Ever get the feeling that networking does not do it for you? It might be that you don't have realistic short term goals. If you are going along to a meeting and expecting to get a client thereand then then you may well be disappointed. Here are two ground rules for ensuring don't get too disappointed too early.
1. Keep your initial expectations realistic
Cathy Wile hits the nail on the head in her article "I went to a Networking Event and all I got was this lousy Gift Bag.":
"Going to networking events is a lot like dating
Many people go to networking events with the sole objective of getting business or clients. That’s like going to a bar and thinking you’ll end up in a committed relationship by the end of the night.
Business is a relationship and relationships take time
Especially if you’re in a service business and not just selling a product. More especially if your service is one of healing or transformation. It’s crucial for potential clients to have time to build trust with you. As a matter of fact, that’s why you’re marketing exists--it’s solely for the potential client to build trust and safety.
The only realistic expectation to have is that you’ll connect with someone who is interested in what you do and agrees to be on your newsletter list. They have now entered into a relationship with your business and that’s fantastic. Through your newsletter they’ll be connected to you on a regular basis and get to know who you are. But there are so many other reasons to go to networking events that people overlook and frankly, some of these connections are way more valuable than getting a client or two."
2. Think of yourself as someone who is there to give and not take
In "Turbo Charge Your Business Networking" Sue Clement offers two practical ways in which you can become a resource for others.
- Become someone who is known as a connector
As Sue says "You can do that by becoming a resource, which you do by getting to know a lot of people and then connecting them with each other. That way, you'll find that your potential prospects will seek you out, and you'll have more opportunities to be of service, which will pay off in an ever-growing range of connections.
And you don't have to wait until someone asks for an introduction. Be proactive. Start by making a list of the people you know. Consider both your inner and outer networking circles. Then think of whom you need to connect and introduce to each other. Consider who their target prospects are and look for aligning opportunities. For example introduce a realtor to a mortgage broker, or your accountant to a biz coach."
"Another highly effective way to turbo-charge your connections and referrals is to give endorsements and testimonials to others. You'll be amazed how quickly others will begin to endorse you right back. After all, what goes around comes around!
- Become a giver of testimonials
Go to your LinkedIn account today and find one of your contacts you can endorse - a few minutes are all it takes!"
Business networking groups in Hull and East Yorkshire are here to help you develop those skills. Give one a try