ARE NETWORKING SESSIONS WORTH YOUR TIME?
The answer is a definite yes… with a few caveats.
1. You have to define your target market.
2. Validation is important; does your defined
marketplace want your product/service?
With those two tasks under control you can now determine where your target market is hiding. Going to any networking meeting is, in most cases, a waste of time and effort. Just because there are several hundred people in the room, does not mean that you will find that needle in a haystack that will turn out to be a customer.
If the group meeting (networking session) is made up mostly of your target market, by all means be there. If not, you can accomplish more by seeking out two identified targets each day and meeting with them one on one.
Single appointment may take a little effort, but I know that social media sites such as LinkedIn and Alignable provide a ready list of prospects. Your job is to reach out and set a time and place for a meeting. Not everyone will jump at an invitation, but your appointment-setting efforts should close about 50% of your contacts.
One more thing, before you meet with anyone, make sure that you have completed at least the foundation part of the Vision Based Business Plan. With that information you can present a compelling argument as to what the benefits your product/service bring to their firm.
With some research you will also find opportunities to purchase a table at a trade show that caters to your target market.
I had coffee with a sales person today who started our conversation by saying that everyone was his target market, but after 5 months and hundreds of calls there were no sales. (I did not make this up; It is a common occurrence for those that have not identified and validated their target market and lack a plan of action to reach that market.)
Networking, (relationship building) is a necessary part of growing a business, but it will only work if it is done the right way.
Tips & Advice by Nick Petra, CFP – Founder of Strategic Duck and BizQuack
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