- Last week I was speaking to a room full of hearing loss specialists about business networking and the question which came up again and again was “do business networking groups work?”.
In fact, I meet hundreds of people on my networking travels every month, and that is one of the questions I get asked most often, no matter what business people are in. Often the question is actually phrased “but business networking groups don’t work for my business”.
So here’s my answer.
Business networking groups, including breakfast networking events, are a tool. They don’t work in and of themselves. They are something for you to use and make best use of. and learning how to use them, is as vital as any skill you can learn in business.
Networking events give you a platform to talk to people about your business. They give you a platform to expand your network, and that network may grow to include suppliers, prospects, advisers, friends and other contacts.
In order to know whether something is going to “work” for you, you first need to define what “work” means to you. If you’re looking for very quick sales, then you may need to add other sales and marketing activity to your networking.
Networking events aren’t full of people eagerly waiting to buy from you. But they may well buy from you if you put the effort into making and strengthening relationships with the people you meet there.
Once you know what you’re setting out to achieve, you can absolutely make networking work for you. And here are a few ways you can make it work more quickly:
- Treat your networking as work. Regularly commit to being at networking events and show up.
- Remember that everyone is there for the sake of their business, once you learn to work with that, you’ll get much more from it. I wrote this article on that subject.
- When you introduce your business, think about what the people in the room are buying. Remember they don’t want to know what you do, they want to know what it will do for them.
- Always follow up. Always. It’s your job to remind people you exist and not their job to remember you.
- And finally, remember that not all business networking groups are the same and you will need a different approach for different groups. Hopefully this article may help – Different business networking groups need different approaches