The 3 Biggest Differences Between Networking In Real Life Vs. Online
Leads are a critical part of a business; there are no sales without leads, which means no business. Back in the day, I went to networking meetings and events; the local Chamber Of Commerce was the biggest resource for most business owners. The relationships within the Chamber changed the opportunities in my life, but they were family.
My mom and I were active in the local chamber when she became ill and passed away two weeks later. We didn't have a church at the time and didn't know where to hold her funeral. Our friends from the Chamber took care of everything; they provided the location, flowers, funeral services, even crisis care, and support. They loved me during a time when I deeply needed care, and I will forever be grateful.
I also loved volunteer organizations like The Lyons, Rotary, or Soroptimist (My sisters!) Occasionally I would visit a BNI leads group, but they were too structured for my liking.
I learned to build business friendships and share referrals. These are critical skills for every business owner. When Social Media started to become an online version of these real-life networking groups, my ears perked up!
The possibilities are endless! Millions of Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Communities, and TikTok cliques; don't forget about search engines like Pinterest and YouTube. Networking is everywhere, but there are so many dead ends and ways to become overwhelmed.
Last year, I earned a high five figures with one Facebook group (It wasn't even my group!) and a one-page PDF while testing offers, programs, and lead magnets. While five figures isn't something most people brag about, I gained clarity and education WHILE earning.
Why pay to learn when you can get paid to learn? What was I learning, you ask? I had to discover myself within the mess of my lifestyle. I was miserable but on a mission to live within my destiny and on a journey to living my current lifestyle.
On this journey, I discovered three significant differences between networking online versus in real life.
1. The number of people you reach. The biggest real-life networking groups that I've attended had about 300 people. At the time, I was helping homeowners get out of debt in record time; about 2/3 of most meetings were homeowners, so I had about 200 potential clients. I would spend the next year selling about 50 of those people or their friends and family. I could sell anyone who qualified and wanted to get out of debt.
Offering the same business on social media changes the game. There are approximately 80 million homeowners in the United States, but my program worked with any mortgage that carried interest, expanding the number into the hundreds of millions. This is why people get stuck in the "I can help anyone" endless loop of frustration online.
The "I can help anyone" problem created the saying, "the riches are in the niches." It would be best if you niched down, but people resist because of the old scarcity programming that says you only have 200 potential clients. Once you have your systems dialed in and producing, THEN you can help anyone but start too broad, and you will not get anywhere.
I could have niched down to working only with married couples in their late 20's and early 30's who have two or more children, a mortgage over $100k, and live in coastal condos. My results would have vastly improved, and my potential client would feel like I'm talking directly to them while still having access to about 200k potential clients!
Extra Bonus: Online networking eliminates talking to the "dude." You know the guy... I'm not saying he's white, but he's white, and he never stops talking about his dreaded mother-in-law. The block button is POWERFUL!!!
2. More enjoyable clients. Having access to larger numbers of people means you can pick and choose whom you want to serve. Work is so much more enjoyable when you really care about the people you serve on a deep level.
When I had outspoken clients about their political or religious views that were in contrast to mine, those meetings were dreaded. Do I want to keep my mouth shut and feed my family or speak my mind and lose the sale? That's a shitty decision. Especially when someone else could help them and LOVE their time together. I enjoy working with people who appreciate diversity and learning from each other rather than staunch viewpoints; online networking provides that choice.
3. The income potential. Let's pretend that I was able to sell ALL 200 people in the Chamber who were homeowners. My product was $3,500, and it might take 1-2 years, but I would also get three referrals from every client, bringing my client total to 600 people or $2.1 million over the course of a couple of years. That's really damn good! I would be in the top 1% of the company.
Let's do the same math online with conservative numbers. Based on a bit of research, there are 80m mortgages in the US, and 5m live in condos. The average age of a condo dweller is 33 years old. The vast majority of condos are in California, Texas, and Florida, and they are coastal states, totaling 2m units. Let's say only 1% have two kids and are in a coastal unit; that's 20,000 potential clients. Let's go even more conservative and say that I only sold 10% instead of 100% in the real-life example; that is still 2,000 clients and 7 million in sales!
The biggest advantage of online business networking is the ability to automate lead and systems, making selling 2,000 people much easier than sitting at their kitchen table and selling one on one.
Learning to network is essential for your business growth; learning to network online is vital to fulfilling your destiny. It's a skill, and it doesn't have to suck the life out of you or take much time, but it's important, and there's no commute!
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