Tag Archive for: business development tips

Do an online search for articles on “how to business network” and they’ll all give you pretty much the same advice, all of which is a waste of time and almost never works. And I’ll tell you why.

 Networking That Doesn’t Work

They’ll tell you to attend business card exchanges to meet new people. They’ll tell you to go with goals in mind – hand your card to X number of people; make at least one new connection to follow up with; make notes on business cards about your discussion so you can follow up.

Some people even get clever – and deceptive. One person wrote that he makes a mark on the back of every business card so the person thinks he’s going to be remembered. If the person is meaningless to him and he’s going to throw out the card when he gets back to his office, he makes a smiley face on the card, which the other person will obviously think is good. If he wants to get back to the person, he will jot a real note about the conversation.

This example highlights something obvious that most people miss – the vast majority of people you meet at networking events and business card exchanges you’ll never speak to again – which means you’ve wasted your time.

But what about the people you do follow up with? Conventional wisdom tells you to “do lunch” or “grab a cup of coffee together” or “get together to pick your brain.” Again, a total waste of time and money – unless your meal was delicious enough to cost double since you’re paying for your own and your new “contact’s” meal. These meetings may give you another nice or interesting person in your life, but the odds are very low that they will affect your bottom line.

Then there are “exclusive” networking groups that expect you to come to a meeting with a lead for someone, then sit and listen to someone talking at you about what he or she has to offer. Though these groups have a little better handle on effective networking, they only go halfway, and if you only go halfway, you never reach your goal.

Networking That Works

So what is your goal? Networking to affect your bottom line, every time. This is the C.E.O. model. Time is a commodity that you can’t get back once you’ve wasted it. We don’t waste time, money, or energy on ineffective networking. We see every meeting as an opportunity to positively affect our businesses, thus our name – Celebrating Every Opportunity.

C.E.O. is a new approach to networking, in which members commit to contributing to the bottom line of other members. Our goal is to provide recurring income sources for each other, and to do this consistently.

In reality, we don’t “network” – we build partnerships. We don’t limit the group to one person in each profession, as some networking groups do. There’s enough business out there to have multiple accountants or real estate agents or web designers.

We put the Law of Reciprocity into action with every business interaction. If others are making money off of you, you should be making money off of them. Your accountant should be bringing you money. Your real estate agent should be bringing you money. Your hairdresser should be bringing you money.

This is networking that works. C.E.O. offers twice-monthly sessions to help members refine their networking style and sales techniques to make the most of every opportunity. And because of the training and strategic partnership-building, members see their businesses explode.