I’ve just finished reading Dr Ivan Misner’s 2008 book ‘The 29% Solution” where that particular question is covered in some detail! In a bid to enhance my networking education, last month I bought a couple of his books online – The first was a volume that I am completely familiar with – ‘Business by Referral’ – a BNI standard text.  The second volume ‘The 29% Solution’ is probably less well known to business networkers in this country. It’s good stuff though, with lots of detail and plenty of specific ways to get a return on your networking investment.

According to the author  – the answer to the question in the title is simple – Most folks should allocate a lot more time to networking than they currently do!

The book quotes a survey made over several years across a number of BNI chapters. The results make interesting reading.

52% of business professionals spend 4 hours or less on networking activities.

27% of business professionals spend 8 hours or more on networking.

What does the good doctor recommend?

Well here’s his take on the subject. “If sales are only a part of your job responsibility then 8 hours per week is appropriate. On the other hand, if sales are the main part of your responsibility, you need to be spending much more than 8 hours per week on networking activities. Networking is ultimately about generating referrals over time for your company. If you want to build a referral based business and most of your job involves sales – then your networking efforts should represent over half of your time (yes, over twenty hours per week)

He continues: “effective networking is not just socializing, nor is it simply attending meetings. It’s about building connections and relationships. That takes time. Don’t feel guilty about spending time on this activity – assuming you are truly ‘working’ the process. The time and energy you spend on these efforts are part of your sales and marketing program. Set aside the time necessary to be successful.”

So there you have it – in the words of the master networker himself.

Must dash – people to meet cards to collect – referrals to give etc etc ….

Steve Elliott
Membership Co-ordinator – BCC Networking Group

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An active BCC group founder member, Steve Elliott runs the group membership program and updates their website. His company ThriftySites specialises in building websites that work, for small and medium sized businesses.

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