I arrived at a networking meeting this week and starting talking to a client I haven’t done business with in awhile. Â It was great to catch up and see if I could help them now. Â While we were talking, four people interrupted to ask if I would see them before I left. Â My client was impressed and asked how I do that. Â It was his first time to that meeting in over two years. Â I explained that I attend this particular meeting every month. Â People can count on me being there so they will often make themselves a note to connect. Â I schedule an extra hour in my calendar for the meeting because I know I will be staying after and getting there early. Â I am always present at this meeting.
It seems funny that a little thing like showing up can make such a difference but it does. If you asked those people who wanted to talk to me if they remembered me when I wasn’t around they would tell you “absolutely”. Â But that’s not the point. Â They associate me with the event. Â They are going to XYZ Meeting and my face pops into their heads. Â With that comes reasons to talk with me. Â And wah-la! New business. Â Other people walk in the room and find me there “just like always” so there is a familiar face. They don’t have to talk to someone they don’t know and they can be confident I will introduce them to whoever is around. Â Again, we get to reconnect and generally can make new business happens. Â All because I was there.
The other thing that happened was several people asked me about the presence of another person. Â That person wasn’t at the meeting and clearly people were disappointed. Â Two of them said they would follow up later but the other two, even after being offered his contact information, chose not to take it. Â A missed opportunity? Â Seems likely. Â I did send a note to the individual and let him know these four were interested in speaking with him, but when he calls he now has to overcome why he wasn’t there first.
I highly recommend (if networking is part of your marketing plan) to choose a group or groups that fit your target audience and Â commit to attending those meetings regularly. Â You really need 5-6 times before you will become known and to evaluate if there is business to be gained from the group. Â Give yourself the opportunity to succeed and don’t make up your mind after one meeting. Â Being present makes all the difference when it comes to networking!