It’s “Who knows you” not “Who you know”

| February 2, 2012

People do business with people they like, know and trust
An interview with Karl Smith, founder of Business Networking South Africa.

Q: Why is business networking and relationship building important and beneficial to a business or individual professional?

YOUR personal and professional success depends on the diversity and quality of your interpersonal relationships. Relationships can be evaluated as assets, no less important than physical assets or bank accounts.

The easiest way to grow a successful business is by developing profitable business relationships with others. Today top executives such as Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Board members etc are required to proactively create and nurture relationships to help the business uncover the best opportunities.

For many employees, collaborative and complex problem solving is the essence of their work. These “tacit”, “knowledge worker” activities involve the exchange of information, the making of judgments, and a need to draw on multifaceted forms of knowledge – mostly achieved through exchanges with coworkers, customers, and suppliers. In other words – relationships!

Yet most of us don’t spend enough time building, nurturing and quantifying the key personal, functional and strategic relationships we need to achieve success.

Networking is by far the most effective way to find what you are seeking in business and life in general – and that even applies to getting noticed by a recruiter. It is believed that 65% to 70% of individuals find great jobs through networking.

The bottom-line: build relationships and you build trust. Trust impacts both the speed and cost of business. A 2002 study by Watson Wyatt shows that total return to shareholders in high-trust organizations is almost three times higher than the return in low-trust organizations.

What are your top three tips for effective networking?

  • Create an elevator pitch: Develop a catchy, easy-to-remember verbal business card that creates a desire to purchase your products, to join your opportunity or approach you to hear more.
  • Give as much as you get: Good listening and genuine care is far more useful to a relationship-builder than schmoozing.
  • Difference is not a deficit: It is human nature to congregate with people that are very much like us. Differences can feel like a threat at first. It is important to keep these feelings in perspective and remember that differences are less important than similarities. Similarity, liking and reciprocity are three well-researched social psychological foundations that form the basis for relationships.

Karl Smith is the founder of Business Networking South Africa, an internationally recognized networking and business relationship building expert and the author of the book, “Beyond The Business Handshake: Dare To Build High-Trust Business Relationships”. As Africa’s Networking Guru, he is dedicated to enabling individuals and organizations to reap the dividends of high-trust. For further information:


Category: Business Development, Culture, Entrepreneur, Leadership

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