The true purpose of business networking is not to find new clients, but to find people who are willing to reach out to their own networks and put you in contact with people they know who can help you.
Obviously, this effort of the part of your network connections comes as the result of the principle of reciprocity. If you have demonstrated your willingness to help them not once, but repeatedly, then they will be only too happy to help you.
For those looking to increase sales, yes, the people you network with might be able to put you in contact with potential clients.
But it goes so much further than that. Perhaps someone in your network can connect you with a reporter or advertising executive who can help tell the world what you have to offer.
Perhaps they have a dynamic mentor or coach in their network who can help you supercharge your business. They may even know an angel investor or venture capital fund big wig who may be interested in investing in your business.
You won’t know precisely what value your network holds until you build your network, using generosity and reciprocity as your foundation.
More than the business connections, networking engenders friendships. As you build and nurture your relationships over time, you will discover that some members of your network have similar interests or backgrounds to you or have the same alma mater or hometown.
This will open up a new facet to your relationship and allow you to connect on a second, more personal level. Common interests are a foundation for long-lasting friendships and as you continue to nurture these more intimate connections, you will find that your willingness to help them will increase exponentially, and vice-versa.