It’s been proven many times over by those in the know – the secret to building a successful business is to begin by building mutually beneficial relationships. These relationships open doors to opportunities and possibilities that would otherwise have remained closed. They initiate a two-way word-of-mouth advertising campaign that delivers benefits to both parties and further strengthen the relationship.
More than that – these relationships give us the confidence to believe in ourselves and our businesses.
Below is the Business in Heels 10 Step Process to help you grow your business through networking. Put this simple process into practice and you’ll have your contacts looking out for your interests and growing your business as you do the same for them.
Business in Heels 10 Step Process
1. Get out from behind your desk! The phone, email and Facebook are fine for finding people to connect with but they’re not great vehicles for cementing a relationship. So once you’ve connected, organise a face-to-face meeting. Consider Zoom and Skype if you’re in different parts of the world. (You can stay behind your desk for these!)
2. Learn about each other’s businesses. A mutually beneficial business relationship is based on your knowledge of each other’s business. Learn about who their customers are, the problems they solve, the benefits of their service, their target market, geographic limitations, experience, skill set, goals and networks.
3. Listen to their problems. All businesses have problems from not enough customers to cash flow and on to overheads, suppliers, staff and more. What problems does your new contact have?
4. Who are their ideal clients? Within a target market exists a hierarchy of preference. Develop an understanding of the types of clients that fit into this hierarchy. Who’s at the top, in the middle and down the bottom?
5. Are you feeling the love? By now you’ll be developing a sense of the person you’re communicating with. Is this a person you feel a connection with? Is she expressing the same level of interest in your business? Are you comfortable communicating on this initial level? Are you able and willing to help each other? If you got 4 yeses…
6. Consider. After your initial meeting, reflect on your interaction and consider the ways you may be able to help your new connection. Do you know someone who could help with her problems? Consider her business goals – do you know someone who may be able to help her achieve these? Know someone in her target market?
7. Make some calls. Call the people you want to connect your new contact with. Explain your new contact’s situation and suggest how your existing connection might fit in. Request permission to pass on their details.
8. Organise a second meeting and tell your new contact you’re going to pass on some contacts/referrals there. Share a couple of the names and phone numbers from Step 7. Explain who they are, what they do and how you think they may be able to assist your new contact. She’ll love you for it! If the Universe decides you’re to begin a mutually beneficial business relationship with her then she’ll arrive with something to give too. After all, you told her you were going to do this when you organised the meeting!
9. Follow up on every contact you’re given within 48 hours. Someone’s just given you a gift and put their reputation on the line by doing so. You absolutely must demonstrate respect for that offering by making contact in a timely manner. Your new contact will find out if you don’t and never offer anything to you again.
10. Repeat Steps 1 through 9 with your newest contact. Many new contacts won’t make it past Step 5 and some will disappoint in Step 8. For those who get through this filtering process, you are highly likely to develop and extend the mutually beneficial business relationship you set out to achieve. Don’t be disheartened by those who don’t make it through. Instead, gain confidence from those who do.
For a more in-depth look at networking skills, check out our first book –
The Heel to Toe of Networking. (It's FREE)