Networking is a very powerful way to build your business and I have met many people who have grown their business due to their networking efforts.
Networking has become a common method of marketing and a few years ago, I was told that this was the new way to market. Unfortunately, I was not shown how, and I have made a lot of mistakes over the years. The first networking group I went to was very large and in the 1-minute round all I heard was people selling to the room. I wasn’t sure what to say, so I ‘copied’ other people. I soon realized this was not what networking was about and the people in the room were not listening to me, like I was not listening to those who were selling to the room.
Networking is about building relationships, building trust and people wanting to refer you. You don’t do this by selling to the room. Anyone who sells to the room reminds me now of a shiny suited salesman.
Getting referrals and building my business is not my main objective when networking. My main objectives now are to build relationships, have support from like minded people who I trust and to help each other. If I do these 3 things, the referrals just come to me.
If you have had a bad experience when networking, I would suggest you attend a positive networking group who want to help. If you are a woman, the most positive group I have found is womenmeanbiz and there are many groups in the South West of England. If you would prefer a mixed group, then you may want to attend wemeanbiz which has also been set up by Philippa Constable.