So many businesses are jumping on the networking bandwagon to increase their referral sales. But is your networking really working? Are you meeting the right people to add to you business circle or just finding yourself hanging out at the bar with a few friends? Or both?
- Take time to research the events you plan to attend and walk in with a plan for success. At first glance, some events seem like a success due to the flurry of attention you may get as a newbie. But, are the right contacts at this event for you to expand your referral circle? If you don’t leave every event with at least one good contact to follow up with, the event may not be one worth attending again.
- When joining an organized referral group such as a lead share or a BNI chapter, do your homework and make sure you can afford the time commitment to really make it a success. Also, be sure you get into the best group for your business. Every group has its own culture and mix of members. “Court” several groups to find the one that suits your culture and that has the members you want to build relationships with and can refer business to.
- Investment vs. Return. The monetary investment may not be that much, but the time commitment can be very expensive. Every three to six months, run a revenue report and check off every sale you received as a result of the various networking activities. This is a great tool when deciding which events to continue pursuing, and which to ditch!
Most of all, when you are networking, whether at a Smart CEO event, mixer, a speed event, a lead share group, or at the Chamber casino night, ask for the referral that you want (or the person that you want to meet). You can’t be paired with the perfect referral, if people do not know who you are looking for!