Networking - a business owners tale
by Heather Townsend, Author of The Financial Times Guide To Business Networking on 2 February 2012
What’s your goal when you go networking? Is it a positive goal which will help you target, focus and engage with the people you are meeting – whether in real life or online?
I recently heard one business owner’s first attempts at setting goals to make is networking more focused. Like many of us, he felt uncomfortable networking – so set himself a goal to make sure that he went and got some value out of the event.
His goal was to gain 15 business cards. A little while later, he realised that he may as well have just put 15 business cards in the bin, and saved himself the time he had wasted going out to the event.
So, next time he went networking, he changed his goal to ‘give out 15 business cards’. A little while later, he realised that this new goal was not much better than the first and he may as well have put 15 business cards in the bin, and saved himself the time he had wasted going out to the event.
So, he put his thinking cap on, and read some blog posts on networking, and realised that he needed to follow up if he was to gain any business via networking.
So, next time he went networking, he once again targeted himself to give out 15 business cards – and to follow up with an e-mail to each person.
A little while later, he realised that he may as well have saved himself the time and effort of going out networking and sending the follow up e-mails to all fifteen people, as he STILL didn’t get anything from his networking attempts.
And then the penny dropped, as he realised…
1. He needed to be focused and targeted about who and where he networked with – networking is not a numbers game.
2. Following up after networking also needs to be targeted and is the start of the process to build up a relationship – not the start of a sales process.
Does any of this sound familiar?
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