Business networking skills
Networking skills are an essential ingredient to succeeding in business.
Just what is business networking? It's not an "in your face" sales pitch, but a "getting to know" potential customers or clients in an informal, easy to approach manner. Networking is offering valuable information at your next Chamber of Commerce meeting or sending a business to business greeting acknowledging a job well done. The key to developing business networking skills is listening to the concerns and ideas of peers to find out what your client/customer base is lacking and how you can fill that need. It's about adding value and trust to build long-term healthy customer relationships.
In today's business world, knowing the essentials in business networking skills is crucial to building client relationships and ultimately increasing sales. Businesses and individuals have a tendency to purchase product from a company they feel comfortable with and trust. So get involved with your peers, provide valuable information (not a canned sales pitch) and make those all-important connections. Here is a list of great networking opportunities.
Have a few with you at all times and hand them out. Make sure you have all your contact information on the card. Name, address, and phone are a must. If you have a website or email address to provide - all the better. Make sure the card is easy to read. Text is easier to read on a card with a simple design than one featuring heavy graphics.
Carry your business cards in a classy business card case so that they stay clean and don't end up dog-eared. Don't hand out cards that you have scribbled someone else's contact information on the back.
Chamber of Commerce:
Where else can you get the pulse of your community? Industry leaders, business people, and representatives from the local banks are typically members of your local chamber. They meet to discuss community concerns, develop future projects, initiate educational programs...the list goes on. Attend a meeting, offer input and expertise, and you are on your way to creating a long-term business relationship with the leaders of your community.
Notes of acknowledgment:
Everyone likes to be recognized and acknowledged. Why not send a card or greeting to acknowledge your gratitude to the speaker of an informational seminar. Another simple networking gesture is sending a holiday greeting card to stay in touch with your customers. This will go a long way to letting customers or clients know their business and loyalty is appreciated.
Take the time to meet your vendors over lunch. No time for that? Vendors always pop by the office so take a moment to introduce yourself. Find out about the latest developments in their product line, get referrals to other industry professionals, and discuss concerns. You are sure to build a win-win combination and develop crucial business networking skills.
There are plenty of on-line forums that you can connect with from the comfort of your office or home. On-line forums are an interactive medium that brings the latest happenings in your industry to your computer screen. You can ask your peers questions, answer questions your peers may have, and offer insight and tips within your industry.
These are another great tool that is increasing in popularity. If you can't attend a seminar, then a webinar is your answer. These are seminars and conferences brought to you via the internet to the comfort of your own home or office. Get the latest trends from top industry leaders in your field. Many webinars have a question and answer period at the end of the session.
Networking should be a fun, informational exchange of ideas. It builds credibility, trustworthiness and long-term business relationships. If you would like to learn more about expanding your business networking skills, feel free to check out this article on business start up costs.