networking activities Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®

NetTime: How Much Time Should You Spend Networking?

The secret to getting more business through networking is. . . spending more time doing it!   OK, well, it’s a little more complicated than that because you have to spend time doing the right things.  However, devoting the necessary time is the starting point.  So how much networking time (or NetTime) should you spend developing your personal network and what kind of results can you expect to see?

Based on a survey that I helped to write and conduct of over 12,000 business professionals from every populated continent in the world, we finally have a definitive answer to those questions.  The study found that people who said “networking played a role” in their success spent an average of 6.3 hours a week participating in networking activities.  On the other hand, the majority of people who claimed that “networking did NOT play a role” in their success spent only 2 hours or less per week developing their network.  

Clearly, those people who spent very little time engaged in the process felt that networking was not an effective way to build their business.  As with many other aspects of life, you clearly reap what you sow.  It’s no wonder that the people who didn’t invest as much time also did not realize as much reward.  This demonstrates the direct correlation between the amount of time you devote to the networking process and the degree of success that you will likely realize from it.

The typical person in the survey who spent a little over six hours a week networking generated almost 47 percent of all their business through referrals and networking activities.  Of the 12,000 global participants in the survey, women spent less time networking (6.19 hours compared to 6.44 for men), yet generated a higher percentage of their business through the process (49.44 percent compared to 43.96 percent for men).

Why would women spend less time and get a higher percentage of their business from referrals than men?  Well, we discovered that men tended to be more transactional in their networking activities.  That is they were more likely than women to be focused on the “business first and the relationship second.”  On the other hand, women were more likely to be relational in their networking activities.  In other words, they were more likely than men to “focus on the relationship first and do the business second.”

An emphasis on relationships first was clearly and undeniably a key factor in determining whether people were going to identify  networking as having played a role in their success. When we looked at the responses from all the participants who said that networking had played a role in their success and then compared them to those people who focus on relationships first, we discovered that the majority of respondents who felt they’ve achieved success through networking also felt that it was better to build the relationship first and then focus on the business.  Consequently, regardless of gender, business professionals who focused on the relationship first and the business second tended to do better than those business people who focused on the business first.

In other words, relationships beat transactions when it came to networking.  The reason that women seem to have done better in the global study was that women tended to be more relational then men.

Those who skip the relationship building and attempt to establish an “all business” interaction often discover that trust and goodwill are more than just window dressing – they are part of the social capital that energizes a mutually rewarding business relationship.  People who bypass relationship building are more likely to feel that networking has not contributed to their success, and they are probably right – because they’re doing it wrong or at least not doing it enough.

You may be reading this article and thinking – OK, I now know that I need to be spending at least 6 ½ hours a week networking.  Well, that’s true IF you want to be average (and what successful business person wants to be average)!   If on the other hand, you’d like to be above average – you need to devote more time than that to the cause.  The optimum amount of NetTime is more likely to be 8-10 hours a week if you want to be one of those people that are generating well over half their business from referrals.

How much NetTime do you spend each week?  More?  Less? and what percentage of business (total) do you get from your networking efforts?  Comment below.

The Secret to Getting More Business Through Networking

I am constantly being asked, “What’s the secret to getting more business through networking?”  After more than two decades in the world of business networking I can confidently say that there is, indeed, a proven way to get more business through networking, though I wouldn’t quite call it a secret . . .

The best way to get more business through networking is, without a doubt, to spend more time doing it!  Okay, so, it’s a tad more complicated than that because you have to spend the time doing the right things with the right people.  However, based on a recent Referral Institute study on business networking, there is a definitive answer in regard to the amount of time people spend networking and the impact on the amount of business that is generated by that amount of time.

The most dramatic statistic found in the study is that people who reported “networking played a role in their success” spent an average of 6.5 hours a week participating in networking activities.  However, the majority of people who claimed “networking did NOT play a role in their success” spent 2 hours or less per week developing their network!!

This means that there is a direct correlation between the time you devote to the process and the success you realize from it.  To illustrate this further, I have inserted a graph below which relates to the average percentage of business generated from someone’s networking efforts in comparison to the amount of time spent participating in networking activities.  Here you can clearly see that people who are spending between 5-9 hours a week networking are generating, on average, 50 percent of their business from these activities.

People who spend over 20 hours a week networking, on average, are getting almost 70 percent of their business through referrals!

How much time are you currently spending on networking each week?  Do these statistics make you want to devote more time to networking?  If you ask me, the time investment is definitely worth making.

If you have found certain networking activities to be particularly worthwhile and productive, please share them in the comments section.  Telling about what’s working for you may help others wishing to devote more time to networking to make more informed decisions about exactly which types of networking activities they will devote more time to.

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