What Is Business Networking
As an essential tool in any marketing strategy, business networking means creating, developing and maintaining long-term connections between business people who have something in common and whose collaboration is profitable. Business networking will help you expand and consolidate business relationships that will closely contribute to the success of the company and the achievement of your objectives as an entrepreneur or as a business leader. Networking therefore involves not only “selling yourself” to make sure you connect with the right people, but also a support and collaboration process. Networking is an excellent way to maintain good relationships because of the diversity of the faces you meet, the opportunities it generates and the successful emerging collaborations.
Types of Business Networking
Networking requires energy, planning and a dedicated line in the company’s budget plan. It is therefore a serious undertaking that is nevertheless worth its salt. Today’s networking event options will help you make it more affordable in every way. Different types of business networking events have been created according to the circumstances and the current reality.
- First of all, virtual professional networking has greatly increased in popularity in recent years. And for a good reason, it has become seamless, and participants benefit in many ways, if only in terms of time. Virtual networking is made even easier thanks to IT tools such as the B2B/2GO Platform, a matchmaking solution to help participants maximize their time by targeting people who meet their exact requirements and objectives. Moreover, such a platform allows for a variety of events, such as virtual conferences or information sessions where participants can ask specific questions. Also, the virtual mode is now favoured in job searches, where candidates can be recognized, notably through their LinkedIn profile.
- Secondly, it is possible to do business networking in a hybrid mode. Let’s say you want to attend a conference. You could then choose to take part in specific on-site sessions and conduct your networking activities online. As you can see, the hybrid mode is a mix of face-to-face and virtual. It will help you consolidate your virtual network during face-to-face meetings, or vice versa. Corporate networking is a good example of hybrid business networking.
- Finally, a professional network can be built in the old-fashioned way: face-to-face. This is often done through a variety of activities, such as B2B meetings, networking cocktails or workshops. Some people prefer these opportunities to hand in their business cards or gauge the interest of others by scrutinizing their body language, for example. Face-to-face business networking also helps you better “feel” the connection with the other person, which is a great cue if you are more instinctive.
Why Make Business Networking a Constant Practice
The importance of business networking has certainly been reinforced, over time, in traditional business development practises. This personal involvement in business networking contributes to the achievement of various key goals for any company, including:
- Maintain relationships with clients and suppliers. This relationship can be strengthened during networking activities, mostly if you consider that the participants are often the same from one meeting to the next. This will help you get to know each other in greater depth to create stronger relationships.
- Knowing what’s going on in the field can be another objective of networking, chiefly if you’re going to a business conference where professionals in the field will meet, as an example.
- Meeting new clients is probably the primary objective of business networking participants. The discussion generated around a cocktail or a lunch can very well serve as a springboard for a successful relationship on many fronts.
- Maintaining a corporate reputation is another purpose of business networking. As an expert in your discipline, you will have an opportunity to be “top” in people’s minds on an ongoing basis by giving lectures or participating in panels or in other activities.
- Building a network of contacts is an important and very interesting spin-off from this type of event. In this sense, people who like us will refer and introduce us to others; we can then create links and expand our contact network. A basic introduction can generate great spin-offs for a company, as you never know who you will meet at such an event.
- Providing client service is always a must, even at a networking event. Make sure that your clients, i.e. those who are there, are satisfied with your product or service. Ask and answer questions and provide a solution on the spot, if necessary. Take notes to follow up: your clients will feel important.
In conclusion, business networking, whatever its form, remains a must in the development of any business. In this day and age, it is even easier to do so because of the many possible formats. Want to learn more about the B2B/2GO Matchmaking Platform? Contact our experts right away and they will be pleased to coach you through your next business networking event.