Sometimes the most successful and wealthiest people are not the most intelligent or smartest. They are simply the best networkers. In many cases they networked thier ways to success and greatness. They partnered with others to achieve great things.
Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak, Mark Zerkerberg co-founded Facebook with Eduardo Sarverin, Chris Hudges, Andrew McCollum, and Dustin Moskovitz, Jack Ma founded Alibaba with 17 of his friends, Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft with Paul Allen, Sergey Brin co-founded Google with Larry Page. The list is inexhaustible!
One of the greatest business skills you should learn and develop is the ability to network with others to achieve great things. Business networking involves building useful relationships, nurturing the relationships and utilising the relationships to get better in life and business and achieve success and prosperity that affects others positively.
We All Need To Network
An old friend might just have the solution to a problem you have been trying to solve for many years. Someone you know or don’t know may just be the link between you and your next phase of prosperity in life, but you miss it because you don’t build relationships.
You may not know the president or governor or commissioner or the CEO of a great company, but you may know someone who knows someone who can help you meet and assess help from these people.
Mind you, the person that might be your miracle link might be a commoner. He might even be your gate man, your cleaner, or barber etc. Therefore don’t disregard people. In 2 kings chapter 5, a house help was a miracle link that a military general needed to become free from leprosy.
If you have read How Paddy Adenuga Almost bought Chevron Netherlands, you will notice that Paddy might have won the bid to buy Chevron Netherlands, if he had told Remi, his friend who knew the director of Petronas of Oman, the mysterious last bidder which he couldn’t find. From that story, you will see that even the wealthy, famous and great people also need other people’s help.
Everybody needs good networks. In fact, good relationships and network is more valuable than money.
In this article, I bring you 9 ways you can network with others to achieve business success.
1. Show Genuine Interest in People – Everything you will ever need in life is in other people. God gives us good things from people.
Value and cultivate your current contacts. Call or send best wishes messages once in a while to people you know in your relationships. Remember birthdays and send your best wishes. Attend people’s occasions when you can and are invited. Felicitate with people when good things happen in their lives and also console them when they have a misfortune.
Don’t wait until you need people’s help before contacting them. You won’t be taken seriously , if your are only calling someone because you need a help when you have not related with them for several years.
2. If You Belong To A Group, Become An Active Member – Get more involved in helping others. Contribute your own resources and inputs in any group you are involved in. Don’t always try to be on the receiving side. Don’t be a parasite to people. Always ask yourself, ” In what ways can I contribute my quota to the people in my group or in my circle of relationships? ” If you are the one always on the receiving side, try to balance the relationship by contributing more of your time, money , skills etc to others. This makes your relationships mutually beneficial and long-lasting.
3. Don’t Box Yourself Up in Small Groups – Get out of your way to find more useful groups that you can join, meet new people and grow.
Beware of groups where you are the best. Also join groups that have people who are better than you in other areas of life.
There are some new things you won’t learn and new strides you won’t make if you are only involved with people who don’t encourage you to aspire for greatness. I do not mean you can’t be a member of small groups, but don’t limit yourself to that. Find out bigger and exciting groups to join and relate with.
4. Reach Out to People You Want to Learn From – Relationships are deliberately built and cultivated. When you see people who have achieved something you wish to achieve in life, find a way of getting close to them so as to learn how they achieved it.
You may not be able to physically meet people you wish to be like, but you can read their books, listen to their tapes, read their blogs posts, follow them on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter etc. They may not come to you. You are the one who needs their impact and knowledge the most, so you have to make effort to get to them by any means genuinely possible.
5. Create visibility – Find more ways of letting people know about you, your skills, business and abilities, without being seen as desperate and proud. It is difficult for people to get in touch with you or network with you for business, if they don’t even know that you exist in the first place.
Most times when people need your services or products or even want to recruit a staff, or want to network in business with someone, they first look within their circle of friends and associates before exploring other options. Therefore, if your friends and associates do not know your abilities services, business ans products, how would they ask for it or refer those who need them to you?
When you meet new people, while introducing yourself, mention your business and what you do. You can also have a complimentary card with you at all times. Let people know your business, skills and services.
6. Don’t Be Shy To Ask People For Help – By asking for help, I don’t mean pestering people to give you money. Rather, I mean asking people for advice, technical support, referral or partnership.
Your relationships will do you no good when you don’t use them. When you have a problem or need a help or advice of any sort, make a list of people in your contacts that can be of help to you and begin to reach out to them in the best ways without pestering them. Call at the right time, send whatsApp message or SMS or ask to fix an appointment with them.
Don’t die in your problem in silence, when there are many people around you that can help you. One of the greatest signs of humility is the ability to ask for help. Don’t remain in a difficulty which someone else can easily help you to overcome because of pride.
Before asking for help, be sure you have put in appreciable effort and resources into the business. People are more willing to help you when they see that you have on your own made good progress and that when they offer their support, you will get even better.
7. In Your Conversations, Ask Open Ended Questions – open-ended questions are those questions that attracts deeper answers and not a definite yes or no answer. Questions like ” how did you do it? , What where your greatest challenges?” etc, helps to bring out more useful and engaging answers from the person you want to learn from and network with.
Ask more questions and listen more. When you meet new people, don’t do more of the talking. Learn to listen more and ask more useful questions.
8. Avoid Conflicts in Your Relationships – as much as possible, avoid disputes and conflicts. We are not angels and I know that conflicts are bound to occur, but try all within your power to avoid conflicts with people. Value your relationships more than anything else in life and more than personal gains.
When conflicts occur, attack the issue and not the person. Settle your issues without destroying your relationship with the person. This is very important. You might need the help of that person tomorrow. You never can tell. The worst thing that can happen to you is when you know someone who can easily help you to get over a difficulty, but you can’t ask the person for help because you had a fight with the person few months or years ago and you went seperate ways without resolving the issue.
9. Use Social Media Platforms To Build Good Contacts – You don’t necessarily need to have account with all the social media platforms available, but you need to have at least one that most of your friends are using. I once met a manager in a company and he told me that he doesn’t have a Facebook account and that he doesn’t need it.
I was startled! I wonder how he intends to reconnect with old friends and nurture new relationships. Through Facebook, I have reconnected with many friends I lost when there was no GSM in my country. Also, through Facebook, I have also gained new friends and met new people. It has also made it easier for me to remember people’s birthdays and know what is happening in their lives and wish them my best wishes, regards and consolations.
LinkedIn.com is also another good platform for building business and professional relationships.
From today, deliberately seek to build, nurture and utilise relationships. Seek to network with others. Don’t leave it to chance. Make it a priority from today.
See people as vital to your success. Be a team player. Be genuinely interested in people and see how better you will get in life, business and other endeavours.
In what ways have you become better in life and business by networking with others? What are other ways you can become better at business networking? Let me know your thoughts using the comment section below.
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