So often I meet people at networking events, and once they have asked me what I do, often respond in a couple of ways:
- Oh I have a LinkedIn account, it’s never done anything for me
- I tried the networking thing; it was always a waste of time.
The common denominator here is usually the person that I am speaking to, and not the fact that LinkedIn or Networking at large are not good tools to build your business.
Recently, I set my business masterclass group a series of exercises to complete in the next 30 days to reinvigorate their networks and supercharge their connections; so I thought I would share them here as well in case some of you are struggling with how to derive benefit from your personal and professional connections.
Write down the top 10 professions who you have as clients or have referred you work.
Go through your Facebook friends list, do any of your friends or family work in those professions? If so reach out and make a time to catch up for coffee to talk shop and see if you can work together, collaborate or cross refer.
Google and find the industry associations for all 10 of the professions you wrote down. Then look at what events or networking opportunities there are within those associations. Reach out to the member services officers and see if there is a way you can collaborate or sponsor an event.
Set yourself some networking KPI’s. I have been a member in BNI for over seven years prior to becoming a franchise owner and Executive Director and I can confidently tell you that you need to network outside of your comfort zone. I have a personal KPI to attend one event a week that has nothing to do with BNI but that builds on the strategic networks I have in other industry and member associations. One event a week may seem a little full on so maybe start with one a month, after all, not everyone wants to be as highly caffeinated as me.
No coffee or lunch is ever a waste of time; aim to have two lunch meetings a week with new people in your networks. It is a great way to ensure that you actually stop and eat and it’s productive too.
Fortune is in the follow up. You have to care and want other people to succeed; the more time you take to make connections for others, the more they will open doors for you. This is literally how I have grown all of my businesses.
My final two cents:
Busy is not a thing. So many people tell me how busy I must be with three businesses and two kids. I’m not busy, I am grabbing life with both hands and taking advantage of every experience and opportunity that arises – and that happens when you take the time to meet people and get to know them.
Happy networking! If you try these and you find them helpful, let me know how you go. I love hearing peoples success stories.