I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say comments such as:
“I never get business at networking events.”
“I don’t have a need for that specific speaker.”
“Networking doesn’t work.”
And most recently, ” I have a blog and I network online. Why do I need to go to any events?”
Networking should not be about just exchanging business cards nor should it be done with the goal of making an immediate sale.
It should, however, be about visibility AS WELL as having the foresight of knowing WHO and what kind of people are going to be at what events. You see, I was able to quadruple the market share of our previous business in 18 months not just because I “networked” but because I went to where I predicted the people I wanted to meet would be. I went with the intention of making 3-5 quality connections to develop relationships with, to try to help THEM grow their business and in turn build social capital and brand awareness.
Visibility: capability of being readily noticed (Merriam-Webster)
BLINDING FLASH OF THE OBVIOUS – I went to as many events as possible to make myself visible and totally accessible. In fact, it got to the point that people could start to trust that they would inevitably see me at some event during the course of the week so people would start to come and say “I was going to call to talk about your services but I knew that I would see you at this (or that) event.”
This being said, the subject line is one of my all time favorite quotes is from Wayne Gretzky. I feel it is extremely applicable and I reflect on it often when deciding what events to attend, what social networking websites to frequent and how I invest my time. It goes, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. ”
How can you apply this to YOUR online and offline networking strategy?