If you are in the start-up phase of your business, you may wonder how much networking you need to do. Some people don’t feel comfortable with networking and meeting new people and as a result, they prefer to do less. Their natural instinct is to avoid this process.
One of my students recently asked me this very question. She had joined BNI which meets weekly and was getting good leads every time she went. That’s exactly what you want of course! But, she felt that should be enough and didn’t want to get out much more. Her tendency was to hang back because she didn’t feel very comfortable.
When I was just starting out, I went to everything and joined as many things as possible. I would attend seven networking groups and sometimes four to seven events in just one week. Now, that wasn’t every single week since some groups were monthly. Keep in mind, at this point I had more time than I had clients or money.
So I used my time to attract clients and make money. You want to take a “no excuses” approach right? Even if you are getting leads in one place, you may still need to attract more clients. That’s when more networking is the right action to take.
Of course you want to avoid burnout too. There is a fine line between doing everything imaginable and extending yourself past your limits which becomes burnout. The key is to push yourself until you start seeing some results. After a while you’ll figure out what is working for you. You’ll track which groups deliver the most leads and then slowly, you can weed some groups out. You might end up keeping three to four groups that truly work for you.
So, if you still need clients but wish you could stop networking after one or two groups, rethink this desire. Until your pipeline is full and your practice is at capacity, you‘ll need to be doing lots of networking.
The good news is, the more you network, the better you’ll be at it. You will start to feel more comfortable and become skilled at meeting people. The better you get at it, the more networking will work for you to attract clients and become successful.
When you are doing a lot of networking, I recommend you create a log to track your results. If you are out there often, you might not easily remember which client came from which group. Tracking your results will help you know which groups serve you best, and which ones you can let fall go of. Sometimes you need to try a wide variety of groups to discover which ones provide the best access to your ideal clients.