Understand who to network with and why

You've already spent time building your profile and getting recommended by the businesses you know. Now you are ready to start introducing yourself to potential clients or partners, but maybe you don't know who you should be networking with, and more importantly, why.

This article is meant to help spark some ideas on the types of businesses you should be networking with to help you grow your business:

Businesses that can help you reach your ideal client.

You don't know who knows someone who can become your customer or client. However, when networking, you can focus on strategically building relationships with people who most commonly have relationships with your ideal client. That way, when your new relationship knows someone who has a need for your products and services, they'll think of you, and send the referral your way.

Let's say you own a marketing agency or you're a freelance web designer. If you focus on building relationships with accountants that often deal with recently-started businesses, whenever the accountant has a client who needs the marketing services you offer to help their business get off the ground, they’ll think of you as someone they can refer to that client.

Businesses that offer services often needed by your clients, that you don’t offer.

The reverse also applies. If you find that new businesses you're working with often have a need for accountants to help them incorporate and manage taxes, pay it forward and refer those businesses to that accountant. Ultimately building relationships and referral partnerships that help both businesses should be your goal, as it can become a consistent source of referrals for years to come for both sides.

Businesses with large networks of their own.

Imagine if the accountant you decided to build a relationship with now really trusts you and happens to be connected to thousands of other businesses. The number of businesses they could refer to you at one point or another just sky-rocketed. You just need to make sure they trust you enough to think of you when someone in their network needs your products or services.

Businesses with a strong reputation.

If you send a client to an accountant, and they don’t do a good job, your reputation will take a hit. Connect with businesses that are highly recommended by past clients and networks as you’ll be more comfortable referring people to an accountant you can trust.

Your ideal client.

Of course, if you sell to businesses, you want to connect with the businesses that fit your ideal client. While searching for your ideal customer is easy to do on Alignable, you’ll want to use the information available to pre-qualify a business before you spend a connection credit on an introduction.

If you’re a web designer, for example, you can look up a business profile and check if they have a website, if it’s updated, or if there are opportunities for you to help them improve it. All icebreakers you can use to start a conversation with that business that can help you increase your likelihood of converting them into a client.

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