When you search for “Networking”, these are Google definitions:
- In informatics is the network connection system of computers and users, including platforms, operational systems, protocols and network architectures.
- Creation of a contact network.
Networking has always been the starting point to any economic and social development in human history.
Recently, we may well remember the radical change brought about by internet, as far as our interconnection with the world and other people is concerned.
For example, interconnection with people nearby or far away, people we’ve been known for a long time and we keep in touch with or people we didn’t known but with whom we share interests, connections and activities.
At first, this new way of connecting to the world, more technological and less “physical” threatened to overturn the rules of society and business as we knew them. Soon, it turned out that it wasn’t so.
The dividing line between online and offline for networking and business is not so clear as it may seem.
On the contrary, in the 2.0 era with faster connections, the interpersonal relations, which underlay any networking, are more and more important. Even in business this idea is still valid.
Trade relation have always been rooted in interpersonal relations based on trust and reciprocal exchanges. Sometimes, this relationships start from a familiar term to most of us, “word-of-mouth”.
It has always represented the sharing of information, news, updates. Word of mouth is something much more than a rumor in Business, it may be a real business tool.
Word of mouth marketing is becoming the focus in big companies’ business plans, but there is more to it: 98% of companies and professionals find new development opportunities thanks to referrals, but only 3% have a dedicated strategy.
For the word of mouth to become a real company strategy asset, it must become a concept to be planned, managed and surveilled; it must thus become organized, strategic and structured.
“I’m good. I have good-level products and services. I guarantee a good service to my customers. This is not enough. Only if this process is acknowledged by my target market will then customers choose me”.
Being known and acknowledged is a condition necessary to increase the turnover and to grow the company, business or professional as it may be.
When asking if a certain amount of people aware of how good our services and products are, is enough to increase customers by word of mouth, the answer is no.
Word of mouth as an instant event is transient, but to become a real business tool it must become an ongoing flow caring for business opportunities.
To become a company real strategic asset, word of mouth must be planned, managed and surveilled. It must become a system.
Word of mouth is a way of promoting people based on more or less deep relations.
Word of mouth is a way of promotion with a bigger ROI (Return On Investment) in the long term, than any other strategy.
Word of mouth begins with giving, which according to Givers Gain philosophy already means receiving.