I heard a phrase the other day, and it really hit home how true it is.

“NETworking is one letter different than NOT working.”

If your networking isn’t helping you make a living, then it’s not working. It’s not getting you closer to reaching your goals, and it’s not growing your business.

So many people begin networking without clear goals for what they want to achieve with each interaction. They get lost in the crowd of people, and sheer luck guides them to occasional prospects who may or may not work out.

So how do you make sure that your networking is always working for you? How do you make sure that it’s profitable and productive?

Watch this week’s video to learn the secret to making sure that every networking interaction you have is working for you, instead of not working at all.

Whether it’s online or face to face, networking can be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience. When I lived in Atlanta, my networking events were like having lunch with friends, but I always made sure that my time there paid me in new prospects, connections and referrals.

But how do you make sure that your networking is productive?

Always have a goal you want to achieve, and a plan to stay in touch with the prospects you meet.

Before you go to a networking event, think about why you’re going, and what you’re hoping to gain from it.

I used to attend Metro Atlanta chamber events, and my goal was to meet 2-3 people who were in sales-related businesses who might be interested in developing a side-business. At the time, I was recruiting part-time sales reps.

Before I ever entered the room, I knew how many people I wanted to meet and how many people I wanted to have follow-up meetings with. I had a mental checklist to make sure that I got the information to follow up with them, that I gave them a reason for the follow up, and that it was a mutual agreement for us to do so.

Having that plan in your mind before you start networking is vital to your success. It allows you to pinpoint the type of person you’re looking for, guide the conversation, and make sure that you can get a follow-up to continue talking with your prospect.

Your plan may not work out with every person that you talk to, but having a goal for why you’re there will help ensure you have the best chances for success, so that your networking is always working for you, instead of not working at all.

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