Networking for success in 2021


26-11-2020
Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Guest blog by Sam Eaton of MindAbility

The pandemic has forced us all to adapt to digital commmunication, opening up new mechanisms for connecting with other people. But how can you optimise this kind of networking for your business?

If anyone had told us that the world would go into lockdown because of a bad case of ‘flu in 2020, we’d have said it was an outlandish movie script – it would never happen!

Well, here we are, and we’ve all adapted to a digital world where we are all networking on Zoom, Skype, Google meetings (other apps are available). What’s my point?

The world has opened up for all of us. We can go anywhere, we can meet anyone, we can connect with new sectors that previously seemed out of reach due to time constraints, cost of travel and frankly, the opportunity cost.

That’s all changed now – and has been a massive bonus to many businesses who have quickly joined forces and collaborated with competitors, complementary services and gone to market using social media and networking.

There have never been so many opportunities in the networking space to build a solid sales pipeline and generate business. The trouble is, how do you stand out from the crowd?

 1. Really understand your Market Dominating Position – this is more than a USP, this is really understanding your target audience, what they look like, why they want to buy from you. Let me give you an example. If an estate agent was to stand up at a networking event and say, “Hi, I’m an estate agent covering the Cambridge area and we’ve been in business for 25 years.” Would you remember them? Probably not.

However, if they stood up and said, “I’man estate agent that has invested in a piece of software that only 1% of all estate agents in the country has access to, which means I can sell my client’s properties in 30 days, guaranteed at the top price – or they get their money back.” Would you remember them more?

There are many web designers, marketeers, solicitors, accountants, and yes, business coaches! Define who YOU are and put yourself in the shoes of your prospect.

2. Networking is a strategy – there are many research reports that say people will make their purchase decision after five to 21 interactions with that supplier (the scale is dependent on sector). Since lockdown, this number has increased and is relevant to networking. Think about it, when you are networking virtually, what is your strategy? Do you want to meet companies who are targeting the same clients as you? Do you want to meet joint venture partners? Is the network you are in going to deliver on the goals you set?

Plan your follow-ups. The key to success is how you follow-up after any network meeting. Aim to have at least three 121’s with interesting people you have met and agree how you can continue to build your relationship after the initial call. A one-time call doesn’t constitute a partnership! Authenticity is key and how can you say you know anyone or that you are in a joint venture with an organisation after one call?

3. Give to receive – it can sound counter-intuitive. What can you share with your new and growing network that demonstrates your skillset? Being sold ‘at’ is never pleasant and we see it all the time at networking events with small business owners selling their service or product and becoming animated when they have their 60 second spotlight to sell their services. They then languish behind their screens when everyone else is talking and never listen. Networking is a two-way street and those who succeed share their knowledge, give some of their time in the right way that could be beneficial for all in the long run.

What could you give? How about setting up a regular focus group and inviting people you met recently at networking events or through LinkedIn? Is there an article or blog that you’ve written that could be helpful for someone you met recently? Could you connect them with someone in your network?

Ultimately, it is all about building genuine relationships, enabling us to authentically recommend people and organisations. It also means people can recommend us – regularly. Efficient networking is about building momentum, new collaborations, staying connected – and building a longer-term sales pipeline as a result. It creates the compound interest of networking!

 

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

 

B2B online coaching business using brain-based models to change behaviours and embed change. (We support leadership teams, senior managers and individuals) using the latest neuroscience techniques and have teams across the globe.

MindAbility Consultancy Limited