We are back with more brilliant insights from our very own Business Coach and author, Sue Gee. For this webinar, Sue was joined by Dave Verburg, Motivational Speaker and Business Coach extraordinaire.
The best place to begin when talking about the power of a network and building a network that works well for you and your business, is to discuss the types of networks we create.
There are three types of networks:
Immediate support network
Your personal support team, whether this be your immediate coworkers staff or your friends and family that can provide personal advice and insights into your situations.
The contacts you have in your industry that you reach out to for advice, knowledge, and/or collaborations.
This is the group of contacts you have who recommend you and your company and who recommend people to you.
Planning your networking conscientiously and being aware of who knows whom means you can identify and fill any gaps you may have in certain industries or type of people.
There are often different schools of thought in how people value a business’ output and methods. Every person will have a different tick list for a company to check off before they even think about talking to them. Many markets are highly over-saturated. The best way to separate ourselves from the rest of the market is to be very honest and authentic about who we are and what we want to do.
In the context of networking, people are not necessarily interested in us as people. What they want are results. If you can help them achieves those results, then they will show interest in what you can do for them. First and foremost, when you want to engage with someone, you want to be a person who shows that you can deliver on the results they want.
For example, nobody wants an accountant, what they want is good cash flow for their business, profit forecasts, returns to HMRC done and dusted and staff members paid on time. They don’t always have the time, skills, or expertise to do it themselves so they will take on an accountant.
It is not the accountant they want; it is the outcomes. So, can you deliver the right outcome for your network?
Understanding your key target market is an absolute must.
Who are you marketing yourself and/or your business to?
How do you appeal to them?
Where do they network and who do they network with?
This is crucial. One of the major challenges that people in business worry about is having the time to spend networking. You can either spend your time trying to find twenty clients or you can spend your time finding the one person who is already working with over twenty clients and companies but doesn’t or can’t provide the service/product that you have.
Doing your research beforehand and entering a networking opportunity with clearly set goals and intentions will prevent you from wasting too much time. If you know where your target clients or the people who work with them are, you will know exactly what events you need to attend.
Try not to fall into the sales pitch pothole. People have a tendency when networking to launch into a sales pitch the moment they are introduced to someone new. Instead, you should be asking the right type of questions. You can find out how you can help somebody or if you can introduce someone else who can help them. You can also find out if they are even the right person for you to connect with.
Networking requires confidence.
Whether you are an extrovert who has missed face-to-face events or an introvert who found comfort in virtual spaces, you need to be comfortable in your own shoes. You need to be sure of who you are and what your business/industry is.
If you really do struggle, set yourself a target; how many people do you want to introduce yourself to? Is there a particular person for business you want to engage with? Enter the situation with that defined goal and begin expanding your targets once you become more comfortable.
Practise makes perfect.