Smart professionals know that business networking is essential for their success. They are active in select groups and organizations where they consistently participate and build relationships with other members. And the most successful entrepreneurs plan for, and are committed to, long-term networking for the life of their business.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Networking truly is a marathon; it is definitely not a sprint. When we join a Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or the professional association for our vocation, or a referral marketing group such as BNI®, we plan to be part of that group for many years. We build it into our strategic plan because we know that membership in these types of business networking groups is important as our company grows over time. We decide that we are going to be intentionally networking for the long haul, not just for a short trip.
Don’t confuse activity with accomplishments. Business networking is not about bouncing here and there, or approaching it with a go-go-go attitude. Making a quick appearance at a multitude of events just to be seen is usually unproductive.
Visibility is Only the Beginning
Visibility is important; it is part of the VCP Process®. Visibility is indeed good, however we have to build Credibility and invest the time to turn Credibility into Profitability for the process to work. This is done by building relationships. Successful entrepreneurs take their time and get to know the members of their business networking groups. Learn about their businesses and find out how to help them reach their goals, then teach them how to refer business to you. Remember, if your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you will never achieve the success that you want.
Invest the time to develop a networking strategy that fits YOU. Understand that networking takes time, patience, hard work, dedication, commitment, and endurance. Networking longevity is about building genuine, trusted, and mutually beneficial relationships that are bountiful for years.
Which of your professional memberships have you had the longest?