Do you “network” for business? Do you “network” for the social reasons? Do you “network” because it “gets you out of the house/office?”
There is no wrong/right answer to the question. However, as someone that helps business owners become more productive, I have my own answer to the question. I was recently at a few networking events this week, and noticed someone who’s been going to that specific networking group for 2 years. I asked him how he likes the group. His answer: “The people are great. I enjoy the coffee they serve . It gets me out of the office.”
I proceeded to ask him, “that’s great..” But have you gotten any business from this group considering you’ve been going EVERY week for 2 years. His answer astonished me. “Ive gotten ONE piece of business from this group.” WHAT!!?? I then asked him why he continues to go if he’s only gotten one piece of business. He replied, “Well, again, I like the people, and feel very comfortable around them.”
Listen, if you’re a business owner, I know most of you reading this, incorporates networking in order to build relationships, make new friends, and hopefully, get new business. But, at what time, do you look at your calendar, then look at your the 500 business cards in your drawer, and say to yourself, “maybe there’s something I’m not doing right when it comes to networking”..
There’s ONE word that separates those who do networking right, and the rest of the folks who are in the middle of the herd.
I think we can all agree that TIME is MONEY. If you belong to 10 networking groups, and you’re calendar is filled with activity, but you’re only going because it’s something to do, and you haven’t gotten any business in 12 months; that’s MUCH different than belong to 3 networking groups, and having a crystal clear INTENTION on what you want to get and give to these groups. I will agree that developing core relationships with the people at these networking events is the key to building a sustainable business. Building these relationships are vital to your business….no doubt about it. However, at some point, you need to look at your business and truly figure out which groups make more sense to attend and pay versus some other groups.
Here’s a few tips on how to network more effectively
1) Intention – I already mentioned this above. Are you being intentional about what you’d like to see come out of this group/event? Do you have clarity around WHO you’d like to meet that can help move the needle in your business?
2) Servant mentality – Most of the time, you cannot walk into an established networking group, and expect to get business. Yes, sometimes this does happen, but most of the time, people have to know, like, trust you in order to do business. Your goal is to SERVE first, ask for business second. When you give, before you ask for something in return, people will automatically see you with a servant mind, and someone who is all about reciprocation.
3) Consistency– this goes without saying. You cannot do “drive by” networking; going to 50 networking events per year ONE TIME, and expect business. You have to pick 3-5 networking groups that resonate with you, and then show up to these groups consistently. If you try to do “drive bys” nobody is going to take you seriously.. Trust me, I’ve tried!
4) Alliance partners – Who’s your target audience, and more importantly, who can you align yourself with from a “power partners” perspective? Choose a handful of people that you want in your “power partner posse”. Then, you attend your events, and they will attend their events. While attending these events, you’re always keeping an ear open if anyone needs anything that your “power posse” can help with. This allows you to divide and conquer…
5) Less is More – As I stated above, the goal is NOT to see how many groups you can belong to over the next 12 months. Your goal is to figure out what are the top 3-5 that resonate with you, choose those groups, and then consistently show up to those groups, and being intentional with your meetings.
Be Great Today!