Word of mouth remains one of the primary sources of new customer acquisition. But how can it be leveraged in a more structured and continuous way? Business networking is the evolution of word of mouth.
Why does business networking go beyond classic word of mouth? Because it is not just a question of informing others about what we do for a living, but rather of representing it with our image, our way of portraying ourselves and our empathy and genuine propensity to establish new relationships. Commercial networking demands our personal brand to dare to relate: in order not to be afraid of appearing unsuitable or unqualified, it is necessary to constantly prepare ourself over time without ever improvising. Networking means finding contacts who can add value to our business offering and, consequently, forging relationships with new potential buyers. At the heart of this momentum is the desire to create confidence in who we are and what we stand for, by offering added value to our interlocutor. Value is not just ‘something to sell’, but rather the sharing of knowledge on a topic of mutual interest. We should not expect to establish relationships solely if we are certain of a financial return. Expanding our network of contacts also opens the door to innovation, whether in terms of product or internal management. New project ideas and multidisciplinary synergies arise from the fresh collaboration between companies and professionals.
What is it that facilitates business networking connections? When building our business network, through word of mouth in presence and by using digital channels such as social networks, it is very important to introduce ourselves as simply and clearly as possible, so that even non-experts can remember us. Our elevator pitch should last no longer than 20 seconds and, of course, should contain all the essential information to make our value proposition memorable. Let’s write a speech, cut out all the parts that do not answer the questions ‘What do I do, to whom, why to them’, let’s practise repeating it spontaneously. Enthusiasm, positivity and empathy are bound to make more of an impression than a subdued, resigned or polemical attitude. We can organise welcome events at our premises: simple round-table discussions on a few technical issues or open houses marked by simplicity and human warmth.