I used to think that networking was the best way to grow your business until I realized something.
<insert video of me walking to an event, me full of energy and in a state of flow consciousness including a couple of shots of the snow-covered uptown of Minneapolis for all you to enjoy>
This is just a quick tip – which if internalized could have a major impact on the growth of your business. If you internalize this – hopefully, it really does help you.
Far too often we video marketers have heard “networking events are the best way to grow your business – you’ll meet potential customers and referral sources!” – but how often have you come home with a stack of cards only to waste hours with zero bookings?
The thing I realized (and why I stopped going to all networking events for a while) was that sitting in a room of people looking for business is kinda depressing! It’s definitely not life-giving – it’s not a room that results in trust compared to some other activities you can do.
Hobbies (versus networking events) are WAY better ways to meet people. Mutual interests (it could be coffee, click funnels, mountain biking, real estate investing, bluegrass music etc). Find something you are TRULY passionate about as a hobby – and go to these events because you genuinely just are happy to go as an attendee! Go because you are excited to learn what the presentation is about!
George Cruz shared with me how real-world relationships – the ones you meet at a club or a bar – are way more likely to convert to a trusted relationship than a networking event where everyone is there to take. At a bar – people are there to have a good time – they are generous! At a networking event – people are there to grow their business – and either make a sale or get a referral to a sale.
So I find myself today walking through the snow to a live recording of the podcast called “Coffee and Closers” with Mickeli Bedore. It’s not a networking event – but there are probably 100 people at this WeWork excited to hear a live interview recording for a podcast we all enjoy.
It’s a room of salespeople at different startups and companies – but the thing we’re all excited about is the podcast. It’s our hobby – we all admit that it’s educational but meeting people would only be a bonus. We’re there for self-development.
And guess what happens in this situation – we connect and have a common interest – we have a great experience – a shared experience. We build community in an authentic way – without pitchy and salesy conversations. We are there to help others – not make a sale.
Think back to a time you went to a smelly networking event – something that smelled like salespeople hawking their products and asking for referrals. Contrast that with a time you went to maybe a class on pottery, a meetup group about a hobby you like mountain biking or knitting.
With a hobby – you’re there because you want to be there not because you want to sell something. That is an entirely different expectation – and experience than a typical networking event.
And while you may be a unique person at a typical networking event – meaning perhaps you genuinely go to a networking event because you just like hearing the presentation and going home – the culture is still networking. People are there to meet you, sell to you, or get a referral to a sale. That. Is. The. Culture.
So my challenge is to look up a hobby you may have – go meet new people who love your hobby as much as you do – and see where it takes you!
So while I used to think networking events were how you can grow your video production business – I realized perhaps hobbies are more powerful (and fun).
Thank you to my friend Megan Turner over at Poppy Plum Media and also Luke Wheldon at Luma Visual (out of the UK) who both requested I share this tip via the written word. They are both amazing video producers in their areas. Without your encouragement – this blog post wouldn’t have been written!