When I decided to get serious about my business I committed myself to doing more networking. Now I try to attend a networking event at least once per week. Over the past few years people have asked me how to make networking productive. Let me start by saying that we all judge success differently, but most people would agree that getting some business out of the event is a great outcome.
Here are some reasons why your networking might NOT be working
Poor planning, not knowing what success looks like – Attending networking events should be a part of your business strategy. Networking is a great way to meet new people, find customers, create synergies and get your name out there. You will only be successful if you decide what you are trying to achieve, so planning is vital. Make sure that you have an idea about how many people will attend so that you can have enough business cards or promotional materials. If your business materials have your website address listed, pleaseeeeeeeeee ensure that your website is up and running. This leads me to my next point.
Your global storefront SUCKS! – I don’t know how else to say it. 40% of the people that I have met over the past 3 months of networking were letting themselves down and here are the top 3 reasons why their websites let them down.
1. Website under construction (for the past 8 months)
2. Horrible website that does not grab peoples attention
3. Broken links or images on their website
In today’s world THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT HAVING A GOOD WEBSITE. There are free web design programs. There are cheap web design programs. There are do it yourself web design programs. Any of these options can make you look great on-line.
Being greedy Gretchen / Gary – I’ve never actually met Gretchen or Gary but I’ve been told that they only ever talk about themselves. They are pushy and never ask any questions about the other person. The word is that the most annoying thing about Gretchen and Gary is that they don’t make eye contact. They are always scanning the room as if the person that they are talking AT is just a time filler until they find someone more important to talk to. The moral of the story is don’t be greedy…. Give, and give some more. Give them your attention. Be in the moment. Learn something about them.
Poor or no follow-up– Ok so you have gone to a great networking event and met some really awesome contacts; now what? If you are like most people then that is where it ends. The business cards, flyers and napkins float around your desk until so much time has passed you feel embarrassed to reach out. Always follow-up by phone within 24-hours. Just a quick “hello”, to reintroduce yourself and remind the person what you spoke about.
Here is an example of how to get your networking… working!
Last night I was at a networking event. I met a young lady who told me that she was doing working for HUB.tv. She said that they have a contest to find some with an innovative product. The winner gets 20k, national marketing, a trip to China and features on major television programs. This is not something that would benefit me in any way because I don’t have any products that meet the criteria, but several people that I met throughout the night do. I made it a point to connect those people. Nothing might come of it, but from past experience those people will remember me.
As always these are my thoughts. You will find hundreds of other tips and pointers on the net. I am a business consultant and I work with small businesses to help them achieve their goals. If you have any questions please reach out and I’m sure that we can help.