My Networking Nightmare

Back in the beginning of my consulting career, I used to network to find prospective clients. I’d go to an event, shake a bunch of hands, converse with maybe 5-7 people, perhaps a couple of whom would be interested in my services.

Then I had to follow up. Diligently. If they responded (IF), then we'd probably meet again – another 2 hours – and I’d probably end up writing a proposal (I’m embarrassed to tell you how long THOSE took), and then maybe they’d hire me, maybe they wouldn’t. If they did, it was usually after considerable haggling. No wonder I was exhausted.

The first time I got in front of a group of about 50 people to deliver a workshop, almost ALL of the participants came up to me afterwards, gave me their cards and asked me to add them to my mailing list. A handful specifically requested for me to follow up with them so they could work with me, and I closed 2 pieces of business within a few days of the event… WITHOUT a single torturous proposal.

Can you say a-ha! moment?

I immediately made a resolution to speak more, which was easier said than done. To book me, clients wanted to see video and references, but I didn't have video references because I hadn't gotten booked… (you know…chicken and egg).

So then I figured, if OTHER people won't put me onstage, then dammit, I'll put MYSELF on one. And THAT is how I started creating my own events. And the results of those have been nothing short of extraordinary. Events are my single biggest source of new business, AND because we have good sponsors, these events also lead to corporate speaking engagements. Are you seeing how this works? It’s a virtuous cycle.

Leave a Reply