There is tons of advice telling entrepreneurs to use in-person networking to build their businesses. But, in many cases, owners make a hash of it. This article shares a surprising and effective networking technique used by 7-figure entrepreneur and co-founder of Examine.com, Sol Orwell.
The word alone makes some people uncomfortable. You attend events, meet people, exchange business cards, diligently follow up… and then the disappointing fizzle. Rarely does anything come from your efforts.
The problem is that most people think networking mean selling. Unfortunately, that puts everyone involved on the defensive. Fortunately, there’s a better way to network. It involves changing your approach to networking and taking part in meetups to build business relationships.
Free Yourself from the Pressure of Networking Events
You may wonder why so many business owners struggle with networking.
Ordinary networking fails because so many people attend networking events for the wrong reasons. They want to sell something or ask for a favor.
Think about it. A lot of people who are only interested in promoting their own businesses approach you. A few of them may turn into legitimate leads, but you never get much out of it for the time invested.
But, you’re going at this from the wrong angle…
Meetups as an Alternative to Traditional Groups
Sol Orwell is a 7-figure entrepreneur and the co-founder of Examine.com. Even though he’s an online entrepreneur, he takes a personal approach to building businesses. Sol has a great approach to building a professional network of meaningful relationships.
- Identify Meetups that interest you and are business-related.
- Once you have identified your niche, start connecting with people.
- Start establishing your credibility in your industry.
Easy as 1-2-3.
In case you’re wondering “What’s a Meetup?”, Meetup is the largest network of local groups in the world. With more than 9,000 groups of like-minded people getting together every day, Meetups are one of the easiest ways to find other people who share a common interest or cause.
For example, when I searched for “small business” Meetups within 50 miles of where I live, I found 103 events…on the first page of results alone!
Of course, when you attend these events you want to do much more than just hand out business cards and toot your own horn. The goal is to make genuine connections with other attendees and find out how you can add value to their situation. Can you introduce them to a valuable connection? Is there a way you can help improve their business? When you approach a new business relationship from a giving perspective, you become a valuable part of the other person’s network. This is a far cry from how your typical meet and greet works.
Why This Works
The first reason is that most people are terrible at building relationships. Taking the effort to use this three-step technique will put you ahead of the pack.
Secondly, it’s face-to-face. According to Harvard Business Review research, 95% of people said that face-to-face meetings are a key factor in successfully building and maintaining long-term relationships. 79% said that in-person meetings are the best way to meet new clients to sell business. 89% agreed that face-to-face meetings are essential for “sealing the deal.”
Finally, there are always Meetups taking place. So you’re in control of how often you connect with potential prospects.
If you can’t find a suitable Meetup, start your own.
The truth is, most things people consider “networking” are really just a waste of time. Attending large events, handing out your business card, and pitching yourself to everyone in sight won’t get the job done. Small business owners can get better results using Meetups to grow their professional network.
Think of how much more enjoyable and productive your networking time can be if instead of always hunting for new business (often the proverbial “needle in the haystack”), you focus on how to become more valuable and indispensable to your business connections.
Using Sol Orwell’s strategy could save you hours of learning by trial and error and speed up your path to more effective networking.