Stop Wasting Time Networking
If you ever feel like you’ve wasted time networking, the blog is for you.
As part of my former role as the President of Rainmakers Marketing Group, I taught a semi-monthly seminar called Creating a Word of Mouth Marketing Machine. At the beginning of the seminar, I ask “what roadblocks are holding you back from creating success in relationship marketing?”
Every session, somebody says “managing my networking time!”
So, here it is, 6 keys on how to stop wasting time while networking.
1. Do your initial one-on-one’s over the phone - It takes you 30-minutes to leave your office and drive to Panera, and then another 30-minutes to drive back and get resituated to work. If you aren’t certain that the person you’re meeting with is going to make you money, have your initial meeting over the phone. You can have 3 times as many meetings, and are guaranteed to spend your quality face-time with relationships that generate revenue.
2. Set an agenda for your meeting - I love hearing about your kids, dogs, and recent trip to Idaho, but what I really care about during an initial one-on-one is whether or not we share the same target market, are part of the same life/business event, are part of the same client conversation, have a similar sales cycle, and are best of breed. Those are the primary items that will make a good strategic relationship. Second to that is us getting along as networking buddies. Let’s save all of the relationship building personal stuff for our future or social meetings, because frankly, I don’t even know if we’ll see each other again.
3. Only meet with strategic relationships - Have you ever finished a one-on-one and thought, “what a waste of time”, or “if one more person tries to sell me Agel…” If you want to eliminate those thoughts, only do one-on-ones with people who see the same clients that you do. In other words, only meet with potential strategic partners, becuase they’re the ones who will make you money. PS – only attending networking events that are chocked full of your potential strategic partners also falls in line with this suggestion as well. I bet that will save you 30-50% on your one-on-one time right there.
4. Use customer relationship marketing software (CRM) - Using a CRM system like AddressTwo or SalesForce will save you a ton of follow up time. Both of these systems allow you to set automatic reminders of when you need to follow up with someone, connect to social media, and can send an email from inside of the software. If you’re using an excel spreadsheet or Outlook to store your contact database, trash it, grow up, and get a CRM like a big boy business owner, so you can save some time.
5. Block time to network - Networking takes time – especially if you’re good at it. Take a moment at the end of every week to block out time in the next week for networking events, one-on-ones (and ONLY schedule the one-on-ones during your blocked times), data entry, and follow up (aka building bridges). When I was generating $200k a year in revenue for a small business through relationship marketing, over 60% of my time was spent on networking activities.
6. Just say no - If you’re asked to be on a referral team or do a one-on-one that isn’t a strategic fit, just say no. Tell them the reason is becuase you’re, “making a concerted effort to only meet with people who see the same client I do”. If the person requesting your time is a really good fit, they’ll fight for your time. If not, they’ll back down, and you can instantly introduce them to someone who will be a good strategic fit.
Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales and marketing expert who helps companies without a sales force have a sales force. To receive your free trial of a software that will track your referral revenue, centralize social media updates, and automate email/text/postcard marketing, click here.