Now that you have established your network, what can you do to be considered an important business contact?
Below are some suggestions so that you can avoid being considered dead weight by your own business network.
Build your business relationships slowly over time.
Doing so helps ensure that you eventually get business from your contacts. After initiating contact, you should e-mail or phone the person to keep the association alive. The adage “out of sight, out of mind” holds true in the world of business networking. With all the new contacts a person makes, it’s too easy to forget a person who never bothered to express his/her intention to continue with the business relationship.
Personally meet with people in your network
If possible, get together in person for coffee or lunch. Bring a notebook and pen, or even better, take your laptop and use it to record information and make business presentations. Make notes of the meeting, including who you met with, what you discussed, your ideas, and any pertinent personal information about your contact.
Regularly refer to your contact
Networking is a give-and-take relationship, meaning that when business associates help you, you in turn help them. As an extra leg-up, develop an ongoing relationship with a business mentor as well as join business-networking organizations such as LinkedIn that can provide valuable referrals and information.
Remind contacts that you’re just around
One of the biggest mistakes made in networking is meeting people at networking events, and then hoping that those people they handed out business cards to will call them. Since it you who needs their business, then you need to remind them that you’re still around – although you must do this subtly. You can do this by providing valuable information – like sending links to articles and blogs which you know can benefit your contact. You can also stay in touch by greeting them on special occasions – like birthdays and promotions. Or send them updates via email about your business…or maybe even newsletters.
Just make sure they welcome these types of correspondence, otherwise, you may end up being blocked or classified as a spammer.