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Networking and volunteering only work if they produce results……..

Just finished a long skype conversation with a friend, he is very frustrated with the progress of his business. For the past two years he has attended networking meetings, at least two a week, and has volunteered with many different organizations. He now has over 400 contacts in his data base and spends many hours and in networking meetings and doing volunteer work.

He started the conversation by asking me, “In your blogs you say we are in the people business. Why aren’t my efforts being rewarded?” Yes, he has gotten new business from his activities, just enough to keep going, but with no real “bottom line” growth.

For me, networking that is unstructured is not a good place to get valuable long term business. A typical networking meeting is made up of people looking for business. Their main concern is to “get something for themselves.” I explained that he did not have a choice in selecting the networking members, and that not all of them are in a position to send him a referral. A weekly or monthly meeting does not allow for enough time to establish a good relationship with individual members.

A “business support group” type of format is the one that I find the most effective. It allows for a selection process of members as well as time for building business and personal relationships. (Instructions on how to form such a group are available at, in the book section).

Volunteering is a way of “giving back” to help others. Its main purpose is not to get business. If you work hard and do a good job in your volunteer position, you will be noticed and others will contact you when your services/products are needed.

Managing your time in both of these endeavors is critical. It’s very easy to get so involved that your business will suffer. There are a lot of effective ways of reaching your target market and making a profitable contact. They may require more effort and work but the results are worth it.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Nick J. Petra CFP



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