So, you don’t think networking works for your business, but you are not sure why. You know multiple people who swear by it, but it just hasn’t worked out for you. The question is are you sure you are doing it right?

A lot of people who have recently started out in business will join a local business network of some description (and there is no shortage of them in Sydney!). They are all slightly different but also have a lot of similarities. In all cases, the success or failure of the group is down to the members and if they are networking in the right way. If you follow these simple tips you will not only get more out of networking, so will everyone else in your networking group:

  1. Go to the meetings – and I don’t just mean once or twice. If you are new to a group make sure you are there for every meeting for at least the first three months. People want to know you are reliable and committed to the process. Don’t show up twice and give up, people need to know you before they will want to help you
  2. Be present at meetings – now this is not the same as going along, this is about being there a little early, leaving a little late, not checking your phone the whole time and really listening to the other people there. If you are just there because you feel you have to be, people will notice and they won’t want to work with you
  3. Follow Up – most people are in a few business networks and they meet a lot of people. If you want to get the most out of the new relationships make sure you get in touch outside of meetings, arrange a coffee catch up, send over more info on your business etc.
  4. Tell other people about your networking – tell people you meet while you are working, tell people in the gym, tell people at the beach, tell your social networks, tell everyone! The more people you tell the more likely you are to recruit new members and help to grow the group
  5. Have a solid elevator pitch – every networking group asks you to deliver one at some point so make sure you have a good one and make sure you know how long it needs to be for each group. The pitch can be anything from 5 seconds at some groups up to 60 seconds or more at others so practice a few different versions. Don’t worry if you talk for a bit too long as the worst that will happen is someone will ring a bell or cough at you so you know to wrap it up. If the group focuses on referrals you also need to know who you want to be referred to as you will get a chance to tell everyone this as well. The trick with the pitch is to be concise, memorable and specific, for example here is my mini pitch:

“My name is Andy Sephton and I am the Managing Director of the Consultants’ Community. I am assuming you have all heard of eHarmony? Well at The Consultants’ Community we are all about b2bharmony as we help match businesses with their ideal consultants. An ideal referral for me is anyone you know who has recently moved from a home office into a shared office or commercial premises.”

This is short, to the point, memorable and has a clear referral request at the end, and feel free to drop me an email if you know anyone you would like to connect me with 🙂

So just remember that if networking is not working for you, maybe you just aren’t doing it right. Want to talk about networking some more? Book in a meeting with us today: thecc.app/b2bharmony

I have presented on this topic at conferences and I have blogged about this area before. You may be fed up with reading about it but it is a core value for me as the Managing Director of The Consultants’ Community. For a bit of a change, I won’t ask you to read about it today, instead you can watch a video I recorded at a recent meeting of the ACL Business Network and hear me talk about it instead:

Want to hear more about how The Consultants’ Community can help your business? Contact us today to set up a meeting.

 

 

This is the motto of The Consultants’ Community and I hope you can understand why. If you are a local business that relies on local custom then you need to be aware of your community.

Most businesses focus on their customers and their competitors, which is a reasonable enough strategy, but when you look a little further it is amazing what you can find. Businesses who operate in your area could become your greatest assets. If you look to connect with other business owners who complement your business, you can start to grow your network.

Once other business owners get to know you they can start referring you to their customers and you can offer your customers access to a wider network of business services. In any local business community, you don’t have to look too far to find these people. Join up with one of the local networking groups (check Facebook, MeetUp and Google, you will be surprised how many you find) or join your local Chamber of Commerce.

The other thing to try and do is meet with the people you think you compete with. You will be surprised by how often synergies between similar approaches can lead to collaboration and long-term partnerships. There are so many different ways to approach the market and finding out how your local business community fits together will help you build your business.

If you want to do more to be part of your local business community contact The Consultants’ Community today at info@theconsultantscommunity.com.au

As a member of a local business community, it is important to get out and about once in a while and meet your fellow business owners. One of the best ways to do this is to attend local business networking events but like anything in business, it is best to know what you are doing before you dive in!

Top tips:

  1. Make sure you have a solid elevator pitch – You will probably be asked to stand up in front of everyone at the event and tell them who you are and what you do
  2. Research the event to find out if it has a specific theme – is it an education based event, is it speed networking, do you need to prepare anything specific?
  3. Arrive early – being one of the first there means people will introduce themselves to you as they arrive and you are more likely to be in the centre of the group rather than the person standing awkwardly at the edge of the room pretending to read an email to look busy
  4. Plan to leave late – if at all possible, make sure you don’t have to rush off at the end as this is when some of the best conversations happen. You have just spent an hour or two with this group of people, you should now know who you want to catch up with so go grab them and see if they can hang around for a more in-depth catch-up
  5. Dress to impress – you don’t have to wear a suit but wear what you would to a meeting with a new client as that might be exactly what this is
  6. Have plenty of business cards with you – if you don’t have business cards, get some made up before the event
  7. Follow up the next business day at the latest – if you want to carry on the conversation drop the person an email saying it was great to meet you, connect with them on LinkedIn or even better get a date for a follow-up meeting in the diary before you even leave the event
  8. If you are planning to visit a lot of networking groups then you should invest in your own name badge – as a visitor to these groups, you will normally get a hastily written out sticky label that will fall off three minutes after you arrive. Invest a few dollars in getting your own badge made and it helps you to stand out as an experienced networker
  9. Don’t write off a group based on one bad experience – give it at least one more try, it could just have been an off week for that group. If it lets you down three times then probably best to move on
  10. You get what you pay for, keep that in mind – A free evening networking event that offers a complimentary drink will attract a very different crowd to a paid for breakfast event. If people are willing to pay money and attend a 7am event they are more likely to be serious about networking than the person who fancies a free wine after work

If you want any more tips or some suggestions of events to attend contact The Consultants’ Community today at info@theconsultantscommunity.com.au or visit our Events and Networking Page.