Is Your Networking a Dead End Street?

Do you spend a significant amount of time at networking meetings hoping to find new leads and gain people’s interest in your business?  So does everyone else!

Last week I had an opportunity to volunteer at a few local networking events and as I  introduced myself to people asking them about what they do, what their dreams are and what brought them to the meeting, I noticed that very few of them in turn asked me a single question about who I was or what I do.

Sadly, most of them were so busy blabbering on about themselves, their businesses and what they had to offer me, that they completely forgot about the fact that in order to build memorable connections, we need to take the time to not only give the other person enough information to remember us by but also leave them with the feeling that we showed genuine interest in who they are.

Unfortunately, many networking events offer this type of experience and result in wasted time, being exploited for our access to someone else’s target market, and a stack of business cards to clutter out desks.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you to never attend another networking meeting.  Among the masses you will find the occassional gem, a new friend in business who is willing to engage in a “mutually beneficial” relationship rather than blatant self-promotion.  Treasure and nuture these when you find them!  In addition, networking meetings are a great place to simply practice your communication skills and business elevator speech.

What I am telling you however is there is a better solution to achieve business growth: COACHING!  When you hire a private coach, you invest in one thing only – YOUR business.  Your coach will not only be your greatest motivator and cheerleader, they will also help you promote your business.  An excellent business coach has only one objective and that is to ensure their clients’ business growth and success.  If your coach is not willing to offer shout-outs on their Facebook page, introduce you to others in their network or send you referrals, they are not serving you well.

Here are some of the main differences between trying to grow your business through networking vs. coaching:

Networking EventsCoaching
Impersonal1:1 Relationship
May or may not yield qualified leadsPre-qualified leads through referral/promotion
Significant time investmentFocused, small increments of invested time
Hit or miss value in terms of business growthTargets specific goals to grow your business
Focus may be shared or placed on othersFocus is on YOUR business
Random assortment of contactsAccess to niche specific contacts
No follow-up interaction may occurCoach/client relationship strengthens over time
Invests $ in uncertain resultsInvests $ in specific results

Still convinced that networking events can replace the value of working 1:1 with a qualified coach?  Allow me to challenge you to engage in an experiment:  spend two months tracking how many new clients you gain through networking events as well as your time/cost investment.  The following two months, hire a business coach and work with him/her on increasing your client/revenue base.  At the end of the four months, compare your return on investment.  Make sure to let us know your results – we’d love to hear from you!

If you are tired of wasting time at endless networking events and are ready to focus on starting or growing your new kingdom business, I invite you to schedule a complimentary business strategy session with me.  Click here for access to my online calendar.

 

 

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