Networking – Further Thoughts

Networking – Further Thoughts

Feb 14
Networking – Further Thoughts

Serial Networker

I make no secret of the fact that I am a serial Networker and why should I.  My networking has given me many advantages.  I have made some amazing contacts throughout the course of my networking, that haven’t just been useful to me but others I have met and certainly to Answer-it clients. 

A recent networking event made me stop in my tracks and think.  I was introduced to a gentleman by one of my contacts.  So we got to talking, and amongst other things I asked what networking he did.  He responded that he didn’t subscribe to networking and had only come along to this event, as he had been dragged along by his partner. He had however been to other events and he hadn’t got very far with them. Naturally  being such a networking fan I enquired why.  I got the answer I had prepared myself for as  I have heard it a few times before. None of the people at the events he had been to were going to be clients.  His prospective clients didn’t go out networking as they were large corporates.  By this time another acquaintance had joined us and was grinning away to himself in that ‘knowing way’

So I asked the obvious question, ‘So have you considered who the people in the room might know or are connected with on a personal level?’  The answer was an ‘er well um no I hadn’t.’  Having chatted about his business previously I then revealed that at least 1 of my clients and another personal friend both ran business’ that would be an excellent connection, he firmly agreed.

He went on to say, ‘I’ve been looking at this all wrong haven’t I’ The clunking sound of the penny dropping was almost deafening.  It was a big admission, from this clearly seasoned businessman, I think you’ll agree.

Networking – notice the ‘ing’ it’s a work in progress.

It’s a shame, as he is not the only person I have come across who seems to be stuck in the instant gratification of networking mindset.  Seriously is it reasonable to expect to go to a networking event and present your product to a group of people you have never met and that have never heard about your product to start clamouring for it?  Of course not, would you buy a product you had never heard of, from someone you had never met before?

Networking is not about instant results, it takes time to build relationships and I can personally say that my efforts have been worth it.  The early mornings, when honestly leaving the duvet was a real wrench.  When the going out straight from work and not getting back until late into the evening when the sofa and TV were expecting me!  Sure I have had business from those I have networked directly with, but where the effort has really paid off is when I get a call or an Email from someone who says ‘I was talking to X who you met at a networking event and they suggested I get in touch.’  That call or Email speaks for itself.

Of course it takes a bit of time to find your networking style, to perfect your elevator pitch, to get the confidence to join groups and make conversation.  The first foray into networking is always daunting, but the more you do it the more people you meet, the larger network you create, the easier it becomes.  It’s an investment steeped more in time than in cold hard cash.  In my experience at least the return can be huge.

Powerful Marketing.

So for the sceptics and naysayers against networking including Lord Alan Sugar in his recent article in The Telegraph, I honestly think that regardless of what your business is, Networking is a very powerful marketing tool, and far from being a waste of time.  I hasten to add that  networking isn’t just about getting business.  It’s also about collaboration, support, finding great suppliers and as an extra bonus I have made some great friends.

When it comes to online networking that’s a whole other story, and definitely one for at least one other blog post.


  1. Excellent post Emma and spot on. As you know, I always preach the importance of looking beyond the name badge and guest list and building relationships with the people you meet. A philosophy of ‘sell through the people you meet, not to the people you meet’ is central to effective networking.

  2. Emma, you identify a common attitude and why so many write networking off. I’d like to add to it, if I may – networking has allowed me to identify partner businesses that allow me the freedom to recommend any appropriate course of action to my clients, knowing that I have access to experts in almost every sector. I have trusted suppliers and trusted people to refer business to – it’s no longer a lucky dip on google or in the Yellow Pages.

  3. Emma you know you are preaching to the converted in my case. As I said in my blog the other week it’s about long term trust building and also about meeting businesses that can help you improve the running of your operation.
    There will always be people who turn up looking for a quick fix but we know thats not how it works.
    Great post see you at a meeting soon !

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