The ROI on Networking

The very best way to increase your ROI is to change your thinking about ROI.

Most people look at those initials and think “Return on Investment”. With networking, you will find better results if you look at ROI and think “Return on Involvement”.

Let me give you several examples.

Jane Taker and Mary Giver both join a networking organization on the same day.

Jane rarely attends the functions or events. When Jane does attend an event, she arrives late, leaves early and barely talks to anyone while she is there. When Jane does talk, her talk is all about herself and she is openly pushing to make a sale during her interactions at the event. She is there only to “get” something and if she doesn’t “get” that certain something, she feels that she has wasted her time and money. People like Jane often say that they don’t “get” anything out of networking or they say “Networking doesn’t work for me.”

Mary attends as many functions as she can. She calls the leadership and asks how she can help. She volunteers at the registration table and takes great pride in helping others to feel welcome wherever she is. Mary arrives early to either help or spend extra time getting to know the other members. Even though she is shy, Mary knows that listening to others is a great way to get to know people and to help others begin to like her. Mary reaches out to others by helping to make connections, sharing resources, and being supportive. Mary’s outlook is upbeat and one of abundance. People like Mary and want to be around her. People similar to Mary often say that building relationships is very important to them. And, for people like Mary, the results in friendship, referrals, and business growth are measurable and satisfying.

The major difference between the 2 ladies? Mary got involved. Jane did not.

The net result? Mary grew her relationships first through her giving, her attitude of gratitude, and her vision of abundance. For Mary, the getting came later and in big ways. Some financial, some emotional, some too priceless to measure.

Jane quit the organization and joined a different one – the cycle will probably be repeated.

Both Jane and Mary spent the same amount of money on their membership.

Jane began by wanting a “return” on that investment – and quit shortly after when the “return on investment” did not pan out for her.

Mary began by realizing that if she got involved she would increase her top of mind awareness with the other members. She would gain visibility by helping others. Her involvement helped others to see her character and her commitment to getting things done by being helpful.

Helping others to see your character and commitment are the first steps to building the trust that is so important to building long lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.

Given the choice between focusing on ROI as “return on investment” or as “return on involvement”, I choose involvement every time.

The results are amazing!

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