For years, business owners have been told that networking events are the key to success. From attending industry conferences to joining local business groups, networking has been touted as the best way to meet new contacts, generate leads, and grow your business. But what if I told you that this is all a myth?
The truth is that networking events may actually be holding your business back. While they can be a great way to meet new people, they can also be a huge waste of time and resources. Here's why:
Firstly, networking events often attract people who are there to sell, not to build relationships. Many attendees are looking for quick wins and will try to sell you their product or service without taking the time to get to know you or your business. This can be frustrating and time-consuming and can leave you feeling like you've wasted your time.
Secondly, networking events can be incredibly repetitive. If you attend the same events every year, you'll likely see the same faces and hear the same pitches. This can lead to a feeling of stagnation and can make it difficult to build new relationships or generate fresh leads.
Finally, networking events can be expensive. Between registration fees, travel costs, and time spent away from your business, attending these events can be a significant investment. And if you're not seeing a return on that investment, it can be difficult to justify the expense.
So, what's the solution? While networking events can be valuable, they shouldn't be the only tool in your business growth toolkit. Consider other options, such as online networking groups, social media platforms, and industry-specific forums. These can be just as effective as traditional networking events and can be a more efficient use of your time and resources.
Don't fall for the myth that networking events are the only way to grow your business. While they can be valuable, they can also be a waste of time and resources. Instead, consider alternative networking options and focus on building meaningful relationships that will help your business succeed in the long term.
Of course, maybe it’s down to your expectations or to your approach. You get back what you put in.
If you're looking to redefine your networking expectations and approach, there are a few key strategies that can help you to be more effective in your networking efforts.
1 Focus on building relationships, not just making sales: Networking isn't just about finding new customers or clients. It's about building meaningful relationships with people who can help you grow your business in the long term. Instead of trying to make a sale at every opportunity, focus on getting to know people and finding common ground.
2 Be strategic in your networking efforts: Instead of attending every networking event that comes your way, be strategic in your approach. Choose events that are relevant to your business or industry, and that will put you in touch with the people you want to meet. This will help you to make the most of your time and resources.
3 Be prepared: Before attending a networking event or joining an online networking group, take some time to prepare. This might include researching the people and companies that will be attending, preparing a few conversation starters, or exactly what you will say when someone says, "so what do you do?". Challenge: "I'm a business consultant makes you sound like all other business consultants". Being prepared will help you to feel more confident and make a better impression on potential contacts.
4 Follow-up: After meeting someone at a networking event or online, be sure to follow up with them. This might include sending a follow-up email, connecting with them on social media, or setting up a coffee meeting to continue the conversation. Following up shows that you're serious about building a relationship and can help to solidify the connection.
5 Be patient: Networking is a long-term strategy, and building meaningful relationships takes time. Don't expect to see immediate results from your networking efforts. Instead, focus on building trust and credibility with your contacts, and be patient as you work to grow your network.
Redefine your expectations and approach your networking with a more strategic mindset and you will be more effective in your networking efforts and build meaningful relationships that will help your business to grow and succeed over time.
If you're curious to know more or interested in joining a meaningful conversation about Networking with Purpose as part of your marketing strategy, we have a Crew Marketing Network online meeting on Tuesday 28th March at 8 am. Throw a yes in the comments block and I'll get you an invite.