A Director in a Mid Sized Service Business asked me recently how they could justify the expense of networking to the Finance Director. He explained that they get their best business via word of mouth and recommendation. The problem they have is that their existing client base is not large enough to generate enough of it so they need to do something more. He believed that networking would prove the most cost effective way of building a route to market.
I suggested that the Finance Director may be interested in the return on investment and shared some figures. The other thing that may interest her is that over time your costs actually decrease! Once you find the right networking groups and have built your inner network you spend more time with fewer people. Compare that to the costs involved in other marketing where you only continue to get results by continuing to spend more.
Once trusted relationships are in place your return on investment keeps multiplying as you maintain those relationships. Opportunities are consistently uncovered and shared. You do not have to keep hunting for that one off elusive piece of business.