Today we all live in digital and social media era. We work at the internet to get new clients, search candidates, and in fact to find potential partners. The question is with all this digital things, do we still need to go business networking events, going to function, dressing well and exchanging business card with fresh contacts? In my place at Jakarta, Indonesia, we have been witnessing more events, held on a daily basis. They can be organised by chambers of commerce, commercial companies or by certain business communities or associations. Apparently, digital networking, despite its much larger scalability will never totally replace meeting in person and shaking hands. Business relation or transaction is remained human interaction after all.
Continuing to engage in business networking will enable us to perform business development, brand and reputation building, socialising and knowledge sharing. As professional recruiters, we might target three audiences during the function of our business: no doubt, we expect to meet new potential customers; also in certain business community functions we might find good candidates to hire. Finally, it is a good opportunity to meet our peers and other recruitment related service providers, for example we can meet talent assessment providers, personal insurance agents, payroll service companies who might help us in hiring candidates for our clients. Meeting fresh contacts might enlarge our capability to generate revenues and serve our customers in the medium term.
Doing it continuously is actually an investment for us, therefore everyone should make the effort to see there is a positive ROI for participating. Here are my tips for boosting and sustaining ROI from networking.
1. Do networking with ‘right’ mindset
Networking is a medium-long term investment. People who do it for short term gains might be disappointed. A few times we might be lucky to get quick results, but it won’t happy every time. You should not ever come for (hard) selling of recruitment services, instead try to get referrals from contacts. Networking events are also a good opportunity to build a positive reputation among the networkers, who might become potential clients, candidates and partners. By showing them we have credibility in the recruitment industry, they might even become a brand ambassador for us.
2. Get connected
Once we arrive at the event venue, try to reach out other participants quickly. Arriving earlier is always better. Speak with participants with respect and gain respect. Trust our own sense, and we will find potential client, candidates and partners who might share same value with us. Not everyone at the room will be the right partner or potential clients. Thus, choose the most suitable one, but keep respecting the others.
3. Always add value
People who do not add value to the community might be irrelevant. Always try to add value, sincerely offer assistance. We can help to connect people, share knowledge/experience or offer personal help. Remember every employer needs to hire, and good talents can become available given the right opportunities. We always have the chance to add value to them by sharing recruitment tips, interview tips, compensation negotiation techniques, and so on.
Consistently adding value will build our positive reputation. We can choose our positioning in networking community by selecting how we add value to others.
4. Communicate clearly
Try to be specific in sharing about yourself, your intention and objectives. Communicate specifically the kind of assistance you need, the type of contacts you want to create, including the type of potential clients, candidates and partners we’re looking for.
5. Follow up
We have only a short period of time to speak with people during the event, and one meeting might not have much impact. So we must follow up. Send emails, invite people for coffee and so on. Create specific collaboration plans and try to execute the plan. In that way, networking will always deliver tangible benefits.