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Posted by Sarah Brown on 12 Oct '15

Why it pays to be patient in networking

Networking at all levels is critical if you are to succeed but building relationships rarely happens over night so you need to be patient

When I started my own business almost 25 years ago there wasn't networking. You could join professional groups and I joined JCI to meet people and in so doing learnt lots, met and made friends, and most importantly met my husband.

Now there are thousands of networking groups. There are books on how to network and all sorts of formats from speed networking to formalised groups where you meet the same people each week. There are women only networks,charity networks and networks for different sectors.

However whichever network you go to, and what ever business you are from, there are some universal truths:

  • Be open minded - don't assume someone is of no use to you.You don't know who they know, you can't know at first meeting enough to make a judgement.
  • Be patient - it takes time to build contacts, trust and understanding. Do you buy from someone you've just met or recommend them to your customers? Keep going, don't give up when you don't get sales quickly.
  • Be generous with your time and knowledge - givers gain. Help people and they will help you back.

My favourite network is 4N because I don't like networking which is like speed dating, "I'm Sarah buy me". I like the ten minute one2ones you get in 4N and the supportive and friendly atmosphere and there are masses of meetings all over the country so it is easy to fit it in with clients who are spread out. Also I find it educational and I love being able to present to groups.

Networking should be an important part of most people's marketing in smaller businesses and it does work, we, for example, have got 43 clients from 4N but it didn't happen over night and it took a few stone in breakfasts!

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Tags: marketing entrepreneur sales