Networking: Are you willing to make the investment?

There is no doubt that business development is an investment; it requires particular skill sets, resources and a support system in order to reach the goals that you are after. Yet, I have to wonder whether businesses know what they are committing to and if they are honest about the commitment that is required.

There are 4 key elements to the entire process and we are going to explore them here.

Sand in the hourglass,

Time.  No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape the seconds or the minutes in any particular task; as a result, we either underestimate, overestimate or even worse we become so obsessed with the time that we cut out elements or people from our lives because it is important to be within the time frame which we either set for ourselves or others have set for us.

The result is we don’t fully comprehend how much time we need to dedicate to business development. This is especially true when visiting or taking part in networking events or organisations. Of course, the product or services you are providing also relate to this. For example, the more complicated and costly the product or services are, the more time you will need to invest.

Business development is about being committed to the time that is needed to build relationships, and relationships are all about trust. Building trust needs to be nurtured. This doesn’t happen overnight and if there is no trust, how can people believe in you or your business.

It’s all about people

There is no doubt, business development is about investing in people. When we invest in people, we need to initiate, formalise and foster those relationships. This is a journey. The first is likeability, yes, it’s like being back on the school grounds. Is there something about you they like? Then, as mentioned above, it’s followed by creating trust. Can they rely on you? Will you deliver?  Can others endorse you? etc. Next comes respect and, as we all know, this needs to be earned.

Investing in people requires that commitment and, as you potentially score at each goal post, you are not just winning them over; you are winning over each contact that they have and are ready to refer to you when the time comes.

If only I can clone myself

There is no need to clone yourself or cut yourself in half; as long as you build an impressive network of connections that is built on people, then they can scale your business for you. A good business development strategy built on referral marketing will ensure you won’t have to put too much focus on prospecting. As long as you continue to invest the time and you replicate building good strong relationships, the referrals will continue to flow.

Investments are volatile

In investment you will experience some volatility.  There will be peaks and lows and you need to understand your relationships and the people you have invested in. As long as you maintain your relationship, look after them and add value by meeting their values, your network will have stability.

Because the core of your strategy is putting people first, they will come to value you because for you it is more than just business and they will see that. As for those who don’t… this exposes two streams, either you didn’t understand the relationship, or they were never a good fit for your values. So this will then give you the opportunity to reinvest and explore in those relationships that do.

The last word,

Business development is about making a genuine commitment to your team and about your willingness to allow them to make the investment in creating and sustaining long-term relationships that will in the long run be more profitable.

What to read more about networking and how to fine-tune your investment?  Then I suggest you read What is your agenda? Tips to networking successfully

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