We’re all familiar with networking – a way to meet and interact with fellow professionals to share information, opportunities, and forge business relationships. But how many of us actually commit to incorporating networking into our weekly schedules?
80% of professionals believe that career success can be elevated through networking. Yet only 25% of people network. That’s a big disparity. Whether it’s time, travel expenses, or scepticism about the benefits of networking, plenty of professionals could be inhibiting their business success by not giving it a shot.
We’ll admit that thanks to COVID-19’s disruption, in-person networking – which is favoured by many – has been put on the back burner. But online networking is still very much alive and kicking. And 35% of professionals say a casual message on LinkedIn led to a new opportunity.
With this in mind, let’s look at how both in-person and online networking can be valuable in terms of your business success.
Puts you in front of more opportunities
By networking, you’re increasing awareness and understanding of yourself and your business. On a basic level, the more people who know about your business, the more potential clients you can tap into. You never know where a single message could lead. Someone you reach out to on LinkedIn could need the exact service you offer. And the rest is history.
As well as this, networking enables you to forge connections and relationships with like-minded professionals. Although not all these relationships will instantly add value, each new connection adds to a rich and varied network that you can draw from at a later date. Even the most tentative connections could pay off for you in the future.
Networking also provides more specific opportunities for visibility. For example, featuring on a podcast, guest writing for a publication, or appearing at a conference. All these opportunities are ways to get your name and business out there and on people’s radars.
Grow your confidence
The more you talk about your business and its services, the more confident you will be when meeting new people. Networking can be awkward for anyone at first, but the more you network, the greater authority you’ll have when meeting new people and prospective clients – both inside and outside of networking events.
Learn from others
This is especially important if you’re just starting out with your business. Networking affords you access to seasoned business owners who you can turn to for guidance and support. By tapping into their experience, you help encourage a more productive and seamless journey for yourself. People are more open to talking about themselves than you might think and will be happy to set aside an hour or two for a call or coffee and talk about their journey so far.
Even if you’re not just starting out, so much value can be found in discussing your ideas and opinions with other people. With a strong network behind you, you have many specialised skill sets to draw from. On the reverse side of this, you can also be that person for someone else. Pay it forward by helping someone along their own journey and you never know what might come your way later down the road.
Engage with potential clients
This is one of the most obvious benefits of networking. If you’re choosing the right events and are tactical in where you allocate your networking time, you can put yourself in front of the people who will most benefit from what you have to offer.
In a room full of professionals from your own or complementary industries, there’s every chance at least one guest would have a use for your services. And all you have to do is strike up a conversation to get the ball rolling.
Also, as we mentioned earlier, LinkedIn can be amazing for lead generation – especially under current conditions. When used correctly, the messaging tool can be the perfect way to strike up conversations with prospective clients and generate new leads for your business.
Taking the time to get out there and engage with new people and businesses offers so many benefits for a business. By taking the time to identify what it is you want to see from your networking efforts, you can refine your approach and ensure you’re reaching out to the right people and getting yourself into the best company for long-term business success.
At Coster Content, our LinkedIn services enable you to harness the powerful platform to grow your business and strengthen your network. We take your business goals and develop an organic strategy that’s effective while still being authentically you. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch on 0161 413 8148.