Why Business Networking is a Powerful Tool for Techs

Why Business Networking is a Powerful Tool for Techs

Why Business Networking is a Powerful Tool for Techs image

For this article, I’m handing over to guest blogger Suzanne Rice. Suzanne is the Director of Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge, an IT support department, there to help your business with all of its computer needs.

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Business networking is not the natural habitat for techs who much prefer to stay in the backroom and communicate via email. But I have bravely ventured out into the world of networking!

So, here are my thoughts on why you should give it a go, and suggestions for making it a success.Business Networking

Firstly – now more than ever since Lockdown – it is vital to show that you are still trading by being visible.

Indeed, meeting business-people face-to-face contributes to the 16 touches required by prospective customers before they make their buying decision.

How Should You Approach Networking to get the Best Results for Your Business?

In a nutshell, think about how you would like other people to approach you. Networking is about making connections, not about selling. No-one likes to be sold to or lectured and you will soon get a reputation as a hunter if you persist in this behaviour.

You may feel shy or nervous as you enter a room full of strangers the first time. But remember that the majority of the attendees probably feel the same way. Be brave and go over to talk to someone you don’t know –they’re likely to be grateful that you made the first move.

Also, there’s nothing worse than being confronted with a roomful of cliques where you feel you are excluded from the conversation. Don’t be that person who only chats with their friends – be open and welcoming to new contacts.

Attendees are there to network, so you have permission to talk to them about your business and to approach people you don’t know – as long as they are not clearly involved in a private conversation.

Connect, engage with them and ask interesting questions. And a top tip – can prepare some conversation openers in advance.  Only once you have established a connection should you mention your company and the type of professions you would like to link up with – your niche.

Networking isn't about selling, it's about making connections. Think about how you'd want others to approach you. Be brave, talk to someone new, and avoid cliques, says @CTTonbridge Click to Tweet

There are Different Levels of Formality in Business Networking

NetworkingComputer Troubleshooters was a member of BNI for several years, which focuses on referral marketing.

There are strict rules for attendance and making contributions, which include referrals, visitors and testimonials.

However, you get the weekly opportunity to talk about your business and the referrals you are looking for, and enjoy the benefit of having no competitors in the room.

To be successful you need to invest a lot of time and effort preparing for the meetings. It provides excellent training in presenting your business. Plus, it provides a local support network of experienced professionals on tap – invaluable for novice companies.

Informal Business Networking

At the other end of the spectrum are the gatherings which bring together local business-people for informal networking without having to do presentation yourself.

Computer Troubleshooters enjoys being a member of Sevenoaks Chamber of Commerce.  At this event, it’s more about making connections with the local business community.

Each member can choose how much they wish to put in or take out of it – no three-line whips, no referrals, no 60-second presentations. The serendipity of who you may meet all adds to the fun, with First Wednesday regularly attracting more than 60 attendees. 

If you get the chance to give a talk – embrace it!  Just remember to focus on the benefits of your service or  a business aspect of your industry and don’t blind them with science.

You will encounter competitors in the informal networking groups. Don’t shy away from them. They could have interesting insights about the local market and end up being useful strategic partners.

We met a residential IT specialist this way, and we’ve passed on all our former residential customers and new enquiries rather than leaving them in the lurch.

Hopefully he’ll reciprocate and send us an opportunity that doesn’t fit his business model. It’s important to understand that there’s no guarantees, though.

You might also find Richard’s article on Online or Offline, Networking is Networking a useful read!

What has Computer Troubleshooters got out of Business Networking?

  • New customers. We have a good number of loyal long-standing customers, mainly via BNI
  • Establish connections in the local business community
  • Help customers with recommendations of handy professionals too
  • Visibility. As well as being seen at meetings, organisations often post on their websites and social media and are generally happy to share your blogs. It’s visibility for them too
  • Professional development. You learn how to speak in public, what to look out for when conducting a one-to-one meeting and how to make your presentations entertaining and memorable
  • Simply an enjoyable way of marketing.  It definitely beats cold calling!

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Business Networking?

You are bombarded with opportunities to meet up and you could spend your whole day progressing from one meeting to the next.

YouNetworking clearly have to allow time to work on your business too! Remember, networking is not just a jolly chat but actually a marketing activity.

My preference is to be selective. Personally, I’m currently focusing on Sevenoaks Chamber but I am open to occasional events hosted by local companies.

I also attend Sevenoaks Voluntary Forum as this brings together representatives from our niche – charities.

My Advice on Business Networking

Be brave. Get involved, listen more than you talk, show interest and be ready to offer your business card if requested. Remember that business networking is not just an hour-long meeting. To be effective, you must follow up with connections and develop the relationship further.  

Have fun out there. Good luck!

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So, what are your thoughts on business networking? How should you approach networking to get the best results for your business? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Networking is a key marketing activity for any business, but it's important to be selective and strategic with your time advises @CTTonbridge. Listen, show interest, and follow up with connections! Click to Tweet

Author Bio

Suzanne Rice of Computer Troubleshooters TonbridgeSuzanne is the Director of Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge, an IT support department. They’re on hand to help your business with all of its computer needs.

Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge get to know your business and make technology recommendations that save you money or boost your productivity.

You can connect with Suzanne Rice on LinkedIn or follow @CTTonbridge on Twitter.

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