Most successful business owners don’t network.
At least not in the traditional way that you are: paying dues to formal networking groups, going to breakfasts and lunches and cocktail hours, giving your 30-second pitch, playing the how-many-cards-can-you-collect game. It’s a lot of time and money and when you add it up, you might be surprised to find that you aren’t getting a good return on your investment (ROI).
I thought long and hard before I wrote the list for today’s blog post. Because if you have seen me this week outside the office it’s because the third week of the month is what I (sometimes lovingly and sometimes with a sigh) call ‘lunch week.’ I have networking lunches on 4 out of the 5 days. So I was a bit afraid that you might think I’m a hypocrite.
Instead, I am being strategic. Because the groups I go to (except for Rotary – which I attend for other reasons) are filled with my target market: passion-driven entrepreneurial women who are growing their businesses. Can you say the same?
There are lots of workshops out there on how to give the perfect 30-second pitch. Did you ever think that maybe it’s not you? That maybe the reason there are so many people giving advice about how to improve your networking experience is because for many businesses, it is NOT the most effective way to build your business? In this week’s list, 5 Reasons Your Net-Working is Not-Working, I shed some light on why.
Networking events are often designed to educate you and foster a sense of community. That creates the illusion that you are doing something great to build your business – but that depends on your business and how you take advantage of the time and the leads you generate. Not only do I attend lots of meetings (and will continue to), I am on the leadership team or am an avid supporter of the women that run them (you know who you are ladies, feel free to call me up and vent). So am I advocating that you drop all your groups? No. I am advocating that you take a fresh look at networking and if you continue, do it well and with an eye to your bottom line.
I would love your feedback on this list – especially if networking is your most effective way to get clients. Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you soon – maybe even at a networking event!
5 Reasons Your Net-Working is Not-Working
Are your networking efforts getting you business? If you are networking to build your business and attract clients, but don’t seem to be getting the results, here are a few reasons why.
- You have picked the wrong networking group. Networking groups vary greatly in their purpose and structure. If the style of meeting is not a match for your personality or the people attending are not your target market, you will not get clients.
- You don’t have systems in place to track your contacts. Chances are you are meeting a lot of people and collecting cards but if you don’t do any follow up with them, you aren’t going to make any progress.
- You are not being clear about the next step you want someone to take when they meet you. If you have an opportunity to give your ‘elevator speech’ or your ’30-second intro’ talk about the benefits of your product/service and include a simple next step that someone can take (or that they will remember to mention to the person they thought of who would be your perfect client).
- Everyone is there to sell their product, not buy yours. Which means they are not really listening to you. So you have to listen to them and figure out how to have a follow-up conversation that is meaningful.
- The population is too small. Through networking, you will meet less than 5% of the business population in your community, even less of the consumer population. And of those, very few will be in your target market. (OK – I just made up that 5% statistic. And if you look around at all the businesses in your city, you know it’s close to the truth.)