The story behind my technology gadget retail business started from a business section of an e-forum. Afterward, I have been able to fasten more deals, increase my knowledge, make connections, help my business and other people’s businesses. Business networking is one great way to help you build your business, gain more customers and connect to people who matter in your industry.
I have the opportunity to be part of some business networking groups and events, and I have these few but valuable lessons to share:
Information is power
I get to know about business networking groups, gathering and events through the media, particularly online media. The knowledge does not normally end at hearing about those gatherings, it comes with update and follow ups. Then I prepare my mind to join the group and to attend the event or not. Afterward, I share the information with my network, regardless of the outcome of my decision.
Most times, I get informed about first hand news, government policies, forecast, experiences, success stories of bigwigs of industries before they become public. I have advantage over those information, and I may decide to share the information for free or charge a fee to get it across.
I sell myself
Business networking events give me the opportunity to introduce myself to the world. I have learnt to tell all the story of my life in 3 sentences or 40 words in writing to anyone, even to the President of my country; who will actually want to do business with me.
At business gatherings, I tell people about myself, my business, my dream, how I feel I can help them, how I feel they can help me and how I feel we can work together; which creates a great impression.
People who I meet for the first time find me interesting and they always look forward to meeting me again, for business or otherwise. At business networking events, I have met new people who eventually turned out to be my business associates, because I was able to present myself concisely to them.
Potential customers are everywhere, it is your duty to find them and convince them why they should do business with you. Business networking event is another venue where you can meet new customers who want to do business with you.
Luckily for me, most of my businesses are mobile. I find it easier to show my products and services to new people at events, while I introduce myself. Research has proven that photos and videos make it easier and faster to sell to new customers and build trust among old customers, than making mere talks and literature about a product, service, subject or issue.
I persuasively exchange contacts with new people I meet, and after events, I follow-up the experience with calls, SMS, e-mails or it is the other way round. Most of the follow-up eventually lead to good deal of business.
“Mr. Know it all is Mr. Nobody”. This expression simply means nobody knows it all. Business networking event is where you learn and share new things about your market and industry.
Information about specific funding to your industry, data analysis and forecast, latest technology needs and trends, customer reactions and satisfaction to product/service, information about competition and competitors are sometimes shared at business networking events.
Several times, I have heard from associates and mentors, that in business, it is not always what you know, but who you know. I could not agree more to this statement.
Through business networking groups, I have been able to meet, have personal chat, wine and dine with creme de la creme of different industries. I use the connection to help myself and my business, to build my network. I also use the connection to help other businesses and friends.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended an event on Arts & Book, which was also attended by renowned writers, artists, lovers of arts and literature, including serving governors and an ex-president. I was able to get contacts of some art professionals, who will later contribute their expertise towards to the exhibition of my art collections.
If you have a mindset of gaining a lot from networking events, you will definitely get more than you bargained for. Aside from business relationships and connections which I make at events, I also build circle of friends.
I have discovered that not every new contact you make at business events turns into a deal. In this case, I convert the business interest to friendship. Friends have helped my business in so many ways, by recommending and promoting me. If what I offer is not meant for such friends, they refer those who need my service or product to me. In return, I appreciate their loyalty by reciprocating their kind deed.
On a last note, you tend to gain a lot by joining business networking groups and attending networking events. I would be very grateful if you could share your own experience at business networking group and events with me, by dropping your comment on the column below. Furthermore, do not hesitate to share what you have learned here to other people.
He is an entrepreneur, writer, barber and interior designer. Abiodun discusses and writes about entrepreneurship, leadership, business and economy.
He has interest in luxury, art, fashion, travel and technology.
Abiodun is passionate about sport, particularly football (soccer) and boxing.