Does Business Networking Work?

Business Networking

 

Business Networking
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I have met many business owners over the last few years and often talk to them about business networking. A few of them do it regularly, others say they have done it in the past and many say not at all.

It’s probably true to say though that all people network even if most of that is an informal way. For example the people you meet in your golf club, your family and friends, your local pub or church. In fact wherever we meet people we are building relationships and these often get used to find customers, referrals to others and gain employment.

Business networking meetings places this into a more formal setting so that people attending know that the purpose of these meetings is to find new customers, suppliers possible JV partners and so forth.

Business Networking Failures

I know that the people who try networking and fail to make it work have invariably not tried for long enough. Business networking depends on the principle of Meet, Like. Know and Trust and it takes time for that to happen. Attending one or two meetings and expecting to get business is going to disappoint. Others that fail that attend meetings regularly miss the point of relationship building and will often try to sell too early. They become excessively concerned about themselves and their business and fail to give others the opportunity to tell them about their business.

There are others who go to the extreme of never selling at all and miss out on offering their products / services to others. It is all a matter of balance. If you are finding that business networking is not working for you speak to those that you know who are successful and ask them a question. “How do you make business networking successful for you?” Most networkers are willing to share their experience with you.

Business Networking Groups

You will find many networking groups and a search on Google or your local business directories should help you find them. Attend with an open mind and see if that group suits you. Prepare what you are going to say before you go as many will give you the opportunity to say a few words about yourself and your business to the group. You are also able to network online using Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and courses are available to help you to do that.

If you are not yet successfully business networking I would urge you to start as soon as you can. Business networking really does work when you know how.

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12 thoughts on “Does Business Networking Work?

  1. Roland, well put. I agree that to really benefit from networking attendance as regularly as possible is required.People buy from people and trust is needed to build the relationships that allows ongoing business and referrals to grow.

  2. Relationships are the key to successful networking. That can only be built after time. Regular attendance is important.

    I run 1 and have run another group in the past. I have heard some fab reasons for non attendance; however, those are the people that then say it doesn’t work for them.

  3. Thanks Phil. It is amazing how many come up with some fantastic excuses why networking does not work. It is as though it is something that they don’t like the idea of doing and therefore find reasons in their own minds to excuse themselves.
    Roland

  4. It is true to say that most people network in an informal way. Once people that haven’t tried take their first step, they are on their way to developing their network.

  5. After being in business for over 23 years now I find that business networking groups don’t offer us anything that we have not already built up over the years by actually working with other businesses and clients. Who one meets around the breakfast table can be very different from who is actually trustworthy and reasonable in business.
    Certainly everyone networks to some degree but the leads which business find through networking groups can just as quickly disappear if there is disagreement or ethical concerns within the group so it’s not a good basket to put many of one’s eggs into. All in all, business, for us, doesn’t have to be about ever increasing profit, profit, profit but about job satisfaction, stability and people. The latter I have yet to find any evidence of in business networking groups. Sorry but although it may work well for new business or the purely profit orientated, paying to get up an hour earlier on an already busy day and drive to network with people, many of which I don’t know in order to do what a good business does naturally isn’t something which is of use to everyone, nor is the fairly constant ‘need’ to bring in new leads which can turn one into a walking business bore and add stress to an already stressful area of life. If your business needs to grow and this works, great but it really isn’t for everyone, nor should it be considered so because it is not about excuses but about appropriateness.

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on networking. Many people of course would disagree with and I am sure many will agree. The results are often about the way we network rather than networking itself. The type of business you are in also dictates to a great extent the results that can be achieved.

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