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In such a digital age of the internet and being online, less and less people focus on relationships offline. We hear it every day: “Your Network is your Net Worth.” It’s overused, but it seems to still be a saying that many just say and do not live by. The importance of meeting new people cannot go overlooked, and if you do so it is going to hurt you in the long run.
Often, the majority of people want to be excessive and try every advertised way in order to make more money, scale, grow their business, or even quit their 9-5. But most will overlook the importance of networking. Networking gives you the opportunity to meet new people that potentially can change the trajectory of your entire business and life. The foundation for you to achieve any type of success and to grow in leaps and bounds can all come from networking.
You don’t have to be the best at what you do but if you want to succeed you need to be the most known! You need to be constantly networking to portray who you are and what you do. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to network! Thankfully, the opportunity to network online from your phone, wherever you are, and whenever you want is available! You can leverage social media online to make connections then take them offline.
You may think networking consists of only going out and talking to people; however, that is where you’d be misinformed! Networking is a skill. Networking is something you need to consistently practice in order to successfully work a room full of people. It is not just talking to people, its connecting with them and learning about them in order to build a true relationship.
You should have the mindset that you’re going to do less speaking and more listening. When you are able to listen to what another individual has to say, it shows you care. You are not just there to collect business cards; rather, you are there to build a real relationship.
Let’s not forget, it is also important where you are networking! While it may work, the ideal situation to network is not your local bar on the weekend. A majority of the time, people are there to drink and let loose, not talk about business. Thankfully, its easy enough to find events on social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even twitter. Eventbrite has become the go-to for small local events and meetups. If Eventbrite does not have anything, the app Meetup is great to find specific events in your industry or even the industries that your clients are in.
Networking groups are a good alternative to your one-night events. BNI is a worldwide networking group where you meet once a week at the same time and place with the intention of passing business to the others. Think of it as your own team of dedicated salespeople who think of you when their customer needs a service you offer! You can even go to the Chamber of Commerce or rotary clubs in your area or target area of business! If all else fails, you can network the old fashioned way! It’s not glamorous, but you can go out to where you think your potential customers will be.
If your goal is to network to build your business, consider going to places such as wine bars and cigar lounges. “Why?” you might ask? Because older men and women, who might own their own business, frequent at these types of establishments. These places offer the environment where you can: speak freely to anyone; ask questions; build a relationship; learn; and get business. It is here where relationship value comes in. Once you have started to build a relationship with someone, you need to identify what value you can offer them in order to show you appreciate the relationship. This will also give off the intention that you are willing to make it a long term deal.
You must give in order to potentially receive. I always say “Never give with the expectation of receiving.” That is thinking too short term and not abundance mindset. There is no substitute for hard work in life, including networking! It is one thing for you to want to network. However, it’s another to show up, be yourself, and deliver the right energy consistently!
Networking is a skill, but when executed correctly, it gives you the ability to have someone external of your business push what you offer to those they know without you even having to pay them! Do not go into networking with the mindset of take but rather the mindset of “how can I add value to this person.”
When people know and like you, they will subconsciously preach about you and your business. Whenever your industry is brought up during a conversation, you can count on your network to mention you. You need to be known in order to keep growing your business and networking is the best way to get known and build relationships.