The New Rules of Networking: International Trade & Supply Chain Finance
by Kerstin Braun
The trade industry is highly competitive and ever-changing, and professional development is key to survival. Suppliers, buyers, importers, exporters – and anyone in-between – must get to know the new rules of networking.
The most important one? Getting paid for your trade network.
Global trade is a crowded field. Competition, geo-political risks and rapid advancements continuously shape how businesses import and export. Companies anxious about international trade amidst a never-ending trade war need options, ideas and help from third parties.
For example, many suppliers would love a solution for dealing with buyers that want long payment terms. If any one of these suppliers had a better network, they might have learned about accounts receivable financing.
This is the power of networking in the trade industry: bringing resources to your peers, sharing best practices and creating new opportunities. If you want to tap in to this power, follow these rules:
Rule #1: Use Key Industry Events to Grow Your Trade Network
Industry events are the best, most hands-on resource for professionals that need to stay in tune with industry changes. There’s no better way to touch base with your industry than to meet it face-to-face, whether it’s a small local networking breakfast or a large international conference.
Domestic and international professionals can meet to discuss topical situations, highlight new priorities, hear from expert speakers and ask questions ranging from fintech evolution to supply chain finance development.
Attending will help broaden your trade network significantly. But then what? You have to make the most out of your investment in the event. The next step is to leverage your new connections.
Rule #2: Learn How to Network
There are two reasons to build and maintain your trade network: to discover new professional opportunities, and to discover new business opportunities.
Discover New Professional Opportunities
A surprising amount of job opportunities are found through networking. In fact, 70% of job openings aren’t even listed, which is why networking is often the only way to get them.
But even if you’re not looking for a new job, you can use the connections. Networking builds your credibility – and you never know when it will come in handy.
Discover New Business Opportunities
An extensive import or export trade network can yield incredible business opportunities for you as a professional (and the company you work for).
Trade industry networking can help you discover new sales opportunities, new partners and new employees with subject-matter expertise. But how do you do this successfully?
Rule #3: Learn How to Leverage Your Trade Network
Building a network is more than just collecting business cards and having a single conversation. In order to have a real relationship with people in your network, make sure you follow up. Take the time to get to know them.
Your network will be ineffective if people can’t remember you.
Check In Regularly
Successful networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships. Regularly touching base with the people you know will show them that you care about their work. This is what strengthens relationships.
At the end of the day, trade industry networking is all about fostering the exchange of information and ideas.
It’s easy to reap the benefits of a network. But it’s also important to contribute. There’s no better way to do this than introducing people in your network to each other.
For example, you could be the only point of connection between supplier and buyer. By introducing them, you can expand your network and establish yourself as a resource. This boosts your reputation and will lead to more opportunities down the road. Trust us: An international trade business referral goes a long way.
Rule #4: Get Paid for Your Trade Network
Make no mistake. If you’ve put in the work at industry events, learned how to build a network and learned how to leverage that network – you should be getting paid.
There are countless buyers and suppliers in the international trade market. Productive, mutually beneficial relationships can be difficult to find. Trade networks are valuable – which means they’re worth rewarding.
Stenn provides trade financing for buyers and suppliers, freeing up working capital for both parties. But most businesses don’t know a solution like that exists. That’s where a trade network comes in.
As a Stenn Partner, you get paid to refer potential buyer-supplier relationships our way. All you have to do is make the introduction to either the buyer or supplier (or both!). If the company is a good fit, you could receive up to 5% commission on each trade invoice we finance.
You’ve worked hard to build your trade industry network. Start getting paid for it.
Do you have an extensive import or export trade network? Contact us to learn about the Stenn Partner Program and how to start getting paid for your hard work.