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You may have heard the phrase networking or notworking when people refer to networking as they cannot see the benefits of networking, but if you network regularly you will soon see the benefits, but only if you do it correctly. 
You need to regularly attend any networking event, because you have to build trust with the people within the room and the best way to build trust is to regularly meet and speak to them and this doesn’t mean just having a chat during the meeting, the best way to get to know someone’s business is to have 1-2-1 meetings with them, because that is when you will find out more about them and their business. 
One of the biggest mistakes people make with networking is thinking it’s all about them and it isn’t, you need to listen to the other people and try to understand what they do and how you can help them, what type of clients are they looking for, now you might be saying at this point well how does this benefit me, the reason is that if you refer a new client to them, they are more than likely going to try and repay the favour, by referring their contacts to you and in turn you are also building the trust. 
I also hear people saying well there’s no-one in this networking group that will want to use my services or buy my products, well maybe there isn’t but they say that everyone knows 100 people, now I do think that this is a bit of a stretch, but on the other hand I suppose I am getting towards that figure and mainly this is due to networking. I do say if I can’t help you, I probably know someone that can and there haven’t been that many times that I was asked if I knew someone that did….. and couldn’t introduce them to someone that could help, so you have to remember it’s not who is in the room but also who they know. 
I personally receive most of my work from referrals whether that be from people that I network with or from my Clients, which is why I know that it works. 
Ok, so know you have decided (well maybe decided) that you should be networking, the next question is which group should you attend and the great or not so great thing about Northampton is that there are so many groups to choose from, and at different times of the day, there are breakfast groups, there are lunch time groups and there are evening groups, then you also have groups that meet once a month, others 2 or 3 times a month and some that are every week, then to confuse things even more you have open groups and lock out groups. 
So are you now thoroughly confused? 
Firstly, let’s start with open groups, these are groups that can have your competition in the room, but that isn’t always a bad thing as you often find although they are your competition, there be areas that you don’t cover that they do, so you can find yourself working with them rather against them, a personal experience of this, I was at a networking meeting this month and I was asked about WordPress websites, personally as I don’t really use WordPress, I can edit them, but nothing too technical so I knew I wasn’t the best person to speak to, so I suggested he spoke to Clive who is in the room who does use WordPress a lot. 
Then there are lock out groups and this means that your competition cannot be in the room and obviously this has benefits also as you have no competition, but you also have to remember that although you have no competition in the room you may have competition from people that already have loyalties elsewhere, they may not refer to an electrician because they already have an electrician that they have been using for years, so don’t be offended by that, just because you are the only person from your business category there, you cannot assume that you will get all the business from all the members of the room. 
So that’s really the main types of groups and now you need to decide when the best time of the day is for you to network and also where and try a few groups out to see what fits best with you. 
I personally belong to two networking groups, The Business Club Northants, who meet three evenings a month, from 6pm – 8.30pm once at The Sunley Centre in Northampton, once at The Kettering Park Hotel and once at The Holiday Inn in Flore and this is an open group, I also belong to Enigma which is a breakfast lock out networking group that meet every Wednesday morning in Northampton, so if you would like to attend either of these groups as my guest, please get in touch. 
So I hope you found my blog useful and please feel free to share your thoughts by adding a comment or share my blog if you think someone may benefit from it. 
So until next time, keep smiling and good luck in your Business or everything that you choose to do. 
Tracy Jackson 
My Business is Helping Your Business. 
Tagged as: Networking
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