If you were at our last Better Together event you will know that Ben Marris, CEO of New Zealand Leaders, spoke to us about the Power of Networking, and the importance of building a community around yourself and your company. What Ben is talking about, and what we also believe in wholeheartedly at OneHQ, is the incredible power of businesses and leaders working together to help each other and in turn, helping themselves.
One person who knows an awful lot about building synergistic partnerships around himself and his business is OneHQ’s Director of Strategic Relationships, Chris Chandler, who talks here about the biggest benefits of networking.
Sense of Belonging
“Humans possess an innate need to feel part of a group, one of a tribe, to belong. Customer loyalty programs, common-interest groups, even being a member of a church, a coffee group or the PTA can contribute to an overall feeling of belonging that is fundamental to our well-being and self-esteem. As well as this, networking doesn’t just create business relationships, it fosters friendships that can transcend beyond the businesses themselves. As well as having benefit to the individual, an engaged ‘tribe’ as a whole is more energetic, more motivated, and more willing to help others."
“Building a network around yourself of like-minded business leaders means always having an experienced group of people to call on for advice and support. The experience of others at the same stage of business, plus those a few steps ahead, can be invaluable and is often much more helpful than anything you’ll read in a book or on the web. Not only this, but your ability to reciprocate to those a few steps behind will do wonders for the strength of your connections.”
“Referrals are known by many as the most valuable marketing tool. They’re cost-effective in that there often is no direct cost at all, leads are always warm, and half the trust-building work is done for you. This is especially true for OneHQ, where referrals are infinitely more crucial than any other kind of sales tactic. The wider the community around you, the wider the pool of potential customers who can be pushed in your direction when they’re in need of a certain product or service.”
How to become an effective Networker
“Networking events are everywhere – but how do you truly use them to your best ability and advantage? Ben spoke about the importance of the right attitude – walking into a room thinking ‘How can I help you?’ as opposed to walking into a room only looking for people who can further your business. The importance of this is because what you are trying to do is build relationships, you shouldn’t be after a direct means to transaction.”
As well as the right attitude, there are a number of other smaller ways you can be the best networker and connector around:
1. Take notes afterwards to remember any important things someone has said. Remembering the small things can be a big gesture.
2. Make sure you’re memorable. Be a bit different, but don’t take that to mean going overboard. Find a way to differentiate yourself from others. Have fun.
3. Follow up after events. Add people on LinkedIn while you're still fresh in their memories, email them to comment on something they said that resonated with you, organise a coffee catch up the next week. Keep in contact to stay front of mind.
4. Listen more than you talk. Letting people talk about themselves helps to not only build trust, but you can learn as much as possible about that person in order to be able to provide value later.