There are many reasons why people dislike networking and think it doesn’t work. It does work, although most people approach it in the wrong way or simply do it wrong. It’s usually because they’ve been told that networking is about going to as many events as they can and collecting as many business cards as they can, and then following up with an offer or a pitch the next day. Problem is, it never works.
People usually fall flat on their face with this “technique” because 1) their networking needs to be more focused to where their Ideal Clients can be reached, 2) networking is NOT about business cards, it’s about creating relationships over time and 3) it’s about helping the other, before thinking about yourself. If you’re not approaching networking in this way, then you’ve probably found that it’s not working, it’s superficial and you hate doing it.
So, it’s time to change your approach and start seeing some results, because networking is one of the VERY best ways to get out there in a BIG way and start attracting new clients, especially now that you have a compelling marketing message and a Client Attractive “Elevator Speech.” OK, so the first thing is that you need to network where your Ideal Clients and referral sources are. Look back to the Ideal Client “hang outs” we talked about earlier and see where they congregate. Start thinking of where you can rub elbows with them in large numbers and then join that group. Think in terms of structured networking groups, as well as associations and you’ll be on the right path.
Some places to look for appropriate networking venues:
- Ask your Ideal Clients where they network
- Ask other notable networkers you respect where they network
- Newspaper events calendar (or Business Journal events calendar)
- Chamber of Commerce
- Toastmasters (to meet people and build relationships)
- Animal clubs (Lions, Elks, etc.)
- Breakfast networking groups (BNI, LeTip, etc.)
I belong to several networking organizations because my ideal prospects belong to the same groups. The first one is a weekly breakfast networking group called Business Network International (www.BNI.com) because a lot of the people who belong to it are small business owners and sole practitioners (perfect), as well as the National Association of Women Business Owners (www.NAWBO.org) where I meet a handful of people each time I attend an event who eventually become clients.
As a side note, these are just 2 of the organizations I belong to (there are others), but I mention them specifically because 1) I gain greater visibility and exposure and 2) I have a way of giving back to what has given me so much.
Networking is not about going to as many events as possible to get the word out. It’s about finding the ones that make sense for your target audience, and then adding value and building long-term, mutually supportive relationships. Try it and you’ll start seeing much better results.
Your The Leveraged Business Assignment:
Using your Ideal Client list, start writing down the events you can start attending with Ideal Clients and start getting the word out about what you do. Then once you like a group, plug into your calendar all the events already scheduled for the year and make going regularly a priority to gain lots of exposure and create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
Now, if you’re just starting out and trying to fill your practice in the FIRST place, then follow a step-by-step system that feels easy and authentic to you. The Leveraged Business Home Study System™ gives you the most important things to do to set up simple, solid systems, so that you consistently fill your pipeline and continually get new clients. It’s all step-by-step, not a big mishmash of things. So, you do step one of the system, and when you’re done with that, you move on to step two, and so on. All the tools, scripts, templates, and examples are handed to you on a silver platter. Easy. You can get it at TheClientAttractionSystem.com.