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7 Expert Tips On Building Business Contacts

Your contacts book may seem like just a simple collection of names and numbers, but it's so much more than that. It's a networking powerhouse; a Rolodex of opportunities. The size of your contacts book can have a major impact on your business success.

Think about it: the more people you know, the more opportunities you have to make connections, form partnerships, and gain new clients. A large and diverse contacts book means a wider range of perspectives, ideas, and resources at your disposal. It's like having a secret weapon for your business.

But it's not just about quantity; quality is just as important. Building meaningful relationships with the people in your contacts book is key. These are the people who will go above and beyond to help you succeed. They will introduce you to new people, provide valuable advice and support, and even become loyal customers.

But building a sizeable network of meaningful contacts takes hard work. Here are seven expert tips to help with that...

7 Expert tips on building business contacts

1. You do you

Being authentic is key to making meaningful business contacts. People can sense when you're true to yourself, and it makes them want to connect with you on a deeper level. Authenticity opens the door to trust, reliability, and a genuine human connection. And in business, those are the critical ingredients for a solid and long-lasting relationship. 

So, don't be afraid to let your personality shine, it's what makes you unique and will ultimately attract the right people to your business. Be authentically you, and watch your professional network grow.

2. Listen more than you talk

Former US President George W. Bush once said, "Leadership to me means duty, honour, country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time."

In the business world, it's easy to get caught up in the constant chatter, but true success comes from listening more than you talk. By listening actively, you gain valuable insights, build trust, and establish a deeper connection with others. It helps you navigate any conversation and make better decisions. So, before you start talking, remember to listen first. You'll be surprised at how much more you'll learn, and, when the time comes to talk, how much more powerful your words will be.

3. Show some empathy

When working with business contacts, it's important to take an active interest in the problems they're facing. Take the time to understand their challenges and work with them to envision a better outcome. Even if you can't solve the problem directly, you can help them navigate the bigger picture and find new opportunities for help. This approach helps to build trust and creates a foundation for long-term relationships.

4. Stay in touch

Don't let your contacts book gather dust — checking in regularly is a simple yet powerful way to maintain healthy relationships, stay informed about industry developments, and keep your network thriving. Regular communication is the key to keeping your professional connections strong, relevant, and mutually beneficial.

5. Conference call to action

To truly thrive in the business world, you need to get out there and shake some hands. Industry events such as conferences, trade shows and seminars aren't just great places to network; they provide opportunities to promote awareness of your company, identify new prospects, drive business growth and play a part in generating revenue. 

Of course, actually getting on stage and presenting can lead to big rewards — not just for your business, but for you personally. Even if public speaking isn’t your thing, consider stepping into that discomfort and looking for an opportunity to showcase your knowledge and expertise.

6. Always add value

In the business world, it's not just about who you know, but also what you can offer. Building relationships based on mutual value is key to success. By consistently adding value to your contacts, you'll not only establish trust and credibility but also position yourself as a valuable resource. Whether it's sharing industry insights, providing useful contacts or offering to help with a project, going the extra mile to add value to your business connections is a surefire way to cultivate lasting and meaningful relationships. And when you need to ask for something in return, the chances are you’ll get it. 

7. Treat them to a day of sport

In the business world, it's not always about hard selling and closed deals. Sometimes, a little bit of finesse can go a long way. Treating your clients to a day of sports hospitality is a unique way to show your appreciation and build deeper connections. Whether it's VIP seats at a Six Nations fixture or a day at the golf, the shared experience creates a bond that transcends the boardroom. It's a subtle but powerful way to show that you value your clients and that you are committed to building long-term relationships. Plus, you'll both get to enjoy a few drinks and say, 'I was there' at one of the great sporting occasions. Not a bad day at the office!

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