What is Your Networking Plan?

One of the first things I work with my clients on is the proper use of “Networking”, as well as the best ways to use their time and energy when they are networking. Over the last 15 years, I have watched people spend many hours networking. As a matter of fact I was one of those people. It is exactly how I got the moniker, “Queen of Networking”. One day, my mentor asked me to begin to track all my time. Time that I spent networking, time I spent answering the phone, emails, working on projects, surfing the net, and so on. This was an eye opening experience.   I found that most of the stuff I was doing was not having a positive impact on my business bottom line.

60% of all of my activities in a given week were around networking. Going to the events, following up with every single card that I collected, staying in contact via email and phone calls, screening and fielding emails and phone calls from people who met me while networking, signing up for other events, driving to events, preparing for the events and so forth and so on. You get the picture; I was a very busy lady. Busy does not equal profitable.

Once we had a clear understanding about where my time was going, it was now time to look at how much of that time was actually having a positive impact on my business bottom line. What became painfully clear is while 60% of my time was spent, adding people to my database, and networking, networking, networking, 80% of my income was coming from 10-12 people, 200 where people whom I knew, supported and referred and the other 3000 names and contacts in my database were just that – names and unfulfilled relationships.

The most important feedback that my mentor gave me was simply this statement; “Imagine what your business would look like if you spent 60% of your time nurturing the 10-12 people who are helping to grow your business.” It was a statement that would keep me up at night.

Today you will not find me at every event and when I attend a networking event, I do so very strategically. I have a goal in mind, a purpose to be fulfilled and connections to make for at least one of those 12 people who were helping me to build my business. When I network for others, my own business grows with very little effort on my part. I have the opportunity to see “Givers Gain” in action.   Before you go to your next networking event ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where is most of my business coming from?
  • Which organizations are producing results for my business?
  • Who passes me the most business?
  • What are my goals for the event?
  • Who do I need to help?
  • How can my networking activities help my referral sources?
  • What is my networking budget in both time and money?

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