I have a confession to make…
I’m AWESOME at finding network groups … and terrible at actually finding useful connections.
Networking to me means dragging myself to an event where I may, or may not, meet people who are willing to exchange information or develop a mutual interest, all to further my personal goals.
I know this goes against the popular teaching of “we should be looking to help others before ourselves.” But let’s be honest. We are coming in with an agenda and let’s not ignore the elephant in the room.
I have read books, created elevator speeches, and given presentations at these types of events, and all I come away with is a handful of business cards and no real connections that can advance my goals.
Why I Network
I attend networking events to learn and meet people in an industry that I want to sell a product or service.
I am seeking to understand prospects better
- business niche
Once I know these things, I can now build a marketing campaign that addresses the prospects’ issues that they grapple with each day.
In 90 Minutes, I Reverse Engineer the Problem
Let us tap into all our networks; LinkedIn, Facebook, personal and business relationships. Let’s extract their knowledge and have them help us get answers to our marketing questions.
I email, message, and set up luncheons and ask questions. I use their experience and knowledge to help draft my marketing campaign. In a 90 minute lunch, I can learn more about an HR department on how it hires trainers, entertainers and how they seek out information for different departments then I could if I went to 100 networking events.
Networking to Introduce
I hear you saying … “my friends are not the people who I need to connect; I need to talk to other people in another department.”
I have not met anyone who has rejected joining a colleague for lunch to help out a friend who needs to talk to an expert.
It’s working for me; it might just be able to work for you, too.