I was speaking to a friend recently who told me she wasn’t meeting any new people to expand her community and that her business was stagnant. I found this surprising, because we live in New York City. There are millions of people here. And millions upon millions within a 50 mile radius so I asked her “where do you network?”
She named 3 groups.
And amongst those 3 groups there are just 2 that have at least once-monthly meetings.
I told her the problem wasn’t those organizations, but that she simply wasn’t putting herself out there to meet new people. I don’t think networking is a time to hop into an event and try to “get” a client so much as to establish a trusting relationship with people who know other people that you can serve.
If you’ll recall, I have a 3-2-1 plan for visibility that I follow rigorously every month. The “3” part of that formula is three networking events each month. To make sure I’m always meeting new people I make sure that at least one of them is a group that I don’t frequent often. I have a list of 20 organizations that I can learn from and that have the type of people that my community thrives on. People like YOU.
Here’s what I’d like you to do if you think you’re stagnant in business too and if you’re needing to up the ante:
1) Make a list of 2o networking organizations in your region. Use Google, Meetup.com, Eventbrite, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other online directories to find this group
2) when you review the group, make sure they are having a meeting at least once every two months. If they are not having in-person meetings that often, make sure they have frequent online engagement, and an in-person meeting at least once a quarter. I found that organizations that don’t do at least this don’t have enough strength to build a community
3) Go through each of those organization’s calendars and book out your networking meetings for the next 2 months. That means you’ll have 3 events each month. Make sure at least one of them becomes your “recurring entourage”
4) Attend each event with a goal to really connect and build a relationship with 3 people. You only need 3 quality conversations to make networking work on your behalf. Have business cards for others that you meet, but BUILD with about 3.
5) Add your 3 new friends to your contact database, and start to build and follow-up with them within 2 days of the event. This extends the conversation and gives you an opportunity to really connect.
I’ve used this simple formula for networking for 3 years and I get clients out of the blue as a result of it. If you think there just aren’t any groups near you, think again. Look for associations, chambers, etc. and you’ll start to see opportunities to network and grow all around you.
P.S. If you’re in the New York area and want to know who’s on my list of 20 make a comment below. If I get at least 10 responders below I’ll share my secret stash