Networking is a key part of the marketing model our consultants use to get small business clients, and especially at the beginning, they go to lots of different events in their area, of all types. This is important to help build their confidence at talking about themselves and what they are all about, and also ensures that in that (hopefully short!) period where they aren’t swimming in clients, they are busy and doing what they can to get themselves ‘out there’.
But pretty quickly, we encourage them to ‘hone’ their marketing activities a bit, to ensure their time and money are both spent as effectively as possible. To do this, it’s important to be able to choose the right networking events to attend. Here are seven things we encourage consultants to consider when choosing what events to go to and which to skip.
Know who you need to meet
A key part of our marketing training with consultants is making sure they know exactly who they need to meet at networking events (clue: it isn’t necessarily potential clients!), what kind of person, what background they are likely to have, and where they are likely to ‘hang out’.
Once you know who you need to meet and develop a relationship with as part of your marketing, you can narrow your networking down to those events with a reasonably good concentration of those people.
Think about format
Networking events, particularly those which are regular groups, usually have some kind of set format to them. Although stepping out of your comfort zone is good (my ideal networking event would be me and the dog,
It may not be a case of you feeling uncomfortable with the format, it might be that you just don’t think it’s going to be effective for your particular products and services, or
Time of day
If, like many of our consultants, one of the reasons you are working on a self-employed basis is to get a
That’s ok, and it’s important not to lose sight of why you’re doing this. There should be plenty of events which fit better with your circumstances and allow you to market yourself effectively without compromising your family priorities.
You probably have a budget for marketing, including networking events (and if not, why not?!), so your chosen events need to be affordable within this. But don’t be fooled into thinking that doing cheap or free events only will be as effective. Some free events are really good, but some paid-for events, if they have the right kind of attendees,
Many events involve some kind of
It is a sad fact that some networking events aren’t particularly welcoming.
Is it working for you?
This really relates to events you already go to frequently. Reassess your networking regularly. If an event hasn’t proved productive in terms of referrals, you should probably be spending your time, effort and money elsewhere. Don’t keep going out of habit!
If you’d like to find out more about setting up your own HR consultancy with bags of support, do get in touch.