Why aren't you networking? Don't you want more work and awareness? 
You may have heard the phrase ‘networking or notworking’ when people refer to Business Networking when they don’t see the benefits. If you network regularly the benefits become obvious, but only if you do it correctly. This article is about Business ‘Referral’ Networking which is different to social and similar networking groups. 
Regularly attend your chosen networking event to build trust with the people in that group. The best way to build trust is to regularly meet and speak to other members and this doesn’t mean just a chat during the meeting. The best way to get to know someone’s business is to have 1-2-1 meetings to find out more about them and their business. Make it personal first then business. 
One of the biggest mistakes people make with Business Networking is thinking it’s all about them, absolutely not. Listen to people and try to understand what they do, how can you help them, and what type of clients are they looking for. Now, you might be saying “how does this benefit me”? If you refer a new client to a member of your group, they are more likely to try and repay you by referring people in return. In this manner your trust grows with the more exchanges you make. 
I also hear people saying “There’s no-one in this networking group that will want to use my services or buy my products”, well maybe there isn’t directly. But you shouldn’t be in a group solely for who is in the room. Think about who those people will know (do your research) It is said that everyone knows 100 people, so you have to remember it’s not who is in the room but also who they know, we call this ‘circles of influence’ or COI. 
Once you decide you should be networking with your business the next question is which group should you attend. There are so many groups to choose from and at different times of the day. There are breakfast, lunch, and evening groups; weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly groups; also, groups that meet once or many times in a given period. To confuse things even more there are also Open groups and Lock out groups. Confused you are? Probably. 
Let’s start with Open groups that allow businesses like your own to be members of the same group. IE Be in the room at the same time as you. But that isn’t always a bad thing since, although they are your competition, there may be areas that you don’t cover but they do. So you can find yourself working with them, rather than against them. Trust building again. 
Then there are Lock out groups that don’t allow your competition to be members of the same group. This has obvious benefits too as you have no competition, but you also must remember that although you have no competition in the room you may have competition from people that already have loyalties elsewhere. Members may not refer to an electrician because they already have an electrician that they trust and have been using for years, so don’t be offended by that. Just because you are the only person for a given business category in a lockout group, you can’t assume that you will get all the business from all members of your group. 
So that’s really the main types of groups. Now you need to decide when the best time of the day is for you to network and where – and that’s a very personal choice. 
Tagged as: Business Networking
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