Biz to Biz is for motivated people who want to expand the possibilities for generating business. If you are not ready to make an effort you will only meet valuable contacts at Biz2Biz if they seek you out. Getting the maximum benefit out of Biz2Biz Networking requires effort and motivation.
Don't fall into the common trap of trying to build your career by focusing on maximizing billable hours at the expense of engaging in any networking activity. Though maximizing billable hours is important, time spent making and working on existing business relationships is equally as important. Networking now helps to maximize future business by generating a continuing flow of new clients. Without clients there is no business.
It is important that your motivation does not dissipate once you are enjoying a number of successful business relationships. If you are not adding contacts on a regular basis and actively trying to expand your network it will naturally diminish. The most successful professionals know that networking is a process that requires commitment, effort and motivation over a working lifetime.
Though Biz2Biz vastly enhances your odds of receiving positive responses, building rewarding relationships can take time. You may be lucky and develop a strong and lucrative relationship with the first person you meet. Conversely you may send out several emails before you get an interested reply and it may take you several meetings with different professionals before you find someone you are comfortable developing a relationship with. If you meet with some initial resistance, don't be discouraged. Persevere and you will ultimately be successful. It is equally important that you stay committed to the networking process if you meet with success early on. Remember that one great relationship is not enough as circumstances can change quickly. The only way to protect your business against the effects of a naturally diminishing referral base is to keep expanding your network.
Building trust in a relationship takes time and requires follow up with the professional concerned and the clients you refer to that professional. After referring someone to another professional always follow up with that person to find out if they were happy with the services they received. This establishes trust with the person who will remember that you cared enough to call and provides you with invaluable feedback on the business practices of that professional with whom you are building a relationship. Hearing positive feedback about that professional builds trust in that relationship. The process of building trust in your professional relationships and establishing a history of mutual assistance is critical to your success in networking.
Maintaining communication with professionals with whom you establish a connection is also crucial. Through regular and consistent follow up you can stay updated on their changing needs and goals and remind them of your own. Often you will find that you call someone for one reason and end up receiving valuable information concerning something else that you would not have obtained otherwise.
Selecting your Business Relationships
Remember that everyone is a potential referral source. The more people you come into contact with, the higher your probability of success. Don't rule out people who are indirectly related to what you want to achieve. They may be a valuable source of knowledge or advice, or may be able to introduce you others who want to refer you business. Also, remember that your own reputation to some extent depends upon the reputation of those with whom you network. You will want to network with those you trust to look out for your interests by sending you referrals and taking care of clients referred by you.
"You have to give to get."
Most importantly, remember that "You have to give to get." The best networkers think first about what they can do for those people with whom they would like to form or strengthen a professional relationship. They understand their businesses, who their clients are and how they differ from their competitors. It is much easier to call people if you have something to offer them. Even if you do not have a referral you may have information about a prospective client, an existing client, or even about competitors. Alternately, you may have some suggestions regarding a business problem you discussed with them in the past, or you may offer to introduce them to others with the potential to refer them business.
One of the qualities that you want in your networking partners is a sense of obligation to return assistance received and they should expect the same from you. When someone offers you a referral or some form of assistance, think about how you can return the favor. Call your business contact to discuss different possibilities. That way you can clarify what you can do as well as convey your willingness to do so. Most importantly don't forget to show your appreciation when someone sends you a referral and it pays off. Remember to call or better still take your business contact to lunch.
Sometimes you will do a favor for someone in your network without seeing any direct return. Don't jump to the conclusion that this has been a waste of your time. Most people will want to return the favor as soon as they can in order to keep the relationship going, especially after it has proved beneficial to them. Remember that when you need a favor it will be much easier to ask someone who has benefited from your actions. Also remember that when you connect two parties to do business together, you are assisting both of them. Even if the person who receives the business cannot return the favor right away, the other person may be able to. Another benefit arises when by referring someone to one of your business contacts you end up obtaining them as your own client. You may, for instance, feel for whatever reason that it is inappropriate to offer your services to a particular person. By introducing this person to your business contact you may end up advancing your own position if they do business together. Then your contact can return the favor by becoming your advocate and suggesting that this person also consider using your