- Everyone Should Network
- Give First
Everyone Should Network
Making and maintaining professional relationships is essential to career growth and professional advancement, regardless of whether you have your own business or work in a firm. For sole practitioners it is especially important because they alone bear the responsibility of generating their own business. However, professionals within firms who ignore the importance of networking are also at a disadvantage. They'll never have the option of establishing their own businesses and will tend to have a less successful career than those who network and prove their worth to the firm by bringing in new business. In today's competitive business climate networking is essential for all professionals!
Similarly, everyone is a potential referral source. Don't rule out people who are indirectly related to what you want to achieve. They may be a valuable source of knowledge or advice, or may be able to introduce you others who want to refer you business.
At the same time, remember that your own reputation to some extent depends upon the reputation of those with whom you network. You will want to network with those who you can trust to send you referrals and take care of clients referred by you.
Getting the maximum benefit out of networking requires effort and motivation.
Just one great relationship can provide a vast source of referrals and substantial income over a professional career. But circumstances can change rapidly, so it's important not to rely on one relationship or even on an already established network. To keep growing your business and enhancing your professional standing you need to keep actively building your business network. The most successful professionals know that networking is a process that requires commitment, effort and motivation over a working lifetime.
Building rewarding relationships can take time. If you meet with some initial resistance, don't be discouraged. Persevere and you will ultimately be successful. If you meet with success early on it is equally important that you stay committed to the networking process. One or two great relationships are not enough, as circumstances can change quickly. The only way to protect your business is to keep expanding your network.
Be prompt in following up on any referrals you've recieved. Remember to show your appreciation and try to reciprocate!
After referring a client to another professional follow up with them to see if they were satisfied with the services they received. They'll be happy you cared enough to call and you'll be getting invaluable feedback on the business practices of that professional with whom you are building a relationship. Hearing positive feedback builds trust in that relationship. Building trust in your professional relationships and establishing a history of mutual assistance is critical to your success in networking.
Maintain communication with professionals with whom you establish a connection. Through regular and consistent follow up you can stay updated on their changing needs and goals and remind them of your own. Often you will find that you call someone for one reason and end up receiving valuable information concerning something else that you would not have obtained otherwise.
"Networking really works! Since becoming a member of Networking for Professionals and tapping into their carefully screened members, I have seen a marked increase in my business thanks to the caliber of the contacts I have made. I truly believe business is not just about meeting people, but about meeting the right people, and NFP embodies that principle."
Alex Twersky, Resume Deli
"You have to give to get." The best networkers think first about what they can do for those they wish to network with. They understand their businesses, who their clients are and how they differ from their competitors. It is much easier to call people if you have something to offer them, whether that's a referral or some information about a prospective client, an existing client, or even about competitors.
If you don't see any immediate return, don't jump to the conclusion that this has been a waste of your time. Most people will want to return the favor as soon as they can in order to keep the relationship going, especially after it has proved beneficial to them.
The most successful professionals know that networking is a lifestyle. At NFP we provide you with the tools to develop that lifestyle and Get Connected. Click Here to view our Membership Options.