The stronger your personal brand, the more it helps your company grow!
Now I want to start by saying that networking can be carried out in many different ways. As business people, we can network by attending exhibitions, trade shows and other events; but we can also choose to network online through our social platforms. You can also reach out to colleagues all over the world through the likes of LinkedIn, BeBee, Facebook and Instagram. This "online social networking" can also add value to increasing your visibility and your worth as a personal brand.
I had an interesting affirmation earlier this year when one of my students reached out to me. She was a sales representative for a food manufacturer in Trinidad and had recently moved from one job to her current position. She was in this new role for less than one year when her position was made redundant. Initially, she was thrown off and very worried, which is why she reached out for advice. Besides telling her to sign up at as many recruitment agencies as possible and to send out her resume through all the online job recruiters; I also suggested she plunge into overdrive in crafting her online personal brand. Literally in a matter of weeks, she was forging relationships and engaging with like-minded individuals on Facebook and LinkedIn. Suffice it to say, in just over three months, this determined young lady got into affiliate marketing, opened a business and was working again as a sales person. All of her success being directly attributed to her commitment to networking. Now I cannot guarantee anyone as success as quickly as my former student but I can attest to seeing these kind of results in my own business.
With that said, the main benefits of networking:
While networking events expose you to the persons who are at the event, never think that these are the only connections you can build. You are not only opening your business and yourself to only the people in the room, you are also building connections with their network too. I have personally gotten referrals from people I have met at events simply because I made an impression and fulfilled a need.
2. Being seen as an industry expert/Influence
When you partake in networking events it is easier to position yourself in the mind of your marketplace as THE EXPERT. As an expert you are able to command higher fees – work less and make more!
3. Raising your profile
One of the big benefits of networking is becoming more visible and getting noticed. The more you attend events, the more well known your face becomes to your colleagues and prospective clients.
4. Increased confidence
The more you do something, the easier it gets. The more you network, the more you become comfortable with the way people interact, the questions that people ask and ways in which you can break the ice. Remember that building your business is dependent on you engaging with people, speaking to them on a regular basis and making those connections that help you close the sale.
Active networking is vital to career growth and helps in developing influential personal brands. Although it is sometimes confused with selling, networking is actually about building long-term relationships and developing a strong, reliable reputation over time. Building a successful business takes a lot of time and drive, so it’s good to have a network of friends and associates to draw energy from and keep you going.
So here's to more networking!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debbie-Ann Jollie is a marketing communications executive with more than 10 years experience creating marketing strategies and promotional campaigns for a diverse array of corporate clients and first time entrepreneurs.