I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say “networking doesn’t work. It’s just a waste of time.”
Well, I’m here to tell you networking does work. It takes time and it takes skill to get it to work, but when it does, it can easily become your most powerful marketing tool.
First off, remember that networking is about relationships. Don’t expect to walk into a room of strangers and walk out with a hand full of sales. You’re there to meet and connect with people. In all my years, I’ve only walked into an event once and walked out with cash in hand for one of my workshops.
Rarely will you ever find a sale right there at the event your first time out.
Most of the time it’s going to take some follow up. You need to build enough rapport at the event to get them intrigued and interested enough to follow up with a call, meeting, etc.
That’s why you need to make following up after the event your number one priority to see your numbers multiply.
People buy from people they know, like and trust. You’ve heard that before. (Maybe even from me.) Remember it takes time for people to start trusting you.
I had one group I went to every week for 6 months before I got my first real sale. Then, the ice was broken and I ended up getting over 80% of the members as clients. Some are still clients to this day. (18+ years later)
It takes time for others to see you’re serious and professional. They don’t want to trust their business to a fly-by-night organization. Over the years it’s still amazed me how many people I see show up to an event once or twice and then get upset because they didn’t get any business.
You need to give people time to trust you. Even if it’s via email, phone calls, coffee meetings after the event, etc.
You’ve got to stick around to give them a chance to see you’re legit.
Networking is also a trial by fire type of marketing. You don’t know if an event or group will be a good fit until you test it out. I’ve been to events I was sure would be perfect and found out after the fact that they were just not the right fit for me.
On the other hand, I’ve been to groups I didn’t expect much from that ended up bringing in a bunch of sales, referrals and long term clients I love to work with.
You never know until you give it a true chance.
As you’re out there more, you’ll get better at picking the right places to network and find the prospects, referral partners and connectors who are a great fit for you and where you want to go with your business.
It takes some time and effort but stick with it. You’ll get better and see massive results by looking at the long term, not the short one.
About The Author:
Ely Delaney is a dad, Best Selling author, speaker, marketing consultant and Founder/CEO of Your Marketing University. His goal is to teach marketing in a simple easy to understand format businesses can use to help gain marketing ideas & market their businesses to boost sales.
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