I’ve never been a fan of traditional, hand shake, business card swapping networking events. At the earliest stages of my career, I was more concerned about doing quality work instead of having a quantity of work. This method didn’t boast well for my bank account. However, the value that my clients received, made them clients for life. This strategy would often drive me quite a few referrals for more business.
People always told me that if I wanted more business,
I would have to go where my potential clients go and network with them.
Deep down inside, I always felt that was the wrong way to grow a business.
If everyone is going to networking events to sell their skills or seek out jobs,
then that means very few are in a position to buy.
We first started CAKEpdx almost 3 years ago. Our goal was to produce a business event that was about utility and not just meeting random people. We wanted to educate as many people as possible while in the process learning ourselves.
We wanted to guarantee value first and as a by product, you might meet a few cool people.
I’ve met hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs at our CAKE events and every month we have provided each other value. Our events have also been known to spark a business relationship or two… neat, huh?
To further validate that this method of networking was the way to go, I was attracted to a book titled: “Networking Is Not Working” by Derek Coburn (besides, I like his first name).
In his book, Coburn discusses the flaws in traditional networking. He likens it to a professional one night stand. The majority of networking regulars are out to tell people who they are, but rarely take interest in the other person.
Even if the people are pleasant… It’s a self serving venture.
Traditional networking is a sheer numbers game. Coburn used to be a traditional networker and followed this strategy… “If I met and called 300 people, 30 would let me talk to them, 6 would schedule a meeting, and 1 would become a client… I was unconcerned with the fact that this process took 6-10 hours (per week) of constant effort to yield one client; let alone that my conversion rate was 1/3 of one percent (.003%).”
When freelancers and small business owners determine their rates, most only count the work that’s performed towards figuring their rate. When you add the 6-10hrs of work to snag one client, your $$$/HR plummets.
I’m not a fan of cold-calling and time intensive lead generation strategies.
Stop Growing Your Network and Start Growing Your Business
In what ended up being a meta book quote, Coburn quotes Jay Baer’s book “Youtility.”
“What if instead of trying to be amazing you just focused on being useful?
What if you decided to inform, rather than promote?”
This is how networking should happen…
This is why CAKE exists… summed up by a book, quoting another book. Go figure?
To have a business that you don’t end up resenting, you should find your ideal clients and not just any client. To do that, you have to build quality relationships by being useful.
Come be useful with us at Entretherapy!
Bonus Book Recommendation:
If you’re a service professional or freelancer, you need to follow one book: “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port. Notice how I didn’t say “read” this book. To gain the value out of this book, it will take some time, but you have to follow the book step by step, pause where it tells you, and do the work.
Not only have I followed “Book Yourself Solid” to build my freelance business, the people I refer this book to see an instant increase in the number of clients they are serving.
Guess what one of the core principles is… Providing people value.
Ok, you should be getting the point by now…
Are you a fan of traditional networking, we’d love to hear why.
Not a fan of networking, see you at CAKE! 🙂