Well first and foremost, it creates immediate VISIBILITY in an over-populated marketplace, it gives you the opportunity to “warm up” to people so they are more likely to refer potential business to you, and it’s a fairly fast path to cash (IF you are consistent with it and make it work – just showing up at a meeting will not get you business, but building the relationships and focusing on what you can do for others WILL).
Whether you are a startup or have been in business for some time, NOT NETWORKING makes you invisible and TOMA (Top Of Mind Awareness) ceases to exsist. For us, networking and word of mouth marketing is the NUMBER 1 source of revenue for our business. We got our first client by simply getting visible in our local community by joining a well established network group. Not all network groups are the same, but the fact that you SHOW UP, build relationships, and give to others is much more effective than sitting at your desk hoping the phone will ring.
Networking is important because people buy from those that they LIKE AND TRUST and for the most part, meeting people in person allows for this relationship to begin and expedites the sales process.
So get out there and visit various groups until you find a few that you can feel “at home” with and join.