Where do you go to network, and what type of meetings do you attend? Do you like groups where the attendees are restricted in number by industry represented, or do you like groups which allow multiple attendees from any industry? Maybe you prefer groups which are specific to a single industry, or do you favor groups that welcome anyone and everyone at each meeting, including career seekers.
How about the meetings themselves? Do you prefer a group where everyone just mingles, having random conversations? Do you seek groups where the attendees each introduce themselves in turn and then seek out whomever they wish to get to know? Perhaps, you like the groups where you are penalized for not passing referrals to other members or where you are restricted to only referring members.
In other words, there are all types of groups with all versions of agendas. You must find your comfort level at whatever type of group or meeting agenda you like. It does not matter what you decide, I encourage you to network, and network often. I have always said that I will attend at least once any group or meeting to which I can gain admittance.
It does not matter the subject of the meeting or the type of group. Look at the members of the group and decide if they fit what you want as clients or prospects. Then take a different look and decide if the people that they may know are the people whom you want as clients or prospects. Remember it is not who you meet and get to know, but the main point may be whom you can help market their business and exchange referrals.
You are not at a networking meeting to sign a new client. You are there to market, not to sell. You are sewing seeds that will one day grow into a garden. Market, exchange contact information, and follow up. Get to know those whom you meet as people, not as prospects or referrals. You will do business with people that you know, like, and trust. Do the marketing right, and the sales will follow.
Be prepared to market yourself and your business at every networking meeting. Be ready to deliver a 15 second, 30 second, 1 minute, 3 minute, or 5 minute summary of what you want to say. If you cannot take all the time allowed, ask for questions. Be professional no matter how much or little time you have. Just enough information to get others to ask for more data is sufficient. Do not give a long presentation.
Every networking meeting is the time for you to show your professionalism. Have your name tag on, your business cards and a smile to provide to others, and chat with those whom you do not know. Be willing to contact the people that you meet so you can start building networking relationships, if possible. Then support each other, and start to gain partners, referrals, clients, or all 3 from these relationships.
As always, please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. If you need help in networking, look to your partners or let me help you. Networking meetings are everywhere, but you must be willing to attend them with the right attitude. Remember, professionals go networking professionally.