Monday, October 26, 2009

A breakfast meeting too far....

Last week I spent a couple of hours coaching a seasoned networker on his strategy. A member of several networking groups, my client attends up to five breakfast meetings a week, a couple of lunch meetings and also occasionally an evening event.

Despite this effort, he has been employing someone to make sales appointments through cold-calling and was explaining how he needs a sales person because of the time pressures he faces.

My client could point to business from his networking activity, and he knows that it works for him, but for me something was wrong. Surely someone with that amount of networking activity should not be relying on cold calling. Of course, there is nothing wrong with telesales as an alternative lead-generation strategy if it provides a return on investment, but it wasn't.

I asked my client whether he could use his time more effectively. I suggested that on two or three mornings a week instead of attending a networking breakfast, he should arrange to have breakfast with a key contact from his network. Or with a small group of them.

As I mentioned in this article, networking groups do not produce referrals, they feed your network with people who may then do so. An approach that relies on numbers of meetings cannot create a constant stream of new business, there is no depth to it.

The alternative approach is a strategy where you attend meetings to grow your network, but focus at least an equal amount of time on nurturing that network and deepening your relationships.

If you are attending a lot of networking events and not seeing much as a result, pull back and look at the contacts you have made from those events. Are you spending enough time assimilating those new contacts into your network and enabling them to understand how to help you?


  1. Hi Andy

    Useful tip. Would appreciate an article on how to strengthen a new business relationship having met someone at a networking event.


  2. Thanks Dan, I'll put my thinking cap on