As the world becomes increasingly digitized, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all business can be done online. While the internet has made it easier than ever to connect with people all over the world, there’s still nothing that can replace the value of a face-to-face meeting.
Whether you’re attending a conference, networking event, or simply meeting someone for coffee, making a lasting business connection requires more than just exchanging business cards. You need to be intentional about the relationships you’re trying to build.
Here are 7 tips for making lasting business connections that will help you build the relationships you need to take your business to the next level.
Establish a personal connection
: The most effective way to make a lasting business connection is to start by building a personal connection with the person you’re meeting. Start by engaging in small talk about the other person’s experiences and interests. Ask meaningful questions about the person's life experiences, values, and goals. Show that you’re genuinely interested in their answers and be sure to keep the conversation focused on them. Aim to make the other person feel comfortable and connected to you, which will give the relationship a strong foundation and make any future communication much more likely to be successful. When everyone feels valued and heard, the conversation will naturally turn to business. This process is less about making a hard sell and more about building a genuine connection and laying the groundwork for a long-term relationship. The more comfortable and trusting the personal connection is, the more likely they’ll be to think of you in the future.
Focus on quality over quantity
: When it comes to making business connections, focus on quality over quantity. Having a few strong connections is more valuable in the long run than having a bunch of fleeting, superficial ones. Business associates that you have a strong personal connection with will be more likely to send referrals and recommend your services when the opportunity arises. Put in the effort to nurture your existing relationships and keep lines of communication open. Ensure that each person you meet feels valued, and take advantage of opportunities to strengthen and deepen that relationship. Reach out with emails or phone calls from time to time, particularly if you have content to share or advice to give. Actively show your interest in the other person and their business and check in to offer support when you can.
Seek out associations and networking events
: There are countless networking events, professional meetings, and industry conferences to attend. Associations and organizations are great places to learn and make connections with people in your industry. You can use these events to share ideas, make connections, and understand what’s going on in your field. They’re also great places to hear from industry experts and learn to refine your skill set. Don’t forget that even attending a conference doesn’t guarantee success, you need to take the time to really interact with people. Make sure you introduce yourself, follow up with the conversation you have, and stay in touch after the conference. Take the time to establish a connection and make a lasting impression on the people you meet. 4. Don’t be afraid to follow up: Just because you exchange business cards, doesn't mean the connection ends there. The hardest, but most important part of networking is to follow up after every interaction. Thank the person for their time and assure them that you’d like to stay in touch. Use the opportunity to introduce yourself, provide more information about your business, or even send a useful resource. However, don’t be too aggressive in your follow-up; you want to make sure that you don’t come off as pushy or invasive. Give the other person time to consider your offer or suggestion, and make sure they’re comfortable with any follow-up contact. Keep any additional communication strictly professional and to the point, with no hidden agendas.
Let social media work for you
: Social media has become an invaluable tool for business networking. Many companies are using digital platforms to connect with people and establish relationships, and it’s easier than ever to find and interact with potential clients online. To get the most out of social media, start by using it to establish relationships with other key players in your industry. Follow their accounts and stay active in conversations. If you find something interesting or relevant to share, comment and like it to further the connection. When you do post about your own business, make sure to include a call to action, and provide value to your followers.
Keep your business cards handy
: Although it may seem less important in today’s digitized world, business cards are still an important tool for making lasting business connections. It’s always worth keeping a handful of cards with you, so that you can exchange information with people you meet. Make sure your business cards are visually appealing, with sharp design and your contact information easily visible. Your business cards should also reflect your company and brand, so use quality materials and ink to make sure your cards stay in the best condition possible.
Give back to your network
: Making lasting business connections isn’t just about getting what you need, it’s about giving as much as you receive. Show your appreciation for your network by referring people to one another and offering help and advice when needed. Give back whenever you can, so that your network will return the favor when you need help. Always remember to stay connected with your network and keep them updated on any successes or changes you make to your business. Show that you appreciate their support and make them feel like they are an important part of your team. At the end of the day, it’s all about helping each other succeed. Conclusion: Making lasting business connections requires effort and strategy, but the rewards are worth it. Start by building a personal connection and focus on quality rather than quantity. Reach out and attend networking events and conferences, follow up, and use social media as your platform. Keep your business cards handy and remember to give back to your network. With all this in mind, you won't have to worry about losing touch with any of your business connections.
To learn more or take part in our next virtual business workshop head on over to legacy-boss.com