There are a ton of people out there who believe networking should remain strictly within their field or industry. Why would anyone else benefit them? What could they do to help those outside of their industry?
Unfortunately, this close-minded approach isn’t the smartest networking strategy. In fact, it’s extremely beneficial to network with professionals who aren’t in your specific industry. Why? Here are five great reasons:
1. They Can Be Good References
Although it’s important to have references who are in your specific field of interest, it’s not a bad idea to include professional references who aren’t in your industry. Although they might not be able to speak to your specific skill set, they can provide insight into your character, work ethic, and ability to build professional relationships.
Just make sure you give your contact a heads up before you list them as a reference! Not only is it inappropriate to just list someone without asking for their permission, but it’s also not a good strategy for you. If you don’t allow them to prepare for the call, they might say the wrong thing. Not good for anyone!
2. They Could Become A Customer
Branching out and networking with professionals from different industries can seem unproductive, however, it can really give your sales a boost. Let’s say you’re a website designer. If you’re only making an effort to network with other website designers, you’re probably not going to get many clients. However, if you’re actively seeking to network with people who you think could benefit from having a website (ahem, pretty much everyone), you could really increase your client base.
3. They Might Know Someone…
Let’s say you’re a writer who is looking for professional writing or blogging opportunities. Let’s also say you just met this delightful person at an event who works in marketing. Since content marketing is in such high-demand right now, it’s very possible that person knows someone in the publishing industry who is looking for professional writers. The truth is, you just never know who someone knows!
4. …Or YOU Might Know Someone
And the same goes for you – you might have someone in your network who could benefit from connecting with this marketing professional. Maybe they need some marketing work done for their brand – you could help both parties by simply providing an introduction. They will remember your generosity and repay you later.
5. They Can Provide A Different Perspective
It’s always good to have people in your pocket who are willing to give you feedback. It’s especially helpful to know people who have little to no ties to your industry, products, or services because they can give you honest feedback on things like marketing strategies.
What did they think about a certain phrase you used to promote your brand? Did they feel like they understood exactly what you were selling and why they needed to purchase it? Having people who are outside your field of expertise can be extremely beneficial in terms of feedback.