Networking expectations?

13th June 2019

I remember reading a great quote in the Entrepreneur regarding how networking can increase your business net worth.

-Every intelligent person involved in business knows to invest in money, but only the wise also invest in relationships.- It's also true when it comes to selling. Sales are built on a trust that is gained from forging meaningful relationships between the sales person and the buyer. We would never buy something not trusting either the company, sales person or product, so when you trust all three buying is even more likely.   Now reverse that and become the sales person. What tool allows you to meet potential buyers, give them information on the company and product while building trust with the buyer? For me it's network meetings.   Still not convinced. Virgin.com and HubSpot back this up with a great stat, -95% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long term relationships.   What result should I expect when attending networking events?   The simple answer should be more sales because if you don't get sales you don't have a business. Well that is true but when it comes to networking is that the right approach?   In my experience going there with only a mindset to gain sales can be dangerous to how you network. You lose the social element; you push too hard and anyone that might be ready to buy could hesitate or ask more questions and take you back to the start of the sales process. People at networking events go there to promote themselves and gain their own sales, not to buy. It's good to remember that when networking.   Now don't hold back if you are able to sell to someone in the room, but networking should be about finding leads and moving them onto the next phase in your sales pipeline, which most likely is going to be a meeting away from the networking group where you can follow up and answer any questions they might have.   Have more visibility when networking   Networking isn't a place to go and then 'hide in the corner'. Now we all have to start somewhere, and I realise that for most including myself, when attending your very first meeting it's more comfortable to be led by others in the room, speaking to only those that approach you. But as you start attending more networking events your confidence should grow and within time you will start to develop yourself as a leading voice for the products you sell. Especially if it's a group that you attend regularly.   Being a leading voice will lead to opportunities to speak in longer informational or promotional slots that many groups have. If you can position your presentation correctly people will see you as an authority for that sector and mention you to others. Your visibility will grow.   Learn from others   Where else would you find a series of professionals willing to give advice away for free? Normally we'd turn to audiobooks from Audible, books from Amazon or training courses from Udemy which all cost but most of us consider that a leading way to gain knowledge. Although it's impossible to replace the knowledge you would gain from an in-depth one-to-one coaching session, networking events are a great way to gain some quick tips that normally you'd only gain from books or online training. A networking event is full of local business leaders that are taking visibility seriously and giving away advice for free.   It's important to remember that networking can drive brilliant results but like everything you need to have a plan. Just turning up to each event hoping for a quick sale won't work, and if it does it won't be successful in the long term. Make sure you have a plan, make sure it's part of your sales strategy and more than anything if you haven't yet built a strategy head over to my free Facebook group and ask myself or the many others on the same journey how to go about starting it.   Subscribe and get notified when new blogs are posted and receive a FREE -Networking Plan- template. Work out where is the best place to network to grow sales by completing the FREE exercise.  

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