Getting the best from online and offlline networking?

I've posted this thread to discuss how people may get the best from both offline and online networking.  Do you search for new prospective clients online and if so what works best for you?  How do you move the relationships into face to face networking or conversations? 

What's a good balance of time and effort?

Comments

Networking on and off line

chris.slaneyand... | | Permalink

 I tried a bit of searching for potential targets online, but found it pretty time consuming and haphazard. That was by joining appropriate forums etc., as finding a potential target's website and contacting them from that is really just cold-calling.

I now go to several networking events and go every week; 2 weeks; month etc., so that I am a regular, the events I choose are relatively small, up to 30 attendees and all geographically close (the area in which I can easily visit at short notice 10-15 miles max). No more than 2 events a week usually breakfast meetings. Most events have a 30/60 seconds intro (elevator) if they don't I don't go back.This way I see the same people and they get to see me.

I will chat with at most 2 to 3 people per event, having tried to find an attendees list (look at the sign in list if 1 isn't sent out before hand) and sourcing likely potential clients or even just interesting looking businesses. I only say who I am and that I am a Chartered Accountant, I then ask them loads of questions and listen to their replies. I attempt to be a good listener and just see where the conversation gets to. I like to show I am a normal person, easy to get on with etc. Some ( a very few) of my stock questions will be about business, to hopefully elicit a need for advice etc. but this part is pretty low key.

I have slowly developed this "method" over the last 2 years or so and have been reasonably successful at attracting new clients, 88 ("cost centres") in the last 24 months.

It takes time to build up the know / like / trust curve.

Hope that helps a bit. 

Chris

 

 

 

maxxy's picture

Great :)

maxxy | | Permalink

Hey Chris

That's really impressive, to average out at 3-4 new clients a month from mostly attending networking events

What do you think you will be doing next?

Regards

Max

Balancing Online and Offline networking

Anonymous | | Permalink

I like to combine the two, I find offline face to face networking more stimulating and enjoyable.

It is people I like, and I like to meet them face to face when I can.

Online is a tool and I find it efficient, face to face networking consumes much more "time per head". It also enables me to have a global perspective, useful in my business.

Balancing the two is also what I find an enjoyable challenge, and it is a fluid balance that tends to shift with the natural flow of work. Sometimes I am out meeting people and travelling, other times I am behind the screen for long periods of time.

I see integration as the way to help the balancing act. I aim to integrate my processes so when I meet people I often ask them if they are on LinkedIn and suggest that we connect, from that connection online there are many processes I go through with that contact.

Integration is also part of taking part in local groups online, which then have formal meetings organised around the online group, I see this as an increasing trend and it is very useful for well targeted networking.

Phil

efficiencycoach's picture

It needs to be 'joined-up' networking rather than just on-line o

efficiencycoach | | Permalink

I could write masses and masses here, on why the most successful networkers don't see any boundaries when they are networking. They are always open to opportunities whether through their personal or professional network. In fact they don't have a personal or a professional network, they just have a network. They also don't see the limitations of on-line or off-line, they use the best tool for the job.

As a rule of thumb, hang out where your people well connected to your target market hang out. This may be at a local event, or on an internet forums.

Use as many touch points as possible to maintain and nurture the connection. LinkedIn & Twitter are easy & quick ways to generate multiple touch points. Use telephone, skype and face-to-face meetings to personalise and deepen the relationship.

The right balance for you depends on your target market, your ability to use social networking tools and the time and opportunity you have to network.

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