Networking in the UK
B2B network involves much more than shaking as many hands as possible at a conference or sending a monthly newsletter to potential clients. It is a social science of sorts that requires mastering body language, knowing how to lead the conversation to your business, getting the timing right; and growing and maintaining important relationships. busines networking can be challenging but if you dedicate the necessary time and effort it takes to produce results, it can yield new long term business partners and financiers.
The Best Places To Network
Since the goal is to meet potential clients or meet individuals who can tell others about your company, it is crucial to be at the right place at the right time. It has long been believed that some luck is needed to achieve this. However, conducting a little research about where your clientele spends time can help you draw up a strategic plan.
Some of the best places are formal events, semi-formal functions, business conventions, conferences, industry meetings, sports clubs, and clubs with restricted access, seminars and workshops. Unusual places you can meet clients include gyms, bars, cafes, sports grounds, online, via social media and through family and friends.
How To Make Business Connections
Approaching potential clients is not as simple and easy as it sounds. Fortunately, almost everyone you meet has the same goal in mind. Everyone wants to put word out there about their company and receive new business either directly from the person they have introduced themselves to or through referrals.
In this sort of environment, you have to make sure that your body language says you are approachable, willing and open before you even walk up to anyone for a conversation. When you do meet a prospective client, maintain good eye contact to express genuine interest, have a positive facial expression and a stance that is professional but welcoming.
Be courteous in your listening but be ready with an informal pitch and business card when it is your turn to speak. Maintain a friendly tone but make sure the other person knows exactly how they can benefit from doing business with you by the time your chat is over.
How To Maintain Business Connections
The first rule of thumb is not to make too many connections. Knowing a lot of people does not mean you will get a lot of business. In fact, the best strategy is to pick the most relevant clients to work with and focus your efforts on nurturing those relationships over time.
Some business owners mingle with other owners in the hope of receiving a call or email about new business ventures. Instead of waiting to receive, take the initiative and be the first to approach your potential clients with business opportunities. More often than not, it will prove your worth and invite opportunities in return.
Another smart way to grow your business relationships is to act as a joining bridge for two or more clients. Linking people together -- and making sure they know you are responsible -- will boost your reputation as a useful connection. When clients know they can rely on you to give as you as you get, they are likely to keep in touch and send referrals your way.
Overall this is one of the most effective ways to invite and keep new business. Whether you do this yourself or send a company representative, strive to make an impression as someone your potential clients can benefit a lot from. Always follow up on the contacts you make and be willing to invest time and energy in keeping them happy.