We chose the strapline ‘it’s more than just networking’ for the HSBA because we felt that the idea of belonging to a networking group had become in some way devalued, that the expectation of networking was of being bombarded with sales pitches from self-interested (and boring) salesmen interested only in themselves and what they can get out it.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of franchise-style networking groups which are run to a formula, much of which is based around promoting yourself and your services. Now there’s nothing wrong with that and indeed at the HSBA we are all for ‘bigging yourself up’ and growing your business – but in our experience the true benefit from networking comes from building mutual trust and creating lasting business relationships.
Think about how you view self-serving salesmen (or women) and then think about how you would like to be viewed by others.
The long term benefits of networking can’t be gained by attending a networking meeting with the ‘what can I get out of this’ attitude, if you want people to view you as someone they would trust and recommend to others, we suggest the next meeting you attend you should be thinking ‘what can I give to this group?’
At the HSBA we leave a significant part of our alloted meeting time to simply chat with other attendees – forget your pre-prepared 60 second elevator pitch and find out what other attendees are up to, you may surprise yourself and actually find some interesting and like-minded people looking to do business!