It’s no secret that networking is one of the top tips for job-seekers to land opportunities. But, what about business networking?
Networks can be great for promoting your service or spreading awareness for businesses, too.
We asked eight professionals how they leverage their network to support their business. Find out what they said below.
Make connections with potential clients and partners via social media, but don’t stop there. Once you have established a relationship, let them try your products so they can see exactly what you have to offer and give you any critiques. This will help your business stand out and make new customers more inclined to revisit your services. Don’t be afraid to send your products to new customers or people already in your industry, their feedback is valuable.
Earlier this year I ran a test where I pitched to 50% of new connections. None of them turned into sales while 20% of the non-pitched group became customers. Very simply, once you pitch to someone on LinkedIn they stop listening to you. Once prospects see your name and photo connected to genuinely helpful content, they feel like they know you and are very comfortable doing business with you. I have seen this happen again and again for clients when I optimize their LinkedIn accounts.
I am reaching out to my network just to ask if anyone needs help, and to let people know I am happy to provide it. With the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, digital business capabilities have gone from nice-to-have to full-fledged must-have. As a consultant with digital marketing and e-commerce expertise, I am in a position to help people in my network through digital transformation so they can better weather this storm. Even if it’s on a pro-bono basis, I am proactively making an effort to be helpful to members of my extended network.
Luke Grant, JLG Group
We have been leveraging our network by directly showing our followers how we can help them with the problems they have had with remote working. We pivoted our message somewhat to focus on what our network needed from us right now, and reached out and made sure they knew what we could offer.
We recently leveraged a long-standing relationship to get an introduction to a buyer at a large organization which resulted in a successful partnership. When considering networking, we think it is important to remember that it doesn’t need to feel transactional or “sales-y.” In fact, if it feels that way, it’s not good networking. In our view, good networking is about learning about someone and finding out how you can provide them with value, whether that be through an introduction or the transfer of knowledge. In other words, it’s about paying it forward. As it happens, being selfless like that will often organically generate opportunities for your business.
Emma Miller, Cacao Tea Co.
To avoid ruining personal relationships, I always recommend entrepreneurs to make the requests for support as easy as possible, and not involving money. I asked my network to follow our company on social media, and at least 50% of our followers are people I personally know. This really helped us jumpstart our social media growth since we launched in mid-March. Since it only takes a second to click follow, this is the most respectful ask in my opinion.
Sometimes a business needs capital to operate, or to get to the next stage in their business. That could mean financing equipment for their salon, or taking out a loan to cover expenses. Whatever the case, a great business referral to ask for is an introduction to a financial professional who can assist with financing. Your network almost always knows best on who can help with financing needs.
Offering to collaborate is a fantastic way to leverage your network. Find a local business that is similar to yours and willing to put on a joint event in the community will not only bring light to both companies, but it will allow you to network with those in your industry. Collaborating on giveaways or products are also ways to get both names out there and for you as an individual to network and share ideas.