So last week I talked about how you should never stop marketing. Â And you shouldn’t. And if you didn’t read it, go back and do so. Â Okay – back? Â Good! Â For my business, advertising, etc. makes no sense. People can’t understand what I can do for them until they meet me. Â So I have to network to get the word out about me. Â That is fun, keeps things interesting and gets me out of my chair on a regular basis which is also a good thing! Â But how do I know what to attend and what to skip?
First, I look at a networking event to see what are they trying to accomplish. Â If the point is to get members for a particular organization, I try to see if I would want to join. It isn’t fair to attend if I’m not going to take it seriously. Â If the point is to give people a place to network, I look at how they advertise the event. Â What type of people will it bring in – are they my target audience? Â If not, it is a no-go.
Once I go, I will try any networking event twice. Â I say twice because once isn’t fair. Â The one time you visit things may have been off, the organizer might have been ill, or something else may have caused it to not be its best event. Â So even if I go and don’t love it, I will generally give it one more go before I throw in the towel. Â An event is one worth attending again if I Â a) meet someone interesting / who is a prospect / could be a business source, b) meet someone who could help a client of mine, c) was really fun and while I didn’t meet anyone this time, I have reason to believe I will.
The biggest reason I don’t like an event is the feel of it. Â For instance, I went to an event where everyone walked in and sat down with the people they sit with every month. Â The three people at my table were all brand new to the group as well and were all direct marketers who were more hobbyists. I went back the second time and had the exact same experience. Â This group had too much turn over and not enough serious small business owners. Â I went to another group and the first meeting was similar. Â But, I went back the second time only to find out the facilitator had been ill and the backup didn’t make the group adhere to the rules. Â Turns out no one was allowed to sit until 15 minutes into the meeting time, everyone got to meet new people and I now go every month. Â A third group I attended I went because I would be speaking in three weeks. Â If I’m invited to speak to a group I don’t know, I try to attend a couple meetings before to get a feel for them and then a couple of meetings after as a courtesy. Â In this case I walked in to a great feel, a great networking environment and the majority of the room were potential clients. Perfect!
I will confess – I do evaluate on time of day as well. Â There is a group I wouldn’t mind trying but they are at 7:30 on Wednesday mornings and that is a tough day/time for me to get out early. Â Eventually I will get there, but until I’m desperate for a new Â venue, that one will stay on the back burner. Â There are a couple groups that meet at 7:30 at night as well and those aren’t my first choice. But, I will attend one if I believe the crowd will be a good fit.
Notice I never mentioned the speaker at the event? Â I almost never attend an event based on the speaker. Â I can learn something from everyone – even if it is what not to do – so I will happily listen to any speaker as long as I get networking with it.
So what’s the take away? Â Be where your potential clients are!!! Wasn’t that easy? 🙂