One size does not fit all…
Networking works. You know that. We know that – it has the power to completely transform your business.
People regularly ask me about which networking group I would recommend. A fair question considering how many years I have been networking… However this is often preceded by negativity about networking whether from first hand experiences or hearsay, moans about not getting results and lots of excuses as to why it isn’t happening.
My personal belief is that all networking (we almost all) is good networking….
Where people get it wrong is not finding the right group and not being prepared to put the time and effort in to enjoy the rewards. Follow these three steps and improve your results.
Decide what you want to achieve from your networking. You can enjoy many of the benefits below from the same event but you do need to decided which one is your primary objective.
- Gain Confidence
- Meet other business owners
- Get support and advice from fellow professionals
- Enjoy the lunch and keep up on the gossip
- Grow your bank of business contacts
- Hear some motivational guest speakers
- Meet service/product suppliers for yourself
- Improve the way your run your business
- Gain regular business
- Gain valuable business
Find the right networking group for you. You can talk to people about their experiences but that is their opinion and I would recommend visiting groups yourself. Ask yourself the following questions when making your decision.
- Can I make the meeting times comfortably and attend regularly?
- Was the format and content right for what I want?
- Do I share similarities with the members ie reasons for attending?
- Are the businesses involved ones that I could potentially refer to?
- Do the current members have contacts with my ideal clients and introducers?
- Could I see what the members are gaining from the group?
- What are the tangible benefits? ie referrals, support, personal development?
- Can I uphold all required commitments of membership?
- Was there a positive feel to the event, did I enjoy the event and would I look forward to going again?
Once you have decided which group is right for you STOP and double check that you are willing and able to commit. Being a little unsure and nervous is fine but you have to be willing and positive. An ‘ I’ll give it ago, I can always leave’ attitude will not get you the relationships, opportunities and success you deserve. The first things to do now are.
- Attend any training available to you
- Make sure you have a clear message so other know how to help you
- Met the members on a 1-2-1 basis to get to know them, find a way to help them quickly.
- Follow up on everything efficiently
- Always thank people for introductions, opportunities and business
- Enjoy your networking, taking it seriously doesn’t mean it has to be boring or scary.