t's Networking Day! You are headed to a promising networking event! You walk into a room armed and ready! You are in "networking mode". You have your elevator pitch down pat! You have done your mantras, your visualization for success and you have enough business cards to hand out to everyone in the room.
You arrive, you smile and have some great introductions, you hand out "ALL" those business cards, you head home after a fabulous event and.......... nothing! WHAT THE HECK!?!
Welcome... to the reality of networking.
One of the biggest misconceptions entrepreneurs have is that who they network with will be who does business with them. WRONG! Oh, you will get the small percentage of people you meet at a networking event that may purchase your product, or sign up for your service, but those people were already looking for your product or service and you just happened to be at the right networking event at the right time.
Ask yourself this question. WHY do I go to networking events? I would suspect that most of you will answer: "To get business." Well... THAT IS EXACTLY WHY other people are there too! They are not there to buy or do business WITH you, they are there to sell their product or business TO you.
That is exactly why people get frustrated with attending networking events. They believe they are there to "get" business and when they don't get business, they get discouraged, they get frustrated and they stop going to THAT networking event. That is a costly mistake.
When you understand that the people you network with are most likely not your target market, you will have much more success in growing your business. WHY? Because when you go networking - the people you meet there are the people you build your business friendships with. These are the people you build your "likeability" factor with. Building strong business likeability with others is the key to referrals and word of mouth marketing. Networking is a tool for your word of mouth marketing.
Make your networking activities about building trust and respect with your business piers. When you network, focus on getting to know the people you are networking with. Get to know THEM! Make a habit of directing the conversation about them. Ask about their family, their hobbies, and yes their business. Get to know why they went into that business, why the like what they do and who they help with what they do.
When you take the time to get to know each other, you will both become each other's biggest supporters. When you hear of someone who is looking for a product or service, who do you always recommend? Someone you know, someone you trust and someone have a relationship with - not a total stranger you know nothing about. When you make a referral you are not only referring them, you are staking YOUR reputation on THEM!
So, Are you taking the time to connect with the people you network with. Do you reach out to them on Social Media? Do you make introductions for them with other people you know will be a good connection for them? Are you inviting them for coffee or lunch - away from the networking arena? How are you building up that likeability factor and with them? Are you giving THEM Value so they want to network with and refer YOU and make connections for YOU?
Stacy Maynard (www.stacymaynard.com) is a social media strategist and online visibility coach. She calls this your R.O.E. Return On Engagement. She says "Your Network IS Your Networth... If you focus on your R.O.I., Return On Investment, then you are only focused on what YOU have to say. If you focus on your R.O.E., then you are truly building relationships first and business second."
What's YOUR Return On Engagement? How are YOU focusing on your business relationships? Start investing time to get get to know the people you networking with so your R.O.E. gets bigger and better and your network grows!
I would love to Connect. Fine Me @lindasztanko on Social Media.