People do business with people they know, like and trust. Companies don't make decisions, people do. Your professional network can open doors for you that otherwise could not be opened. All successful business owners know that they were only able to get to where they are now because of the people who helped them along the way.
A strong professional network can help you achieve things that you would never accomplish on your own, from solutions to seemingly impossible problems, to word-of-mouth recommendations that could get your foot in the door with your target market. Networking can be daunting, but the more you network, the larger your network will become and as a result, creating a personal brand has never been easier.
In a professional setting, people prefer to build business relationships with people they see as being valuable. By building a reputation as someone who is talented, helpful, and valuable, people will be more motivated to meet and stay in touch with you.
When people in your network get stronger, you get stronger. By helping people in your network get stronger, they may be in a better position to be able to help you in the future. In addition, per the law of reciprocity, people may be more motivated to return the favour.
If no one knows what you're doing, it's like it never happened. Maintain regular and consistent communication with people you want to stay in touch with. Communicate via email, blogging, social networking and in-person.
Connections open doors, but relationships close deals. Networking is not just about exchanging business cards and connecting on LinkedIn. Networking is most valuable when long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships are formed.
Listening is one of the most valuable, yet commonly...