You’ve probably heard a lot about networking if you’ve attended business school or you run your own company. But why, exactly, is networking considered so essential to success?
It’s About Who You Know
You may start off running a business using what you know, but sustaining success becomes more about who you know, or, more specifically, who knows you. In fact, 60 to 90 percent of work leads are gained through customers’ family, friends, and personal contacts, so referrals are important and should be encouraged.
Most people are more likely to do business with someone they know, admire, and trust, rather than with a complete stranger. This makes having a strong networking plan, as well as satisfied customers, extremely important.
The Importance of Word-of-Mouth Referrals
Having a strong network of satisfied customers can sometimes do a lot more for you than aggressive marketing. Building a reputation for your business with previous clients can help ensure that they will tell their own network about you.
For example, if you land one recurring client as the result of your advertising, but they have five people in their own network that can also utilise your services, that’s five more people that were out of your initial network but are now willing to work with you.
The Impact of Social Media
In today’s digital world, virtual, or social, networking, is just as important as face-to-face connections. Facebook and Twitter are both great platforms because of the volume of users, and while most people use hashtags to keep up with pop culture, using industry-specific hashtags in your posts will increase the likelihood of your posts being noticed by the right people.
Another great site for networking is LinkedIn, which is specifically designed for business connections. There are also LinkedIn user groups, which allow you to connect with others in your industry. Connecting with past and current clients on LinkedIn and asking for reviews or ratings will help build up your profile with positive indicators of your work quality, and this could lead to more work.
The Importance of Industry Connections
Equally as important as client connections are industry connections. Many people, especially those who are starting out, tend to look at others as competition. But rather than seeing other people in your niche as your enemies, you should view them as potential allies.
For example, if you make connections with other businesses, you can sometimes refer clients to one another when your own workload is already too heavy, or when a job would require a specialised skill that you can’t offer. Remember, doing a job poorly is worse for your networking than not doing it at all. Plus, it helps to have friends in your industry in the event you ever need advice or insight that your own experiences can’t provide.
Now that you know a few of the many benefits of networking both through your clients and with fellow business professionals, consider attending networking events like those held at locations found on Venuesearchlondon.com, as these are wonderful opportunities to grow your business.