How To Maximise Your Networking Investment
Networking is cost effective marketing. But is it?
You attend weekly networking breakfast and you squeeze in at least one other event each week. Your networking! Not necessarily, you may be creating visibility and making a few connections, but are you using your precious time wisely?
One in four people you encounter at a networking event can become a supplier, client, referrer or friend, if you are prepared to invest time in building trust and a relationship. However networking can offer so much more than making a connection or two.
If you are going to truly invest in networking as an opportunity to grow your business then decide on your real intent for choosing the events you attend. Merely fronting up for breakfast each week with the same group, or taking a scatter gun approach to attending every event in your area may not give you the results you are after. You are investing a lot of money and time when you attend events, so make sure you use your precious time wisely.
To achieve a real return on your networking time, you need a plan. Just as you track your KPI’s in business, track your networking results too. Spend time thinking about your intention for networking. What are you seeking? Where are you likely to find what you are after? Consider the benefits of the events you attend and set yourself measurable goals.
Many people are mistaken when they think networking is just about leads and sales. It is actually about making connections, and creating relationships that can lead to referrals over time. However, the first step is to meet, connect, establish trust and credibility. Then when your connection has a need or a problem to solve, you hopefully will be top of mind.
A major benefit of networking is being able to access knowledge and experience of others which you can reflect on, improve and implement in your business.
Networking provides opportunities for conversations with likeminded others who have experience and knowledge to share. Consider employing some of the following into your conversations to benefit your business development
• find out what people are looking for
• use the stage to practice your WHY
• rehearse your point of difference
• check the ongoing relevance of your business model
• gain feedback on a new aspect of your offer
• identify the right problems your business should seek to solve
• seek out collaborators
• test your pricing model and how to convert interest to action
• observe and adapt to the networking styles/personalities of others
• practice how to enter and exit conversations
• learn how others choose to follow up
• learn who the influencers are in your community
• find out what is happening in your community
• find some likeminded people who you would like to spend some down time with
• practice how to listen to others as you would have them listen to you
Three ways to refreshyour approach to networking
- Take "The 90 Day Networking Challenge". Over the next few months track how you plan, prepare and follow up by setting yourself goals and clear intentions for your networking. Measure the results and improve your performance.
- If you are a seasoned networker step out of your comfort zone and try some new events.
- The Small Business Festival Victoria is coming up in August. Attend some of the hundreds of sessions on offer, remember you can gain from the knowledge of experienced business professionals, and also use the programs as a way to network with other likeminded business people, who are also keen to learn.
For the fourth year, Kerryn Powell of Your Time Matters is hosting events in the Festival and invites you to join her. On 8th August participate in “How to Have Impactful Conversations” and 17th August “How to Maximise your Networking Investment”. Both events will provide opportunities for you to engage and connect with others.
YTM provides a dynamic program of business networking events in Brighton and Kew, plus strategic workshops, think tanks and business mentoring for business professionals.
Your time matters- maximise the time you invest in your business as it impacts on your success, whether you are a small business or a larger organisation.
Contact Kerryn TODAY on 0414 856 616 to learn more.