Too Much Talk, Too Little Action

For those of us who are self employed, networking is a great thing. In fact networking is not just for the self employed. Making connections with people is very important in this electronic age. It is a great way to build relationships, find services and products that we need and meet some of the most interesting people. But too much of a good thing can be detrimental to the health of your business. Are you networking too much and not netting enough work?

Last week it seemed that every day and/or evening I was running here and there meeting new people at all these great events. It would not have been too bad if this was all I had attended, however, I also attended all the groups that I belong to as well. In the end I attended 14 networking events in 12 days. I was networked out! Nothing left to say. All my suits needed to get to the cleaners, and because almost all the events supplied food, I realized I had not bought groceries for weeks.

Now some might say, well look at all the people that you met, all the possibilities you can create. But in reality there is the point of diminishing returns. This meaning that yes, networking is important and good for business, but at some point too much networking is ineffective.

So how much is too much? You can never get too much exposure, and there are some great passive networking ideas. But being everywhere all the time just will not work! So what do you go to, and when do you stay home. Here are some ideas:

1. Try to limit networking events to two a week.
2. Go to learn, not to sell. Build relationships, and look for ways you can help others.
3. Follow-up the following day on any leads.
4. Book appointments for quotes on the days you are networking. (you are already dressed, up and out and talking, make the most of it!)
5. If you have the opportunity to work when an event is scheduled, work comes before networking

A good networking group is like a spider's web. Once you get in and are hooked, it is hard to leave. This is especially true if you build good relationships within the group. But make sure you are networking effectively. Every thing you do with your business should be measured. Networking is no different. If you are not getting enough business, look to yourself. Are you giving enough business away? Are you referring people? Are you coming to build relationships or get work?

Volunteering:
A great way to build you network is to consider volunteering. Give some of your skills away to an organization that needs them. You will meet many great people volunteering, and your network of associates will grow quickly. It's amazing how loyal volunteers are in using each other's business.

For those of you new to networking, here are some "need to know" words.

Leads: Here is a person or acquaintance you need to make for the possibility of getting more business. This is third party.
Contacts: These are the people you already know your contact base is often your phone list, client list, or colleague list.
Follow-up: Something you need to do with a lead. Calling or making contact with the lead is the execution of the building a relationship plan.
Warm Referral: This is a third party lead that the person who is giving you the lead thinks needs your services and they are expecting your call.
Hot Referral: Call them! They need your services now!
Infomercial: This is a short description of who you are, what you do and what you are looking for.
Elevator Speech: Short to the point infomercial. Think of two people getting on the elevator at the first floor. The person you are speaking to is getting off at the 2nd floor. This is the speech you use when you have very little time, and it must be effective!

Concentrate on getting your message out. Learning to ask for business the right way will ensure that your networking is effective. Make sure Your Networking is netting you work!

No matter what she's working on whether it's teaching, writing, mentoring, or starting her own business, Mandie's mission in life is to help other people succeed; to help empower women to achieve success. She is a columnist, professional organizer and founder of www.RoaringWomen.com.


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