Effective Networking

effective networking, referralAs I talk to people about "networking," I commonly hear two opinions.

Two Responses

First, I meet people at networking events who really believe they need to be there for their business, but they have no clear goal for being there. When I ask them what their goal is for the event, they often respond with a generic, "I just want to meet people." Meeting people is fine, but my question is "Why? What kind of people? What do you want to happen when you meet them? What will make this event a success for you?" I am continually amazed at how few professionals really have clear goals for their networking activity. The second opinion I hear when I talk to people about networking is, "It's not that fruitful, so I don't do it much." Their experience has been such that they either didn't have a clear goal or they had unrealistic expectations. In both cases, they perceive networking as a disappointing and fruitless experience.

My Experience

Personally, I love networking. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about their businesses. I am a part of many different networks that allow me to meet different kinds of people and prospects. Occasionally, I'll attend a "weak" event, but most of the time, I walk away with an invitation for an appointment or two. Everyone that I schedule an appointment with is either a prospective client or a prospective referral source. Either one is a "win" to me. Networking is one of the ways that I keep my pipeline full, and it is a great place to find new referral sources. Of course, relationships have to be nurtured over time before they become profitable referral sources. But it does happen if you have a good Referral Marketing System. To learn more about how a Referral Marketing System works, see my blog, “Do You Have a Referral Marketing System?” What has been your experience with networking? Do you find it effective? Why or why not?

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