Updated: Jul 10, 2019
Is Networking Still A Thing?
That's a good question! When you hear the word ‘networking’, you instantly think about a room filled with people, chattering, mingling, and someone aggressively shoving their business card in your hand without asking for your name.
I know this scene all too well. So why are we writing about networking?
In this day and age, most people believe that digital marketing is the most effective way to build brand awareness and to generate leads. I can see why they may have that belief, especially when 89% of businesses value Facebook as their best platform for generating sales and leads.
I want to leave a thought with you and hopefully encourage you to see this another avenue for you to increase your brand awareness, and build quality relationships that have the potential to exceed your digital marketing efforts 100 fold.
After reading this post, I hope you will begin to see the value in networking and make plans to incorporate it into your marketing strategy.
So then, what is networking? Or what was this concept created to accomplish?
Why You Should Be Networking
“Networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which business people and entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships and to recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities, share information and seek potential partners for ventures.”
Did you know that 85% of jobs are filled through networking!? That’s pretty huge right? But that’s not even the part that gets me excited and ready to mingle, this is my favorite:
the study went on to say that...“informal professional networks and communities are more important for entrepreneurial success than formal structures such as incubators and accelerators.”
Wow, simply; wow! That's all I will say. If you’re in business or just starting your business, networking should be a very important component of your brand awareness and marketing strategy. But, that’s only if you’re serious about seeing your business succeed and thrive.
I think I’ve convinced you about the importance of networking for business growth and exposure. Now, how to do it the right way, so that you don’t become that lady shoving business cards in people’s hands eagerly and hastily.
Networking The Right Way
First of all, no one likes to be sold to, so be ready to invest in your networking efforts, yes, I said invest in your networking efforts, similarly to how you invest in your marketing, product enhancement and your sales forecast. That same amount of energy, planning and preparation is essential for networking success to build your net-worth.
What is my net-worth?
Your net worth is the number of strategic relationships you have, how strong those relationships are, and your perceived ability to deliver results based on these relationships.
I’m sure you're familiar with the saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who’, this is what your net worth does. It opens doors to resources, opportunities and connections, that would have taken longer to acquire.
Your Intention Will Determine Your Results
What’s your intention when you’re out networking? Is it to:
Give out business cards
Make a sale
Meet potential clients
Book an appointment
If you’re like most people, you’ll say… why else would I network, if not to achieve all the above? Ladies, these goals will leave you feeling disappointed and defeated after every single networking event.
Your focus should be very simple and you should only have one single goal in mind. I know, just having one seems unrealistic and counter-productive, but pay attention.
In a recent study it showed that Nearly 100% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. See that last part? Essential for long-term business relationships. That’s the key, your only goal when attending networking events should be to build long-term relationships, full stop.
All the other results, ie. making a sale, booking an appointment, will come as a benefit of you building a solid relationship with the person you're connecting with.
Adding a quality business or professional relationship to your network of connections will then give you access or opportunities to access their network.
So Be Sure To:
Research the event and/or attendees ahead of time
Note 1-3 key women you’d like to meet
Be a person that adds value
Seek ways to collaborate rather than compete
Be intentional when asking for a business card, don’t ask just because it’s polite, remember they paid for their cards just like you did; I’m sure you’d hate to see your card in the bin outside the event room.
Also, you don’t NEED a business card, if you’re genuine about building that relationship, add them on social media right there, confirm a time to meet for coffee/drink and schedule it in your calendar. Then send them a message, confirming the meeting, and share your excitement about learning more about them and/or their business.
With that approach ladies, your net worth will prove to be valuable over time, your referral rate will increase and this will undoubtedly increase your bottom line as well.
~BCW in Action
Inspire, Empower and Engage with Confidence