Networking can be really frustrating

3rd June 2019

How many business professionals do not actively network to gain sales and grow their business? Is it: 1.

12% 2. 25% 3. 35% 4. 60% The answer will be revealed further on. Did you know out of those that do a staggering 70% of sales professionals value face to face networking over online? In a social media world, a large majority of people still trust and want to network with people in a real-world environment, but that doesn't mean social media doesn't work. With 30% putting their efforts in networking through online platforms that number will surely only grow over time. In fact, 41% of professionals wished they had more time to network. The answer to the above question is just 25%. With the power of Facebook, Google and other online Ad platforms I find it excellent that business owners still put their trust and faith in one of the oldest forms of selling. So, in this blog I'm going to cover the frustrations that can arise from networking and some tips for overcoming these. I go to the wrong networking events. But how can a networking event be the wrong event if there's even a small chance you can make a sale. You attend, someone asks you what you do, mentions that it sounds interesting and wants to know more but you never hear from them after the meeting. So, you go back to that event hoping for that person to buy but they don't, so you keep on going back and before you know it you're comfortable networking at that weekly or monthly event with what have become friends, though you never did get that sale. In networking, this happens far too often and it's because you did not have a plan. It's why I mention that networking needs to be part of your sales strategy before attending any meeting. Networking events should be part social but never lose focus on what you're there for: to grow your business. I don't see the return on investment. Have you got a visual sales pipeline such as SPANCOP? Have you asked your recent customers how they found about you, maybe it was a referral from someone at a networking event? Do you keep track of what you spend on networking such as meeting expenses, fuel and even time? The tricky thing about networking is that a return on investment isn't as simple and paying for an event and seeing how many sales you walk away with. There are so many variables that need to be considered. So, before making a decision take time to implement SPANCOP, speak to customers and potential leads, and look at time and money spent per meeting. There might be a few welcoming surprises. As a networking newbie which event do I go to? 4Networking, BNI, BforB, B2B, FSB, Chamber Networking and that's just the regional or national networking organisations I know about. Networking events happen every day, morning, afternoon and evening. If you didn't manage your time and you are willing to over-invest you could spend all day networking. But is that the right way to gain business? With the power of social media, you can quickly find the types of people that network at each of the events and establish if they are your target market. Again, it comes back to knowing your sales strategy by understanding your target market and using a pipeline management tool such as SPANCOP so you can monitor your return on investment within networking. This has been just a quick blog around overcoming some of the frustrations when networking. If you want to learn more, head over to my Facebook group, become a free member and use the community to ask questions and learn. One final tip from myself, it's something that's been mentioned many times before but remember don't just sell to the room, follow up with that person, pass on information on what you do and who you're looking to meet and allow your newly connected acquaintance to sell you to their contacts.

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