It does surprise me just how often I go to open networking events, such as those at the North London Chamber of Commerce and find that I’m the only solicitor in the room.
That’s fine for me, because I make plenty of business connections which develop into business relationships – and that takes time, as we know – but what about the thousands of other businesses who are struggling to make connections ? I do wonder how others are getting to meet fellow business people in their local communities.
I’ve noticed that the networking meetings list is growing, particularly in North London and Hertfordshire, with a whole range of events (often in pubs!) which gives us the opportunity of meeting informally and testing out the potential for another conversation at another time. Those of us who are in the Chambers of Commerce, BNI, Athena or similar much more focussed networking groups know the value of follow-up after that first introduction – whether just over a cup of coffee or a longer one-to-one meeting.
People will do business with people they get to know, like and trust and who are willing to help them, so I’m always encouraging our younger solicitors to develop that approach with people they meet.
Don’t be afraid of rejection. They do say “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome Prince“. So if you don’t hit gold first time round, keep trying and keep the mind-set to ask about the other person first. You never know who you’ll be able to help and who in turn will help you improve your own business connections.
My suggestion to anyone who is looking for more business but is not yet attending networking events is to take a deep breath, grab a pile of your business cards and get out there (with a smile, a firm handshake and an open mind) to widen your network…..and don’t forget to follow-up / follow-up / follow-up! I’m not an expert, but if you’re still thinking about trying networking and want to talk it over, just give me a ring – 0208 363 4444. I’m happy to help !