Ted Hickman

Networking Basics

Why do seasoned business owners or established authoritative figures in successful businesses never really attend networking sessions unless they can have a pre-look at who they’re going to be attending with? It’s because they understand the basics of network, which I’m going to discuss in today’s post, particularly aimed at those new businesspersons and entrepreneurs who attend one networking session after the other, hoping to land some new business and build new contacts.

You’re on the right path if that’s your aim – building new contacts if not landing on-the-spot business, but chances are the manner in which you approach proceedings on the day suggests something completely different.

The objective of networking

So the singular objective of networking is one which ultimately leads to multiplying your value. In other words, you want to gain something in a way that effectively increases the value of your own business, whether it’s through landing a sale, landing a new client who is going to come with repeat business, or getting someone who can open some doors for you to owe you a favour.

Keep this in mind next time you attend a networking session. Remember that it’s not necessarily about gaining value out of as many people on the floor as possible, but about strategically landing value points which you can focus on and scale up if possible.

Collecting and exchanging details

Collecting details of prospects, whether it’s prospects in the shape of people you can sell to or prospective partners, should be about more than just introducing yourself and then exchanging business cards. Add a personal touch to it. Write some notes on the business card you’re going to hand over and ask the person with whom you’re networking what their current biggest challenge is.

They’ll be more than willing to strategically divulge some details in that they don’t want to give too much away in the way of trade secrets, but at the same time they see your interest as that of someone who could possible help. For all they know you could be just itching to trigger off the biggest order they’ve ever had. Trade secrets are very closely guarded in businesses, so the only way you’ll be part of those is if you work closely with them, otherwise, if you got your hands on them in a nefarious way, a trade secrets lawyer (you can click here to learn more about them) may be meeting you in court. Luckily it works both ways and you can protect your own business secrets through these legalities.

First-contact value follow-up

Right, now, when you make first contact via the details you exchanged, try to come at them with some value. If you found a supplier who can offer the raw materials or supplies they use to create their final product or service, hand over this information. This is where something like the introduction of an affiliate marketing element can create some revenue for you, even if your business has nothing to do with the area covered.

The sales offer follow-up

If your contact really found some value out of your first-contact follow-up, they will feel as if they owe you something in return, which can then lead to the completion of a purchase of your products or services, an act of value transfer in kind, like some information which could help you in dealing with a challenge you face, or they might just feel like they have to partner with you in some way.

Either way, you increase your value.

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