So you’ve found your networking group 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.
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 talking about what you do for clients, sharing testimonials, highlighting expertise and qualification in your field. 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.
Your product or service will also affect how quickly you receive business opportunities. If you are a printer most of us understand what you do, we can readily spot an opportunity and will be more prepared to give you a try with a low value referral. However, if you are a “Business Consultant” it will take longer to get to grips with exactly what you do, the opportunities will not be so obvious and your cost will be substantially higher making referring more prohibitive initially. I should add though that, across the year, a printer will need a higher number of opportunities than a business consultant.
If you are going to join a networking group you need to be prepared to commit fully and not expect a quick buck. Membership of most networking groups is for a year which for many businesses is 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 you jeopardize the trust, confidence and popularity you have built with fellow networkers.
Unfortunately the end of year one is the most likely time for members to throw the towel in…. usually just before they started to enjoy real business transforming results.