Network, network, network! Three top tips for networking in our industry
It’s not rocket science, but approaching and talking to a complete stranger, cold calling and networking can terrify the best of us. It takes us out of our comfort zones. Yet business relationships are an essential part of any successful organisation. Here are three top tips I have seen used in our fantastic industry to grow your network and, hence, your business.
1. Ask and you will receive
It sounds obvious, but most of us don’t ask the simple question: ‘How do you do that?’ I have found that the best people in numerous trades are willing to share their knowledge with those who ask. We are not talking trade secrets; just the solid facts of why they are successful. What do you do when this happens? How do you deal with them when that takes place? The best in the industry almost never shy away from an honestly asked question.
2. Share and you will receive
If you are good at something, or think you are, be prepared to share. We all know there is always a better way of doing something, so share what you think you are good at and listen to the feedback. Engaged conversation can potentially give you ideas to improve, which could lead to you being not just good, but great at what you do. The secret is to not dismiss the ideas.
3. Use what is available
Networking does not need to be costly in time or money if you use your industry body, as there is no shortage of events, meetings and marketing avenues that specifically benefit active networking. The SPASA annual general meeting is an opportunity to tactically seek out a specific professional or a non-competing peer — but give them a heads up before the meeting about what it is you would like to know. Social events such as our golf days are an opportunity to find a new supplier; use the consumer pool show to find that specialist that your business could add value to; go to the sector meetings to talk with your peers about an area that affects your particular part of the industry. Call SPASA and ask us which event would help you the most.
It is worth remembering that confidence builds each time you step outside your comfort zone and step up to the vulnerability of asking that question, with the short-term pain leading to long-term gain more often than not.
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