You know networking. Maybe it’s activating your network for upcoming jobs or building out your list of industry contacts. But business networking is more than just growing your LinkedIn list or swapping business cards at an event. Done right, it will bring in new leads and customers.
According to a recent study, 85% of people say in-person meetings and conferences let them build more meaningful business relationships. Building relationships is an important function that can help you expand your business.
Here, you’ll learn not only how networking generates leads, but also how building relationships can expedite your business’ growth.
The Business Case for Networking
Before you jump in, it’s important to know what your business networking goals are. Your network should be built around those goals, so you can see a reward on your investment of time and energy. The best networking is both fulfilling and brings in results.
The three common ways you can network to meet business goals include:
- Increase visibility in your industry: Attending and speaking at networking events creates awareness of your business. building relationships in your own industry positions you as an involved leader who’s in the know. Ultimately, this boosts your visibility and establishes you as a subject matter expert.
- Lead generation for new customers or clients: As your visibility increases, so does your reputation. And as your reputation improves, prospective clients become more eager to engage you.
- Finding potential new employees: If you’re keen to build your brand as an employer, networking in-person or online provides a number of opportunities. According to recent data, 85% of open jobs are filled via networking. Many professionals attend networking events to source new job opportunities. Find high-achievers in your networks to increase the likelihood that you’ll find other high-performers.
How to Identify Business Networking Opportunities
When it comes to diving into networking opportunities, you can go online, offline, or both. To help you decide, here’s how to find the best opportunities in both areas.
ONLINE NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
- Facebook Events: Use the world’s largest social network to find relevant business events near you.
- Meetup.com: Use this platform to join existing local business events or create one of your own.
- LinkedIn groups: The social network for professionals offers private groups that cater to a variety of industries, holders of professional designations (i.e., CPAs) and other groups for business leaders.
- Private Facebook groups: Admittedly, Facebook’s variety of professional groups doesn’t hold a candle to LinkedIn. But with a little poking aroud, you’ll find dozens of groups organized around specific industries as well as more general business topics like entrepreneurship and remote work.
- Webinars: To connect with other people interested in similar topics or pain points, attend online webinars. You can attend live events and meet with potential contacts and customers. You can also host your own webinar to connect with other pros in your industry as well as prospective customers.