Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Five Reasons To Network In A Tough Economy

It seems in boom-boom times many professionals forget that they are not alone in their outstanding success. They bask in the glow of the big deals and high income and start believing that they are the central cause for their own glory.

Welcome to the recession.

Now people who ignored others and felt invincible are feeling the pinch of hard times. Alas, they are frantically going back to the basics of business, and one of those basics is realizing that nobody succeeds in a vacuum.

Seems networking is a hot topic.

My total number of speaking engagements in Q1 of 2009 is almost double that of the same period in 2008 for my "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Keep and Grow Your Business Relationships" seminar. The topics of results oriented communications, business relationships and networking are no longer viewed as "fluffy", but are instead being devoured by everyone. Book sales are also up this year!

My new seminar: "Social Media, Networking and Ethics" is also generating a lot of interest from law firms and other professional services organizations.

Here are 5 reasons that your network is important in a tough economy:

1. All opportunities come from people. Those who were "too busy" to go to lunch or invest time in cultivating meaningful relationships are hungry to network. In a tough economy any and all referral sources become important to survival. If you want more sales, the people you know can be the conduit to discovering new clients.

2. Your network is your safety net. If you get caught in a lay-off it is the people in your network who can help you find your next employer or lead you to consulting gigs. Additionally those with whom you have already developed mutually beneficial relationships are the ones who will be available for moral support if and when you need it. If you have no network, these tough times can seem very lonely.

3. When marketing budgets are cut, word-of-mouth is your only hope. If you cannot afford marketing, PR and advertising, you need to get out and spread the word yourself. But you can only go so far, thus having strong contacts who understand the value you bring can multiply your visibility by telling others about you and your products / services.

4. We learn from others. Being around other intelligent and creative people can motivate and inspire you to succeed. If you have a network of contacts with whom you share information, you cultivate an environment of learning. When you learn you grow. When you are stagnate you die.

5. If you are not networking, remember - your competitors ARE networking! Out of sight is out of mind. If the success of your business in this economy is important to you then you will find a way to make it to the breakfasts, luncheons and "after hours" events. Yes, it is time consuming, but with more people out seeking to make connections, you can rest assured that your competition is trying to meet your customers. If you stay home you are giving them a free pass to begin to build relationships that can and will lead them to future business.

Have A Great Day.

thom

If your organization is interested in having me speak at an event or consult with your team on your business development strategies, please contact me at thom (at) thomsinger.com.

6 comments:

Marc Littmann said...

Thom,

Enjoyed your post and got here via the comment from ProBlogger. Some good tips about networking, absolutely. Just joined a leads group 2 months ago and have gone out for coffee and lunches many times in the last several weeks--the benefits of doing so are already becoming apparent. The personal connections do matter and I have found to be very enjoyable. I would recommend to anyone that putting the time in up front and living the "Give-Ask-Receive" model to be very worthwhile. This might sound strange, but now I find myself wanting give leads to others almost as much as if not more than receiving one!

Marc
Marc Littmann Photography
www.littmannphoto.com

Lorraine Ball said...

I also meet great resources when I am out networking, and other biz owners, who I can just talk to about busienss issues, kind of like a support group to bounce ideas off of.

by the way, found you from the ProBlogger post

Chuck Brady said...

Great work Thom, I really think you hit the nail on the head with this one. I would also add that networking is also a great way to get some possitve energy and optimism in your life when the press and general public is focused on all the negative energy. I think this goes along with what you were saying about your network being your safety net.

Cheers,

Chuck

Judy Best said...

Enjoyed your blog. With my home-based business, I find networking is my important connection back to the world. Love networking events! (Found you through ProBlogger.)

SjAy said...

Great list

I like 3rd tip When marketing budgets are cut, word-of-mouth is your only hope.

Thats quite true.

CrazzyCool
Sjay
This is my list of must download softwares you should keep with you
http://crazzycool.blogspot.com/2009/04/list-do-you-keep-have-these-softwares.html

MoniqueNelson said...

I found your blog from a post on ProBlogger, as many others I am sure have. This is a great example of Networking and of promoting your blog, great job! I think your 5th reason is the most striking. We all have to remember that, even if we think it is a waste of time (or whatever your opinions may be), if your competitor is doing it than we better be doing it better!
I'll keep watching your feed and I look forward to more great stuff!
Are you on Twitter, by the way?
@MoniqueNelson