I love talking with VAs about networking.
Some of them don’t do any.
Some do plenty of it.
Most don’t do it right.
Yes, there is a right way to network. There is a point to meeting people – what’s yours?
If you don’t know, don’t worry. It’s a simple thing – so simple you will laugh actually. Probably.
The point of networking is to grow our business.
BUT the point of attending any networking gathering has to be clear as well. I spoke recently with a VA who had attended 3 networking events in the last month.
First, I’m always proud when VAs get out there… but when I asked her what her goal was from those events, she didn’t know.
I asked her how many business cards she had collected. ‘About 20′. What did she do with them? ‘Nothing so far.’
This is a huge problem. Business cards collected – from people you have met. That you may or may not work with in the future.
NO PLAN. Ugh. I can’t tell you how many VAs I have coached through this exact issue. Too many! And they still keep coming.
So let’s begin again. When you go to a networking event, what is your plan?
You need to set a serious goal in place for every event you attend, in order to make it worth your while. It can’t be arbitrary. It must be organized.
What do you want to accomplish?
Do you want to try your marketing message out on 10 people and gauge their reaction? Count them! Do the analysis when you come home. Figure out how you would change it. Make your changes. Go out again and do it better the next time.
Do you want to collect 5 business cards from potential clients? Make sure you come home with 5! And then know how (specifically) you are going to follow up with them. And follow up.
Do you want to connect with one new strategic partner? Find that person, and talk to them. Set up a plan to speak further after the event.
The point of networking is to work – but in order to do that you have to know what it is that you want to DO there.
Stop wasting your time going to events and just socializing. Really.