Let’s talk about business networking…

There’s often a lot of discussion about business networking, some of the discussions generate more heat than light.

We’re sure you know someone who’s paid a substantial sum of money to join a networking group only to find you’re expected to attend every meeting without fail, you’re expected to bring a particular value of business to the group, you’re expected to make a certain number of referrals and there are fees for this, charges for that. Some of these organisations can feel a bit cult-like and a bit pressured.

Here at In Touch With Walsall we’re proud to say we’re not like that at all. Ours is a fun and relaxed organisation and, while there are rules, they’re not onerous and they’re in place to help members and support the network, and in any case they’re more like firm guidelines than hard-and-fast rules.

Why Network?

Networking benefits you personally and benefits your business – you can learn from others (both what to do and what not to do…), you can use members as a sounding board for new ideas, you can often get informal advice and feedback that you’d probably have to pay for under other circumstances, and more.

Here’s the #ITWW top 5 reasons why we think you should get involved:

  • 1. Leads and Referrals Don’t expect to sell your products and services to the people in the room, that way lies sadness and upset. You need to build relationships with the people in the network so they recommend you to their friends and contacts (and you do the same for them, obviously). Your network becomes a source of leads and referrals, a salesforce working for you. The value of referrals from your network is that they are high quality and possibly even pre-qualified; with the right approach you will be getting much higher quality leads from networking than from other forms of marketing.
  • 2. Connections “It’s not what you know, its who you know” but how do you get to know who you need to know? Simple! Networking. It’s not just the people directly within your network, it’s their friends and contacts. Don’t be afraid to ask for introductions – if you’ve got something worth having nobody is going to worry about introducing you or recommending you.
  • 3. Advice & Know-how There will be people in your network who have been where you are, who have faced similar problems and challenges and who have come through. More often than not, they’ll be pleased to talk to about their experience and give you the benefit of their wisdom and knowledge. Two words of warning though: due diligence.
  • 4. Cost effective You’ve heard someone say that half of all advertising money is wasted; trouble is, no-one knows which half. Networking is much more cost effective than many forms of promotion because it’s a version of word-of-mouth advertising, and its another widely accepted fact that word-of-mouth is the most effective method of advertising. Get to know your fellow members and encourage them to recommend you (and do the same for them too!
  • 5. Increased confidence By regularly attending networking events, and talking to people you don’t know, it will help increase your confidence. This helps you as a business owner, because your business growth is depends on talking to people and making connections.

If you’d care to stroll over to Facebook via this convenient link, you can get a taste of Networking in the #ITWW style – putting the fun into functional!

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