People do business with people they like and trust. It is extremely important that you built strong business relationships because it can generate business referrals and positive word of mouth about your personal brand and your company. However the value of networking is many times undervalued by organizations and business professionals. As Porter Gale and many other business and marketing specialist say:
Your network is your Net Worth.
By investing time and money into yourself and building strong business relationships you will be able to set yourself apart from the competition.
As with everything in business, it all starts with having 100% buy-in into what you do. First of all you have to believe in yourself and your capabilities and then also your company and their products and services. You cannot build any relationship if you are not willing to go out and engage with new people and you cannot sell yourself or your company if you do not believe in it. So first sell yourself, before you sell to others.
Many times when i go to networking events, i can immediately identify the ones that are valuable connections to have. Everyone wants their business to succeed and to make money, but the more you get connected the more valuable your time becomes. I would love to spend every hour of every day meeting with all my connections, but there are not enough hours in a day to do that. You have to pick which connections are the most valuable ones and will deliver you the most business.
I have about 10 people in my group of connections that I meet with on a regular basis, because I know that they are always looking for new ways to get me business. They are extremely well connected business professionals and I can always rely on them helping me out when i need an introduction. The same counts the other way around. Whenever I see a business opportunity, I will immediately reach out to them. This is what business networking is all about, having these powerful business relationships has made me more valuable.
There are tools out there that will help you manager your business relationships. LinkedIn is a great tool to stay connected. By posting regular updates and writing articles, you will remain top of mind and will get more calls when business opportunities arise. Another tool that you can use with LinkedIn is to see how you are connected with new prospects. LinkedIn can tell you if you have second tier connections that can provide introductions. In addition, you also want to always be working on your personal brand. Use social media every day, create a personal website, and create email newsletters to stay connected.