According to Virgin Entrepreneur, 85% of surveyed participants preferred face-to-face business meetings and conferences to “build stronger, more meaningful business relationships”. More than three in four people also indicated they preferred in-person networking to “read body language and facial expressions”. Connecting on LinkedIn is great and can certainly generate leads, but if you also do face-to-face networking you’ve got all bases covered.
Here are five ways networking can boost your business.
1.Gain industry insights
Face-to-face networking is a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of your profession. You can follow emerging trends and keep up with best practice. This will give you a broader range of issues to discuss with both your peers and customers, and material you can use in your blogs and newsletters. Your clients will appreciate your knowledge, and you can position yourself as a progressive, innovative broker.
You can also hear about other brokers’ challenges, and how they were resolved, which might come in handy if you face the same challenges in your work.
2.Benchmark your business
The better you know the industry, the better you can benchmark your business. Understanding other brokers will also help you refine your unique selling proposition. How are you different to them? What do you offer that others don’t? What could you offer that others don’t?
3.Expose yourself to opportunities
As the old saying goes, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Opportunities for business growth or diversification come from people, and the best way to meet these people is through active in-person networking. Not only do peers get to know you and your work, you’re front of mind when they’re thinking about business. Opportunities that can be gained from networking include leads, referrals and partnerships.
Networking is a great way to (officially or unofficially) share knowledge among peers. Operating a broking business comes with its fair share of challenges. Sometimes the only person who can understand your challenges is someone in the same position as you. Exchanging professional information and advice lifts the industry as a whole.
In-person, networking also gives you a chance to forge authentic connections with people who you can then turn to for guidance. These people may act as a sounding board for your ideas, or help you work through problems. You can offer the same in return.
5.Raise your profile
Sometimes it pays to get out from behind your computer screen. Active networking helps your peers connect a face to your name, making you more memorable. The more involved in the professional community you are, the more favourably you will be thought of. Your reputation will strengthen and you’re more likely to receive offers and have opportunities come your way, such as speaking or writing gigs that benefit your personal brand and give your business exposure by association.
Networking is not just socialising, it’s a strategic way to give your business a face. Connecting with your peers can also add value to your business as you gain industry insight and expose yourself to new opportunities.
To learn more about business networking opportunities, contact your PLAN Australia BDM.