The Networker #31: 6 Networking Mistakes That Lead to Inconsistency
January 2023. The Networker started with 0 subscribers.
After 5 editions I could’ve given up.
After some editions I heard crickets in my inbox.
But gradually, 500+ subscribers later, traction is starting to build.
And there’s one thing that’s got me there.
Consistency in showing up. Without expecting anything in return. Eager to learn from readers and tweak my approach where needed. Happy to provide value, share insights, and engage with readers.
The same applies with your networking.
You can go to an event and leave without anything tangible to show for it. Or it might feel like you’re getting no where after a few events.
Yet you’re showing up consistently, being curious and interested in others, without expecting anything in return.
Your phone lights up with a LinkedIn message.
It’s a referral from someone you’ve been networking with. They’ve just been speaking to someone who needs what you do.
The consistency starts to compound.
It’s consistency that helps you become the person people think of.
Consistency becomes a networking competitive advantage.
Because when it comes to you or your competitor, who are others more likely to think of?
Yet when networkers come to me with the challenge their networking isn’t working, it’s a lack of consistency I find to be the top reason.
And it’s mostly down to these 6 common mistakes:
1 – Thinking You Need to Be At Every Event
One of the most common mistakes I see networkers make – thinking you need to be at every single event.
Newsflash: you don’t.
Whilst you may feel productive, you’re not forming deep relationships and being memorable.
Focus on 2-4 groups you can commit to, regularly and consistently.
If you haven’t already, finding and selecting the right events is a good starting point.
Narrow the focus, often less is more.
Quality time spent networking in the right place over quantity of events every time.
2 – Not Booking Out Your Networking In Advance
I’m not talking a day or two in advance.
Not when you get to your desk on Monday to start planning your week and realise you haven’t got any networking booked in.
The further you book your networking in advance, the more consistently you’ll be (the next point will emphasise why).
Good networkers schedule a month in advance.
The best schedule a quarter in advance.
Then protect the events like you would a meeting with a client or prospect.
Set a calendar reminder each month or quarter to book your events in (which becomes an easier task with the fewer you’re now focusing on).
A 20-30 minute task that will save you hours down the line.
3 – Not Organising Your Time Around The Events
If you feel a networking event is too much time out of your day, you’re more likely to not go.
However, is that down to your lack of planning and organisation?
Can you meet a client or prospect that is based nearby the event? Or meet with another attendee before or after?
A mindset shift that worked for me is turning a networking event into a ‘networking day’.
By meeting clients or prospects around an event, it means I’m spending time building on existing relationships.
How can you do this?
Once you’ve booked onto an event, bolt on the habit of contacting connections in the area to arrange a catch up.
Network smarter not harder.
4 – Booking Onto Events and Not Committing
You scan over your calendar for the week or day ahead.
You see a networking event.
“Ah that one I’ll give a miss.”
It’s either you’re not networking in the right events. Or down to your lack of organisation.
The previous points help prime your schedule to make committing to the event a no brainer.
By focusing on fewer events, booking your events in advance, and organising your schedule around the event, you’ve increased your chances to committing to going.
Understanding why you’re networking helps keep you committed.
Each time the temptation to not go networking arises, ask yourself; is this behaviour helping me become the person people think of?
A simple yes or no question to keep you on track.
5 – Believing Networking Events Are a Place to Sell
This mindset is setting you up to fail before you’ve even stepped into the room.
I’ve seen this cycle all too much:
You go to an event > don’t make a sale from it > think networking doesn’t work > lose motivation > don’t attend again.
Then repeat the cycle again at other events. Or back at the same events when your pipeline has dried up.
(Yes, this is still how people approach networking.)
That loss in motivation equals inconsistency.
Lose the ‘networking is selling’ mentality instead.
6 – Lack of Accountability
The challenge with networking is that is requires self motivation and self discipline to attend consistently.
Naturally, motivation can waver. Or your discipline can go off track.
Enter the Accountability Networker.
You’re far more likely to become more consistent if you have someone holding you accountable to it. And if you’re holding someone else accountable to it.
This could be someone within the group, or someone you’re close with already attending.
Share the fact you’re keen to attend consistently. If they are serious about networking, they will be too.
When you book onto events, ask them if they have. Arrange to travel to events together. Meet with them before.
Networking can be lonely. It won’t be once you’ve found an accountability networker.
The Wrap Up
Yes, life/business gets in the way. I get it.
Thankfully, to achieve consistency with your networking, doing less does mean more.
And who doesn’t want that?
So try it, as we approach September (a notoriously busy month for networking):
- Focus on fewer events
- Block time out book your networking in advance
- Organise your time around the events
- Commit to events
- Lose the ‘networking is selling’ mentality
- Find an accountability networker
But don’t be fooled, consistently attending doesn’t just automatically mean you get results.
Show up consistently with a curious mindset, and an open minded approach.
Become consistent in your attendance and actions.
Become the person people think of.
Your future self and business will thank you.
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The weekly newsletter to help business owners and sales leaders network smarter.
1 networking tip, trend or tidbit – every Wednesday morning.
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