Meeting people who eventually become clients is the goal of any successful business. Networking is one way to do this but it also costs money. Is it worth the investment? What’s the ROI?
There will always be a return on investment as long as you are able to convert prospects into paying clients. That goes for everything you do. Sales is a number’s game. The more people you meet, the more relationships you build and the higher your conversion ratio.
Can we agree you’re not going to meet many folks sitting at your desk all day? You have to get your face in front of a steady stream of prospects if you’re going to attract clients.
Business networking is one way to do it. Introduce yourself to new people and they introduce themselves to you. Sometimes you connect and they become clients. Other times, they become great referral sources. Staying top of mind has value that translates to your bottom line.
You probably already know a little about networking, but let’s explore it in terms of ROI.
Business networking involves mixing, mingling and meeting people in a business setting. Is it just one big excuse to have a party or is it designed to benefit your business? Yes, if you learn how to leverage it properly. If not, networking can become a great big money suck and you’ll see zilch by way of ROI.
The laws of probability say leveraging networking will bring you more business and help generate more income from your efforts, but not always without expenditures. Leveraging networking means using it to your advantage so your ROI is greater than your expense.
Recouping Your Investment
Some events are free of charge—grand openings, Chamber of Commerce ribbon cuttings and some mixers. Always make time for those. Just be sure your return on investment of time is worthwhile.
There’s often a cost associated with attending networking events. Not too bad—usually, five, ten or fifteen bucks will get you in the door and if you’re lucky, a drink ticket and complimentary appetizers.
It all adds up, especially when you attend weekly or monthly events. If you leverage networking your ROI can be many times greater than your outlay.
How do you do that?
Take notice of the opportunities that come your way via networking. It isn’t always about money, either. More than that, it’s about building relationships.
Next week, in part two of this series on The ROI of Business Networking, we’ll dig deeper and discuss specifics. We’ll also introduce a few ideas about ways to network other than conventional networking.