At the Business League we’ve attended hundreds of networking events, so it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about what does and doesn’t work. When you first start networking, it’s natural to spread yourself extremely thinly by being general in who you connect with. There’s the perception that you can find a way to assist everyone. If you want to improve your networking efforts instantly, you need to be more specific about who you connect with. How? Keep reading!
Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of the bestseller ‘Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t’ states that “You are more likely to acquire power by narrowing your focus and applying your energies, like the sun’s rays, to a limited range of activities in a small number of domains.”
In our other business, “Lead a Better Business” we work with business owners to improve FOCUS. We describe focus as:
This principle is one we all should be following when networking. As noble as it is to try help everyone, you need to accept that your strengths and skills will be more likely to help some more than others. The pursuit of ‘helping everyone’, quite often in the short-term, means you ‘don’t help anyone’. Only when you’re able to truly offer something of value to someone are you able to create a genuine connection with something tangible to hang the connection on.
Not only does being transparent about your narrowed focus help you to help others better, but it also allows others to understand more clearly how they can help you more accurately.
If you want to build a relationship with someone, it’s going to take time and effort nurturing a connection. If you’re not helping them (and they’re not helping you) then you are both simply wasting each other’s time.
So, the next time you attend a networking event (at our next Business Breakfast for example) be more selective when you work the room. You’ll find implementing this one principle will instantly improve your outcomes at networking events.
Whilst this sounds great, what does it actually mean for you? How do you actually ‘focus’ your networking. Well we have put together a few simple steps to support you “Instantly Improve Your Networking”
How to Instantly Improve Your Networking
To instantly improve your networking you need to focus your networking results and efforts as we discussed above. Some practical steps to help you do this are:
- Clearly understand your ideal customer. Know them as well as you know yourself. Know what frustrates them, what they fear, what they want, where do they hang out, what do they do, what age demographic are they. When you think you REALLY know your ideal client. Go deeper.
- HANG OUT. Work out where your newly understood Ideal Clients hang out. Who has them as clients before you do? What do they enjoy doing? What do they read? What are their interests? Find the people who can help you connect with these people.
- Once you know the people/profession/industry/organisation that can connect you with your ideal client, you need to engage them. Talk to them, understand their problems and work out how you can help them. Build a relationship with these people. Don’t just go in there and say “Hey, I see that you your customers are my customers, can I sell to them?”.
- WIN:WIN. Create win:win opportunities that make it beneficial and easy for those people to connect you with your ideal clients. One strategy we use in one easy-to-implement campaign put us front of over 150 of our ideal customers. We made it win:win for those people who had our customers before us. We understood them, we engaged them and we made it win:win. They were overwhelmed with the result because they looked awesome and their community appreciated the efforts and the connection.
- Once you’ve started focusing in on the your networking efforts its important to continually refine, improve, measure, refine some more, measure some more and watch the results flow in.
Find out more about our Business League Networking Business Breakfasts here. We hold them on the first Wednesday and third Tuesday of each month, so even if you can’t attend this one, you can always attend the next.