|Networking meetings don't have|
to be formal. Make 'em happen!
|Cattle-call networking event. Don't!|
Good networking is establishing a real connection with another business professional. Customers can be valuable network members, but the most valuable are frequently folks from outside your customer base. Inside your industry there are key players, and you want to know them. Make it a mix of the two.
|Networks are a|
|Network members are often the missing|
piece of the puzzle!
Cultivate strong relationships with professionals in other industries, too. Outside your industry, there are movers, shakers, and influencers. Adding them to your network will help you stay ahead of the curve on local and regional business news. Beyond keeping you "in the know," there is always someone your clients are looking to meet. Your network members make great referrals to clients who have needs your company can’t meet. Based on your personal relationship, your client will receive great service from your network members. If you supply the name of a terrific plumber, landscaper, and dry cleaner to a new home buyer, your value to that home buyer has just gone way up. A strong network of competent professionals is helpful in every profession. Think about the connections that will help your customers, and build them.
A strong professional network also will help you when you need a job. If you’ve been sending them business, and taking good care of the business they send you, your network will be happy to share the job openings they know of. They will look at you as a competent professional, and will recommend you as such.