Every successful businessperson will tell you the same thing: a good business network is essential to success! Having a reliable network full of useful contacts is one of the most important factors in creating a prosperous business.
But building such business relationships is often easier said than done. Many of us struggle with creating a professional network, especially at the beginning of our career.
Chances are you start off enthusiastically.
But before you head out to your next networking event to hand out your business cards, consider these common mistakes people make when building their business network.
Learn from these errors so you don’t fall prey to them yourself.
Being too selfish
It’s obvious that when you’re trying to build a business network, you’d like to profit from the relationship in some way. Maybe the other person can be a reference for you when you’re applying for a job or maybe they know someone who could become a potential new client.
But it’s important to remember that building a network relationship is a two-way street. It’s perfectly alright to benefit from the network and knowledge of the other person. But be prepared to help them out as well when they need your help.
When you prove to be loyal to the contacts in your business network, people will trust you. And they will be more willing to help you out.
But if you only take from them and never have time to give back, you will be seen as untrustworthy. And that’s something you will definitely want to avoid. So make sure to be a giver as well as a taker.
Do you have networking events planned? Then you better start preparing. Let’s say you just started your own business and you’re looking for investors or maybe your first clients. What will you tell your potential buyers about your business?
If you give your conversation partner an incoherent story that they won’t be able to understand, that probably won’t lead to a mutually beneficial relationship.
So make sure that first of all, you yourself understand exactly what you do and what you want. The next step is for you to turn your brilliant idea into a short and concise elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a short ‘speech’ in which you explain what you do to potential employers or clients. It’s usually not much longer than one minute. Feel free to practice your pitch in the mirror or with a friend so you can become well trained in saying the words.
Next time when you’re talking to a potential new big client, you will blow them away with an amazing elevator pitch instead of just standing there, lost for words.
Not following up
Chances are that you have already attended quite a few networking events. You probably went home with a large number of new business cards in your pocket. But be honest: how many of your new contacts have you actually called or e-mailed back?
Not following up on networking contacts is one of the most common mistakes people make. It’s easy to forget the people you met at the networking event because we all lead such busy lives with many responsibilities.
But if you don’t follow up on your new contacts, they will soon forget you. And all your hard work to get in touch with them will have been for nothing.
Plus, it won’t look good on you if you never follow up on any of your encounters. So make sure to keep in touch with the people in your network. Send them an email or text message from time to time to see if you can schedule another meeting with them. With apps like instanect it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with your business contacts.
Focus only on the business side
Of course, a big reason people have business networks is to help them sell their product or services, get a job or gain some other form of financial benefit. But building your business network shouldn’t only be about money and business.
In the first place, you are trying to build a relationship with someone. So don’t be afraid to talk about other subjects as well. Make sure to ask the other person a bunch of questions. It’s important to get to know people before you start thinking about how they can be useful to you in a business way. Bombarding the other person with sales pitches is not likely to work in the long term.
Having a good business network doesn’t just create a profitable business for you. It’s also meant to be a form of inspiration, advice, support and sometimes even genuine friendship. Even if the other person turns out not to become a client or employer, they can still give you great insights and advice.
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