Networking Meetings WORK!

28 replies
Okay, so at the beginning of 2014 I started attending local networking events.

At first I was a bit shy and didn't want to really talk much. But it turned out to be my biggest lead generator in 2014 with the least amount of work (usually 3 hours a week).

The meetings were roughly 1 1/2 hours long and typically I would come out with 1-2 new clients at a minimum of $1,500 down.

2014 ended up being a pretty good year for me (I only worked half the year and took the rest off) pulling in around $85,000 of that almost $70,000 being profit.

I started out with a large office and big townhouse on the water.. now I've come to realize I need neither as the time I actually worked was at Starbucks and other than sleeping/watching TV I was never home. I would just go out constantly and enjoy life.

Now I've purchased an RV with my girlfriend and begun a journey to travel the United States to different marketing events, functions, networking chapters, etc. and plan on doing presentations in different states.

In the end... networking events have given me more freedom than ever. Yes they require me to be at a meeting at a set location in person, but I was already working from home for 4 years and never ended up traveling. Now I have the opportunity and push to do so

Networking meetings WORK!
#meetings #networking #work
  • Profile picture of the author Andrea Rillo
    Originally Posted by Justin Lewis View Post

    Okay, so at the beginning of 2014 I started attending local networking events.

    At first I was a bit shy and didn't want to really talk much. But it turned out to be my biggest lead generator in 2014 with the least amount of work (usually 3 hours a week).

    The meetings were roughly 1 1/2 hours long and typically I would come out with 1-2 new clients at a minimum of $1,500 down.

    2014 ended up being a pretty good year for me (I only worked half the year and took the rest off) pulling in around $85,000 of that almost $70,000 being profit.

    I started out with a large office and big townhouse on the water.. now I've come to realize I need neither as the time I actually worked was at Starbucks and other than sleeping/watching TV I was never home. I would just go out constantly and enjoy life.

    Now I've purchased an RV with my girlfriend and begun a journey to travel the United States to different marketing events, functions, networking chapters, etc. and plan on doing presentations in different states.

    In the end... networking events have given me more freedom than ever. Yes they require me to be at a meeting at a set location in person, but I was already working from home for 4 years and never ended up traveling. Now I have the opportunity and push to do so

    Networking meetings WORK!
    Could you please explain me what do you mean with "networking meetings"? I'm not in the U.S so probably here in Europe things work a little bit different.
    I'm not sure of what could be a similar event to the "networking meetings" that you are talking about, here.
    Thank you in advance for the explanation.
    Andrea
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9797698].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Justin Lewis
      Originally Posted by Andrea Rillo View Post

      Could you please explain me what do you mean with "networking meetings"? I'm not in the U.S so probably here in Europe things work a little bit different.
      I'm not sure of what could be a similar event to the "networking meetings" that you are talking about, here.
      Thank you in advance for the explanation.
      Andrea
      The meetings are held in most cities where there are atleast 50,000 people. I've found that there are groups on websites like meetup.com, bni.com, facebook.com and many other business networking groups that you can attend.

      Usually they are full of local business owners, sometimes a restaurant owner, insurance agent, real estate agent and then more high profile businesses that you can acquire as web clients (I do SEO, web development, advertising, etc.).
      Signature

      My name is Justin Lewis, with Business Optimizer I've been in business for 6 years online with multiple six figure years, here are the tools that have helped me the most: Increase your reviews with this free Review Handout

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9797711].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Andrea Rillo
    Ok but what exactly is the topic of these networking meetings? Because here in Italy with "network marketing" it means some fake selling systems that are used to let people sell what some at the top of the pyramid don't want to. It's related to perfume selling and coffee selling here.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9797719].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Justin Lewis
      Originally Posted by Andrea Rillo View Post

      Ok but what exactly is the topic of these networking meetings? Because here in Italy with "network marketing" it means some fake selling systems that are used to let people sell what some at the top of the pyramid don't want to. It's related to perfume selling and coffee selling here.
      These aren't actual marketing events for marketers. They are meant for local small businesses to help each other out.

      The topic would be lead generation for businesses. So for example a local house insurance agent would refer clients to a home inspector. The home inspector would refer clients to the house insurance agent.

      A car dealer would refer clients to the car insurance agent and the car insurance agent might know someone that just bought a car that wants a home and refer them to the real estate agent.

      And the same goes for a web developer. A web developer might know someone who needs insurance and other members of the group might need a website or know someone who needs a website.
      Signature

      My name is Justin Lewis, with Business Optimizer I've been in business for 6 years online with multiple six figure years, here are the tools that have helped me the most: Increase your reviews with this free Review Handout

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9797758].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Think of networking as making friends for business owners/marketers/managers, etc.

      Think of networking events as events where a bunch of business owners/marketers/managers/sales people meet for the purpose of making business friends.

      Endless Referrals, Third Edition: Bob Burg:...Endless Referrals, Third Edition: Bob Burg:... is a good book on how to network.

      You could, of course, set up your own networking events.

      Originally Posted by Andrea Rillo View Post

      Ok but what exactly is the topic of these networking meetings? Because here in Italy with "network marketing" it means some fake selling systems that are used to let people sell what some at the top of the pyramid don't want to. It's related to perfume selling and coffee selling here.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9798193].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Andrea Rillo
        Originally Posted by Justin Lewis View Post

        These aren't actual marketing events for marketers. They are meant for local small businesses to help each other out.

        The topic would be lead generation for businesses. So for example a local house insurance agent would refer clients to a home inspector. The home inspector would refer clients to the house insurance agent.

        A car dealer would refer clients to the car insurance agent and the car insurance agent might know someone that just bought a car that wants a home and refer them to the real estate agent.

        And the same goes for a web developer. A web developer might know someone who needs insurance and other members of the group might need a website or know someone who needs a website.
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        Think of networking as making friends for business owners/marketers/managers, etc.

        Think of networking events as events where a bunch of business owners/marketers/managers/sales people meet for the purpose of making business friends.

        Endless Referrals, Third Edition: Bob Burg: 9780071462075: Amazon.com: Books is a good book on how to network.

        You could, of course, set up your own networking events.
        That's really interesting. We don't have this kind of networking events here.
        I guess I can't use this strategy :p .
        Andrea
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9798266].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Andrea Rillo View Post

          That's really interesting. We don't have this kind of networking events here. I guess I can't use this strategy :p Andrea
          You could organize one. :-)

          Cheers. - Frank
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9798577].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Sounds like a great life Justin...and I bet you have banked a lot of money now you don't have a mortgage and cars and expensive stuff you don't need.
    Signature

    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Website / Blog for more info.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9799023].message }}
    • Hey Justin

      Couldn't agree with you more! I am feeling guilty of having not been using this before. Recently came back from an event and am expecting the connections I made to add atleast 30K USD more to my bottom line in 2015. The beauty of networking is one good connection can put your business growth on steroids.

      Wish you all the best RVing around the country!

      Best
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9808939].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Justin Lewis
        Originally Posted by Andrea Rillo View Post

        That's really interesting. We don't have this kind of networking events here.
        I guess I can't use this strategy :p .
        Andrea
        I have no doubt they are there. They're likely underground and not spoken of much. But you could always push to start your own and publicize it.

        Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

        Sounds like a great life Justin...and I bet you have banked a lot of money now you don't have a mortgage and cars and expensive stuff you don't need.
        Absolutely

        This month is our last rent payment, I have no car payments, my office lease just ended and overall I may have $800 in dedicated expenses each month to run my business and life.

        Originally Posted by wordpressexperthelp View Post

        Hey Justin

        Couldn't agree with you more! I am feeling guilty of having not been using this before. Recently came back from an event and am expecting the connections I made to add atleast 30K USD more to my bottom line in 2015. The beauty of networking is one good connection can put your business growth on steroids.

        Wish you all the best RVing around the country!

        Best
        That's excellent Let us know how that goes!

        I landed one client last year that alone profited me over $20,000 unexpectedly.
        Signature

        My name is Justin Lewis, with Business Optimizer I've been in business for 6 years online with multiple six figure years, here are the tools that have helped me the most: Increase your reviews with this free Review Handout

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9817506].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author im2park
    I just started my own SEO/PPC business 3 weeks ago. I am going to start attending networking events in 2 weeks.
    How the heck did you land those clients? I've never been to a networking event. Do you just chat with other business owners and say "hey I do online marketing!" Did you sell them on the spot? What did you do or say? You need to make a video or eBook or WSO. I need advice
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9826035].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      The book I mentioned earlier does cover all you need to know about effective networking.

      Think of this like making friends that you can help.

      The emphasis is not on selling but on getting to have a relationship with some of the people there. Because, once they trust you, if they need what you sell, they will buy from you and recommend you to other people.

      Which brings you to: you need to tell them what you're about without selling.

      Normally, they'll ask you what you do.

      Have a powerful description of what you do so that they can't help asking questions.

      A few months ago, there was a post/thread here about someone who showed up at a networking event who did SEO.

      When asked what he did, he said something like this: I choose one business per suburb and help it grow while putting its competitors out of business.

      He said he got a lot of people wanting his attention.

      And, I believed him.

      (Maybe others remember the post/thread and point it out to you.)

      Originally Posted by im2park View Post

      I just started my own SEO/PPC business 3 weeks ago. I am going to start attending networking events in 2 weeks.
      How the heck did you land those clients? I've never been to a networking event. Do you just chat with other business owners and say "hey I do online marketing!" Did you sell them on the spot? What did you do or say? You need to make a video or eBook or WSO. I need advice
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9826054].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        The emphasis is not on selling but on getting to have a relationship with some of the people there. Because, once they trust you, if they need what you sell, they will buy from you and recommend you to other people.
        Tip here is if you are more than one person take a team and work the whole event. You can multiply results this way.

        We normally have prepared packs to go to these type of events and we often contact organisers ahead of time to see if they have "Goodie Bags" - note that term may be different in your market.

        We ask for inclusion in the goodie bag and we provide the material to go into it.

        Usually a gift cheque and a 3d type fold up puzzle....you say whattha... "puzzle?"

        The key is to get your material kept by the attendee and if you can include something that they can give to their kids you look like a superhero......super conversions...my tip.

        A simple one is a lego kit and you include your marketing material...you guys owe me for that one...coz that's gold.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9826976].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author savidge4
          Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

          A simple one is a lego kit and you include your marketing material...you guys owe me for that one...coz that's gold.
          HEY HEY HEY now.. that's against the law in the states.. you cant go giving that idea up!! I seriously buy any and every small lego pack that I or my wife, and a decent legion of spotters find on sale.

          Between events and Toys for tots.. I go through a ton of lego. I normally hand out full sized candy bars at Halloween, not this coming year but the year after we want to hand out lego - that's if we can collect enough. I had 240 kids last year, and every year the number keeps growing.

          Ozi Ozi Ozi!
          Signature
          Success is an ACT not an idea
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9828484].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        When asked what he did, he said something like this: I choose one business per suburb and help it grow while putting its competitors out of business.
        I imagine that it does get interested prospects to approach him. Thanks for the share.

        I say "I provide qualified leads and sales, for businesses that already have a website"
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9829430].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        Think of this like making friends that you can help.

        The emphasis is not on selling but on getting to have a relationship with some of the people there. Because, once they trust you, if they need what you sell, they will buy from you and recommend you to other people.

        Which brings you to: you need to tell them what you're about without selling.
        I've found this to be ineffective at unstructured networking events. It leads to hang out buddies. What I've found in unstructured networking is:

        People who you buy from will buy from you.
        People who you give a referral(s) (that closes) will give buy from you/refer you.

        The rest is a little too long term for me.

        The best structured networking I've done is where it's the same people every week (not paid for closed stuff like BNI...more like business book clubs) where you're allowed they pick a person to do a 5 minute presentation per week.

        Those are money.

        Everything else has been a waste of time for me.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9829555].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

          I've found this to be ineffective at unstructured networking events. It leads to hang out buddies. What I've found in unstructured networking is:

          People who you buy from will buy from you.
          People who you give a referral(s) (that closes) will give buy from you/refer you.

          The rest is a little too long term for me.

          The best structured networking I've done is where it's the same people every week (not paid for closed stuff like BNI...more like business book clubs) where you're allowed they pick a person to do a 5 minute presentation per week.

          Those are money.

          Everything else has been a waste of time for me.
          Then you don't know how to work a room. I have a friend who's sole prospecting method is working trade shows, during breaks. Another friend who's sole method is working networking meetings. Every meeting, he has one or two people ask about his services.

          And I know how to work a networking event, myself. Not to build a relationship, but to sell.

          So, it can be done. You may not enjoy it, or even want to do it, but it can be done.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9829630].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            Then you don't know how to work a room.
            That's why we have you here...to teach us.
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9829682].message }}
            • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
              Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

              That's why we have you here...to teach us.
              I've reread the last several posts. I was rude. I apologize.

              I also noticed that there was mention of working a room, to start relationships that eventually grow into business. I know that works. But I have a different approach.

              I know, that in every group of 20 or more business owners, at least one will instantly connect with what you say, if you position your "this is what I do" statement. I'm looking for that guy.

              So I leave openings, while I'm in a conversation, that will allow the person to ask for more information, or show interest. These "openings" sound like regular conversation, but they are said, to identify the interested people. For example...

              Me: "Hi. What do you do?"
              Them; "blah, blah, blah...And what do you do?"
              "I provide sales and qualified leads to business owners who already have a website. Have you tried the sandwiches?"

              What I am looking for, is that one guy....to say "Stop, why do I need a website for you to work with me?"

              I want him to suck me into a conversation about what I do..

              I may ask a few questions;
              "Where are you located?"
              "Do you have a business where most of your customers are withing 50 miles?"
              "Is your average sale over $500?" (I usually know these answers in advance, but they don't know that)
              "Have you ever had a customer tell you "I found you online?""

              After they say "Yes" to these questions, I say "Then maybe we should talk. Will you be in tomorrow at 3PM? I have something to show you, that you may like"

              And that's what I do.

              It also, used to be a harmless, but very effective way to find interested girls.

              Speed Seduction.
              {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9838074].message }}
              • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
                Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                I've reread the last several posts. I was rude being rude. I apologize.

                I also noticed that there was mention of working a room, to start relationships that eventually grow into business. I know that works. But I have a different approach.

                I know, that in every group of 20 or more business owners, at least one will instantly connect with what you say, if you position your "this is what I do" statement. I'm looking for that guy.

                So I leave openings, while I'm in a conversation, that will allow the person to ask for more information, or show interest. These "openings" sound like regular conversation, but they are said, to identify the interested people. For example...

                Me: "Hi. What do you do?"
                Them; "blah, blah, blah...And what do you do?"
                "I provide sales and qualified leads to business owners who already have a website. Have you tried the sandwiches?"

                What I am looking for, is that one guy....to say "Stop, why do I need a website for you to work with me?"

                I want him to suck me into a conversation about what I do..

                I may ask a few questions;
                "Where are you located?"
                "Do you have a business where most of your customers are withing 50 miles?"
                "Is your average sale over $500?" (I usually know these answers in advance, but they don't know that)
                "Have you ever had a customer tell you "I found you online?""

                After they say "Yes" to these questions, I say "Then maybe we should talk. Will you be in tomorrow at 3PM? I have something to show you, that you may like"

                And that's what I do.

                Speed Seduction.
                Claude,

                Thanks for the tips. Your post was the blunt truth. What you were giving me is man love. And it stung for a few seconds. After those seconds I realized that the truth hurts. And since you could see my problem immediately & verbalize it...I needed to listen to you.

                So, I went & bought the Sale Prospecting book. After about the 1st 30 pages. I bought the One Call Close book. I'm still reading the Sales Prospecting book, but it is absolute money. For $6 I got more value than I've gotten out of many "printed" books in my library & I'm only a 3rd of the way through the 2 books.

                Please do me 2 favors.

                1) Let me know when your next book is coming out.
                2) Remove the links from your sig, so my competition doesn't see your books!
                {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9838092].message }}
              • Profile picture of the author DABK
                First one I ever went to, there was a lady with a stack of postcards in her hand, maybe 200.

                She gave me one as soon as I said HI, then she went and gave away a few more. Then she went in a corner and scribbled something on a bunch of cards. Then she went around the room, spent about 30 seconds per person, and gave each person she talked to a card.

                I threw mine out without reading it.

                So did everybody else.

                At the same meeting, several people asked me about what I do, gave me some pointers about networking, introduced me to people they thought I might find useful.

                Before passing me on, 2 of them, having determined I was a good candidate for their business, set up a meeting with me, and 2 pitched me right there.

                I bought from none as I was, at that point, not going to buy. Two months later, I bought from one of the 4 and one of them bought from me.

                The biggest problem I have at my local chamber meetings is finding someone I want to work with (most who attend either don't have the money or are; in my area most of the people who attend are 1-3 people shows (attorneys, real estate agents, insurance agents).

                (Some of the other chambers whose meetings I attend, don't have that problem, or not as acute.)

                My point? Not all chambers are equal. But you don't have to join the one for your neighborhood/suburb. You can join one that has more of the type of people you're looking to meet.

                You can figure out what type of people they have from their website directory.

                Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                I've reread the last several posts. I was rude being rude. I apologize.

                I also noticed that there was mention of working a room, to start relationships that eventually grow into business. I know that works. But I have a different approach.

                I know, that in every group of 20 or more business owners, at least one will instantly connect with what you say, if you position your "this is what I do" statement. I'm looking for that guy.

                So I leave openings, while I'm in a conversation, that will allow the person to ask for more information, or show interest. These "openings" sound like regular conversation, but they are said, to identify the interested people. For example...

                Me: "Hi. What do you do?"
                Them; "blah, blah, blah...And what do you do?"
                "I provide sales and qualified leads to business owners who already have a website. Have you tried the sandwiches?"

                What I am looking for, is that one guy....to say "Stop, why do I need a website for you to work with me?"

                I want him to suck me into a conversation about what I do..

                I may ask a few questions;
                "Where are you located?"
                "Do you have a business where most of your customers are withing 50 miles?"
                "Is your average sale over $500?" (I usually know these answers in advance, but they don't know that)
                "Have you ever had a customer tell you "I found you online?""

                After they say "Yes" to these questions, I say "Then maybe we should talk. Will you be in tomorrow at 3PM? I have something to show you, that you may like"

                And that's what I do.

                It also, used to be a harmless, but very effective way to find interested girls.

                Speed Seduction.
                {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9838224].message }}
                • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
                  Originally Posted by DABK View Post

                  First one I ever went to, there was a lady with a stack of postcards in her hand, maybe 200.

                  She gave me one as soon as I said HI, then she went and gave away a few more. Then she went in a corner and scribbled something on a bunch of cards. Then she went around the room, spent about 30 seconds per person, and gave each person she talked to a card.

                  I threw mine out without reading it.

                  So did everybody else.
                  Yup. I would have been shocked if you would have posted another result. And yet, this is how many business people "work the room". They don't know the two immutable laws of nature;

                  If you want them to run from you...chase them.
                  If you want them to chase you, act like you are running away.

                  When my 3 year old grandson used to say "You can't catch me!" as he started running from me, I knew he had already understood the first rule of marketing.

                  Good genes.
                  {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9839287].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author Justin Lewis
            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            Then you don't know how to work a room. I have a friend who's sole prospecting method is working trade shows, during breaks. Another friend who's sole method is working networking meetings. Every meeting, he has one or two people ask about his services.

            And I know how to work a networking event, myself. Not to build a relationship, but to sell.

            So, it can be done. You may not enjoy it, or even want to do it, but it can be done.
            I'd like to get into working at trade shows. Those sound fun, especially for manufacturing companies and large contractors.
            Signature

            My name is Justin Lewis, with Business Optimizer I've been in business for 6 years online with multiple six figure years, here are the tools that have helped me the most: Increase your reviews with this free Review Handout

            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9836565].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Justin Lewis
    I'd like to point out 2 quick experiences.

    1. I was at a meeting with a group of 10 people in December of 2013

    2. I was at a meeting with a group of 50 people in December of 2013

    Throughout the year I noticed that the leads I received from the smaller group were HUGE leads. They made me more than $30,000 with about 60 hours of total work (prospecting, meetings, maintenance etc). The second group I received a bunch of leads, but they were all small. I made somewhere near $12,500 and spent well more than 200 hours prospecting, working, etc.

    The thing I noticed is that in the smaller group (which is not like all small groups) there were 2 large businesses. The first paid me $1,750/mo and sent me 3 leads and the second paid me $5,000 and hired me every few months for additional work. Those 2 businesses alone made me more than the large amount of businesses I had worked with.

    My goal now is to focus on the larger businesses and send the smaller businesses out to other respected companies.

    But... the end all is that NETWORKING MEETINGS WORK
    Signature

    My name is Justin Lewis, with Business Optimizer I've been in business for 6 years online with multiple six figure years, here are the tools that have helped me the most: Increase your reviews with this free Review Handout

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9845765].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Teri802nj
    What are your conversations like when you go to these meetings?
    Signature

    Theresa Lovelace
    http://theresamlovelace.com

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9846881].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Justin Lewis
      Originally Posted by Teri802nj View Post

      What are your conversations like when you go to these meetings?
      They are typically short but very strictly on topic.

      For example, if there is a landscaping company, I'll talk with them about their business first. I'll ask them questions like, what kind of customers do you want, how's your business doing as far as acquiring new clients and what do you think would help you. Typically after that, they'll either mention a service that I can provide or ask my suggestions as I'm leading them into it.

      I never just directly push and say, hey you need a website right now or you'll fail. Because that's not reality, there are multiple forms of media they could use and I can usually figure out a solution for them whether it be through me or someone else that I trust.

      Anyways, then I see how I can help them acquire new clients and from there we usually go into a separate 30 minute meeting (the same day or after) and that's when I land them as a client or land one of their friend companies as a client.
      Signature

      My name is Justin Lewis, with Business Optimizer I've been in business for 6 years online with multiple six figure years, here are the tools that have helped me the most: Increase your reviews with this free Review Handout

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9850322].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MoneyDan
    Banned
    That sounds awesome, Justin.

    A whole lot of life, marketing included, is about knowing and talking to the right people. There's no better way to meet and talk to the right people than doing it face to face. Nice job and great post, good luck in 2015.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9868712].message }}

Trending Topics