Estimated reading time: 3 mins
You have probably heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and this is especially relevant when it comes to career progression. Networking is the key to building and boosting business relationships, and the way you treat people could be the difference between failure and success. How do you go about this? Read on to find out:
One of the secrets to being successful in business is to build honest, genuine relationships. Getting a quick, one-off sale may be easy, but gaining long-term customer loyalty requires more care. Being honest with your contacts will be appreciated, and this will be more achievable when you work with products or services you truly believe in.
For example, Amway is a successful direct selling organization, where independent business owners can make money from selling a range of high-quality products. Due to a lack of understanding regarding their direct selling business model, people often ask, “Is Amway a pyramid scheme?” However, what has made this trusted company attractive to over three million independent business owners worldwide is the focus on supportive business relationships. When people are happy with something, they will tell their friends. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of networking and should be encouraged.
Being proactive means investing in relationships and not being afraid to follow up on leads. You need to stay relevant as most industries can be competitive, and going outside of your immediate circle can give you an edge. If you are time poor, remember to focus your efforts in the right places. Contacts might not be relevant to you right now, but may be later. It’s important that you don’t burn bridges as you never know what might happen in the future. Follow up after meetings if you don’t hear anything, even if it is just adding them as a connection on LinkedIn. It can take time to build the confidence to approach strangers, but the more you do it the easier it will become.
Most people don’t respond well to one-sided business relationships where they are always being asked for something, and never gain anything in return. Be generous with your networks, and offer them value when they work with you. Don’t forget cross-promotion, as it can work well for non competing businesses. For example, a graphic designer and a writer may recommend the services of each other as they often go hand in hand. Some of the most successful businesses give their customers a personal yet professional experience. This could be as simple as remembering their name or referring back to a previous conversation. Whether it is a client, business partner or employee, a personalized encounter will be remembered.
In summary, strong business relationships will help you to stand out from the crowd. Treating people respectfully and offering them something of value will help to boost these relationships. When you choose a career you are passionate about, networking will come easily. Use your time wisely and focus on the right people, remembering to always be positive. You never know when someone may change their circumstances and be useful in the future. No matter what you are looking to achieve, networking in different business circles is one way your goals can be supported.