One of the most important elements of any networking strategy is meeting new people.
Most of the time I’m working with my clients to build long-term referral relationship in order to develop great referral partners with key individuals.
Today I want to talk about your wider network. It’s important to always be expanding your network and meeting new people. This goes hand in hand with developing deeper relationships. You must do both.
The Value of New Connections
Meeting new people breathes new life into your marketing efforts. The more people you meet and who know about you, the wider your brand awareness.
New people open new opportunities! Not only can they spread the word about you, you can spread the word about them. They are another resource you can offer. They are potentially new clients for members of your network. One of the biggest “gives” you can offer your network is a new person to experience the group. They may join, they may not. They may hire one of the other members, they may not. You won’t know unless you include them with an invitation.
When I work with business networking groups to improve their results, have their members get the ROI they’re looking for, and to really thrive, I stress the importance of always having visitors at their meetings. If you don’t have any visitors, it should be a red alert! Any successful business networking group has new visitors at every meeting – because of the energy and opportunity that new person brings with them.
If you are looking to build your business through referrals and relationships, it is so important to be with people, live and in person! Relationship marketing is a marketing strategy and with any marketing strategy, it is most effective when it’s consistent. You only stop marketing your business when you close it.
Regularly meeting people and having face to face conversations is vital to your relationship marketing. Email conversations are one way to get to know people, but you miss the audio clues – tone, inflection, laughter – that you gain with conversation. While phone calls allow for the audio clues, you still miss the visual clues. What do their facial expressions and body language tell you that their words and voice do not? By meeting with people, you can build a more honest, reliable connection more quickly – and that connection is what allows us to help them and further build the relationship.
For networking to be truly effective, you need to always network with people you know and people you don’t know. It’s a combination that makes for a successful strategy and ROI.
Finding New Connections
Let’s talk about your network. Where are you networking and who are you networking with?
I recommend to most of my clients that they actively participate in three networks. We look at their business, the type of people they need to meet and network with, then select networks that suit their specific situation.
Many, but not all, of my clients participate in BNI, which is a one person per classification network focused on the exchange of referrals. This network focuses on building the deeper relationships for proactive and profitable referrals.
Another popular and productive network is the local chamber of commerce. This is more of a casual contact network. When you attend their mixers, you don’t know who you will be there! Rarely will you attend a mixer and not meet someone new.
Personally, my third network is a professional association. A professional association is a great network to keep on top of market trends and current with the education in your industry. It’s about keeping sharp within your expertise, which keeps you referable as the expert. This is also a great group for building your support network.
Other popular networks include community service organizations, social groups, and other local networking groups.
Mix things up! Participate in a variety of networking groups and the diversity will provide the opportunity to meet new people!
Regardless of the type of group, visitors are always critical for growth. If your networking groups are not bringing in new visitors at every meeting you have two options, (1) initiate a change and help the group make a practice of having new people at every meeting, or (2) find a different group to participate in!
Why Do You Want to Meet New People?
In summary, meeting new people:
- Builds brand awareness
- Infuses energy into your business
- Provides you with people to invite to your networking groups
- Offers opportunities to refer new people to your referral team – your referral partners also want to meet new people!
- New people = new clients
- Gives you new opportunities to make strategic introductions
- Fills the gaps in your network
- Opens the door to more Contact Sphere professionals and expanding your referral team!
- Presents the possibility of meeting a key individual that could change everything (in a really good way!) for you or someone you know!