By Bradley Hatchett – Founder of Network My Club
It’s a time of the year where many are focused on goal setting. But it doesn’t need to be the start of a year for you to review or set goals.
And in this case, setting networking goals.
Setting goals could be the key to making your networking work for you.
Perhaps you’re drifting from event to event not seeing results for the time and effort you’re putting in.
Goals help give you direction and purpose.
Yet many make the mistake of setting audacious or unrealistic goals. Which could apply to most goals in general (like your New Year’s resolutions that are broken within a week).
But in networking terms, this could be something like; ‘get 20 new clients from networking events in the next 12 months’ or ‘gain £[enter unrealistic amount] in new business from networking per month’.
These focus on the end goal too much. It makes your networking become transactional. Not based on building meaningful relationships.
You end up putting pressure on yourself. Start chasing the results. Start coming across as pushy and ‘selly’ at events. Not getting any traction or building valuable relationships. Then losing the appetite to network.
You end up saying ‘networking doesn’t work’.
When really, it’s your approach and unrealistic goals that are to blame.
Instead, work backwards and break down that end goal (which isn’t wrong to have as a desired result of your networking by the way) into achievable weekly or monthly actions and habits.
If your goal is about getting several new clients or revenue in a particular period, what activity needs to be done to ensure you are taking steps towards that?
Examples could be:
- Commit to X number of events per month.
- Research the guest list prior to attending every event, finding 2 guests I’d like to meet.
- Add dedicated time in my calendar after each event I attend to follow up everyone I met.
- Reach out to 5 existing contacts a week via email or LinkedIn.
- Add a weekly/monthly slot in my diary to reconnect with people I met last week/month.
These examples are daily/weekly/monthly actions that will compound to help achieve your long-term networking results.
These become much more manageable and achievable over time, and you start to approach networking with a completely different mindset knowing that these are actions that are producing results.
Treat goals like this as tactics and methods that can be adapted as you learn what is working. And track them! Use a simple habit tracker or add time to your calendar to ensure you are accountable.
And like any goal or habit, don’t do it once or twice and then stop. Be consistent and set time in your calendar each quarter to review your progress.
After all, business networking forms part of your overall marketing strategy. And I bet you set goals and KPI’s for most aspects of that (I hope).
People network for many reasons. So, your goals should align to that. A good place to start before setting goals and building habits is knowing why you’re networking.
For example, you may be doing it purely to learn from and help others as part of an ongoing way to build relationships and become a key person of influence. In which case, your big goal and weekly/monthly habits should reflect that.
Ultimately, networking and relationship building requires work. Just like a house plant. If you don’t give it water and the attention it needs regularly, it’ll gradually die out.
Don’t let that happen to your relationships!
Something we aim to help our members avoid. Not just through the events we host. But by learning your objectives throughout the onboarding process, using our expertise and experience to educate and support you achieve them.
Learn how and tell us your networking objectives by booking a free 1-2-1 discovery session with a member of the team.