Business Network Meetings – What’s Your Strategy?
Just imagine if you had a phone call when you were still half asleep telling you the breakfast meeting you were planning to attend that morning was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. What would you immediately think? …
I’ll miss breakfast. At least I can get to work early and get something done. Yay! I’ll have another hour in bed! I was looking forward to seeing Joe Blogs. I was hoping to get some business today …
If you answered:
I’ll miss breakfast! Then go to Wetherspoon’s – you can get a breakfast for less than a fiver. Not bad if you have nothing in your fridge.
At least I can get to work early and get something done. Then why waste time networking with people. If your focus is elsewhere you are wasting their time too.
I’ll have another hour in bed! Then pay for other types of marketing, word of mouth takes time and energy. Networking is inconvenient, but so is all promotional activity?
I was looking forward to seeing Joe. Then arrange to see Joe another time. Business networking is most certainly an opportunity to touch base with people but not a great place to socialise.
I was hoping to get some business today. Really? No one goes to a networking event to be sold to. So go HARD SELL door to door instead. It’s a lot cheaper and much more effective.
When you do join a group of people for a networking breakfast (lunch or supper even), it is really important to understand the nature of the group. Every group of people will have its own personality. All groups serve a purpose and answer the needs of its core members. So, as you might imagine, different groups behave differently. It is important to find the group with the right fit for you.
Business networking after all is a serious business. You might be looking to develop new contacts, build deeper relationships with influencers in your business sector, or find trusted partners even. The bottom line of course, is to find new clients or work, through collaborations, referrals and leads. However, that doesn’t happen overnight (unless you are truly blessed) so you need to find a way to fit with the energy of the group before you can tap the resources.
Know, Like and Trust
This cliched triage is used in almost every networking blog post. The thing is, it summarises the process that you need to go through to be accepted into any group of people.
Know You … You need to turn up, turn up again and then again, wear your badge so they can put your name to your face. Perhaps you can be proactive and contact people, before meetings to arrange to break your fast with them.
Like You … Listen to gather information, listen with keen interest, find out personal stuff and then when asked tell your story rather than present your offer.
Trust You … Stay in touch. Be keep details of those you’ve met, look for opportunities to help people. Keep your word; follow through your promises.
Whilst it will take some time to raise your profile within your chosen group, there are some significant and immediate benefits to networking other than the calories.
Not least; the change to your working environment is as good as a rest. The solution to the problem that you’ve been mulling over can often pop out of ‘nowhere’ when you change your state. And of course, meeting new role models can be not only inspirational but motivational too.