So you’ve decided upon the networking group you want to join and paid your money. Now all you need to do is turn up and the business will roll in… right?
Wrong! One of the main reasons members leave networking groups is because they got little, if any, business. This is the symptom, what I would like to talk about is the cause. There is a common networking problem that affects women as well as men and it is called premature expectation.
The following may help you understand the problem a little better.
Networking is about relationships
Like all relationships these take time to develop. The more time you invest in developing them the quicker they will deliver results.
I love you!
Well maybe you don’t have to be loved but you do need to be well liked. The more you put yourself out, are generous with your time, support and information the sooner others will want to help you in return.
Trust me I’m a ….
It is not likely that anyone will put their reputation on the line and recommend you to a valued contact until they know they can trust you. Trust is built by spending time getting to know each other on a one to one basis. This will be time outside of the networking meeting to talk about what you do for clients, sharing testimonials, highlighting expertise and qualification in your field. It’s a great opportunity for exploratory questions and really delving into what it is you do for your clients. Offering free tasters of what you do and giving free advice can also heighten levels of trust.
Confidence should be like an aura around you. The way you look, behave, engage and conduct business all instill a level of confidence. The higher the level of confidence in you the higher the level of business you will receive
If you are going to join a networking group, you need to be prepared to commit fully and not expect a quick return. Membership of most networking groups is for a year, which for many businesses, is the same as the length of time it takes to develop the relationships, trust and confidence required to gain quality opportunities. Once these start to flow they will continue unless, of course, you jeopardize that trust, confidence and credibility by behaving unprofessionally.
Unfortunately, the end of year one is the most likely time for members to throw the towel in…. usually just as they were about to enjoy the fruits of the past year’s relationship development. Treat networking as a long-term investment and you will enjoy real business transforming results.