I remember the first-ever business networking meeting I was invited to in Newbury Berkshire, I found myself in front of a room of 30 people. Naturally, I thought it was only about selling to the people in the room. I have empathy for people who think like me.
From a typical room of 30 people let's estimate that 20% were potential clients [maybe - at some time in the future]. We've been told, it's all about the numbers. 6 to be precise.
At the time, I'd never heard of Robin Dunbar.
"British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, suggests that the average human can maintain meaningful social relationships with approximately 150 people. This number represents individuals with whom a person has some level of regular interaction, knows personally, and feels a sense of social connection."
How could I possibly know that the 30 people in the room have access to 4,500? I couldn’t see it. Most people don’t see it. They see people in a room and their connections are just not visible.
20% of 4500 connections is 900.
I was looking for 6, instead of developing the sort of relationships that would help me reach the 900. I guess that, like me at the time, most people don’t really understand how powerful Networking is, let alone lay down a strategy to leverage their networking.
So here are some pointers you may wish to consider.
Action Points for Networking with Purpose.
1 Be Intentional in Your Networking Efforts:
Networking is not just about quantity but quality. Focus on building meaningful relationships.
Identify key individuals and organisations with trusted access to your target market. It’s the basis of how Influencers are paid. They build an audience (someone else wants to reach) and provide access to that audience for a fee or a percentage of the sales that access produces. You and I are influencers.
2 Cultivate Authentic Connections:
Establish a genuine desire to understand and support others [by default].
Listen actively and show interest in their challenges, goals, and expertise. Seek opportunities to provide value, whether through knowledge sharing, introductions, or support.
"You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Zig Ziglar
Remember, you don’t know who they know but you must be very clear (very specific in fact) on where you are headed, who you want to connect with, and why.
3 Follow-Up and Stay Engaged:
Consistently follow up after networking encounters to solidify connections. 82% of sales take place after the 7th touch. Experience tells me that it takes multiple touches to build a relationship and the trust that leads to business or referrals.
Stay engaged by sharing relevant industry insights, congratulating achievements, and offering assistance when possible.
You must have a next-action data system to stay in touch: I use OnePageCRM to help me stay in touch.
4. Embrace Collaboration and Co-Creation:
Explore opportunities to collaborate with other professionals in your network.
Foster mutually beneficial partnerships, joint ventures, or referral programs. Instead of joining a networking group consider joining a referral group like BNI where everyone collaborates to generate qualified referrals.
"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." – Henry Ford
By working together, you can leverage each other's strengths, connections and expand your reach to attract more business for everyone.
Developing a strong business network takes time and effort. Be patient, consistent, and genuine in your interactions. Implementing these action points will help you expand your professional network and attract more business opportunities.
You must be willing to give back to your network. If you can offer resources, advice, or assistance to those in your network, it will show that you are invested in building relationships and they will be more likely to return the favour.
Offer to meet people for coffee or for a quick chat online. Showing that you are willing to invest time in getting to know someone is a great way to build relationships.
Be proactive in following up with your contacts and staying in touch.
The Fact is that most people don’t, which is exactly why you should.
Reach out to Paul Clegg to get more from your marketing and networking. For other original insights and tips, go to and register free at www.paulclegg.uk
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