We all have had our share of ups and downs in the business world. When one door closes, another opens; but we often dwell on the past and forget to focus on the present moment. The power of networking can impact your business in numerous ways if done right.
Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet. You can join groups such as the Growth Mastermind Group at GGI to learn how to become a successful networker. Experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful. Networking will help you develop skill sets, to stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.
Having a healthy network can lead to strong career fulfillment as well as progression and opportunities. Your network can include anyone from friends and family to work colleagues or business connections.
Here are 6 key networking benefits:
1. Shared Knowledge
Networking is great for sharing ideas and gaining new-found knowledge. Whether you're receiving feedback or discussing your perspective on a topic, it will help expand your knowledge and allow you to see things from a different perspective.
The opportunity to gather new information is an often-overlooked benefit of networking. It also offers career progression and development.
Feedback is a valuable tool in networking because it allows individuals the opportunity to learn and grow. Whether it's positive or negative, it's a good thing because it shows that your peers are invested in your future.
Within a group, it's likely, there will be someone who has already been where you are today, and they’ll be able to provide you with the proper resources for success. That will allow you to avoid some of the common mistakes business owners make in the industry.
2. Gain Creative Ideas
Your network can be an educational source of new perspectives and creative ideas to help you along your business journey. You can never tell how much a person knows just by looking at them. People who join network groups are seeking to learn new business strategies and share their personal growth experiences.
Being able to exchange information about past experiences and current goals are key benefits of networking. It allows you to gain new insights from discussions had with your network group. When receiving new ideas, it also helps you establish best practices when navigating through your career.
3. Strengthen Business Connections
Networking is about being selfless and sharing opportunities that can help others. It’s important to remember that Givers Gain Immensely. By doing this, you plant the seed for mutual assistance when you need help achieving your goals. Engaging with your connections regularly is a great way to keep a good rapport with them.
It is nearly impossible to gain new business without other people's help—successful public figures Tyler Perry, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey, have some of the best teams around them. Let's reflect on the type of support system and people they have in their networks. The majority of these public figures work with the same people they have in their network. Use every open door as an opportunity to build new partnerships with people and share what you do. The best relationships are built on first impressions that turn into lasting connections.
As long as you’re friendly, professional, and committed to doing everything you want to achieve, your outcome will always be successful.4. Receive Opportunities
It’s natural for networking to result in opportunities. Business and career-minded individuals can expand with minimal effort because of opportunities presented to them through networking.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. You need to buy a ticket to win the lottery.” - Kevin Davis, Founder of First Workings.
Whether it’s a referral, partnership offer, or request for your service, it is vital to always be ready to seize any opportunity that comes your way. Those who use networking as a tool are more likely to succeed in their journey.
5. Growth in Self Confidence
Networking is a key tool for growth in any career field. The communication and social skills gained from networking builds self-confidence and promotes positive self-esteem. It’s one thing to learn how to think positively, but once you start acting on it, you’ll be able to change your circumstances. Interacting with like-minded people exposes you to another level of excellence.
Networking is all about being a fearless risk-taker. You can never predict the outcome of any network encounter. The only thing you can do is be kind and stay open-minded. When you’re open to the world of possibilities, anything is possible. Showing up is half the battle; you have to come with your all and be confident in every decision you make.6. Growth in Status
Developing your career status is a long-term process depending on how you focus on your networking path. Top career professionals are where they are today because of the position they have grown in their network. The contacts you make along the way can potentially impact you and contribute to your growth.
Being visible and getting noticed is a benefit of networking that’s essential in career building. You can build your reputation as a knowledgeable business expert in your profession by offering useful information and resources to people who need it. Raising your profile will help you stand out to recruiters.
We’ve all heard the saying, “It's not what you know but who you know.” The power of networking is a true testimony to that. Your network can influence growth in your career status and pave the way for better opportunities.
How to make the most of your Networking benefits
When engaging with colleagues and clients at networking events, it’s important to listen far more than you talk. As a rule of thumb, try listening 80% of the time and only speaking or responding 20% of the time.
After presenting your elevator pitch to new contacts, practice active listening. I encourage you to get to know them, their business, and their unique needs personally. Some people may pay attention to how well you’re carrying a conversation. Part of being an active listener is learning how to engage in a way that makes the people around you feel supported.
Remember to ask open-ended questions to engage with key points periodically. Even if your connections don’t become potential clients, you’re still able to add to your network.
Learn the art of following up
Don’t wait a week to make the first move. Your new connection may vaguely remember you if you wait too long to reach out.
LinkedIn is the only social media platform that has a professional reputation and easy accessible resources. When you reach out, remind the person who you are and how you met. Jog their memory by mentioning specific things about your conversation. If they said something about their company struggling, offer a solution or idea to help. From there, prompt them to meet up to continue the conversation.
Suppose you value the relationship, set up a face-to-face follow-up meeting. According to Oxford Economics researchers say that in-person sales conversations are more effective than online. Around 40% of prospects become new customers after an in-person meeting.
Track Your Networking Efforts
It’s important to track your networking efforts to understand what’s working and what isn’t. You can use your HubSpot CRM tool to add relevant contacts to the company’s database. It helps you track each lead through each stage of the buyer journey.
Creating reports for each networking event you attend can also help you better understand the return on investment. Keep track of the positive relationships, partners, clients, and mentors you acquired while networking. All of this information can be useful when trying to replicate your success again in the future.
The point of networking is to develop and foster professional relationships. Some of the most sustainable friendships are born from work connections. Regularly networking within your industry can set you up well to progress in your future endeavors. Nurturing relationships with your contacts is a mutual benefit. You are able to raise your professional profile and broaden your access to opportunities while working through industry challenges.
At GGI, we network with some of the world’s top industry leaders and brands. Join a group of professionals who are committed to growing in a way that fosters accountability and excellence. If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. We work together as one to achieve business success. Reach out to us today to speak with a growth advisor to learn more!