It can never be undervalued – the benefit of building and maintaining relationships in the business world.
For job seekers and employers, the number one most important thing is having a network of people you know within your industry in order to find out about job openings or talented people who might be looking for work.
For employers, it is hugely beneficial to meet others from competitor companies and relevant industries in order to stay on top of industry news. These will be like-minded people who will share your interests in the industry, but who can also offer new insights or a different angle which is what makes things interesting.
If you are able to build a network of interesting people in your industry, then you’ll be able to ask for help or new ideas when needed, and of course the other thing you can ask for is… business!
Attending industry specific events is a great way to meet these people who you might be able to discuss business opportunities with, but you need to know how to turn this into a strong enough relationship so that they will trust you enough to do business.
“Only 2% of sales occur at a first meeting” however, so not only is putting yourself out there important, you have to let these people learn how to trust you and value as a credible business person before you can expect them to do business with you. This is where the value of face-to-face is evident, if you create a positive representation of yourself when networking, then people will be more likely to let you tell them about why you should be doing business together.
Once trust is earned in your network through nurturing these relationships, then the rewards will be evident, however, apart from the unusual quick sale, it is unlikely that you will gain business on a first meeting from someone.
20% of people take up to 12 months to buy, so once you have built that connection you need to nurture it and make sure that you keep meeting them face to face. This goes for lapsed clients or businesses who you may not have worked with in a while. You should always take time to visit them in person in order to help them remember why they trust you, and why they might wish to use you.
So what is the moral? Make sure you put yourself out there and build a network of people who you might wish to do business with in the future, but remember it could be a long game. You have to be patient and let businesses trust you, and that can take time – Just remember, it’s a lot easier for people to trust you with regular face to face contact than from regular sales calls.