I'm being a little outlandish here, but for small businesses this is still the biggest source of new business, of new suppliers and, often, of new staff. Without good networking skills, you will struggle to build your business as quickly as you want to.
There are, of course, lots of material online about how to improve your networking, but these are my quick points:
- listen to what people have to say
- are there people you know who may either be able to help them or they could help? If you offer to introduce them to someone, make sure you do
- Follow up. You only get a few minutes with them when you meet at the networking event, so you need more time to really understand their business and how they help their target audience.
- Keep in touch. Ensure you regularly remind them that you exist, so when there is an opportunity for you (whether they need your services or they know someone who does), they remember to get in touch.
I hope this helps
Perhaps the most powerful marketing weapon of all is ‘word of mouth’. By striking up professional relationships, and friendships where appropriate, you can build a level of trust and loyalty among your client base that just isn’t possible through the written word. The ability to influence others and foster a spirit of mutual trust is crucial to successful networking.