Networking is not about finding new clients

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingApparently this week is National Networking week. So I thought I would share some thoughts about networking. I’ve been doing it for many years and I’ve used it to great effect to grow my business. I’ve also watched a lot of networking and seen what works and what doesn’t. And in all this, I’ve noticed one main thing. Networking is not about finding new clients! That’s right. If you thought that networking was about turning up at events, dishing out your business cards, giving your one minute presentation, shaking hands with complete strangers and them telling what you do, in order to find new clients, I’m afraid that you’ve been badly led astray.

So if networking isn’t about finding new clients, what’s the point of all those meetings you go to?

Networking is about gaining inspiration. It’s about listening to speakers who have been there and done it and who can inspire you to do more with your business.

Networking is about learning. It’s about hearing tips and advice from successful business owners who are happy to share them with you so you can avoid the mistakes they made.

Networking is about getting support. It’s about meeting people in the same boat (or business area) as you, who can provide peer support for those days when you’re stuck for ideas or just need someone else to talk to.

Networking is about collaboration. It’s about meeting your competitors and seeing how you can work with them, rather than against, for the benefit of both of you.

So the next time you walk into a networking event, expecting to find new clients, try a different approach. Look for the inspiration, the ideas, the support and the collaboration. You’ll be surprised what you find – even if it’s not new clients.


3 Responses

  1. Yes, networking’s about all the above, but it’s mainly about building relationships and ultimately trust….then it can be about new clients!

    • Networking should work for everyone – it only doesn’t work for some people because they expect to find new clients without first building relationships. We need to work on building relationships before we can start looking for new clients at networking events.

  2. Great post Chantal.
    I agree with you that the act of networking is not about finding new clients. However the core motivating factor is.

    Lets face it. No one would ever go to networking event if it didn’t work. Networking is a margeting strategy. That said you just can’t fake genuine interest in other people, and that is why networking will work for some, while others will have better succes with other marketing strategies.

    Have a great international networking week everyone.

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