Getting ROI from networking efforts
In my experience as a business owner, I most commonly hear from people statements such as, “I should really make a point to network more” to “I enjoy networking, but I find it hard to work it into my day and calculate my ROI from those efforts.”
Depending on your industry, networking can be more of an art than it is a science. Remember some of these simple tips below to help you increase the ROI for your networking efforts.
1. Don’t leave without an appointment
It can always be challenging to go to a room full of strangers, meet them, and figure out how they are helpful to you obtaining your goals. It can also be tempting to leave early when you don’t see immediate value in the space where you are attending. Just remember to make sure you do not leave without making at least one appointment with someone there to see them at a later time after the event is over.
Scheduling a meeting for someone you encounter at a networking event (with their meeting your list of minimum qualifications) can often turn into generating great connections or sales.
2. Notice and keep what’s working
In networking environments and events, there can be a lot going on. There are people of all different backgrounds moving and talking with each other in a variety of areas. As you network keep a record in your mind over thing you are doing that is working for you that is generating more results of what you want to see happen. For your future events, recreate situations that led to positive results in previous events.
Notice what kinds of conversations you get into that work, and get focused on seeking out more of those kinds of conversations. You can even apply this method to noticing where you are more likely to get into conversations – for instance, high traffic areas at the bar usually get me into more frequent conversations because people are in line waiting for a drink. If you notice yourself getting into more conversations near the bar area than standing somewhere else, keep what works and throw away what doesn’t.
3. Commit a small portion of your week to social networking
Make sure that you don’t just go to events to network, make sure to include your social networks into your physical networking ecosystem as well. Usually, I go out and get a few business cards from qualified leads, do some searches online, and later invite them to join me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and other social networks. The good news is that not only do you seem friendly, you can retarget those connections for a variety of strategic networking purposes later since they will be keeping in touch with you.
Adding people at your networking events to your social networks is one way to have the victories from your last event carry forth into your next ventures and endeavors. Keeping your old network informed about what you’re currently doing and looking for is keep to keeping people engaged and keeping them volunteering resources as you mention to your social network that you need them.
4. The most common missing ingredient
Now that you have people from your networking events into your social network, spend time giving them value. This doesn’t mean advertising what you do and what you’re looking for constantly. It just means spend some time making posts you think your social network would find helpful, useful, and interesting. The more you do this, the more your network values you. And you are slowly building up your emotional bank account with your social network.
Every so often, you can make a request to your social network and depending on how much of a deposit you’ve been putting in, is somewhat how much you can safely pull out from your network at a later time, except when you pull value in the form of a request from your social network, the value you get back is often in the form of leads, connections to other professionals, or answers to questions you have that you were unable to solve yourself.
Ultra connected people don’t just walk into a room and expect the world to cater to them, they’ve invested years in building a network, person by person, just as one builds a house brick by brick. Holding all of your network together adds longevity and keeps your pipeline full, so long as you’re always adding value and offering your own network as a resource to others. Get more leads by doing the hard work, because most people don’t make much effort when it comes to this age-old practice.