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The Dirty Little Secret About Networking Events

Lifestyle Networking

Networking events were created for people to gather with the same interests, to share ideas, give support, start joint ventures and learn.

I can’t tell you how many times I run into entrepreneurs and small business owners who say that they go to networking events because they want to connect with like-minded people and share value.  Really?

The truth is…entrepreneurs and small business owners go because they want clients.  They have this crazy idea that networking events is the place to be if you want to get clients in the door.  And when they go, they are sadly disappointed.

Now for the dirty little secret.  Networking events is not the go-to place to attract clients.  Let’s not get it twisted.  It just doesn’t work.

I have attracted some clients from networking events, but they were very few and far between.  So, few that I chose not to attend networking events to build my list anymore.  I would rather put my energy, time and money going to places that I love.

Here are a couple of reasons why I believe it is a waste of time for entrepreneurs to attempt to attract clients at networking events to build a sustainable business:

Reason 1 – People who host networking events created the events for YOU to get onto THEIR mailing list so that they can attract YOU as THEIR CLIENT.

Reason 2 – If it is a paid networking event, well, it is so that the host can get paid.  Creating networking events is THEIR BUSINESS.

Now, that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss what you can do to attract the clients you need.

You can practice Lifestyle Networking™

Never heard of it?  Let me break it down.

Lifestyle Networking™ is being able to take the networking strategy and make it your own.  It’s about customizing the strategy around the type of lifestyle you live and later…the lifestyle that you choose to have. It’s about branding your networking style.

It’s about being able to un-follow the norm.

Think of Lifestyle Networking™ as creating your own networking event minus the boring snore-able speeches, aggressive mingling and the let’s shuffle another round of business card game.

Most people, when attending networking events, have the same mindset as you do…attracting clients.  So if everyone is in that same mindset, do you really think that you are going to get anyone to be your client?  No.  You are going to bump heads every single time. They are busy trying to get YOU to be THEIR client.

Think about the concept of a magnet with two forces, the south and north poles.

South repels south and north repels north.  We all know this.

Now think of yourself, the entrepreneur as the magnet.  And think of your goal of ATTRACTING CLIENTS as the north pole.  If everyone in the networking event has only one pole, north [attracting clients]…they will repel each other.

Just suppose you are in a place — now remember you have the north pole part of the magnet, so stay with me here — and you are surrounded by people who possess the south pole.  Opposites attract!  The north pole attracts the south pole.  No matter how you slice it.

Where would you rather be if your GOAL is to attract clients?  My guess is that you would rather be in a place where you can attract your perfect clients and not repel them?

Now, how can you attract your perfect clients?

By being you, doing what you love to do and doing what you are supposed to do…over and over again.

I use three concepts in my Networking with Style coaching series.

Being You: When you are being your authentic self, you will send off this magnet like force and naturally attract your perfect client.  In other words…it’s about making yourself attractive to your perfect client just by being you. How easy is that?

Doing What You Love: Doing the things you love to do, giving naturally and helping others without the thought of getting something in return.  It’s where most of us fail. You don’t want to give with the thought, “If I give to this person, surely something good will come my way.”

You see, the gift of giving is no longer a gift if you are thinking about the return.  The gift, then becomes an investment.

When you give, it should be done without a second thought.  It should come straight from the heart.

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” – Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Doing What You are Supposed to Do: Staying productive, proactive and being mindful of your thoughts and actions.  Meaning…that there is an effect for everything you do or say, and that the effort you put into something will be rewarded appropriately.  Good or bad.  So, please be kind and work hard.

I call these three concepts the Magnetic Method™.  And it works on and offline.

If you would like to know more about Lifestyle Networking™, click here to learn more, sweetie pies!

“Networking…building organic long-lasting relationships, a vital part of marketing, and not to be confused with selling.” Tweet This.

Warmly,

Now tell me.  What do you like or dislike about networking events. Are they working for you? Please share in the comment section below.

24 Responses to The Dirty Little Secret About Networking Events

  1. very good advice, denise. and your “lifestyle networking” concept sounds intriguing. sometimes we are so busy checking off all the marketing how-to boxes that we forget the most important thing – to be who we truly are in the environment that suits us best. thank you!

    • Thanks for the comment April,

      Yes, sometimes our businesses take over our lives, especially when just starting out. We need to always remember that being an entrepreneur means having more fun and freedom.

  2. Denise, thank you for your incite. I agree 100% about giving without expecting something in return. Unfortunately, I don’t believe most people follow this principle especially in light of the growing ability to reach people through the web. We offer “stuff” for free with the goal of making the receiver our client. The free stuff might be very valuable. Yet, if the goal is in fact to make this person our client we are expecting something in return and not following the above principle.

    Giving naturally and helping others without the thought of getting something in return is actually very difficult. It takes practice and true sacrifice and so many people have lost the ability.

    • Exactly,

      I believe that consumers know that the “freebies” businesses give require their investment: email address, phone number, time, a purchase, etc. Consumers are very educated. However, maybe we, business owners, should stop calling it free. Something to think about.

      Businesses could actually offer two options: something for nothing and something for something.

  3. Great advise Denise, I love the way you use the opposites attract magnet analogy and the giving without expectation advice. While we are in business to make money (otherwise it’s just a hobby) it is absolutely essential to build up a following of raving fans too.

    • Yes, my stepfather (CPA) use to say, “you can’t make money by giving everything away.” But he built a strong following with his business by just listening to his clients. He was like the bartender of his industry.

  4. AWESOMENESS Denise!
    When I first started in business, for the first year and a half I was at every networking event I could go to.
    And even though at a lot of them I got to speak at the event, I only got a handful of clients. Mostly because the people that go to networking events are there to sell to their stuff, not to buy anyone elses, as you said.
    They were also not my ideal clients, so that played a huge part.
    I made the decision to stop going. They were so energy draining and when I thought it about it, going to these networking events all the time was taking away from the reason I started my business – so I could spend more time with my son.

    Love this post Denise 🙂

    • Hi Phillipa,

      I can relate to becoming an entrepreneur to spend more to with your son. Spending more time with my two sons and doing want I love when I want is what drives me. And this is why I refuse to go to networking events. I would rather “kill two birds with one stone.” Network doing more of what I love and get clients at the same time. Life can be simple.

      Thanks for the comment!

  5. Hey Denise, great article I enjoyed it very much. The truth is majority of networking is down to building your client base. Don’t be ashamed to admit it either. It’s how we all make a living. I think business networking is one of the most under used facilities in modern modern business because if done right, it can be hugely beneficial for whatever reason you attend them.

    • Hi Claire,

      And for this reason, is exactly why I teach my clients to brand their networking technique in a way that works for them. Instead of trying to fit into another networking event or strategy, they get to customize, do the things they love and develop their own events to attract more clients.

      Thanks for the comment.

  6. I haven’t been to a networking event but was in fact invited to one recently. You are correct, it IS about us becoming their clients. Pretty obvious when you stop to think about it! Thank you for the wonderful advice and insights! XO

    • Thanks for the comment Belinda,

      I created my own events in the past. And received lots of followers. But the majority were not my ideal clients, and so only a very small amount purchased my services. The return was not worth the investment. I prefer quality over quantity anytime. And I want to have fun as an entrepreneur, not use up my time energy and money at a networking event.

  7. I totally see what you mean about staged networking events! Light bulb moment!

    (On the other hand, I’ve created a couple of them that are TRULY about collaboration, and NOT about building my own list. There IS a way to do that, and it’s working out great for my members….)

    What I dislike about networking events are the people who’ve not yet clued in to the idea that networking works better when you look at it from a service perspective. In other words, the “takers” really wear me out. They want to take from you: your contact info, your friends’ names, your money, etc. When people wake up to the idea that good networking is a GIVING practice, it’s so much lovelier for everyone. 🙂

    • Yes, Jessica, you are absolutely right!

      There is a way to create events that are authentic so that you get to serve your community. I actually have two of my own through Meetup.com. I have built strong relationships with the people in my groups and my clients. And that is why I do what I do. I want to teach others on a bigger scale that their is a better way. Whether you choose to go to networking events or not.

      Thanks so much for your comment!!

  8. Great post! I’ve also been to networking events and never got a client. When I read your post, a light bulb went off in my head…it all makes sense! I will have to try your lifestyle networking!! People are attracted to us for a reason and we have to let that reason shine. I know I hold back sometimes and diminish m own internal power. I constantly have to remind myself that I have great things to offer people and working in the attracting energy. Thanks for the great tip!

  9. I stopped going to networking events about 6 months ago. I was fed up of people talking at me and trying to push their business in my face all the time. I only attend events now when I have the opportunity to learn something or I am speaking, I would rather make a higher financial investment. I spend my life online and find that I can attract more of my ideal clients in less time. Your new challenge looks amazing have a great time 🙂

  10. Such a great article, Denise! You are right–I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a client from networking, and I don’t hear my friends raving about it either! Makes perfect sense now with your brilliant analogy!! Lifestyle Networking is an interesting concept…definitely intrigued to learn more. So happy to discover your site, and looking forward to reading more of your “diamonds” 🙂 YAY! Thank you!!

  11. Wait, networking by being yourself and doing what you love? Sign me up! I do love the concept, especially for introverts like myself who find traditional approaches to networking so painful. So when does the challenge start?

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