What is networking? I believe it’s a venue where you go to get leads because either the attendees need your services, or they know of someone who does. Unfortunately, no one taught me how to network, and I, therefore, learned the hard way by attending that terrible School of Hard Knocks.
I was told the best way to get leads and customers was to join BOMA (BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION) and the local Chamber of Commerce—their memberships would automatically get us more business. So, I joined both. Several months later, after sending my two salesmen to BOMA’s monthly luncheons and the Chamber’s “Business after Hours” events, I asked them if they got good contacts and referrals from attending. I was shocked when they replied, “Nope, none!”
I was upset because I had made a huge investment in both memberships and paid extra for their meals, cocktails, and parking. Curious as to why I got no ROI, I went to the next BOMA luncheon without telling my salesmen.
The doors opened at 11:30 in the morning and between then and noon, I met and exchanged business cards with 6 building managers. When it was time to eat, I chose a seat where there were several people I didn’t know so I could introduce myself to them during the meal. As we started to eat, I saw the reason we hadn’t gotten benefits from our memberships. At exactly 12:10, my two salesmen—not seeing me—rushed in and sat by themselves and looked like they had a great time talking to each other while they ate their meal.
To find out how I fixed the problem and got great results from our memberships, please see my next post.
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