You’ve heard the numbers:
- It takes 30 days to break a habit or build a new one.
- It takes 5-7 meetings with someone before you start to really know them. (This applies to dates, networking, and other relationship-building.)
- It takes two to tango and 7 years to develop an itch.
And we all know that the numbers, while directionally correct, are different for each of us and our circumstances. None of us wants to be average or a number, and yet we search for empirical data to understand and justify behaviors.
Roy H. Williams, a crony of Dan Kennedy, marketing guru and the author of The Wizard of Ads, talks about the critical success factors of successfully using advertising media. Several of his principles translate well with regards to maximizing your networking presence:
- Create your voice, and then make sure that your voice shows up consistently. This could be in a small way (accurately delivering your elevator speech in a networking meeting) or in a big way (presenting at a national conference, writing a book or winning a prestigious award.) The importance is to find your voice and express it consistently.
- Be “all in”, which means don’t spread your focus across multiple forms of media unless you have an insanely large budget. Find a way to own a space. Do you consistently attend certain meetings, follow up in an effective way, and own your elevator speech?
- To become a household name in radio and television, one rule is to be heard/seen by your target audience at least 21 times per week in prime time spots where your customers will be watching/listening to certain programming. What that number tells me is frequency with your key clients is important as much as quality and reach. Keep showing up where your ideal clients show up and eventually people will remember you.
Here are a few questions to get you thinking about perhaps why networking hasn’t been as successful for you:
- How many times has someone repeated your elevator speech back to you? That’s a telltale sign that people are hearing your voice.
- How often do you meet someone before you start to understand who they are? How often do you have to meet with someone before they know who you are? And which comes first, getting to know them or getting them to know you?
- How often do you attend networking meetings in a week? Month? Year? And what is your success rate in building relationships, gaining referral sources and closing business?
Networking requires intention, planning and tracking the numbers. What are your numbers telling you?