How many of you attend at least one networking event each month? Maybe you attend one a week, or even a different one each day. In addition to these meetings, I try to meet as many people as possible for a networking coffee chat after meeting them at an event, or if they were referred by one of my networking partners.
Recently at one of these networking events, someone provided a presentation of their business for the group’s information. It was the presenter’s first and only attendance at one of the group’s meetings. I consider this to be what I call “drive-bye networking”.
We all agree that people do business with others that they know, like, and trust. How do you build that level of knowledge about anyone when you meet them for the first, and maybe the only, time? I firmly believe that meeting with a person individually and getting to know them is better than attending a one time presentation.
If you want to gain business through the referrals of your networking associates you must be known as someone who is reliable. You should be a continuing attendee of a networking group, contributing to, and participating in that networking group. Others want to know that you will be there when they need you.
That does not mean that you must attend each and every meeting of a group. However, you continued attendance, and support, should be the norm and not the exception. We all accept that business does come first, but we can support our networking group’s partners even when we are absent.
Now, what about someone who comes to a group as a guest speaker? They should be recommended by someone in the group, or by the group’s leader. Make the time to meet with them individually and get to know them better. Perhaps you may need to meet with others more than once or twice to accomplish a level of comfort. Take the necessary steps to find out if your reputation will be intact when recommending anyone.
The term “drive-bye networking” can be applied to individual meetings also. This is when the other person arrives late to a meeting, announces that they only have 15 minutes to meet, asks no questions about you or your business, or engages in a “hard sell”. They may even cut the meeting off as you are trying to learn what they do.
This person makes you feel somewhat used, and you know that they do not value relationships. I will never recommend someone to anyone else if I do not know, like, and trust them. Neither will I recommend someone who I do not believe will value the time or business of anyone else. My reputation is too valuable to me.
Remember we are more than what we say to others; we are also known by how we treat others. Appreciation Marketing is the practice of treating others with respect, giving to give, not to get, and helping others improve their lives. Good karma is a very powerful networking tool to use each and every day.
I would like to solicit your thoughts from your experiences with networking groups. What are your beliefs on this topic? Please let me have comments; you may also call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. In addition, maybe we will find some new networking groups that we can recommend to others.