Business Networking Ideas

Finding business networking ideas is important to building your business lead list.You are probably to the point that attending networking events is just not enough to fill up the sales tracking funnel.

So what are some networking ideas to use in your business and build your network leads?

A key item to remember is that

You have a bigger network than you realize

So how do you find it, use it, make more money with it?

Time to brainstorm.

Unique Business Networking Ideas

  1. Make a list of names from your neighborhood, church, family, bowling group, etc. Prepare a list of questions or information you would like to ask them. For example, where do they work, who do they know that works at one of your target companies, etc. I found one of my largest client ever using this approach.
  2. Call existing clients and ask for referrals. Be specific. If they have been at their current company for less than 2 years ask who they recommend you speak to at their old company in the specific department you are targeting.
  3. Get out your company's dead file or old client file. Call them for potential new business with them and/or ask for referrals.
  4. Join LinkedIn and the user groups your clients would belong to.
  5. Give a Speech. - Call a local organization, association and/or trade show with a recommended topic. Whether you know it or not you have expertise to share.
  6. Network continuously. Whether it is a professional association or your hiking club building and finding network leads is a continuous process. Find common ground and then tie it to business. Do not jump into business discussions right off the bat. People will start to avoid you. Since networking is about building mutual beneficial personal relationships it is important to find and develop common ground.
  7. Ask. If you do not ask people who they know and what they know, you will never find out.
  8. Publish an article in a trade magazine, a blog or forum that your client's read
  9. Step out of your comfort zone. If you are doing the same thing all the time how can you expect different results
  10. Meet and network with other sales people who are not competitors but sell to similar people you sell to or have access to one of your target companies. For example, someone who sell health insurance plans to HR could share names and potential prospects to someone who sells training to HR.
  11. Volunteer. A lot of major corporations have people on boards at Habitat for Humanity, the opera, symphony,SPCA, etc.
  12. Network at work. Spend time in the different departments and find out who they know, etc. Your company has a wealth of networking opportunities. For example, maybe one of your target companies is ABC Software. By asking around you might find out that Sam in accounting has a wife who is the Purchasing Director at ABC Software. You will not know unless you network and ask.
  13. Use Social Networking Groups as it applies to your business
  14. Start a technical users group

Let us know if you have other business networking ideas. These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg.

The key to any networking is developing a personal relationship that is mutually beneficial. If you go into a networking situation with the intent to develop friends and a network you will be a winner. If you go with the intention of "I must find a new client today" it will show and you will probably fail.

Plan to give, give, give. Give good stories, give useful information, etc.

All your competitors go to networking events and hand out business cards.Are they willing to give speeches, do they follow up immediately with someone even when they do not see the business potential, do they forward useful articles to people with no thought of closing a deal?

Do what others are not willing to do.

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