Why You Need Business Networking for Generating Sales

One of the most efficient ways to generate sales is through business networking, but if you don’t have a plan of action, disappointments are inevitable. It is important to learn how to make business networking an integral part of your sales and marketing strategy.

The vast majority of businesses have a business or marketing plan but less than 20 percent have a networking strategy. Both offline and online networking can generate enquiries, provide valuable information, and deepen relationships, but many businesses do it in an ad-hoc way that it doesn’t deliver the results it can.

Step 1: Identify the Reasons for networking

Ask yourself the questions below and rank them in order of importance.

Are you networking to

  • Build and retain existing relationships?
  • Set up a team of experts?
  • Improve career prospects – find another job in the same company or a different one?
  • Benefit from support e.g. mentor/sponsor/trade body?
  • Find new contacts, business, and introducers?
  • Strengthen relationships with your colleagues and motivate the team?
  • Increase knowledge of your industry, market, or factors that influence customer buying decisions?
  • Position yourself as an expert?

Fleet 4 Business are a reputable business that offer business networking local to Fleet.

Step 2: Identify Your KPIs

Everyone you meet has the potential to add value to your network. Whenever you meet an interesting individual, you need to add them as a contact. Depending on your goals, it is possible to estimate the number of contacts you have to meet to achieve your networking goals.

For example, if you would like to find new contacts, business and introducers, your monthly action plan could look like this:

  • You have 50 clients: Ask them for introductions and referrals
  • You know 20 potential clients – Develop better relationships with them by looking at the content they post online and going to the events they attend.
  • Connect with sales staff within the organisation (Target 5)
  • Join a membership organisation to meet potential clients (Target 5)
  • If you already have 5 introducers: Ask for referrals
  • Make 15 contacts minimum
  • Maximum 75 contacts needed
  • Increase introducers to 10 via both online and offline networking.

If you would like to increase your knowledge of the industry, market, or factors that influence customer buying decisions, your monthly action plan would look more like this:

  • Ask 10 key clients for feedback on ways to refine existing services/products
  • Ask 10 key clients for feedback on your latest service/product
  • Speak to 5 potential suppliers about new products
  • Speak to 5 existing suppliers
  • Research 5 competitors: Customer base, marketing strategies, pricing
  • Minimum 15 contacts

Step 3: Identify Contacts

  • List current clients that you could ask referrals from
  • List introducers – suppliers, accountants, employees, non-executive directors
  • List the relevant memberships and/or networking organisations you could join
  • List the requests you need from those memberships/networking organisations e.g. feedback on the latest service/product offered.
  • List the companies, job titles, and/or names of those you would like to develop a relationship with and see what events they are attending or recommend events you think they could find useful that you can also attend.

Voila! You now have a basic networking strategy for achieving your goals.