There is no doubt that traditional networking works. There are many groups in Australia such as BNI; 4Networking; TribeSide; Business in Heels; She Business; Meet-Ups and BRG, to name a few.
Looking from a purely monetary perspective most charge a yearly fee plus a pay as you go breakfast fee that can average $25 – $40 each time. Go to a couple meeting per week and that can really add up. Don’t get me wrong, I love face to face networking, meeting new people plus familiar faces. For me this is the only place I find the LinkedIn virgins that are yet to dive in. Or at least dive in again since they signed up years ago. Of course one can’t find these people on LinkedIn.
For those who can’t afford the expense of networking, are too shy or like me, can’t always organise a babysitter to get your kids off to school, there is an alternative. It’s called Breakfast Online Networking and a wonderful addition to your face to face networking on the days you don’t attend.
If you would normally attend a breakfast meeting from 6.30 – 8.30am on Tuesdays and Fridays, then simply get up at this time, get your coffee and cereal and log into LinkedIn on the other days. Here’s the important part, you must treat this exercise just like you would at an event. At a face to face event you can’t possibly meet 50 people in the room, so sitting at your computer and sending out random connection invites is ridiculous, not strategic and pretty useless.
For the breakfast online networking method to be effective you have to treat it like you would offline. Start a search on LinkedIn for your ideal client and then take a look at the profiles of those people one by one. Take your time, when you scan something interesting about them, stop and take it all in. Just like if you’re in conversation you would ask them clarifying questions.
Shy types can just leave it there because a high percentage of people do check their ‘who’s viewed your profile’ feature and will initiate contact in return. For those who are a little more proactive and believe you have found your ideal client, start a conversation. Notice I didn’t say send a connection request! Many people, like me, don’t connect with any Tom, Dick and Harriet that requests a connection but would rather establish compatibility first.
Last note here, this method will only be successful if you have a completed and optimised LinkedIn profile. If your profile isn’t written as a sales document and more like a resume this method won’t gain you a lot of success, they’ll think you just want a new job. So spend some time on your profile to ensure that it paints you in the best light. If you are not sure how to do this, you can always ask a Ninja!
You have just been Ninjafied by the LinkedIn Ninja Down Under.