Five Networking Relationships to Boost your Business
“New Zealand is not a small country, but a large village.” - Peter Jackson
New Zealand’s small-town feel can help your business- after all, people do business with people. Most of us would rather work with, or refer people, that we like, know, and trust. Effective networking helps you build strong relationships that boost your business, but not every business relationship is the same, and different kinds of relationships can add different kinds of value to you!
Here are the five key relationships we’ve seen come out of business networking:
A synergy is a relationship between people from complimentary businesses or industries. This relationship allows them to work together to produce a more cohesive product or service for a shared client. We often see this with Real Estate Agents, Mortgage Brokers and Lawyers getting together to work on clients or to produce first home buyers seminars.
Synergies are beneficial to both your business and to your clients:
- They’re beneficial to your business as they create a collaborative network between related industries, with the potential to refer work back and forth. They also give each person within the synergy more credibility, as clients who trust one person will trust their opinion in who they should work with.
- They are also beneficial to potential clients because they make the client’s life easier! Synergies create a one-stop-shop for your client’s needs.
2. Business-Client Relationships
These are the relationships where the people you network with use your services in their own businesses or personal lives. They are by far the most expected relationships to get out of networking, as you see these people regularly and it makes sense to use them when you need to.
These relationships are important because they help you get your name out there, while also bringing in direct business. They also build trust with your networking peers, making them more likely to refer you to others in the future.
TIP: Remember that these relationships can take time: there are lots of variables that can affect the amount of time it takes someone to move from their current service provider to you. They may never actually move... but keep at it, because this brings us to our next point.
A “referral-ship” is a relationship where one person refers your services to someone they know. For someone to refer to you, they need to understand what you do and how your services can help those they know. They also need to build trust in the quality of your work and be confident enough to refer you. As one Networkers member said: “If I wouldn’t refer someone to my Grandmother, I won’t refer them to anyone else.”
Referral-ships are valuable because they generate trustworthy leads that are more likely to become business. And if you do work with these people they’re also likely to refer you - which means more work coming into the business.
TIP: When giving a referral, ask the person to name-drop you when they enquire.
Business networking attracts many different people, with a broad range of professional skills and experience - so networking meetings are the perfect place for small businesses to find mentors to help them. There are often business advisors or coaches available, and personal development coaches too.
You could say that everyone in your networking meeting can either learn from you, teach you something, or both!
TIP: Don’t forget your own skills and experience - if you’re currently dealing with a challenge, other people may have had the same issue in the past, or will face it in the future. It is important to share these things with your group where appropriate, so that you can learn and teach.
Yes, this is a bit cheesy! Sure the meetings are about business, but you’re bound to make some friends along the way. A “business friendship” can be different from your normal friends, because these people know where you’re at professionally, and have probably been at similar stages in their businesses.
Friendships are important, especially if you work alone. Running your own business can be isolating, and having a friend who understands is great for your mental health and work/life balance. You can rely on each other and help out when things get tough.
At face value, networking is about referral business and getting new clients through the door. But if you take a closer look, the relationships you build through effective networking can have a positive impact on much more than just your bottom line.
Whether it’s finding the perfect synergy with a related business, uncovering a new referral source, or finding a shoulder to lean on, business networking is all about relationships.
Ready to boost your business?