Maybe you're new to networking, or maybe you've been doing this for years, but either way I'm sure you've run into the kinds of issues we all have with the way networking happens in breakfast meetings, luncheons, and after-hours events in small towns and big cities across the country and around the world.
First, there's the cost. It's easy for it to become a daily grind of $10 in gas, $15 in food and drinks, $10 in event fees, $12 in parking, business cards, brochures, and various collateral, and you could be spending that some days as much as 3-4 times a day!
The there's the time... Half an hour in traffic each way, 90 minutes at the event, all to give a 60 second elevator pitch to other people that are there to sell to you, not buy from you. Sometimes even finding the place costs you another 20 minutes, and circling the parking lot looking for a place that doesn't require a forced march with rations and hydration can be every bit as irritating.
There's a reason so many people are jaded with networking. Of course mostly it's because they're doing it wrong, but a lot of that has to do with how networking events have evolved in the first place.
They're often more social club than practical connectivity centers, so your investment in being with them to maximize your return could often take years, just to get enough people to know, like, and trust you enough to remember your name when the referral opportunity presents itself, once in a blue moon. At that rate most businesses would be so desperate to show an ROI from their investment in networking that they'd be more likely to oversell the prospect and lose the sale anyways.
Look, it doesn't have to be that way, and honestly as I go to more of these events these days, I'm finding more and more people with their noses stuck in devices anyways, instead of working the room to build productive networks. I figured as long as the trend is for people to be focused on their devices, I might as well jump in and create a new way to network that is much more pragmatic and is designed from the outset to do 3 things:
- Educate and Inform. Every event has a real professional development component to it that will hopefully teach you something you didn't know before that can help you grow your business.
- Fulfill Needs. We're not here to have sales people pitch to other sales people, because frankly that's an exercise in futility. No, we're here to exchange contacts based on fulfilling the NEEDS of the other members of the session. You need prospects that are (for example) plumbers? Ok, the group can see how they can make some introductions for you to plumbers that they know. You need a tax accountant that can square you up with the IRS? Let's see what we can do to put you in the right hands. You need a contact in a specific company? Let's see who knows whom that can help. Fulfilling needs is FAR more practical than trying to snooze our way through yet another pitchfest.
- Develop Joint Venture Opportunities. Hey, it's a simple fact of business, especially online, that someone with a buyers' list is exactly the kind of partner you want to work with. What happens if we put our heads together and cross promote or develop a combined offering to cross promote where collectively we win and our customers thrive as a result? JVs are the single FASTEST way to substantially increase sales in the shortest amount of time possible, and frankly we'd be daft not to actively work on building as many opportunities with and for each other as we possibly could.
- Strengthen the Follow Up. You know you've done it. I've done it, we've all done it. Collected 50+ business cards at an event and never even picked up the phone to follow up with them. You spent the money, you spent the time, but you lost and wasted it all in not doing what was needed to capitalize on the investment by following up and following through. At our online events we're actively going to get you to schedule your follow ups with each other DURING the event through private messaging. Now you'll have it booked directly in your calendars, rather than doing the 'Hope and Spray' business card exchanges that simply end up filling up garbage cans across the country daily. Now your investment actually stands a real chance of paying off every single time you attend. That's a dramatic improvement in your ROI right off the bat, wouldn't you say?
Now imagine being able to do all of that without losing an hour round trip in traffic.
Imagine not having to worry about some person making you feel uncomfortable by the way they look at you, or by the way they cling to you like glue. Enjoy the freedom of being able to respond or ignore private chats instead of always being held hostage by a lousy conversationalist. Imagine feeling physically safe and being utterly comfortable doing your networking from your home, office, hotel, or wherever is convenient and safe for you at the time.
Better ROI, lower costs, safer environment, needs-directed networking, productive time use, professional development you can use... that sounds like something worth trying out to me. How about you?
Join us January 3rd, 2019 at 7pm and see if virtual networking can help your business.