Networking is a buzz word commonly used when discussing how to improve your business performance and bring career opportunities, but how is it maintained? As we all know there is only so many seminars, conferences, and after work drinks one can attend until you start to feel this isn’t really having an impact. In the top of the South is it often who you know, not what you know that brings forward new opportunities and this is where high-quality business relationships are important.
Coming into the quieter winter months we are exploring a few methods to improve the quality of your network relationships, yes it does take some effort but what can come from a little work now is worth it. The aim of the game is to be the go to professional in your network as a resource of knowledge, skill and advice, so how do we achieve that?
Share your knowledge
We cannot constantly interact with our networks so allow social media and your professions publications do the work for you. By regularly sharing your thoughts on industry news, posting insightful articles and publishing educational content you remind people you are there and position yourself as a trusted source of information. We do this every day via our LinkedIn and Facebook Pages keeping our followers up to date on industry developments that will affect them, and we are lucky enough to have some bright sparks that publish articles in national accounting publications.
Have a website hook
People will be drawn to your website from your regularly relevant social media posts, make sure when they arrive your website is not only functional and easy to use but contains a hook. This could be a blog where you publish educational content, FAQs about your industry or a newsletter. We have a monthly blog about tax news and business-building insights, in fact you’re reading the blog right now!
Don’t be afraid to ask a favour
Small favours between connections allow you to build the relationship further, this is half of the reason we network right? Ask advice, or for an introduction to a professional you haven’t met yet. This opens the door for future networking interactions and potential to increase your client base.
Be thoughtful and kind regularly
Helping others is the other half of networking, you cannot expect to develop quality relationships without supporting others. This can be as simple as share social media posts to draw attention to another’s message, recognising their contribution to a project, sending a thanking gift or sponsoring a local team/event that is a common interest. The community is really important to us so we give a lot of time, money, and man-hours to local sports teams and events. Being reliable and kind in networks and the wide community will only grow your reputation and opportunities.
Strategic Honest Feedback
When you’re asked advice be honest and we know it can sometimes be hard. Honest constructive feedback allows your network to refine and improve what they do. Do not, however, be that person who offers advice without request, newly forming relationships do not benefit from constant criticism.
Adding one or all of these tips to your networking practice over the winter months will bring new opportunities in Summer, remember to share your knowledge, have a great website, ask for favours, be supportive, and honest. Not only will you get great business connections but you may get great friends out of it also.
Six tricks for staying top of mind with your network
Learn to Love Networking
Tiziana Casciaro, Francesca Gino, Maryam Kouchaki