Network strategically for maximum return on investment

A lot of precious time and hard earned money is spent on networking, which is why networking should be approached strategically and integrate with the rest of your marketing activities.

It takes time, months even years, to build strong relationships.  Getting to know business acquaintances that really understand you and your business, and you theirs, only comes with repeated meetings and discussions.  Only once these relationships have been built are you likely to start to receive referrals and feel confident enough to make referrals.  Networking is a long term marketing strategy; a very powerful one not to be ignored.

Networking is not all about getting business either.  A huge amount can be learnt from conversations with others as well as finding suppliers and partners to do business with.  There are great opportunities to raise your profile and demonstrate your expertise through speaking, presentations and contributing to newsletters and blogs.

Here are my top tips for networking ROI:

1) Choose the right group for you and your business.
2) Visit the same group regularly to build on existing relationships and get actively involved.
3) Prepare your elevator pitch so that you clearly explain how your offering helps your clients.
4) Listen and ask how you can help.  The more you give the more you receive in return.
5) Set targets e.g. number of meetings per week, quality conversations and connections made.
6) Follow up.  ‘Nice to meet you’ email, connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. 
7) Seek permission to add new contacts to your email marketing list to keep in touch with useful information.

These are just a few ways to ensure you get the most out of your networking.  Please add your tips for getting maximum return from networking investment.

10 thoughts on “Network strategically for maximum return on investment

    1. Nicola Post author

      Come along to the launch of the 4Networking Gatwick evening meetings at The Regency Hotel, Old Hollow, Worth, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 4TA on 3rd May 18:30 – 20:30. It’s going to be a lively evening!

      Reply
  1. Jane Drapkin

    Hi Nicola, This is really useful. I’m still trying to work out the balance between repeat visits to networking groups where I know most of the people and visits to new groups where I will meet new people but may not see them again.I think the getting to know people over time argument is very compelling so will focus on using that approach! Thanks.

    Reply
  2. John Coupland

    Great tips Nicola.

    Ref.”6) Follow up” – The telephone is a great way to follow up. It seems fewer networkers are doing this. Find a good conversation starter, not simply “Great to have met you at ____” or the conversation is likely to fall flat. Maybe share some third party business news that would be of benefit. This medium is also tactical. i.e. Just because many don’t pick up the phone doesn’t mean it’s passé. In fact, the caller is more likely to be remembered for it and will stand out in a positive light. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Nicola Post author

      Absolutely agree, John. I’ve also written a blog about ‘Removing the fear on the phones’. Whilst this was in conjunction with following up a letter or email and not someone that you’ve previously met networking, some of the tips still apply e.g. Smile! and preparation.

      Reply
  3. Philippa

    Nicola,
    I’m joining the prty late as usual…Great insights! Following up with 1-2-1s meetings to get to know your contacts better and more quickly is def a useful step. Preparation beforehand is key. Knowing how to present your biz in a clear, succinct manner will make the meeting more productive. I have a 1-2-1 Summary profile of me and my Biz that I either send in advance of a 1-2-1 meeting or take hard copy with me. If the other party has one too we get far more done in an hour. Leaving time for an extra coffee!

    Reply
  4. Barbara Ewing

    As always, Nicola’s tips are practical, easy to comprehend and put into practice. Thank you Nicola, you will always “Attract” marketing clients with your helpful knowledge.

    Reply

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