With the holidays, the World Cup and the hottest weather on record since heatwaves first began (probably), it’s easy to believe that networking stops or at least slows down in the summer season. But I’d like to challenge this thinking. At Catena, we take the view that networking is not just for the official business season, but for all seasons. Why should the networking stop just because summer has started? It’s tempting to think that business connections are harder to come by in the summer because people are jetting off abroad or have additional family commitments, but here are a few ways to keep up the networking this season…
- Change the menu
For some businesses, this time of year is booming. For others, it’s a quieter time: not only for their core business, but when it comes to networking activities. While many networking groups do go somewhat dormant in the summer months, not all do. Why not make the most of this quieter time to try out a new networking group or event? Ask around your contact network and find out where they are going in order to track down new business. Perhaps they can bring you along as a guest. Take a look around, you might be surprised at the range of events taking place over the summer!
- Kick back
Summer is traditionally (and rightly) associated with relaxing, kicking back and chilling out. And who are we to argue with that? But maybe there are ways to network which don’t involve making such an effort. Well, we can’t promise you networking with cocktails on the beach, but here’s perhaps the closest thing: us. At Catena, we do a lot more than putting on networking events. We can also connect you directly with people within (or maybe also outside) our network! All you need to do is get in touch with us directly, tell us who you’d like to connect with and we can make the suggestions and the introductions for you. OK, it’s not quite mojitos on a deserted island, but it is a more relaxing way for you to make great business connections.
- Send a postcard
The postcard was once a traditional aspect of the summer holidays. While it is sadly not as popular as it once was, there are equally short and simple ways to remind your dormant clients that you are still here. The quieter summer months are a great time for reaching out to those clients you haven’t worked with for some time. While a postcard probably isn’t the way to go, suggesting a meet-up and a coffee can be an excellent step towards reminding contacts that you’re still available. At Catena, we’re big fans of the power of a casual connection. A gentle reminder and a request for a quick meeting can sometimes yield powerful results!
- Have a sift
Now, while most of us are keen networkers, the reality is that in busy times, certain activities can become a little overlooked… It’s all too easy to attend networking events and find that you’re too busy to follow up. This is something that most of us are guilty of, especially when we’re regular networkers! The more relaxed summer season is the perfect time to sift through those business cards, to remind yourself of the great first meetings you had and ponder on who you would like to follow up with. And if the event was some time ago? That shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The person you are reaching out to has probably been too busy to follow up as well and will be happy to hear from you!
- Reach out
It’s all too tempting to go quiet on your contacts when the summer months are here. But just because people are heading off on their holidays doesn’t mean you have to risk breaking potentially valuable business connections. Keep the lines of communication open with your clients by following up with them. It’s all too easy for potential or existing customers to forget you over the two months of summer and to be ready to move on once autumn comes. So, while networking with potential clients is important, keeping links with existing clients is even more so. And it’s not about being heavy-handed, either. No pushing or sales pressure. Just regular contact to let them know that you are there.
Have a great networking summer
In our view, it’s a mistake to write summer off when it comes to making or building on business connections. It’s not that the networking opportunities go away in the summer. It’s just that they change. The quieter time is a valuable chance to reflect and reach out to potential contacts you may have overlooked. Business never stops. There are always more opportunities out there. And if you’re wondering how you can find more business with less effort in a truly “summer holiday” kind of way, get in touch to find out how we make personalised introductions between members! Here’s wishing you all a relaxing but productive summer.
Claire Bicknell, Catena