Networking: not just about getting business

Leading networking experts say business owners need to understand that networking isn’t just about getting leads for your business, urging they shift their attitude towards this important business tool.

According to networking coach Sean Grobbelaar, 90 percent of businesses that attend networking events, attend because they are looking for clients.

“From the time you leave school you are told that networking and word of mouth referrals are the best ways to build your business. Phrases like 80 percent of business or jobs come from word of mouth are flung around, however most people actually do not understand what this means.”

He says many businesses miss out on what networking has to offer by focusing solely on getting clients.

“By definition effective networking is all about establishing optimal affiliations to maximise your potential achievements and to reach your personal and professional goals quicker and more cost effectively through long term business relationships.”

Networking effectively could also mean reducing a business’ costs by attracting more referral for them and by wasting less time telemarketing or advertising. Smart networkers will also have greater access to resources, contacts and partnership than most.

Here are some benefits of utilising the power of networking effectively, according to Grobbelaar:

1. Networking should also be used to reduce a business’s marketing costs, for sourcing suppliers/vendors, attracting more referral business and to lessen the reliance on costly and time consuming cold calling/telemarketing and advertising.

2. You do this by building relationships, because people do business with people they trust, who are recommended by their friends and who they have a rapport with.

3. Attending networking events does not just create word of mouth business that makes you go viral and become the next Bill Gates. In fact, networking can be a hugely expensive exercise if done incorrectly. Networking costs to attend, it takes time out of your day and it can be exhausting if not sheer daunting for many people. Done correctly, smart networkers have greater access to resources, information, contacts and partnership than most.

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