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How and why most people lose money when business networking.

Millions of people every day invest their time and resources in seeking to build new business relationships with contacts that they hope and believe will help them to grow their own business. Unfortunately however, because they only follow part of the relationship building process they consistently fail to create their dream connections and they therefore succeed in losing money form their business networking activities.

Done well, business networking is without doubt one of the absolutely best ways to leverage your time when building valuable new business alliances.

To do it well is actually simple and is about consistently following a process and developing your interpersonal communication skills and awareness.

Part One, that of attending business networking events is easy, as there are so many of them to choose from in most major towns and cities around the world. The important factor here is to choose relevant events and use your time wisely.

Part Two is the process of meeting people and making the initial connection with them. This is the face to face initial meeting when you create rapport and interest. This is where you set up the potential to meet again.

Part Three is where the money effectively gets ‘left on the table’. This is the critical element of the process – The Follow-Up. This is where for many people the process falters because they simply don’t do it or they do it inconsistently.

Business Networking is so powerful because as your strong contact network grows you capitalise from all the benefits of word of mouth and referral marketing. This means that as people get to know, like, trust and respect you, they will ultimately help you by telling other people they know already and those they meet in the future about you. Most importantly, they recommend you for business opportunities you would otherwise know nothing about and their personal recommendation dramatically increases your success rate in winning that business.

Referral business typically means 4 things:
Easier business – it is easier to win because you have been recommended and therefore you are positioned ahead of your competition. This is reflected trust.

Better business – because your referral partner knows you and your business, as well as the person they are introducing you to, so they understand the business benefits for both parties when they connect you.

More profitable business – this is because price isn’t the key issue anymore. You have been recommended by someone they invariably know, like, trust and respect.

REPEAT Business – because when you are recommended to someone and you then do a great job for them, the initial reflected trust sees your relationship build to a higher level, beyond being just a supplier to ultimately becoming a business partner and ally.

Remember that it is far better to make one new contact and to follow-up than to make 50 new contacts who you rarely if ever speak to again.

Initial meetings at networking events are great for making connections but it is unlikely that most people will give you their own business or for that matter, refer and recommend you to their own contacts after that one brief meeting. You may gain their interest but they need to know you better and trust you, before they risk their own reputation and money by taking the next step.

You absolutely must FOLLOW-UP after the initial meeting if you are serious about developing your new business contact into a strong and mutually beneficial business relationship that will be valued by both you and the other person.

Follow the Relationship Building Process through to the end. Do this consistently and be congruent so that your words match your actions. Prioritize the key relationships you want to build and know with absolute clarity what you can do to add quantifiable and sustainable value from you to the other person. Remember that ‘Less is More’ – one strong relationship is worth far more than 50 weak and tenuous connections with people who know who you are but who don’t really know you and therefore are unlikely to recommend you. Build Quality relationships by following up and you will stop leaving the money on the table.

April 24, 2011 | Category: Events, Networking for Profits — Tony Altham
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