Jessica Dennehy is the CEO Spin and kill.
Finding alignment for your brand is not just reserved for your customer relationships. Building your network is also a driving force in moving your business (and revenue) forward—if you are doing it the right way.
As an entrepreneur, you can find a plethora of networking events to attend. You can focus on the popular ones in your industry and talk to as many people as possible. But if your efforts are not generating growth in your business, you may be missing an important component. Until you make real connections in those meetings, you won’t see the right results.
Networking is as important as ever, but so many events are boring and fruitless. Business cards are thrown around like confetti, speakers repeat the same information over and over, and a handful of “regulars” make their way around the room, interested only in pitching their services. What a letdown!
This way may have worked in the past, but times have changed. Many entrepreneurs, including myself, create their own networking events that focus on adding value to the community around them, rather than focusing on revenue-generating events full of sales pitches.
Despite popular opinion, networking isn’t about meeting every person in the room and giving your perfectly rehearsed elevator pitch. Your time is too valuable to spend on such outdated methods. The key is to engage in real conversations and develop meaningful connections. Getting real results from networking requires first taking the time to build relationships.
I firmly believe in doing business with others I know, like and trust. To develop that relationship, you need to approach networking with a giver mindset. Instead of thinking about how to sell something, show interest in those around you. Ask questions and really listen to what they have to say. Everyone in the room has a different perspective. You will be amazed at what you learn. Remember it’s not about how many hands you shake; it’s about the energy you bring.
This approach may seem time-consuming at first, but having these conversations will help you understand who people are and what they need, not just what they’re selling. Get to know them on a personal level, find common ground and make sure you’re on the same page. Instead of spending time convincing someone that they need your products or services, spend more time accurately screening people in the beginning. You’ll create effortless relationships in the long run when you bring work forward.
I’ve attended my fair share of events and got so tired of witnessing that decades-old behavior that I was immediately bombarded with business cards and pitches. That kind of interaction keeps me from having a second conversation. It’s what led me to create my own networking events – events that aren’t a pitch fest, but rather an opportunity to build a community to learn and grow from. You don’t want a drawer full of cards that you don’t look at twice; you want connections with people you trust in business.
Focusing on a quick sale is short-sighted and will keep you out of abundant opportunities in the future. Come to events ready to give. Your willingness to share knowledge and help others can have a huge impact on their business and in turn position you as the go-to authority that stays top of mind.
Networking events are about showing up, shining your light and mutually pouring energy into those you align with. Be yourself, not your 30 second commercial. The people who feel connected to what you stand for will naturally lean towards you, without you having to pitch them. They may not need your services right away or don’t know anyone to put you in touch with right now, but if you build the relationship, they’ll know exactly who to call at the right time.
If you’re struggling to get to grips with networking, rethink your approach. Decipher who fits your company and values by spending time cultivating those relationships. Turn away from outdated networking methods. Engage in more meaningful conversations to build a strong foundation for effortless business.