Networking groups – for better or for worse

Today I was honored (no really, I’m being serious) to be invited to join the top-notch networking group organized by my top-notch marketing consultant. I was invited to visit two years ago but was not asked at that time because my business was just getting started, but now it’s a different ballgame.

Networking has been kind of a sore spot with me – I was fortunate enough to come across one group that’s been good experience all around, but another has been hit-or-miss and I’m still on the fence about whether I’m going to remain a member. The reasons: it’s expensive if I go to each large monthly event, and the membership rarely meet any of the criteria for ‘the ideal client’ that I’ve so carefully cultivated with my business coach (or ‘business therapist’ as I like to refer to her).

I know the argument that, well, if I know 40 people that aren’t necessarily potential customers, still they know many other people that might be. I know that. But I just can’t help feeling that I’m wasting my time there. The group dynamics and demographics don’t fit my style of doing business or the kind of clients I enjoy working with. This is what I’ve observed so far.

It’s been over a year and a half and I haven’t received one lead that turned into a client – and yes I know you get out of it what you put in, but the environment, combined with the kinds of businesses that are members, is just not me. The smaller groups are much more me – I enjoy them more and get much more out of them and can contribute more as well since I feel more comfortable.

Sigh. I need to think about it a bit more, since my marketing consultant continually encourages me to get more involved, but I’m leaning away from the fence on the other side right now.

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