Networking Time Saving Tips

Every hour you invest doing something has an opportunity cost.  Every hour you spend doing one thing means you are not doing something else.  What else could you have done with that hour, and what would have been the return on that hour invested?  If you could have been more productive, spent your time more wisely or made more money doing something different, why wouldn’t you?  



Effective networking generates a lot of business, but it can take a lot of time.  Time is money.  You can make more money, but you cannot make more time.  Consider these time saving Tips for Networking:

  1. Target The RIGHT People:  You do not have time to build relationships with everyone.  Focus your efforts on people in a related profession who are good at what they do, and good referring partners.  Because you are in a related profession, you are in a position to refer a lot of business to each other. Because they are good at what they do, you can trust them with your referrals. (See our blog on building relationships with the right people).  
  2.  Target The Right Functions:  Before you invest time attending a networking meeting, Chamber of Commerce breakfast, workshop or mixer, make sure it is the right function.  Look for events your strategic partners will be attending.  Look for events that allow you to deliver a short commercial to the attendees and ample time for open networking.  Events that have a set agenda full of announcements and presentations may not be as valuable to you as an event that allows you to deliver a commercial followed by open networking time so you can meet people and build relationships. (See our blog on Strategic Partners).
  3. Price vs. Value:  The time you invest attending any function is much more valuable than any nominal fee that might be charged to attend.  Price is what you pay, and the value is what you get.  Free groups and events draw an audience driven primarily by cost.  Usually you will find better connections and referring partners at premium events.  Attend a few free events and pay close attention to the caliber of connections you meet.  Then attend a few premium functions and see if you notice a difference.   Target the functions that deliver the most value to you. 
  4. Set Your Goals: Set goals before you get to the event.  Maybe you want to meet three strategic partners at the event, or perhaps your goal is to line up a speaking opportunity or get interviewed on a local radio show.  Maybe you want to get past the gatekeeper and get an introduction to the decision maker at a specific company you have been trying to connect with for months.  Knowing what you goals are will help you achieve the value you want in exchange for the time you invest at the event.  Be sure to ask everyone you meet at the event if they can help you achieve the goals you set. 
  5. Meet The Connectors:  Once you select an event, arrive early and meet the organizers.  Offer to help them set up for the event.  They will appreciate your help, and might be willing to help you sometime.  They will know many people at the event and can introduce to a few great connections at the event.  Chances are the event organizers are community connectors and might prove to be very useful to have in your network in the future. 
  6. Make New Connections:  One of your goals for every event is to expand your network with quality people.  That means you need to meet new people.  It is a natural tendency for people to migrate to comfortable situations.  For most of us it is easier to talk to people we know, than it is to strike up a conversation with a stranger.   Resist the temptation to spend too much time with familiar faces.  If you find yourself talking to someone you know for more than a few minutes, mention the goal you set for this event and ask if they can help.  Chances are they will introduce you to someone new.  Remember you are there to expanded you network with NEW connections.  Spending time with people you know is probably not the BEST use of your time. 
  7. Follow up:  The vast majority of people do not follow up with great connections they recently met.  When you do, it will set you apart from the rest and make a very good impression.  You may not have the time to follow up with everyone you meet, but certainly you need to follow up with the GREAT connections you meet.  If you do not follow up, there is almost no chance a relationship will develop.  If there is no relationship, there will be no value and you will have wasted your time.  Remember time is money, don’t waste it. 
  8. Join the RIGHT Referral Group:  If one of your primary goals for networking is the hope of generating referral business, you MUST join a professional referral group.  Keep in mind most professional referral groups are a waste of time, so join the RIGHT group.  We have seen hundreds of businesses attend various events, trying to build relationships with people they meet.  They end up spending more time and money and get significantly less closed referral business than if they would have joined one effective referral group.  Joining the right referral group will provide the highest return on the time you invest in networking.   Find the right referral group and join it before you spend any additional time networking.  (See our blog on choosing the right professional referral group)
  9. One-On-One Meetings:  You will need to invest time meeting people one-on-one to build the relationship.  Those meetings can eat up time faster than anything else.  Consider the time you will spend coordinating schedules, setting the appointment, driving to and from the appointment, the meeting itself etc.  Do not invest this time unless the potential is huge.  Be strategic in whom you meet with, and focus on those strategic partners than can bring the most value to your business, and you to theirs.  (See our blog on Effective One-On-One Meetings).
  10. Four-on-Four Meetings:  Instead of scheduling four independent meetings, consider one meeting with four people at the same time.  This will save considerable time for everyone involved and usually four people can provide more value and opportunity than two people can.  This is especially true if you are strategic in whom you invite so they are all good connections for each other.  

Thanks for reading our time saving tips for networking.  We hope it helps you generate more value from your networking efforts!

The Tucson Business Club - 520.481.5505 [email protected]

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