Work Your Network

If you’re networking with strangers, you’re wasting your time. A consultant friend of mine recently complained, “I’m doing 2-3 networking events a week – and I’m worn out.” When I asked why she felt networking was important, she replied, “One of my marketing goals is to do at least 1 networking event a week.” (I pointed out that she just admitted to doing 2-3 a week – and perhaps doing 1 a week is smart and doing triple that goal is causing some of the fatigue.) But there’s much more to the great American business myth of networking.

Myth 1: The more you network, the more effective your networking activities become.

Truth 1: It’s much more important to become well-known in 1-2 circles than to spread your networking activities over many different groups. Depth beats breadth every time.

I then asked her how networking was working for her. She said, “I don’t think I have gotten a shred of business out of it in the last six months.” Her rationale for doing networking: “Everybody knows that you build a business by networking!” Does this make any sense? Or worse, does it sound familiar?

See if this networking scenario has happened to you:

You meet someone for 30 seconds. They mumble something about real estate as you are tuning them out. They ask you what you do, and you say you are in insurance. After 10 seconds of staring blankly at each other, you both head to the celery sticks for lack of anything better to do. Continue reading

On Networking Groups ( Part Five )

Online networking web sites. Are they really networking and are they really working?

They have been springing up all over. They are based on contact management. They are direct in messaging, emailing, and even in the six degrees of separation. They go by many different names and have various methods of finding people. The problem with these sites is that they are not really networking. Do you disagree?

To be effective in networking requires building a relationship with another person. This is difficult to do through messages and email. If you have ever had a discussion with a person through email or instant messaging, I would like to ask if you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to actually pick up the phone to find out what a person was really talking about? Continue reading

On Networking Groups ( Part Four )

What is a leads group? Leads groups seem to be the most popular form of networking judging that comment by the fact that there are more leads groups in existence that have been around for a long time than most other types of groups.

Leads groups are often referred to as closed groups. This means that there can only be one type of a business represented in a group. Lets say that I am a web designer. In a closed group I would be the only web designer represented in the group. Other web designers would be allowed to visit, but if they wanted to join the organization they would have to find a group that did not have a web designer. If there was no opening in an existing group for a web designer, the person would have to go on a waiting list until an opening became available, or a new group was formed.

Most leads groups meet once a week. There are some that only meet once a month. Leads groups offer something that a lot of people need. Structure and discipline. What do I mean by this? Continue reading

On Networking Groups ( Part Three )

I am about to share with you something that I talk to people about a lot. It is focused networking.

In each business, we have a target market or the perfect prospect. If you have been in a particular business for any length of time, you should know what type of person or business owner falls into this category for you. If not, it is time to figure out who this might be.

In networking for business it is important to have a well rounded networking schedule. You should attend many different types of groups in order to reach a broad spectrum of people. If you only attend a business after hours, you may run into several people who provide the same product or service as you. In this environment, it is important to know what makes you different from them. In most cases this is not a company thing, but a personal thing. When you have reached the point that you can relate what makes you different, you will do very well in a competitive environment. Continue reading

On Networking Groups (Part Two)

In “On Networking Groups – Part One”, I spoke briefly about the four types of networking groups. Now, let’s take a look at a category of networking groups.

One category that most people are familiar with is the Chamber Of Commerce. Chambers serve a long standing role in the business community. It is a role of development and support. A Chamber Of Commerce can offer business both small and large with networking opportunities, training programs, legislative assistance and a host of other benefits. A Chamber Of Commerce can be a local, statewide, national, or international organization with separate memberships for each. If you belong to an area Chamber of Commerce, you do not belong to a state or national Chamber. Each plays their own role in the business community.

Some Chambers of Commerce take more of a role in the community to influence policy while others might focus more on business development. Most of them however have a wealth of information for the member that goes unused by most. Continue reading