Networking is all about return on investment. How will your business benefit by you attending versus the time and resources it takes to be there. Here are three essential questions you should answer in order to create a networking plan that will work for you.
Who are my best prospects?
If you’re not sure who the right contacts are for your business, go back and take a look at your past client list. What industries were they in? How long had they been in business? Were your clients even businesses to begin with or have you worked mostly with consumers? Put together a profile of people you’ve worked with in the past and look for patterns and trends.
Where can I meet my best prospects?
You’ll generally want to spend time at the chamber of commerce, your local business association or with a referral. Not only do these groups have exactly the type of audience you want to meet, there’s a system in place that helps you help others to get more referrals for you.
Of my prospects, who exactly do I want to meet?
The idea is that the greater the number of networks you’re connected with, the greater the chance that there’s a short chain of contacts between you and anyone you’d care to name. Ask a few people a specific question or two. The answers will either put you in direct contact or lead you in the direction of the networking events you need to attend.
Finally, remember that it’s important to surround yourself with quality business contacts. The best way to your ideal contact very often is through another contact.