Networking 101: How to Make Business Contacts That Will Benefit Your Company

Networking is vital to career growth and success. It involves building long-term relationships and strengthening your reputation over time. This is done by meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and can potentially help you in return. Your network includes your friends, colleagues, business connections, and social members of  groups to which you belong. A professional network is a great opportunity to demonstrate your value to potential customers and employers and these relationships can lead to long-term success for you and your organization. Build your network and start making real connections with these simple networking tips. 

Attend Business Networking Events

The first step in successful networking is to go to places where you can make connections. There are plenty of opportunities for you to attend local and even national business events. For example, there are likely to be events and gatherings in your area for people in your industry. If you prefer to branch out even more, consider attending conferences and networking events in other cities. Attending these events will put you in contact with other connections in your industry and it will also keep you up to date with your industry’s current trends and developments. 

Get Social in Your Off Hours

Business networking doesn’t just happen between the hours of 8 and 5. You have the ability to network any time and day. It just requires you to step outside your comfort zone and start talking to people. Strike up a conversation with people at the gym or talk to other parents at your child’s activities. You never know when you might meet someone who can be a useful source. The most successful networkers are those who look for opportunity every place they go!

Be Able to Articulate Your Worth

It’s not enough to simply state the company you work for or the great product you can provide. You must be able to articulate exactly what value you bring to the table when you meet someone. Whether you are looking to generate referrals, bring on a new customer, or build your reputation, you should always have the right pitch ready to go when you engage in conversation. 

Be Helpful When You Can

A great way to make a lasting impression is to be helpful when you can. If you are able to offer some advice, some expertise, or make an introduction to another contact, people are thrilled and are likely to remember you. They are also more likely to stay in touch when they feel like you are a good resource for them. This doesn’t mean you have to go over the top to get someone a meeting with your CEO right off the bat, but if there are little ways that you can help, it can go a long way in building a lasting relationship. 

Always Follow Up

In order to establish rapport and build lasting relationships with other people, you need to look for reasons to keep the correspondence going. Making the connection is only half the battle; you also have to take the necessary steps to continue the relationship. Make sure you exchange contact information and try to find at least two to three opportunities each year to reconnect with the members of your network.