I've been a serial business networker for many years, but questioned the ROI only in the past 12 months. And the main reason was because I started using LinkedIn in a more effective and productive way to do my networking with existing and new connections.
So here are the results of my survey. I had actually estimated previously the amount of time business professionals spend doing networking and estimated the cost annually. But this estimate is now backed up by this survey result.
50% go to 1-4 networking events per month
50% spend on average 2.5 hours at networking events
50% spend 45 minutes travelling to networking events
50% always connect via LinkedIn afterwards
68% consider Linkedin as a networking tool
Here are my previous calculations of the cost of networking:
Cost of event, lets say £20 (non-membership events) Cost of travel to and from, lets say £10 Parking is free sometimes, I know, but City Centre events maybe £5
Time taken to travel on average lets say 20 minutes x 2 = 40 minutes Time at event on average 2 hours Lost productivity time, stopping and starting project work 30 minutes
Total monetary costs £35 Total approx 3 hours @ a modest £40 per hour lost time = £120 Total costs £155 Across the month for just 2 events £310
Total cost per year £3,720 (this is a conservative estimate)
Add to that any club membership if you have any or do the calculation for that instead.
A LinkedIn premium account will cost you just £155 per annum allowing you to achieve so much more in terms of targeting the precise contacts you wish to get in front of.
Networking events are great to meet with local people, however it will always be a ’pot luck’ approach in terms of meeting the right kind of people for your business development.
And the amount of time (potentially 6 hours per month, a full working day) means that you could have found at least 30 new connections on LinkedIn that are on target for your business and start communicating with them. How many targeted connections would you have found at networking events.
Please don't get me wrong, face to face meetings are vital, but not with people who can't deliver you business. If you are just having a social, then that's perfect. But if you are looking for serious business then my suggestion is STOP hoping for 'Pot Luck'.
Wishing you Success Always!