What do you do when you want to buy something? Suppose you want to buy a power bank. Generally, you would go online, visit different websites, read hundred of feedbacks and finally filter out one option.
Now, let’s further suppose that you tell a friend all about the chosen power bank, its price, specifications, colour, all of it. The friend in return suggests some other company’s power bank that he or she bought a few days back and how they’re economical, have additional features, come with a guarantee and so on.
So which power bank would you buy after this? The one you had decided on first or the one that your friend recommended?
It makes sense that most of you would opt for the power bank your friend recommended to you because you trust your friend, he or she is using it and has vouched for it.
Research suggests that networking and referral marketing is 2.5 times more responsive and effective than any other marketing channel.
An effective business network involves meaningful relationships with the right people in order to recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities.
While you can network through referrals, communities or online platforms; here are two secrets of creating a strong and effective business network for tangible results:
Trust is the foundation of every successful relationship
Like any other relationship, business relationships are built on trust. People who trust each other easily forgive each other, respond to change in a smart, coordinated way and reduce red tape, which lowers the cost of collaboration.
Honestly, some business connections are impossible to make until a very high level of trust is established. While building trust is a slow and natural process, some qualities that can help you are empathy, effective listening, following up, reliability and dependability.
Remember, trust-based business relationships go beyond transaction-based free-market economics and come with a genuine sense of helping each other without strings attached.
Get connected to the right people
The biggest mistake people make while networking is to focus on the numbers game. But effective networking isn’t about connecting with thousands of people; it is about connecting with people who can help you and who you can help. It is quality over quantity.
Even if you make five meaningful connections with the right people in a month, that’s perfectly fine!
While making new connections, remember that every person in your circle would have at least one another person in his/her contact who might be looking for your service or get associated with you.
Building meaningful relationships with decision-makers, managers, etc allows you to network with their contacts.
In the end, a friend would go out of their way to help you but a business acquaintance might not be as inclined.
Hence, focus more on making friends, and building social capital in your network and you’ll be good to go!