As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know! Arguably one of the fastest ways to grow your business in both the short and long term is to build your network of people and businesses. Good people know good people, so it’s not just about your direct network, it’s about the reach you have at the 2nd and 3rd level!
Build face to face time with your network
We would recommend that you regularly attend local networking events, seminars and exhibitions. Ask your friends and colleagues or get on google and social media to find these.
Although it can take courage to walk into a room and just start talking with people, face to face is where the strongest relationships are built. It’s worth plucking up the courage to introduce yourself. A good tip is to have a bank of basic questions to fall back on if conversation is hard to come by – take 10 minutes to write them down before you reach the venue.
Strengthen relationships online
Online tools such as LinkedIn are a great way to extend your network as well as staying in touch with your existing contacts. Find relevant people through Sales Navigator (one of LinkedIn’s premium tools), use the basic search function or simply look at your existing network’s connections. Send a short note with your request that explains why you want to connect. The key is to clearly position the mutual value your relationship can bring – try and be specific.
Although coffee meetings and lunches are fun, staying in touch by sharing helpful content, commenting on their posts, sending over a quick how are you and introducing them to more relevant people is a great way to keep your relationship alive.
Think quality, not quantity
It’s all well and good having thousands of LinkedIn contacts and a suitcase full of business cards, but in the end a strong network is based on the mutual value you can bring each other. Start small and be specific with the areas you want to grow, for example personal trainers and gym networks, journalists in the health sector or supplement suppliers. You can then choose your networking activity accordingly.
To learn more, watch this short video from our Commercial Director, James Callery, and download our e-book – 7 dynamite tips for growing your client base.