How To Build A Business Network Without Going Networking
Ok, well there may be a little bit of networking ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 07/02/2018 @ 8:00AM
I meet people who are successful in business who wouldn't set foot in a networking group to save their lives. I'm married to one. My husband has run a successful architectural consultancy for many years without joining anything labelled as networking ...
You can build a business network without attending loads of stuffy breakfast meetings!
photo by 'rawpixel.com' on unsplash
He will maintain he doesn't do any marketing and that he would say he is not a natural networker. You won't find his website as he doesn't have one and he isn't a member of Facebook, LinkedIn and has never tweeted in his life. What he does have is a a group of related professionals who call on him when their clients or contacts need the sort of architectural support he provides.
Oh and he's very good at what he does. I'm sure if he had added in more diverse marketing activities he could have received more business, but his order book has stayed full, and he has no wish to grow his practice larger than himself (see my blog on the subject a few weeks ago).
"His heart is in delivering his
So if you're like him and dislike attending events full of strangers with whom you believe you have little in common, then this blog post is for you. I'll share with you some tips on how to build your network of contacts by mixing with the right people.
Start with the people you already know
Sounds obvious, doesn't it? Amazing how many people think when they come out of employment that they are starting from zero. Ideally, start garnering your contacts before you leave your job.
The first thing to do is to develop a list of all the people you know in business. It doesn't matter how you know them; if they are in business and they know you, they may be able to help you either directly or through other people they know.
People to include are:
Existing ( if you haven't left yet) or ex-colleagues
Bosses you have had
People who have reported to you or you have mentored or supported
Ex suppliers or consultants, collaborators you've worked with. However long ago.
Past clients (even if you have a time restriction in contacting them, that time will run out)
Family, friends and other social contacts.
Establish contact starting with those where you have a strong relationship and work outwards to people you have lost touch with or knew less well. Always re-establish contact with checking in on what they are doing. Show real interest in their concerns as you may be able to help ... if not now then later.
Then let them know what you are doing and ask for help. People like helping others who they like. Be prepared for what help you want from that individual. Make a list beside their name and start with asking for something small, maybe they can put you in touch with someone who can help you, or have the contact details of someone you both knew. They may surprise you by offering something bigger.
Whatever you ask for, remember to return the favour and most importantly agree how you are going to stay in touch. The most obvious one is to report back what happened as a result of their help and thank them whatever the outcome. Remember your common courtesies. Now, what else can you do for them?
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database is a wise investment to keep track of the people you know and meet right from the start and what you can do for each other.
Seek out, new like-minded people
You are going to need to know some new people and the good news is that these need to be the sort of people you like to mix with anyway. People who are interested in the same sort of things as you. They will have clients similar to the sort of clients you want. Many of them may offer complimentary services to you.
Going back to the example of my husband, builders are obvious members of his network. That's great, they speak his language and won't get bored if he talks shop all evening.
Mixing with the right people for you means you don't have to listen to other people's small talk. If you're building a lasting relationship - whether you're highly sociable or a bit of a recluse - those people you mix with will soon spot if you're not genuinely interested in them. We humans are great at spotting phonies.
Where will you meet these marvellous people? I know, I know, I promised you didn't need to go networking. I never said you didn't have to go out once in a while! Hold onto the thought that you will be mixing with people who have similar interests, who like talking about the sort of things you like to talk about.
So if you're into golf, join a golf club. Try out professional organisations relevant to you or your clients. The same goes for your choice of exhibitions, seminars or other events to attend.
Don't forget your social media
It isn't all about fluffy puppies and what you ate at the restaurant last night. The wonderful thing about online networks is you can check out different platforms and groups and find the right sort of people having the right kind of conversations and, you can leave whenever you wish.
Which brings me full circle back to the people you already know. Who can they introduce to you? The chances are, if they know and like you, then they know similar other people too.
As you can see there are many ways of building a network and most of them don't involve early morning eggs and bacon with a room full of strangers. So enjoy building your network with bright interesting people who you would like to help and would feel comfortable asking them for help in return and build a successful business for yourself.
"Would you like to know more?"
If you'd like to find out more about networking without networking, do call me on or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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