Networking is a highly beneficial activity that helps those wanting to grow their businesses. It’s great for those with new businesses, and those with established businesses. However, there are still those out there that aren’t sold on it. These people are missing out on a great opportunity for growth. To make sure you aren’t one of those people, let’s look at five of the biggest misconceptions about networking:
#1: It’s a waste of time
Time is our most valuable resource, and we must be careful about where we spend it. That being said, networking is not one of those activities that we should be stingy about our time. Yes, it’s important to make sure you are attending the right events, but the act of developing business connections is an important one and well worth our time.
#2: Personalities at networking events are fake
People think that those they meet at networking events are putting on their fake “sales” face, akin to the stereotype of the slimy used car salesman of days past. Why would we want to spend our time getting to know people like that?
The truth is, you may run into a few people like that, but the vast majority of people are honest and authentic. They are out there trying to meet new people and create a quality network. You simply have to make sure to say hi to enough people to find the good ones!
#3: Owners of successful business does not need networking
This misconception is dual-sided. People think that they won’t run into anyone worth meeting (those with successful businesses) because those types of people don’t need to attend networking events. It’s not true. Many sucessful business owners attend networking events to meet the up-and-comers, as well as to ensure that the newbies know about their business. For those successful business people who DO feel they do not need to network, they are putting themselves at a disadvantage. Their pool for referrals will get smaller and smaller over the years, and they won’t have new people referring them.
#4: Networking and follow-up is too much effort
For those not familiar with networking, it seems like a large amount of effort. Not only do you need to attend the event, but you also need to follow-up with emails, telephone calls, engagement on social media, coffee visits, and more! While we won’t deny that effort is involved, we will say that the more you do it the easier and more automated it becomes. When you schedule time in for the day after an event to do your follow-ups then it will not drag on, and you will get better and better at it each time you do it.
#5: There is no ROI from networking
Some entrepreneurs want to associate a direct dollar value to everything, and networking does translate into a clear ROI (return on investment). When you take into account the cost of the ticket and your time spent on the event, how much money would you have to make to make it worth it? If you consider that someone you met at one event might give you a referral a year later, it’s hard to track that directly.
That’s why it is important for you to set certain goals for a networking event. The more you can associate a goal (such as, 10 additional people to your newsletter list) to your ROI, the better you can translate your event attendance to it.