The word conjures up all sorts of interesting pictures. Men in recliners smoking cigars and making deals in back rooms. MLM dealers cheering at training sessions and trying to recruit everyone who comes within 3 feet of them when they’re done. Even computer wizards doing arcane things behind the scenes to make your Internet connection work. We will focus on introduction for networking for small business in this post.
Networking is about connections. For your purposes in business, it’s making connections that bring you customers.
A couple of basic working definitions are in order.
A person with whom you have developed, or are developing, an ongoing relationship of trust and mutual respect, SPECIFICALLY REGARDING BUSINESS MATTERS.
The recommendation of a business to a person who knows the prospective customer well enough to have developed some level of established trust. Someone telling a friend or business acquaintance to do business with you based on their confidence in your ability to do the job well.
Consciously developing contacts in an effort to increase the number of referrals you get for your business.
Networking, in the business sense, is nothing more complicated than working out ways to get other people to send you business, based on word of mouth or direct introduction.
Networking is the single most cost efficient form of advertising you can plan for. Yes, you may get some, or even a lot, of referrals without making a conscious effort at it. You’ll get a lot more if you pay attention to the process.
It not only leads to more business, but it usually means better business. If a customer always pays their bills and never gives you hassles, do you think they’re liable to send someone your way that is a deadbeat and a trouble customer ? Not often. The two types don’t usually mix, and when they do, the good customer will normally value the relationship too much to jeopardize it with unnecessary bad referrals.