Fast little loans
Face-to-face networking has never been more important than it is in the current economic climate.
I’ve observed that the businesspeople who have survived and thrived throughout the recession are the ones who have regular face-to-face contact with their stakeholders.
It’s only when you’re sitting opposite someone that they open up about their business challenges, changing needs and environments – and then you are in a position to adapt your offering to meet their changing needs.
This only happens face to face and not via e-mail or on the phone.
Often people will meet new contacts in a formal, structured networking environment, and there is no immediate business synergy between them.
They each go their separate ways thinking that networking doesn’t necessarily work. It’s only when you realise that each person knows an estimated 250 people and they in turn know 250 people that networking numbers start to become powerful.
When you look at the first level of someone’s network you have immediate access to 62 500 people – so, it’s not just who you know, it’s who your contacts know that is important.
A high percentage of new business is generated like this through referrals, which are a powerful sales tool, especially in the high net worth market.
I have personally experienced and have seen dips in people’s sales when they neglect their face-to-face networking.
When you are busy you need to realise that even though networking takes time it also saves you time. I advise people to concentrate on what you do best in your career and then have a network that surrounds you of people who represent your weaknesses.
In this way you can leverage off each other’s strengths – and that’s when a network works.
Social media is an important element of your personal brand and you need to devote the same time and attention to it as you would to your appearance, voice and skill set.
However, I meet people with 5 000 Facebook friends who are not feeling the benefits of these contacts in their businesses.
Social media has its place, but there is still no substitute for sitting down with a client over a cup of coffee and connecting meaningfully.
l Helen Nicholson is the author of the best-selling book Networking – Get Your Black Belt in Business Success.
For more information contact her on email@example.com