Whether you have your own small business (or large), are employed by a larger organisation or are seeking new business opportunities and sales leads, here are just some reasons why it is worth investing some time and effort into expanding your contacts.
Generation of referrals /Increased business
Fact – 70% on average of all new business is gained through word of mouth and positive recommendation. As you develop your contacts and build up positive relationships with people you will find that you will naturally gain business and sales leads as people recommend your services. People like to pass business to those they know, like and trust. But this will only happen if you have a network of contacts in the first place.
Raising your profile
Just by expanding your contacts you are raising your profile – people now you exist and know what you do and you will more likely to be thought of if your products or services are required.
Free consultancy and advice
Generally, people like to help people and are willing to impart their expertise and advice to others who they have got to know, like and trust. You will find that as you build relationships with people the value of the help that is passed to you formally or informally will exceed any costs incurred by developing the relationships in the first place.
Knowing who to turn to when you need help
The benefits of business networking are not just about generating sales leads and referrals. How much time have you wasted in the past trying to find the right person or business to solve a problem for you? Have you resorted to looking in the local telephone book for a service or plucked a name off the internet only to be disappointed with the product or service provided? By getting to know reliable contacts who can provide you with what you want or who can be trusted to recommend others is worth so much in terms of your time and money.
Break down barriers to success
As you develop your contacts you start to find people who have experienced similar problems to yourself and who can point you in the right direction. All of a sudden so much more is possible and you will find yourself achieving so much more than you will have imagined.
Uncover new opportunities
You just ‘don’t know what you don’t know’. The same goes for business networking – you never know when a contact will be useful and will present you with new opportunities. If we restrict ourselves to our own narrow network of contacts we become comfortable and limit our ideas. As soon as we get to know others and become open minded to their ideas we suddenly open ourselves up to new possibilities, perhaps a new approach to doing something or even a new business venture which we may never otherwise have thought of.
Contact with like-minded individuals and development of friendships
One basic human need is to feel connected with like-minded individuals. By extending your contacts and getting to know them you’ll soon develop a network of people you will want to spend time with, share ideas with and learn from. One of the key benefits of business networking is that I’ve personally gained a number of really good friends I can now turn to even though initially the purpose was for business.
The more you network the more you get used to explaining what you do and how you can help others. Clear communication of how you can help is crucial to winning business and this will only improve the more you do.
Satisfaction from helping others
Last but by no means least, one of the biggest advantages of networking in business is the increased capacity to help others. Have you ever thought just how good it feels when you have helped someone whether it is by saving them time and effort by providing them with a useful contact, passing someone a referral or directly giving someone a piece of useful advice? The benefits of business networking just keep on coming!