A properly planned and enhanced business network has great potential to grow revenues of your business. Similarly, people that decide to approach business networking without having a solid plan and clear objectives will end up disappointed.

Business networking is critical for businesses that have limited marketing budgets. Research shows that more than 80 percent of customers of typical online business networking come from referrals, word-of-mouth referrals, and directly from online business networking.

Leveraging on the already existing clients is resourceful and ideal for sales strategies with limited marketing budgets.

Step 1: Be Clear Why Business Networking Is Important to You

A good way to determine why you are networking is to ask yourself the following 8 questions and rank all your motives from the most important to the least important.

What is your reason for networking?

– To improve public relations?

– To open opportunities for career growth?

– To strengthen relations with other workers and inspire the team?

– To build an effective sales team?

– To strengthen and deepen relationships with current clients?

– To gain contacts or customers and introducers to new customers?

– To earn support from an external institution such as a financial sponsor, trade union, or mentor?

– To provide a path for gathering market intelligence in your industry and predict purchasing patterns of prospective customers?

Step 2: Establish Key Performance Indicators

A key assumption when it comes to successful business networking is that virtually anyone you meet could potentially add value to your business. More importantly, you should safely store contacts for interesting leads for future.

The estimated number of contact networks needed will be determined by the scope of work for the business’s networking assignment. Get to know prospective clients so that you can better understand their purchase behaviour by following the nature of content they post online or the business merchants they follow. You can also attend events where potential clients are likely to be in attendance.

Increase the number of introducers systematically by exploiting connections and contacts online or offline. Establish rapport and build strong relationships within the business organisation. The goal should be to connect with at least 5 personnel.

If your goal with networking is to expand market intelligence in your industry and predict the purchase patterns of prospective customers better, your monthly action plan would look more nor else like this:

– Seek feedback and reviews from at least 10 clients that regularly purchase your merchandise.

– Seek open suggestions from at least 10 of your clients that regularly purchase your merchandise on ways to improve product quality and service delivery.

– Get in touch with at least 10 of your current suppliers.

– Study the products newly introduced in the market from 5 potential suppliers to understand the product’s competitive edge and demand.

– Research the competition to find out how they price products, whether or not they offer discounts, strategies they use to market their products, and where they get customers from.

Step 3: Ascertain Your Contacts

Compile a list of existing clients to be a source of customer referrals.

Compile another list of introducers to potential employees, suppliers, accountant, as well as non-executive directors.

Compile yet another list of potential organisations you could join to come up with a list of product/service feedback and review the data you would need to receive from members in networking organisations.

Finally, compile a list of people and organisations you seek to develop a networking relationship with. Don’t forget to find out what kinds of events they attend. You should also consider recommending other events you think can be of value to both them and you.

With that, you will have a basic networking strategy for achieving business goals!