Have you fallen prey to the allure of speed networking? According to Maree Hamilton of Network Events Melbourne, in business, as in the rest of life, the only way to form lasting relationships is to take your time.
Speed networking is like a one night stand for your business. Think about it! Business owners sit around a table, hand over business cards and expect a result from a quick five-minute conversation.
What really sucks about speed networking for me is that many of Australia’s major business networks promote this activity. The basic essence of networking is to create mutually beneficial relationships built on trust. How on earth can you even hear properly when everyone is talking and clammering to include everything into their allotted time before they move to the next person?
Is the speed networking scene like speed dating?
ABSOLUTELY! I think most business owners would prefer to create serious ongoing relationships with their alliance partners.
Networking can only be effective when you take the time to learn more about each other’s businesses, review business products and services and create an ongoing relationship. You can’t refer potential leads if you are not certain that the person can be relied upon to do the job and do it well.
How do you gain an outstanding reputation by pimping your business?
|Maree Hamilton of Network Events|
Short answer – you can’t!
There is an art to networking – be yourself, enjoy the journey and be open to learning and new experiences. Don’t rush it!
Don’t network with speed but CARE – Create, Alliance, Relationships, Effectively.
My business network, Network Events Melbourne, is like a dating agency for business. We match businesses with potential alliance partners. People can build relationships and end up with an endless stream of quality referrals without even attending a business event. We do the matching and data profiling of all members. We also match members with other members that can help meet their needs for marketing, bookkeeping, real estate, banking, travel etc.
Do your business a favour, avoid the sharks out there. Take the time to find the right fit with other businesses that can potentially refer to you. This means endless referrals in the long term. Better still – create a referral program to really kick start your growth. There is a real science to attracting clients on an ongoing basis. To really excel at what you do though, you MUST take the time to work on how you relate to others and create business relationships. You need to be a good listener and not sell yourself at every opportunity. All business is built on relationships and the way to excel in business is to excel at building meaningful relationships with others.
Lead generation is generally not the hard part – converting the lead to a sale is!