Networking needs to actually make sense by Drew McLellan

One of the buzzwords in business today (and probably during any economic downturn) is networking.
It makes sense — no one wants to spend money foolishly, so we want a little extra reassurance. And nothing beats a friend or colleague’s seal of approval. There’s incredible value in getting or giving that recommendation.
Which is why I take issue with the structure of some networking groups. A recommendation is like a special gold coin. You don’t give one out every day and you don’t give one to just anyone.
Your reputation takes a huge hit if your recommendation turns out to be a disappointment. But many networking groups are about volume, rather than quality. You’re expected to bring in new leads/make referrals every week. Which means that some of the referrals made aren’t really based on making an excellent match, but instead they’re based on the pressure of “it’s your turn to stand up and say something.”
Here’s my idea of a good networking group. You bring a bunch of non-competing business people together and you create opportunities for them to evaluate each other’s work styles, expertise, customer service attitudes and other key ingredients. Then, if and when you meet someone who you think is a good fit, you make an introduction. You may only make a handful a year — but they are likely to turn into mutually beneficial long-term relationships.
Unless what you sell is a commodity, on-boarding a new customer often means that in the short-run, you’re going to lose money. There’s an added investment of time, resources and energy. Doesn’t it make sense that you’d want to make sure that the referrals you’re given are worth that risk?
Next time you’re invited to join a networking group — be sure it’s about quality and that no one is keeping a count.
Want the perfect no pressure networking opportunity? Read the next story!

Looking for a low-pressure, laid back networking event?

Once again in partnership with Jeff Garrison and JCG Consulting, MMG is hosting the no stress, BYOB Laid Back networking event.
Casual conversation, a chance to connect and no agenda, no speaker and no pressure. Bring a couple bottles of your favorite brew and a business buddy.
We’ll provide some coolers to keep your beer cold, some bottle openers and some walls to lean on as you chat. You do the rest!
Thursday, August 27th, 5 – 7 pm
McLellan Marketing Group headquarters
1430 Locust Street (map it)
Park along side the building or on the street

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