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There is no guarantee that someone who networks will be successful in business. In fact, ninety-five percent of networking activities do not translate to any tangible benefits. However, people that succeed in business participate in networking events. The point here is that doing it does not guarantee it will work, but success relies on it.
People who benefit from networking understand that networking is a lot more than just meeting people. They know that it takes effort and initiative to turn the networking event into a good use of time. The basic philosophy behind successful networking is that the events provide an individual with the opportunity to meet people with whom they can have mutual benefit.
Effective networking is an essential skill for all consultants. The nature of consulting is such that prior contact adds to the odds of someone agreeing to hire a person. It is imperative to develop strong networking skills to succeed in business.
Effective Networking Techniques
A consultant has several options to choose from when it comes to the choice of networking techniques. The traditional models stressed on the need for carrying business cards to networking events. It is the easiest way of giving a new contact a way to make contact, but it is in itself not sufficient for effective results.
There is the increasing use of blogs and websites as a means of interacting with potential clients. What blogs provide is the opportunity to come off as an expert in a field. This is the dream of every consultant hence the need to have some online presence. Many consultants also use social medial platforms such as tweeter and face book to meet new people.
A time-tested method of successful networking is using the same methods that social coaches advocate for like maintaining eye contact when talking to someone, listening more than talking, and generally taking genuine interest other people. This makes a person appear sincere and friendly, one that you would want to do business with someday.
One of the key things to remember is that the first meeting is never a sales meeting. As soon as people realize that you are trying to sell to them on the first meeting in an environment not meant for it, they do not leave with a good impression. In networking events, the point is to make positive contact, which may or may not lead to a direct business deal.
Networking Plan among Clients
The first thing that the consultancy will do is to seek to establish itself as an expert status organization. This is the lifeline of all consultancies. The best way available for the company to do this is by opening and maintaining a blog, website, or bulletin and using it to address general queries about the issues in its area of business. The quality of the posts determines the apparent success in creating the expert status impression.
In networking events, it helps to draw out the people who show interest in the services of the company, or who seem to need the services without realizing it. This requires tact because one can easily come off as a show-off. The best way to do this is to talk about actual cases settled by the company and the results that came about.
The third way that the company will ensure it makes the most out of its networking opportunities is by making the events memorable for the people that attend them. There are very many options available for this. They include issuing specials cards either as contact cards or as simply cards with memorable messages on them. If the cards stand out enough, then the person will always remember the meeting, which is the whole point of networking.
Networking Plan among Peers
It is somewhat easier to network among peers because of the existing history. However, there is a chance that they will not be as easy to do business with because of the personal relationship shared in these situations. The line between professional and social engagements is simply too blurred. In order to network effectively with peers, it is imperative to maintain a professional demeanor at all times. Avoid giving unnecessary favors to your friends because those favors do not count as much towards business objectives.
The next way to make the most out of networking opportunities is to practice reciprocity. Take time to refer clients to businesses near you and chances are they will refer the business to others clients. The truth is that there will be some unpleasant moments during networking. The main thing is that the expert should learn to let the unpleasant experiences go away.
The final thing to bear in mind during networking events is that personal relationships, especially those that are intimate in nature ought to be with people we have known for a while and not new acquaintances. It is also important for clients to see that the consultant is not an excessive drinker. Personal life can have a big impact on networking capacity.
Davis, I. M. (2005). The American Entrepreneur in Asia: A Personal Journey of Global Proportions. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse.
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Mongay, J. (2011). Business and Investments in Asia. Madrid: ESIC Editorial.