What do you think about networking events? How important are they to your business?
Many people told me that joining a networking group or attending networking events is a waste of time. I should spend that time building my business. These events will take up and waste valuable time. I can say that I'm glad I didn't listen.
The point of a networking group is not to sell your products or services. It's to meet new like-minded people, learn new things, and build a relationship. I think that's where a lot of people go wrong. They're expecting to gain new clients and sell their products at these events. Here's a question. If everyone is there to sell, then who is there to buy? No one! Just because your networking with people doesn't necessarily make them a potential client/customer.
Learn to build rapport with people. And use that time to let everyone know your business is out there. This is the time to engage with people and let them learn more about you and vice versa. This builds trust! Referrals will follow.
And, most important, you have to be involved. Join a group/committee, be active, and help within your community. Investing in your brand is not a waste of time. Not everything is going to produce an outcome right at that moment. The point is to build and be patient.
For all those introverts out there, it's going to be hard almost impossible. Put yourself out on a limb and meet one person. Then later join a small group. This will help ease you into the uncomfortable challenges of meeting and socializing with new people. It helped me.