You can have the best intentions to build your business, but without an action plan and time dedicated to implement the plan, you are at risk of failure. Prepare yourself to succeed with a few time blocking activities.
Time blocking is a productivity tool used by successful business people all over the world. You can read more about how Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results uses time blocking here.
When it comes to networking, you need to be intentional about doing activities that will get you the results you’re looking for. To be intentional means to set aside time to accomplish a specific task or goal. After each activity, you should also assess if you achieved the results you hoped for…if not, what can you do differently.
According to a survey by the Referral Institute, professionals who felt networking had a significant impact on their business success spent on average 6.3 hours a week on networking activities. These individuals indicated that networking and word-of-mouth referrals lead to 47% of their business.
In today’s world of social networking, 6.3 hours may not seem like much. After all, you probably spend an hour a day looking at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn already. The key isn’t in just spending the time, it’s HOW you’re spending the time.
Practice these techniques to become a master of your networking time:
- Have a strategy in place. Know who, specifically, you’re trying to connect with.
- Schedule a minimum of 6 hours of networking time a week. Make appointments with yourself for time to spend on social sites. Factor in any coffee, lunch or dinner meetings. Plan to attend receptions, conferences, and other networking opportunities.
- Concentrate on your top 3 referral sources. Connect with them online. Engage with them on social media. Schedule time to meet face to face.
- Concentrate on your top 3 prospects. Follow their social sites. Learn about their businesses. Work to get a face to face meeting.
- Concentrate on your top 3 clients. Keep up with their social sites. Send them an email. Make an introduction for them.
- Before logging into a social site, determine what you want to accomplish. Do this first and develop the discipline to log off when it’s done.
- Focus on your most profitable activity first. For example, if you’re getting better leads from LinkedIn, spend time there before heading to Facebook.
- Be consistent. Don’t let your network wonder where you are. Post consistently to your social sites. Develop a plan for staying in contact with each individual.
As always, we welcome your comments. Give these tips a try and let us know your results. How much time each week do you spend networking? What percentage of your business is attributed to your networking efforts?