Most people are familiar with the term ROI; Return On Investment.

I’d like to suggest that in todays hectic business world there’s a new measure you should be considering and it’s ROE; to me that’s Return On Engagement.

Now more than ever before it’s imperative you “engage” with your clients and prospects at every opportunity so that when they’re ready to buy – you’re the person they know, like and trust… you’re the person they want to go to.

Networking should be high on your agenda for effective engagement, off-line and on-line through social media too. Social networking let’s you put your networking on legal steroids!

It’s not what you know… It’s who you know. We’ve all heard that expression before, right?

Well I’d like to suggest that’s not reality. In many cases it’s a cop out for all those people that feel they’ve been dealt a bad hand and no matter how hard they work, someone else will always steal the prize because of… who they know. Well that’s rubbish.

It’s all about “what you do with what and who you know” that will help you succeed in business. It’s your – Return on Engagement.

Here are a few of my top tips that will allow you not to just “survive” in the world of networking, but to positively “thrive”!

Develop a strategy and know which groups you’ll attend, how often and why you are there. Turning up is a big part of it, on-line or off, but turning up is not enough. You must go in knowing the purpose of your involvement.

Be clear on what you offer.This might sound rather silly, but I’m always coming across people that find it difficult to articulate what benefits people will derive from using their products or services. If you’re not clear – others will struggle to “get it”. The result will be no enquiries, no referrals and no business through networking – and that wont be because networking doesn’t work!

Become a valuable resource and connector for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.

Engage with the people you meet. Build rapport, get to know people and what they do. In order to be interesting, you must first be interested. Ask good questions of the people you meet and actively listen to what they have to say – don’t just wait for your turn to speak.

Follow up! Not with a blanket spam sales email after you’ve collected a fist full of business cards, but follow up on conversations and any offers of help or assistance you may have made during a meeting. Be reliable and trustworthy.