So you’ve been going to business networking meetings for a while now. How are you approaching them?  Are you “spending” your time, or “investing” your time in networking.  If you’re there, you’re spending your time, but you may or not be “investing” your time.  What’s the difference?  If you just attend the regular meetings & give your 30-60 second elevator pitch & then leave, you’re spening your time, but not investing it.  To invest it, you need to spend it in a purposeful way that will get results.  Let’s face it, few people are going to spend their nickles on you prior to developing some sort of relationship with you.  They’re going to need to feel that spending time with you is going to be worth their while in some way.  After the first few meetings where you give your elevator pitch, they’re not learning anything & you are droning on without purpose.

To change from spending your time to investing it you need to enter each networking situation with a specific goal or purpose in mind.  Here are some example goals:

– I want to meet a specific person or find someone who knows that person.  (Hint:  Then tell your networking partners, who you want to meet, why, how they can introduce you if they know them, & ask who knows them.)

– I want to set up a 1-2-1 meeting outside this meeting with one of the people there.  (Hint,  know specifically who and why & go ahead & ask to schedule a meeting.)  Don’t just set up 1-2-1 meetings with people at random.  Pick those who in their business share a customer type with you so you can trade customers with each other.  Or pick someone who, by the nature of their business, has an ongoing need for the type of services you provide.

– There’s an old rule called the Paretto Principle or the 80/20 rule.  It says that 20% of your activities will provide 80% of your results.  Try to figure out which activities will be the 20% & spend your effort there.  So in this context, 20% of your referral partners will provide 80% of your results.  Invest your time with them.  Develop your relationship with them.  Recognize that any time you’re spending with other people than the 20% is likely to produce less results.

Here’s to productive networking.  Go forth & multiply.

David Coblitz – The St. Louis Artographer

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