How should you initiate business connections with other businesses? When you meet people, ask yourself first how you will be able to provide them with value, and offer your help before asking for theirs. Remember that a business connection is a two-way relationship.
Consider attending networking events and other industry events, and be sure to create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn can be an invaluable resource for building connections, generating as much as 80% of social media leads. Don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow business leaders over social media and networking sites, and carry business cards when you attend events. If you aren’t particularly good at socializing, bring a wingman.
It is very important to follow up on the connections you’ve created—otherwise, what is the point of having them? Relationships with business contacts can evolve into opportunities for your business and career development.
Stay in touch with your contacts and remember to offer help when you can. That way, they will be more likely to reciprocate when you want a boost from them. If they ask how they can help, be honest with them and tell them what you need. Don’t let your connections forget you exist, and make them remember you fondly. Send them a nice message during the holidays, invite them to an event, or forward them an interesting article. If you sell a product, consider sharing samples with your business connections. Building a genuine relationship is ideal.
Diversify Your Bridges
Expand beyond your industry borders to make connections with different people. Everyone has something they can teach you, some way they could be valuable for your business, and some way they could be helped by you. Don’t stick just to networking with businesses like your own; look outside the box to grow your connections and add to your contacts.
Diversity can mean differences in race, gender, age, industry, and more. Look for people who have different mindsets from you. Eventually, working and collaborating solely with people the same as you could keep your business from progressing to its full potential.
Meeting the right people can make waves for your business’s benefit. When you are looking to build business-to-business connections, remember to initiate, follow up, and branch out.
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