A common misconception about Business Networking is that it’s a room full of pompous business owners just looking to make a profit through hard selling. But this isn’t the reality, and nor should it ever be!
Networking is the best way to grow your community through a common interest: growing our businesses.
So why is there so much emphasis on building GENUINE relationships? Surely, making acquaintances and passing contact details to pass on to referrals is sufficient enough? No, because who ever remembers the name of someone they met once in 2011 who told them they ‘sell insurance’, for example.
Even if they did remember you, what happens when those acquaintances meet other business owners in the same sector as you? Someone who they get to know, learn to trust, and discover the different services they offer that they weren’t aware you offered too? You lose business, because you are no longer the first name that comes to mind when asked for recommendations.
It may sound cheesy and overused, but it’s true – people buy from people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST!
Take Simon Mitchell, from Green Laurels, as a prime example. I met Simon online in April 2020, during the first lockdown of the pandemic. Simon makes some incredible eco-friendly products, but so do a lot of other small business owners. The difference being, over time Simon & I built a business relationship and now he is always the first name that pops into my head when someone asks for recommendations of an eco-friendly product based business.
Last year, Simon reached out to The Ribbons Network looking for introductions to local shops who may be interested in stocking his items. Here is what Simon had to say:
“The power of networking and building connections is incredible. I met Bryony through The Ribbons Network and, in turn, Bryony introduced me to Jo from South Coast Makers Market. This led to me selling my products at a Pop Up shop, run by Jo, last Christmas. Jo saw how well my products sold there and therefore introduced me to the General Manager of the new Bobby’s Department Store in Bournemouth, who have just received their first order placed with me. This is a really big step for me, and I fully appreciate none of that would have happened if it hadn’t been for one initial introduction from Bryony to start that amazing chain of events!”
Which nicely emphasises my final point. You are not just making connections to those IN the meeting. Whilst you may only be ‘pitching’ to those in the room, you are in fact opening your business up to opportunities outside of the room too. Both examples in this case study prove just that. A simple introduction can create a ripple effect across extended networks leading to incredible opportunities for business growth. Therefore, it is irrelevant which other businesses are in attendance – it’s not always what you know, but who!
If you would like to visit The Ribbons Network to meet our friendly, supportive members then you do so by visiting www.ribbons-network.com/meetings.