What’s the Correct Approach to Business Networking? These Are the Top 5 Right Networking Skills.

Networking isn’t just for you. It’s also for your business. Learn how to master business networking.

If you’re a business owner, you should be networking, but not just for your personal network—you need to build your business network as well.

Business networking refers to connecting with other companies and brands to grow mutually beneficial business relationships. To learn how to perfect your business networking skills, keep reading. 

Photo by nappy

What networking skills do you need for business networking?

Networking for your business is similar to traditional networking. You still have to reach out to others, have good conversations, and share your business card. The difference is in the goal. Instead of creating a network that helps you personally, you are looking for a network that is beneficial to your brand. 

1. Think long-term.

Don’t network with people just to solve your immediate problems. Instead, focus on long-term goals. Ask yourself how a relationship with another business could be beneficial in the next year or two.

2. Demonstrate genuine interest. 

When growing your business network, it’s important to be authentic. Showing genuine interest in understanding their challenges, goals, and successes is essential. Authenticity helps foster trust and lays the foundation for meaningful, long-lasting relationships

3. Cultivate a diverse network.

When thinking about your network, often we think of looking for people in our industry, who are at a similar level or farther along in their career. By not building a diverse network, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Aim to build a diverse network encompassing people from different backgrounds, industries, career paths, levels, and more. A diverse network not only broadens your perspective but also opens the door to new opportunities, collaborations, and insights that a network of similar connections may not provide. 

4. Solve a problem.

Networking is about helping each other, but the solutions you offer contacts might be a little different when you are business networking. Instead of helping each other, you are helping each other’s businesses. 

So consider how your business can solve their business pain points. How can your company add value to theirs? 

5. Invest time.

Networking isn’t quick, but it is time well spent. Relationships take time to grow. So take the time to get to know your connections, learn their business goals and what they are struggling with now, and determine how you can help them. 

Take the time to invest in networking
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs

6. Leverage active listening and engagement. 

When networking, you need to learn about your connections, but you also want them to know you’re interested in learning about them. Engage in meaningful conversations by using your active listening skills. Ask open-ended questions, demonstrate empathy, and show genuine curiosity about them. Active listening is key to building rapport and encouraging a stronger relationship. 

7. Don’t be a burden.

Many people make a connection just to ask for a favor, but that usually results in a negative view of you and your company. Instead, ensure you aren’t a burden to your connections. Don’t overwhelm them with messages, and don’t ask for too many favors.

8. Follow up strategically. 

You know you need to follow up with your connections, but how you do it can be a deciding factor in the outcome of your interaction. It’s extremely important to consider who you’re reaching out to and the goals of everyone involved, and remember that networking is about creating long-term relationships, not just about what they can do for you in the short term. 

Not sure how to reach back out? Learn how to write the perfect follow-up email

9. Be grateful. 

If a business connection does take the time to speak with you or, even better, offers to help your business, always be thankful. Make sure they know how appreciative you are of their time and any efforts they may have made on your behalf. 

Be grateful to networking connections
Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

How to network for my business at events?

Events are a great way to network for yourself and your business. But with so many interactions in such a short time, you could be quickly forgotten. Make sure you promote your brand with digital business cards, and for an even more fun and memorable experience, you can even use NFC at your next event

use digital business cards to network smarter

How do I measure the success of networking?

Measuring the success of networking looks different for everyone. How you measure success will likely depend on the goals you have for yourself. Some goals may be simple to measure, but others will likely require some data. 

Thankfully, we’re in the digital age, and with modern networking tools like digital business cards, you can easily see all of the data associated with your business cards. Not all analytics tools are built equally, though, so it’s important to find one that supports the data you want to track for your networking goals. We recommend HiHello, which offers a powerful analytics dashboard with in-depth data and custom views and comparisons for all Premium plans

measure networking success with analytics

How can I integrate networking methods into my routine?

Networking, especially when you’re just getting started, can be daunting and can feel like a major time commitment. Fitting it into your schedule might feel impossible, but we have good news—it’s not impossible. In fact, networking can take a lot less time than you might think. 

It can seem like networking is a massive undertaking, even with a few connections, it might seem like a lot of people to reach out to, and it is a lot to manage if you’re not managing it well. But there are three simple things you can do to manage a network of any size: 

1. Don’t reach out to everyone at once. Find a cadence for outreach that works for you (we recommend quarterly or twice a year at minimum) and stagger your connections so you only have to reach out to a few people at a time. 

2. Build “networking time” into your schedule. It might seem daunting as it builds up, but a consistent 30 minutes every week can be enough time to stay in touch with your connections.

3. Go for the long game. Don’t overcommit your time to networking as you get started. Plan for slow and steady growth in your networking and in the relationships you make. While attending a bunch of networking events or reaching out to a lot of people at once can be exciting, it’s important to network in a way that can be maintained and further the connections you make. 

Main photo by fauxels

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