I’m guessing you’ve heard of a business plan. A document, or even an infographic, that maps out the plans for your business. Where you want it to go, and the steps you’re going to need to take in order to get there.

Amazing! I love when a plan comes together!

I’m going to also guess that you’ve heard of a marketing plan, and a social media strategy. Again, putting down on paper, or digitally, a plan of what you want to achieve and the steps of how to get there.

But have you heard of a networking strategy?

If we’re connected on social you’ve probably seen me ranting about #StrategicNetworking for a while now, but I thought I’d go into more detail about what a networking strategy actually is, what it does, and how it’s created.

Knowing what our goals are is the first step in creating any kind of plan. If there are no goals there’s no destination, and with no destination it’s almost impossible to plan the journey.

But what about our relationships? The power of word of mouth marketing, networking and effective relationship management is undisputed: but do you have a plan in place to help harness its power?

This is where a networking strategy comes in!

Step 1

When I’m creating a networking strategy for a client we start off my simply having a chat. A call or meeting (currently all on Zoom) so I can ask a whole bunch of questions about you, your business, and of course your future plans. The start of your networking strategy is going be based on what your goals are, and what you want to achieve by building your network.

Do you want to sell more stuff?

Do you want to meet people who sell similar stuff as you?

Do you want to source new suppliers so you can buy their stuff?

Do you want to learn from people who do completely different stuff?

There are lots of reasons to go networking, so knowing what you want to achieve and why you’re attending events in the first place is a really great place to start.

Step 2

Following on from our initial consultation, I’ll then go away and do all the leg work. Applying my unique networking ecosystem developed over 14 years experience, and two rounds of academic research from Durham University, I get to work building your new networking strategy.

Understanding the ecosystem in which we all network is really important, as it then empowers you to navigate your way around events in a strategic manner. Knowing which events are the right ones for you is what a networking strategy is all about.

From our consultation I’ll be able to make recommendations on which zones you should be networking in, and more specifically which events you should be attending. Which networking organisations are the best fit for you and your business, and even which non-networking organisations you should be engaging with in order to build the right relationships.

I’ll also take into consideration your personality and preferences towards different structures and formats of events. Attending events you enjoy and feel comfortable at will mean you’re far more likely to continue attending.

Building relationships takes time to consistency is key: remember, it takes 3 times of meeting someone for them to remember who you are and what you do. I’d up that to 5 times for remote networking!

Step 3

Once I’ve created your shiny new networking strategy I’ll present it back to you personally so you can ask questions, we can chat through specific sections, and generally ensure you’ve got everything you need to go off and take over the networking world!

The strategy it’s self comes in the form of a chunky, informative document. And although it’s hyperlinked to the max and filled with loads of useful info, it’s not exactly ‘light reading’. That’s why I present a condensed version so you can get all the information in a more relaxed, digestible manner.

You’ll of course get a video recording of the presentation so you can share it with colleagues or use it for future reference. Alongside that you’ll get pdf copies of the slides and the pièce de résistance: your new networking strategy document!

I’ll often throw in some additional recommendation in there too – ideas that came from our initial consultation, or based on the research I’ve conducted whilst creating your strategy. Giving more of a business development angle to the strategy they’ll be there to compliment your activities and contribute to building effective, strategic relationships.

Empowering yourself and your businesses to network strategically is an absolute game-changer. Harnessing the power of referrals, word or mouth and networking activities will enable you to achieve your business goals more efficiently and time effectively.

For more on strategic networking you can download our FREE whitepaper: The Art of Strategic Networking by signing up to our networking newsletter. Or enrol on our online course: Become a Strategic Networker Create a Networking Strategy!