We are all really busy. Customers to help, content to write, meetings to go to etc. So sometimes it's difficult to fit in networking as well and networking is often the first thing to be put on the back burner when business is really busy. It's classed by some as not being overly important and something people who have nothing to do, go along to.
When you really think about networking, whether it is organised or just networking while you are out and about, it is a vital part of many businesses. Well, it has been to mine anyway. Helping with the growth of myself and my business. That's why I always book the meetings into my diary for the following two weeks. Like I would for a client meeting. I then book clients meeting which are close by around them, to save on travel time.
I have found out over my last 130 meetings that like most things, the more you put into networking, the more you get out. There are not too many occasions apart from networking, when I can meet between 25-30 people. Some who I have never met before and others who I know well. It is a great opportunity to help them, find out about what they do and to tell them about what I do.
I tell them about what I do, not just so they can use my services, but also so they can keep me in mind to recommend me to others. As they may not need my services now or even ever. It will also give me a list of people that I can recommend to my contacts and clients. By showing a genuine interest in other people, I find I learn a lot more and it's far easier to recommend people.
Some try to constantly sell, which can make for a rather tedious conversation. I think it is actually called networking because it is best used, to build your network for the future. If you were just supposed to sell your stuff, it would be called a selling meeting and not too many would attend.
So actually if you think about it, you have the opportunity to talk to about 30 people, but you have only given up 2 hours plus traveling time. If you were to meet those people individually it would actually take 25-30 hours plus a lot of travelling time, plus a vast amount of coffee. Obviously, you still need to follow up with these people, but you can do this with the power of social media and the telephone.
To get the most out of it you do need to go along more than once. People often think they can swoop in leave a few business cards and expect the orders to roll in. Well, sadly you cannot expect near strangers to promote your business and to remember you, when they need your services. Many would not be able to even if they wanted to, as they may not know exactly what you do.
Like most relationships which are going to last and work well. You will need to put in the time and effort, especially at the beginning. The sooner you can show people what you are like and that you are trustworthy. The sooner they will feel they can trust you and recommend you to their customers or connections. No one is going to take a risk with you. The last thing they will want to do, is recommend you and find out that your work is shocking and they have let their friend or client down. It is quite a compliment to be recommended, as you can damage the reputation of the person who is doing the recommending.
So if you are going networking, to make the best of it you need to put in the effort and give it a bit of time. It is not a quick fix but it is something you can build for the future.
I have been to over 130 meetings now and if you think of networking as a way of growing yourself and your business (unless you have nothing left to learn). It can be such a powerful tool. You can always find someone to help, whether that be a supplier or a someone to help you with a business problem. This is on top of people who want to buy your products or services.
Used right it will give you so many opportunities for business, from speeches and connections to business and friends. It really is a win-win for a small investment compared with many of the alternatives. And I haven't even mentioned the breakfast!
To find out more about networking go to https://www.4networking.biz/
If you have any questions or you would like some help, just get in touch.
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