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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14 thoughts on “The Secret to Getting More Business Through Networking

  1. Inviting like-minded people for a cup of coffee has proven to be very successful for me. I usually look in LinkedIn for people in my field of passion, and connect with them. We exchange a few messages, and as the connection grows, I invite them for coffee to discuss opportunities for mutual cooperation/value exchange.

  2. I’d be curious to learn which specific networking activities are most effective for those in the human relations department. I am a third-party ombudsman but I normally work directly for the CEO and/or board of directors.

    1. Gerald,
      I can’t possibly claim credit for these ideas, since they are not mine: Network primarily where your target market networks (or target markets of your own network) and where other HR directors network. For example, our Chamber of Commerce provides a monthly Business Academy that is accredited to provide CEU’s for HR directors.
      I’m not an HR director, yet I attend regularly because I can connect the attending HR directors with others in my own network. One goal of networking is to be memorable. Helping people without expectation of anything in return guarantees that they’ll remember you.

  3. I spend more than 20 hours a week networking and 100% of my new business this year is through referrals. My most effective source is the three power teams…professional, commercial real estate, and presidents that consume time weekly.

  4. I spend more than 20 hours a week networking and 100% of my new business this year is through referrals. My most effective source is the three power teams…professional, commercial real estate, and presidents that consume time weekly.

  5. Networking is an integral part of my business and accounts for 96%. The local Chamber of Commerce provides great networking opportunities and the Chamber president is a BNI member of our chapter. Volunteering as a Chamber Ambassador provides networking opportunities not otherwise available. Approaching every networking event with the purpose of discovering how to help someone there to solve a problem has been the most beneficial of all. The return is far, far greater than the time investment.

  6. Networking is part of everything I do. First, I try to offer more value to my clients by learning about their business and referring business to them. Then I do the same with my suppliers. I’m a long time member of BNI, and continually try to help members of my group. “Givers Gain” is at the bottom of it all. Most of my suppliers and many of my clients came from networking. I have found how I can connect between online and “in person” networking, to make both more effective. And recently I presented a two-part seminar to Job Seekers on using networking to help them.

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