Why Traditional Networking Is a Waste of Time

For years, business experts have claimed that professionals need to consistently network if they want to get new leads and ultimately boost sales. But times have changed, and now traditional networking isn’t always the best use of your day. In fact, in many cases it’s a waste of time! Here’s why that is and what you should do differently if you value your time as a professional.

What Traditional Networking Often Involves

Think about the typical networking event you attend. How long does it take to get there and back, especially if you have to contend with rush hour traffic? About 45 minutes each way? And how long do you spend at the usual networking event? Maybe one to three hours? So if you include getting there and back, plus time spent at the event, that’s about three hours or more that you’re spending to network in person. And that’s not including the events you have to actually travel to other cities or states for! Those take even more of your precious time.

Lastly, what does all that time get you? You might collect a few business cards and give a few out. But how many of those people you talk to are actually a good match for your business? How many seem to be interested in what you do, rather than simply trying to sell you something as you make some uncomfortable small talk? And how many actually lead to more profit for you?

The truth is that you probably spend too much time faking your way through networking events, and not enough time making real connections with promising prospects. If you feel like you’re constantly saying generic stuff about how busy you are, and then offering to fit in time with the person you’re networking with—despite both of you being way too busy!—then you’re not doing yourself any favors when it comes to traditional networking.

What Are You Giving Up for In-Person Networking?

So as you can see, traditional networking takes time. But maybe you’ve budgeted for that time because you’re so used to taking a few hours every week to network, so it feels normal to spend this time going to events. But what if you stopped this habit and started using your time more wisely? What could you accomplish during your newfound free time? Basically, there’s an opportunity cost here, meaning when you devote hours to one task, you’re taking time away from another—and that other task could be more lucrative or enjoyable for you.

Let’s say you spend six hours per week networking. After all, studies show that people who find success through networking tend to devote about 6.5 hours per week to this task. That’s six hours that you’re allotting to a habit that you’re not even sure is working for you. If you could take that and put it toward a task that you know works, what kind of results could you hope for? For example, you could simply work six more hours per week. How much money does that translate to for you? Or you could spend six more hours marketing every week.

Even if you’re pretty happy with your income right now or already work the max number of hours for your preferences, you could still do more with the time you spend networking in person. For instance, you could spend six more hours taking part in your hobby, or have six more hours to hang out with family and friends. The choice is yours! It’s your time, and if you want to take it back from traditional networking and give it to another area of your life, you should.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t network at all. Just stop going to in-person networking events on a regular basis. Instead, take a fraction of that time and network online. You’d be amazed how much time you save when you don’t have to spend hours in traffic or making awkward small talk with people you don’t know! When you do it online instead, you can do this from the comfort of your couch as you unwind after work, ensuring you’re still making connections—but without wasting so much time. If you’re intrigued by this possibility, reach out to Referral Biz today to learn more about how we can help you network more efficiently!