The Power of Networking
I recently did a short presentation to a group of marketers at Networx in Brisbane. I was asked to share some of the things I have found work with regards to networking. Here’s a FB Live clip if you’d prefer to watch it. Below are the key points I shared.
Unsure if networking is worth all the time and effort? In less than 18 months I grew MarketSmartly from just myself to a team of 23 and $0 to over $350k in consulting fees – that’s the power of networking. Any time I start a new venture or move to a new area, networking is my number one marketing activity.
Here are my 5 top networking tips to ensure you aren’t wasting your time but harnessing the power and potential that networking has to offer:
Set an objective. What are you trying to achieve?
We all have limited time so you want to ensure you are attending events that are going to be worth your while. And once you get there you have limited time to find the people you really want to connect with, so you need to be clear on who they are.
By an objective I mean: Connect with 2 potential referral partners (and of course be clear on the type of partners they may be, for example an accountant with clients similar to the audience you are targeting). If you’re new to an area, another objective could be to find out where the worthwhile networks are.
Take your networking to the next level and make sure you research the network and where possible, the people attending the event. If the event shows a list of attendees, then take the time prior to the event to research those attending who you would like to connect with. Send them a message prior to the event to introduce yourself and let them know you’d like to meet in person on the day/evening. Give them a reason to want to connect with you also.
Not all networks give you the opportunity to view who is attending beforehand. Perhaps think outside the square and look at other ways for you to increase your exposure at an event if you feel it’s the right market for your brand. For example, is there an opportunity for you to get your business’s brand exposed through sponsorship? Will there be a display area for marketing collateral or are there goodie bags for attendees? Are there potential speaking or panelist opportunities? If so, who do you need to connect with to explore these further?
Look for the leverage
Who are the people that know the people you want to know you? Read that a few times, as it’s a really important concept. Not just for networking, but marketing in general.
Is there potential to meet referral partners and centres of influence? This is a long and slower process but always something to keep in mind when choosing which events to attend. I tend to spend 75% of my time networking trying to connect with these types of people and the remaining 25% on connecting with potential clients.
Give someone a reason to want to connect with you. I use the term magnetism as a metaphor. You most likely don’t want to connect with everyone at an event; you can attract (and repel) whoever you like. Like attracts like, just like a magnet. Start conversations to find out more about the person you are talking with. Ask questions that will give you information that will help you to help them. Listen to your instincts – you’ll know in an instant if this person fits with you. If you are talking to someone at an event and it’s just not the right fit for you and your business, excuse yourself politely.
Being magnetic also means finding ways to help people to remember you. Show your personality, ask engaging questions and provide insightful responses, show your sense of humour (if appropriate). Most importantly be yourself. Nothing turns someone off quicker than inauthenticity. People will remember you for the way you made them feel more than what you said.
If you aren’t on LinkedIn you might want to think about joining, especially if your business is focused on working with other business people. For those that are on LinkedIn (or any online platform for business), when you are trying to gain online connections be picky, it’s about quality of connections not quantity. If someone asks you to connect with them and you can’t see a logical reason why, there is no harm in asking them why they chose to extend you the invite. By doing this you then avoid being connected to people who are just collecting people and aren’t going to bring value to your personal network.
We hope you have enjoyed this week’s blog post, be sure to add any comments or questions below.