Does networking seem to be an inconvenient necessity? Is there significant value in networking for your CAD business interests? Well, it can actually be easier and bring greater, more far reaching benefits than one might initally think.
Let us begin by considering something we may not have given much consideration to: Most of us already have a social network, be it family or friends. That being said, it is easy then to look upon our existing social network and realize the value that communication provides. Communication is the essential ingredient to the degree of good relations and mutual support that we might share with such ones. And we are naturally motived to communicate with those whom we care about and share interests with.
Now extending that understanding and these principles to the business realm can enable us to build and maintain a solid professional network that provides shared value. Yes, no doubt you have met or worked alongside engineering, manufacturing, or marketing individuals whom you recognized to have skills, talent and abilities that you admired. And, if you are one who conscientiously strives to give your best to the tasks at hand, then your peers have most likely noticed such qualities in you as well. So there it is! Your current or past work associates, and those you have performed CAD services for, easily make for a good foundation to your CAD business network that simply needs to be built upon and maintained.
In essence then, a business network is a very powerful existing marketing tool that requires recognizing two key aspects.
Business is Business
A business or professional network is exactly what it says it is. In other words, your relationship to such individuals is business or professional in nature. Therefore, when you do communicate, whether in person or electronically, you will want to be conscientious and respect that their time is of value. Use discernment and good judgement in the amount of time you would take to show genuine personal interest and sharing updates with one another. Displaying such respect will go a long way in fostering a continued favorable view of you, and notibly it is accomplished without many words.
Network Street is Two-Way
Beyond mutual respect, ask yourself 'what ties me to this person?' Well, your answer should be not only what this person may offer in the way of supporting business potential, but equally important is what can you offer them? Acknowledging your role in this way is vital. Displaying a selfish, self-serving attitude will quickly diminish not only your professional reputation, but also your business prospects. In practical ways then, let those in your network know what you can do for them in promoting their interests. For example, one way to address this is to simply ask: "Is there anything I can do for you?" It seems so obvious, but in a hurried world such kindness is often overlooked. When sincere thoughtfulness is expressed, it will be genuinely felt, long remembered, and most likely returned.
Obviously, your interests to build and maintain your CAD business network will determine the extents of who you will be in contact with, and the frequency. Aside from maintaining your own personal records of contacts, professional networking sites such as LinkedIn can provide an easy-to-manage resource tool to keep contacts up to date. Therefore, by recognizing the inherent value of your business network and applying the two key points discussed above, one can affectively utilize professional relationships to maximize business opportunities, and doing so in a respectful and dignified approach.