From SMEs to blue chip companies, all organisations are feeling the pinch in this worldwide recession. Cash flow is tight and departments have to cut back left, right and centre to reduce costs. Recently in the news, a leading Irish low-cost airline announced creative cost cutting initiatives including banning staff from charging their mobile phones in the office.
In these dicey economic times networking is even more important than it has ever been because it is a low-cost as well as cost effective marketing tool. Networking has the unique bonus of creating new contacts and building relationships face to face based immediately upon trust, compared to other marketing activities where trust takes a longer time to build.
Networking allows the raising of your profile and there is no better way to achieve that than by word of mouth. Attending networking events and being seen during times of recession fundamentally shows that your business or employer is still active. It is therefore exponentially better to be seen than to not be seen.
During a recession you more than ever need to build a competitive advantage and remain one step ahead of your competitors. Networking is a cheap option for investing in personal development or learning more about your industry. Have a think about your development needs and search for networking events that have a potentially motivational speakers. You will be amazed by the variety of business and industry topics listed and sometimes networking events with a speaker are even free.
Many event organisers are also seeking for speakers. When you yourself are the speaker at an event there are instant marketing rewards as you increase your visibility and showcase at the event.
In recession, business growth can be challenging as investment capital is limited. Creating collaborations should be high on your agenda because this is a more productive option for creating business partnership. Networking is great tool to find like-minded quality professionals for potential collaborations.
Remember that pre-planning is vital for networking success. In preparation for your next event think about five new key quality contacts you want to meet and work out how they will be useful contacts. Don’t be shy to outline in detail why you want to connect with them and the type of business relationships you want to achieve.
In this recession, we no longer have the gigantic marketing budgets we used to have therefore, we have to think creatively and outside the box about how to reach our target market. Networking ticks these boxes and maximising your networking activities will definitely have an impact on your bottom line.
Networking can also create indirect lead generation from referrals, so you should always look for opportunities to grow your referral network. To maximise referrals you need to be clear about how you communicate, what type of leads you are searching for, as well as clearly defining your own business services to others.
The number of networking events advertised is certainly showing no signs of diminishing any time soon in this current climate. To get the most out of them the golden magic is to understand that people buy people. In business we are motivated to make a sale with people that we trust, so creating a positive rapport is crucial.
When you meet delegates for the first time they develop a perception of you within just 30 seconds. There is nothing worse than knowing that you have lost a client to a competitor because you did not deliver in the initial meeting.
In short, always portray a positive image because you will never get a second chance to make that vital first impression.
Written by Bella Rareworld, Managing Director of BellaNetworking Events. We help international clients by sourcing list of UK networking events to attend whilst on business in the UK. We specialise in helping clients network with their target market or industry. Bella Rareworld has 60+ testimonials on Linkedin onhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/rareworld – For more info visit email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 845 269 8036. You can also follow us on Twitter & Facebook http://www.twitter.com/BellaNetworking –http://www.facebook.com/BellaNetworking