Why networking? Networking can be a good thing if you know what you are getting into. You will want to do research before joining any group. You want to know the cost to join, who runs the group and the type of group. Your local Chamber of Commerce usually holds mixers (aka Networking meetings) and they are open to all businesses. There are some specific "trade" networking groups i.e. Real Estate that are only allowing Agents.
First, choose a group that has a diverse group of people. Yes, they might even have your competition but that's okay, they might service a different part of town.
Second, choose a group based upon your schedule. You don't want to cancel appointments, cut into your marketing routine just to go to a meeting. There are some groups that meet twice a month, some more and some less. Go to the right meeting for you. It's okay if you hop from one meeting to another; sometimes you have to do so in order to get the right fit. Then again, if you don't find the "right" group, networking may not be your cup of tea.
Third, make sure that there aren't long term membership fees (to be paid up front) before even getting in the door. Some groups will either expect you to "pay" them to be there (about $5) or they will charge to cover the meal if they meet at a restaurant; either way make sure you are prepared to pay.
Last item make sure that you bring plenty of marketing materials (business cards, brochures, etc.); business cards being the most important as everyone does a card exchange.
If you want to be the one in control of these Networking meetings then stay tuned as I will teach you how to start your own networking group and make money from it.
Best wishes for successful marketing.
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