Mingling and making new contacts is a natural part of everyday life for most people who are dedicated to doing business. In other words, networking by going to emotion is not very difficult.
However, networking strategically and building long-term network alliances requires a little more thought.
1. Purpose & Objectives
Formulate a clear goal with your networking. Is it completely business-driven or do you also network for other purposes? Many people are involved in a large number of networks, but if you spread too much, your networking risk becomes quantity rather than quality.
Instead, invest in a few networks where you have an immediate presence. An example of a specific network goal could be “Building a business network that generates contacts that can lead to business”.
2. Like your network partners
This may seem obvious, but sometimes people try to force people to work together without stopping and feeling if the chemistry of the person is right. It may work in the short term, but it is likely to be neither long-term nor profound. Since you will be working together long-term and close to your network partners, it is extremely important that you enjoy each other.
3. Believe in your partner’s products and services
If you are to be able to credibly recommend your partners and their services, you must truly believe in their product or service. It is also important that you feel trust and confidence in the person you recommend. Only then can you really work as a team.
4. Same or complementary area
You and your strategic network partners should be active in the same or a complementary area and industry, though not in direct competition with each other. If you are in the same area, your meetings will contain issues that the other network partner can offer or supplement.
You can also create complementary chains where, for example, a car dealer cooperates with a finance company or a broker forms cooperative alliances with a bank and an interior stylist. Think about which additional network partners you can connect with
5. Make sure you run in the same direction
You should run in the same direction, that is, against the same type of organizations and companies.
In order for you to refer each other with quality and with the right timing, network partners should turn to the same type of organizations; It can be the same industry or the same size of business. For example, if all partners turn to medium-sized companies, the conditions for successful collaboration will be strengthened.
6. Meet prospective customers with the same type of positions
For example, if you meet decision makers or purchasers at companies, your network partner should do so, otherwise natural input, so-called “scratches” will not occur with the right timing.
If you offer recruitment services and your network partner offers services such as employee talk, communication and skills development, you both have the same focus, that is, development and efficiency for the organization.
7. Remember that all involved should receive an exchange
A prerequisite for your network collaboration to be successful in the long term is that all parties involved feel that they are getting the exchange of your cooperation. Make regular reconciliations to ensure that everyone gets an exchange of your cooperation.
Create a feedback system when, for example, you recommend one of your network colleagues to one of your customers or clients’ contacts. Always follow up on how the referencing resulted, invest in frequent feedback in the network.
Create a system for feedback, reporting of activities, partly to meet the customer’s needs best, and to ensure that the network partners are up to date on each other’s efforts.
9. Invest in structure
In order to be truly effective together with your network partners, you need a structure that clarifies what how and on what you should put your resources at the moment in your networking, what you will do in the future and what your joint network agenda looks like at the moment.
It is a prerequisite for you to be able to help each other open new doors in your business, both today and in the future.
10. Think what, how & who
Do not primarily think about what you want out of networking, but rather what you hope to contribute to your network partners. Then the rest often dissolves by itself, according to the “Givers gain” principle.
The key to strategic networking is to constantly keep your network partners’ current needs in mind as you network and meet prospective customers – think; what, how and who.