Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Business Networking - Making the Most of Face to Face Time

Since no one has figured out how to make more land, it is considered by many to be the best investment money can buy. But is it really? There is at least one thing that has the potential to yield a virtually unlimited return on investment - your time. Let's do the math.

1. Suppose you have determined that your average revenue from each client is $5000 a year.
2. Suppose you attend a two-hour networking event with a ticket price of $25.
3. Suppose you chat with 10 people and have a meaningful conversation with two of them.
4. Suppose one of those people becomes your client.

Would a net income of $4975 be worth the investment of two hours of your time? Wouldn't it be worth it even if the ticket cost $100?

Do your homework

Before you begin re-arranging your calendar so you can attend 30 networking events this month, consider the following to be sure you are getting the best return on the investment of your time.

* Be sure you know the average revenue impact each client has on your business.
* Evaluate how well the group attracts people who fit your ideal client profile or share it as a target market and could therefore be a good source of referrals, if not actual customers.
* Learn what you can about the mission of the group and the people in leadership roles.
* Once you've found a group that is a good fit, show up regularly and participate. Consider volunteering in some form. It's a great way to build relationships fast.

Size doesn't always matter

The percentage of ideal clients that the group attracts is far more important than the number of people it attracts. Using this formula, I have found groups with fewer than a dozen regular participants that have been excellent sources of ideal client relationships.

Keep your eye on the big picture

If you find yourself calculating the value of an event according to the quality of the cheese or chicken, you've lost your business bearings and have strapped on your consumer cloak. To borrow a line from Cher in the movie Moonstruck, "SNAP OUT OF IT!" and get back on business track.

These principles can be applied well beyond the realm of face-to-face networking. Once you understand the dollar value of a client, you can apply this same method of evaluation to anything that calls for an investment of your time. Choose wisely because you only get 86,400 seconds each day and every one is a nonrenewable resource!

By : Lisa_Almeida

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