One of the most powerful channels for any business coach looking for lead generation is to go out networking. Building relationships is vitally important, and whether it’s online or face to face, networking can help to increase the quality of your connections. But just turning up at meetings isn’t enough. If you want to increase your chance of getting a return on investment at your networking meetings, here are hubbix’s top 5 tips.

1. Know Who You’re Targeting

There are dozens of different networking groups that you could attend, and each one of them attracts a different type of business. That’s why, before you decide which groups you’d like to attend, you must first of all have a clear vision of who you want to target. BNI, for example, will attract smaller businesses. The Chamber of Commerce, on the other hand, will have a larger selection of businesses, but they are likely to be very localised.

Google networking groups, search event sites such as Eventbrite, and ask your network for recommendations. It’s good to explore national and local events. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and consider, if you were them, where would you go networking? It’s vital to do your research and base your decisions on what you actually want to achieve.

2. Trial & Error

No matter how much research you do, though, don’t underestimate the power of trial and error. You might believe you’ve found the perfect group from the website description, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be perfect. It all depends on who attends and what they want to get out of the meetings themselves. Networking is a broad topic, so have an open mind. Don’t narrow yourself down to one or two groups to begin with. Try different things out and see what works best for you. Also, remember, it’s not just the people in the room. Who they’re connected with could also open doors for you.

3. Pitching

Most networking meetings will require you to pitch your business. And even in those meetings that encourage an open chat, people will still ask you what you do and who you are, so it’s always good to be prepared. You need to make sure that you’re very clear. But also don’t be repetitive. If you attend a group where you see the same or similar people regularly, make sure you mix up how you talk about your business. This will encourage people to always listen to you. It can be very boring to hear the same people say the same thing week after week.

We recommend you have half a dozen different pitches that you can delve into. This could be a library of stats that you could share to make people think, or you could tell the story of how you became a coach or adviser. Or why not read out a testimonial? Take some time to build your library of pitches and then keep rotating them so things always feel fresh and different. It will help people to remember you.

4. Relationships Are Key

Business is all about relationships. This means it’s unlikely you’ll get instant results from your first networking meeting. It takes time to form a bond with people. But when you do, the chances of them wanting to work with you will be vastly higher.

One of the best ways to build relationships is to offer value to your peers. For every encounter, don’t let them walk away without giving them something to think about. Whether you offer them a tip, an idea, constructive feedback or you introduce them to someone useful, make sure you’re giving them a reason to remember you. You want them to leave the conversation thinking how good it was. Even if they’re trying to sell something to you, you can offer them feedback on why it is or isn’t of interest, rather than just saying yes or no.

5. Follow Up

When you’ve left the meeting, the relationship building shouldn’t stop there. Make sure you have a really good 121 and follow up strategy. Book in 121s with as many people as you can. Even if they aren’t your ideal customer, they could have connections who are, and every relationship can be valuable. In your 121s, remember to keep adding value yourself. Learn about their pain points and see how you might be able to help them.

After the 121s, keep following up. Keep planning your next actions so that the relationships you’re building stay strong and remain useful. Do you have a CRM system where you could set actions for yourself? How are you keeping tabs of who you need to follow up with and why?

We wish you the best of luck at your next networking meeting. And when you do win all those new clients, don’t forget that hubbix could maximise those client meetings.