Grow Your Network and Boost Your Business Results

Do you have a competitor who always seems to have new connections and new clients?

Do you wonder how you can grow your network and client base this year to stay ahead of your competition?

Business is about growth: growing your network, finding new leads and converting those leads into clients. Whether you’re a consultant, an accountant, a lawyer or an entrepreneur, growing your network is the essence of building a successful business.

In this article, I want to help you kick-start your new business development in 2017 and share with you five effective and unique ways you can grow your network and build relationships.

1. Connect with Your Ideal Clients on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a severely underutilised tool for finding new connections in business. This is a shame because it is the only tool that allows you to be laser focused on whom to connect with.

Here’s how to use LinkedIn to connect with your ideal clients:

1. First, decide on your ideal client. Who were your best clients in the past 12 months? Use this information to create a profile of your ideal client.
2. Second, search for that ideal client on LinkedIn. Use the advanced search function on LinkedIn and look for similar people based on geographical area, job title, level of responsibility, etc.
3. Third, send a personalised “request to connect” message to that person.

By searching for and connecting with your ideal client on LinkedIn, you can drastically expand the number of leads you have and if you manage those relationships well, you could turn those leads into clients.

2. Find a Speaking Event

Speaking at a networking event, conference, training event or other business event is a portal to a large number of potential clients. The people attending the event are there for one reason: because they’re interested in the topic you’re talking about.

If you’ve carefully chosen your speaking topic to be an area of your expertise, you have secured for yourself a roomful of qualified, interested potential clients that you can add to your network.

The key to making speaking events work for you is to choose an event where you know your ideal client will be and speak about a topic that you can help your ideal client with.

Find a speaking event to get more clients

3. Renew Old Connections

Your old connections are often an untapped business source. Those people connected with you at some stage because they were interested in what you do or how you could help them.

Perhaps when they first connected with you, they weren’t ready to engage you for your services. Maybe they’re ready now. You’d be surprised how many people who are already in your network could be in a position to buy now.

I encourage you to go through the pile of business cards you’ve collected over the last two years and re-new the connections with those people.

Send a simple e-mail, LinkedIn message or phone call that says something like this:

“Hi [name], I was recently going through my contacts and realised we have not exchanged since we met at the [name of event] networking event back in June 2016. I’ve sent you a request to connect on LinkedIn but I’d also like to reconnect with you in-person. Do you have time over the next couple of weeks for a casual coffee? I look forward to hearing from you. [your name]”

Stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4. Ask Your Connections to Introduce You to Others

Referrals are a fantastic way to initiate a warm connection with people. Why? Because referrals build social proof. Think of how willing you are to eat at a new restaurant when one of your friends has recommended it to you.

This same is true in business.

People will be more likely to do business with you if they know, like and trust you, or they know somebody who does.

Ask your connections if there are one or two people in their network who could benefit from your services (or products). Ask for an e-mail introduction to those people, or alternatively ask for their names and reach out to them yourself on LinkedIn.

By approaching a handful of your current connections for referrals, it can dramatically expand your network.

5. Attend Conferences or Events Where Your Ideal Clients Will Be

In sales, you’re supposed to go where your ideal clients are. This makes sense. If you sell beauty products to women aged 35-50 who want to look better and feel better, you would find more potential clients if you go to an event for “women empowerment” than at a conference for “getting out of debt”.

Think of how you can apply this approach to your business situation.

For example, if you’re a mortgage broker and your ideal clients are property investors, you will have more chance of connecting with those clients at a “future of real estate investment conference”. Secure yourself a ticket and turn up with plenty of business cards.

All of these five ideas can easily be incorporated into your business networking. You might have to change your habits. As Albert Einstein once said, “you won’t see change by doing the same things over and over again”.

People will be more likely to do business with you if they know, like and trust you, or they know somebody who does.

dsc_1192

If you liked what your read in this article, consider joining the one-a-year full-day workshop Create Meaningful and Profitable Connections in Business in Australia in 2017. Click here to find out more.

About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox