This past week or so, networking has been the particular point of conversation for me. Most of you understand the importance of networking but are not quite as sure about how many events or groups you should participate in on a regular basis, how to budget both time and finances accordingly in order to participate, or to how to select which ones to participate in or not. The answers are individual, based on what works best for you and your business.
Networking events or groups offer the opportunity to be in contact with more people in a one- or two-hour time frame than you could by personal visits. How long it takes to build a relationship of knowing, liking, and trusting depends on what happens after the first introduction or meeting. Follow-ups and attendance at subsequent events or meetings are even more important and vital to the value of the networking opportunity for your business.
- Decide which events or groups have the potential of providing leads or contacts for your business.
- Attend them as a guest at first to get a better idea of how they function as a group and the results that they as individuals have enjoyed from participation.
- Find out what type of programs they have on a regular basis along with feedback from attendees.
- Ask yourself if this group as a whole represents the type of customers or clients you are looking for.
As you know, you only get out of something what you put into it. Networking is a tool to help you get the end result of more business. As any tool, it is only as effective as the person behind it! .