By Sally Anderson , Founder of Sally Anderson International & Freefall International Limited

Return on Investment

If you were to calculate your hourly rate and the number of hours you have spent in your entire career attending networking meetings – have you got the return on investment that you were looking for?  My guess would be that you have not.  So my question to you would be, ‘Why do you think you tolerate that?’

It does not make logical sense to do the same thing and get the same poor result. That’s just ludicrous.  Yet we continue to invest time, energy, and our hard earned dollars into our materials and collateral for little return.

Part of the dynamic, if we wish to call it that, lies with the endless number of networking groups that promise we will get business if we join their network – but the balance of the dynamic lies with ourselves.  Until we honour our worth and genuinely consider the RoI factor we will not change the dynamic.

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There is no standard formula for calculating ROI where networking is concerned; everyone needs to assess their own ratio, based on:

Networking RoI = function of TIME + ENERGY +$ INVESTMENT (Joining Fees/ Marketing Materials/Collateral/Breakfasts/Lunches/Coffees, etc)

Do not get me wrong, I am by no means discrediting the many networking groups that support business advancement.  I do, however, question those that over-promise and under-deliver, for after all, good intentions alone do not advance business success.

What Can We Do To Change The Dynamic?

I spent MANY years networking in the hope that it would generate the business opportunities I was looking for.  I found that I was a connector, and that I could easily, constantly, generate business for other people yet did not experience the same in return.  Admittedly, I do not run a ‘widget company’, by that I mean a tangible service/product.   I run businesses that sell intangible experiences and for most people, until they experience them, they do not know they want and/or need them.

I need to use a different sales proposition, using a free consultation, given that most people are personally and professionally “disassociated”. “Disassociated” means people tolerate the things that are not working in their personal and or professional lives instead of perceiving them as painful, because they are emotionally unaware of the costs.
So what have I learnt and what I now teach people in the arena of networking is:-

  1. Stop tolerating not getting the return on investment you desire
  2. Become aware of the costs of the years of networking for little return
  3. Own your worth, and save your hard earned dollars by honouring your time and your materials/collateral
  4. STOP the ludicrous cycle once and for all and reassess where the ‘best bang for your buck’ is
  5. Call the existing networking groups to account! If you have not experienced the value you anticipated by investing your time and energy in attending then make it known that you are dissatisfied with what they offer.  There is a difference being in a networking group that has a genuine conscience and being in a networking group that doesn’t walk their talk
  6. Check out who you are BEING! Who are you ‘being’ that you tolerate the poor RoI from your networking week after week, month and month?
  7. Make it easier for people to engage with you. If, like me, you sell intangible services, then sometimes people find it difficult to refer you because they do not know HOW to explain what you do.  To assist them, explain that you offer a free consultation (if you do) and that this is YOUR job to manage, not theirs. This takes the onus to sell you away from your referrer and places it back in your camp, where it belongs
  8. Do more research and be more proactive before you join a formal networking group.  Investigate application fees in advance.  Try visiting as a guest to assess whether this particular group meets your needs.  Inquire into what you can expect as a return on my investment by being part of the networking organisation?  What guarantees do they offer, if applicable?  What opportunities can be created for you to deliver a presentation to this new forum?   Basically, do your homework!
  9. The next time you walk into a room, OWN YOUR PRESENCE. How? Be centered, energetically claim the space, observe the people, the environment, “be love” and do NOTHING.  What you will notice in time is that people will come to you, as if by pure magic. They are drawn to your energy – there is somethingunquantifiable about you!  The irony will be that all you did was to ‘stand still & BE present’.

9 Key Obstacles To Effective Networking

A percentage of people when they attend networking events:

  1. Network passively, ie they are a wall flower, feel unconfident and don’t know how to fit in
  2. Network aggressively, ie they hard sell without engaging in any level of relatedness
  3. Network territorially  ie exclude people from conversations  or protect their connections which defeats the purpose of inclusive participation
  4. State they go for social reasons and so completely sabotage business opportunities.  Now, for some people their needs are purely of a social nature, which is fine.  I am speaking to those that lack confidence in their business
  5. Have difficulty articulating what they do and as a result do not leverage the experience
  6. Rely on their business cards/flyers to be the enrolment piece versus being proficient in proactive, ‘engaged’ conversation
  7. Are competitive and strategic versus welcoming and collaborative
  8. Sell out to some belief that they are not confident and as a result find it difficult to proactively sell themselves and their products/services
  9. Do not think for the common good of all, they are there for their own ego-driven motives

9 Key Solutions to More Effective Networking

  1. Be proactive not passive when it comes to engaging with those at the networking event – do not sell out to not having the confidence
  2. No requirement for hard sell, just speak your ‘passion’ with passion and people will understand
  3. Practise gaining proficiency with your message before you invest in networking
  • Know what you want to say
  • Know what your point of difference is
  • Know what your value proposition is
  • Know your target market
  • Be aware of your target market’s needs
  • Have fun!

4. Get some coaching and/ or mentoring if you have:-

  • Perceived ‘confidence’ related issues
  • Not been able to overcome your fear in networking environments
  • Difficulty in relating to new people
  • Been unable to articulate your message about what you do!
  • Resistance around fully participating in group dynamics

5. Do not use your collateral/materials or websites as the primary enrolment vehicle – your listeners will be enrolled in you and your passion first and foremost

6. Be welcoming to EVERYONE. Listen to people’s greatness regardless of how they appear, and contribute to each conversation.  Treat others as you would like to be treated

7. Completely and utterly resonate CONFIDENCE!  If you see someone standing on their own welcome them, engage with them.  Refer ‘owning your presence’.

8. Come from LOVE, without judgment. Love is the most powerful emotion and attractor x-factor on the planet

9. Pay It Forward in a two pronged approach:-

  • Be proactive in offering to help other people and they will be more inclined to help you
  • Once you have learnt the ‘art of effective networking’, pay it forward, mentor someone with your knowledge and wisdom

 

Acknowledgement

Photo - Sally AndersonSally Anderson is one of Australasia’s foremost thinkers in Sustainable Transformation.  Founder of Sally Anderson International & Freefall International Limited.
As one of NZ’s top Leadership Coaches, Inspirational Speakers/Seminar Leaders, Sally has inspired 1000’s of people from feeling disempowered in their personal and professional lives to experiencing outstanding, sustainable results.  Check out www.sally-anderson.com ; www.sally-andersonblog.com (November Launch) ; www.freefallexperience.com ; www.freefallselfimprovement.com ; www.coursejunkies.com ; You Tube Sally Anderson Freefall.

Sally will be speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce in Auckland on 10th November on “How to turn your excuse for failure into your reason for success.” Contact: Kathryn@amcham.co.nz

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