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What In-Person Networking Events Should You Attend?

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 11:30:00 AM by Chans Weber

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what-in-person-networking-events-should-you-attendWhile it goes without saying that all businesses -- including and often especially the “brick and mortar” kind – need to leverage the web to drive their business forward, this doesn’t mean that in-person networking events are unimportant or old fashioned. On the contrary, they remain a vital source of knowledge, relationship building, and indeed, finding new, profitable customers.

Yet, this doesn’t mean that business leaders like you should clog up your calendar with one networking event after another. Frankly, some of them are a waste of time, while others are not truly networking events. They’re more like “get togethers” that, while fun and entertaining, aren’t really about work. And while you should certainly build some enjoyment in your life and strive for work-life balance (as the old saying goes, all work and no play…), you simply can’t afford to waste your valuable time attending pseudo-networking events.

So with this in mind, what in-person networking events should you attend? Rather than providing you a potential -- and exhaustive! -- list of talks, workshops, seminars, expos and so on, it’s more practical if we equip you with three “types” of networking events that should be on your calendar. Simply look for events in your area (whether you’re working from head office or on the road) that fall into any of these: 

1. Peer Groups

As the saying goes, “if you’re the smartest person in the room…then you’re in the wrong room”. Ensure that you’re always in the “right room” when by attending peer groups where you can brainstorm, learn from, and share knowledge with your industry counterparts. And of course, you can also swap “war stories” so that you can learn from each other’s mistakes, and indeed, have a laugh or two (or maybe shed a tear!) when you realize that you’re not the only one who experienced something challenging or difficult.

2. Prospect Groups

The best source of market intelligence is always going to be the real people who either buy your business’s offerings, or influence those who do. Make it a point to connect with these prospects groups on a regular basis – either by going to where they are, asking them to visit you on-site, or by booking space somewhere nearby and inviting them to attend.

Regardless of where you connect with your prospect groups, it’s essential that you provide value in exchange for their feedback and questions. For example, here at Leap Clixx we’ve had incredible success with our “Meetup” workshop series, in which we’ve helped businesses discover how to more effectively sell to their customers (read one of our Meetup press releases here). You can produce any kind of prospect-focused event that you wish – provided, again, that you deliver value.

3. Professional Groups

And last but not least, it’s valuable to attend networking events that are part of larger professional groups. It’s an excellent opportunity to develop some cross-industry connections, while also discovering trends and concepts outside of your industry that may be worth adopting. Many professional groups also offer training and development programs, and provide certifications that can open doors to new prospect bases. And of course, you want to promote all of your professional memberships on your website and in your marketing material.

The Bottom-Line

Even though the web is everywhere these days, in-person networking events are still a major piece of the sales, marketing and business development puzzle – though it’s also true that not all events are worth your time. As long as you focus on those that fit into the three categories above, you can count on spending your valuable and limited time wisely, and reaping significant bottom-line rewards.  

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