check on your competitors and learn how they price their products, how they market their products, whether they offer any discounts, and where they get their customers from.
Step 3: Establish Your Contacts
- Create a list of already existing clients to act as a source for a customer referral.
- Create a list of introducers to prospective accountants, suppliers, employees, and even non-executive directors.
- Come up with a list of potential businesses that you might join to create a list of product and service feedback and review information one would need to get from members in the networking businesses.
- Come up with a list of the organisations and individuals you seek to build a networking relationship with. What’s more, find out the kind of events they attend. You could even suggest other events that you consider will be of significance to them and you.
There you go! A networking strategy to accomplish your business objectives!