The Networker #2: The Key to Unlocking Networking Results
From running 400+ events, I’ve noticed why those that make networking work, and those that don’t.
And it comes down to one key trait.
One that requires no talent.
Regardless of who you are, your profession, or your business.
In The Networker #2, I’ll unpack why it’s so important, and how becoming a more consistent networker actually means less networking, more results.
Taking you from a networker drifting from event to event. To one that’s committed, with habits and clarity on how to make your networking work to drive your business forward.
Let’s dive in.
You and a competitor attend the same networking event.
You attend every now and then.
Your competitor attends every time.
Who are other members and attendees likely to be more familar with? Or who is more likely to come to mind when they think of what you both do?
Unfortunately, it’s probably not you (unless you’re pulling rabbits out of a hat or doing something remarkably memorable).
So, consistent networking becomes a competitive advantage.
It’s the difference between you becoming the person people think of, or your competitor.
You could be the best conversationalist. Or the most charismatic person in the room.
But that means nothing if you’re not attending consistently.
Yet inconsistency is the most common reason I see networking not working for networkers.
Look at it this way.
You don’t post once on LinkedIn and expect a flurry of enquiries.
Or go to the gym once and suddenly have a six pack.
It takes consistency over time. And the same applies to networking.
How to Be More Consistent
Whilst consistency comes from managing your time, having good habits, and self discipline.
It ultimately comes down to how serious you are about networking too.
‘Not having time’ is the most common reason behind networking consistently (it’s also the easiest excuse to make to not network).
But, if you’re serious about learning a language, you make time.
If you’re serious about setting a new 10k PB, you make time.
So only read on if you are serious about committing to consistent networking, or learning how to.
It starts with:
Focusing On Fewer Events
One of the biggest mistakes I see networkers make – thinking you need to be at every single event.
Newsflash: you don’t.
Focus on 2-5 different events/groups to commit to.
Every group tends to have a different frequency of events, so find a good combination that’ll allow you to show up and engage regularly and consistently.
For example, if you choose 4 groups – don’t choose 4 groups that all host weekly events.
Go for something like 1 x weekly, 2 x monthly and 1 x quarterly instead.
Much more manageable. Quality over quantity is always superior when it comes to relationships.
Booking Out Your Schedule In Advance
The further out the better.
Good networkers prefer a month in advance. The best prefer quarters.
Between 1-3 months is a good rule of thumb.
Then protect the events like you would a meeting with a client or prospect.
An easy habit you can create today; set a calendar reminder each month to book your networking events (easier now with the fewer you’re now focusing on).
A 15-20 minute monthly task that will save you hours down the road. Here’s why.
Organising Your Time Around The Events
Can you meet a client or prospect nearby before or after? Or meet another guest from the event?
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 spending that time building on relationships old and new. Taking your networking beyond the event.
Make it a habit once you’ve booked onto an event to contact connections in the area to arrange a meeting.
Network smarter not harder.
Committing to Events
By focusing on fewer events, booking your time out, and organising your schedule better, you’ve increased your chances to committing to going.
Now, as tempting as it may be to cancel if something comes up, resist the urge (unless it’s super important of course).
Understanding why you’re networking (as we explored in edition #1) helps keep you committed.
Every time the temptation to not go networking arises, ask yourself; “is this behaviour going to get me closer to achieving my networking objectives?”
A simple yes or no question to keep you on track.
Removing The Mindset Networking Is For Selling
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 a networking event > don’t make a sale from it > don’t think networking works > lose motivation > don’t attend again.
Then repeat the cycle again in a few months time when you’ve done the same at lots of other events.
(Yes, this is still how people approach networking.)
That loss in motivation is a one way ticket to inconsistency.
Lose the ‘networking is selling’ mentality instead.
Finding An ‘Accountability Networker’
You’re far more likely to become more consistent if you have someone holding you accountable to it.
If your self discipline is waning, find someone within the group, share the fact you’re keen to attend consistently, and ask if they are too.
A simple message like; “I’m keen to make attending this event a habit. If you are too, would you like to hold each other accountable?”
Then each time you see them, check in with each other to see if you’ve book in for events.
Networking can be lonely. Not anymore with an ‘accountability networker’.
The Wrap Up
Yes, life/business gets in the way. I get it.
But the long term result of consistency is; networking less, and getting more from it.
And who doesn’t want that?
Having frameworks, rules, and habits like above helps keep your networking on track.
So try it, in the next 6 months:
- Focus on fewer events, assessing the ones right for you and you’re able to commit to
- Block time out monthly to plan and book your networking in advance
- Organise meetings with clients or prospects before and after events
- Commit to events – remind yourself of your objectives
- Lose the ‘networking is selling’ mentality
- Find an accountability networker
Your future self and business will thank you.
The magic of networking happens between events. But consistently attending sets you up for success.
And success through networking is not about pace.
Be the tortoise.
Become the person people think of.
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