Business today is largely about building relationships and staying connected with those in your field. Whether you run a catering service, or are an investment banker on Bay Street, networking can benefit all members of the business community and produce positive relationships.
There are many amazing networking opportunities for business men and women from all sectors of the market place. From Nova Scotia to the mountains of British Columbia, networking opportunities are vast and one must always be prepared for meeting potential contacts in any setting.
It is always a great idea to keep a pocket full of business cards, so that whenever the opportunity presents itself for you to network with others, they have instant access to your contact information, and this is always a classy move when meeting other business professionals. Timely and consistent follow-up is the key to successful marketing. Meeting someone once is rarely enough to bring you business - repeated contacts are what do the trick. You always want to follow up with prospective customers, of course, but you should also follow up with potential referral sources and network marketing leads. Not only should you dole out as many of your own business cards as possible, you should collect other people's cards as well to build your networking base.
When the business men and women return home from a networking event with a stack of business cards, often they forget who most of these people are! And in truth, you must establish that you are different from every other person (or whatever your profession may be). You certainly do not want to fall into the forgettable category, so being memorable is another key to successful business networking. There are many ways to do this, and some tips include: being distinctive - by wearing a brightly colored shirt or an unusual necklace, something that will prevent you from blending in with the crowd; being fully present in conversation, asking thought provoking questions that suggest you have a genuine interest in that person; and by reinforcing key words - your name, company name, your product and location, without harping on the subject.
A great product or service is not a thing, it is an experience - a great brand communicates values and emotions that get called to mind whenever someone thinks of the name or logo. Remember that you are your business. The impression that you make on people is the impression they will have of your business, so make it good and make it memorable.
Networking can also generate business in the least likely places. You may be in the waiting room at the office, when you strike up a conversation with the person next to you. This conversation may lead to business, and you discover that this individual is a valuable person for you to know. You never know when you will run into a potential person to network with, so be on the alert at all times for these opportunities.
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