Networking has been key in growing my business. There are skills involved in networking and making a great first impression. I include network training in my programs as it can make or break the success of your business.
Here are top 5 networking mistakes I see all the time at events.
- Sell, Sell Sell.
People often talk so much about their business, I want to walk away. It is a one way conversation and even if they do not intend to be selling, they are. They come on too strong and it is all about them. The worst is when they have a brochure in hand ready to hand out.
- I Give Up!
Some people believe that at an event they will generate business right way and give up too soon. Skillful networking is about building relationships which takes time. I have heard complaints that a person attended 2 events with a networking group and it did not work. Meeting people at two events is not enough contact. It can take several times to meet a person and start to do business. One of my entrepreneurial friends in IT joined a board of trade and only gained new business from the group a year later. During the next two years he earned so much business, that his first year of consistently attending events, paid off in spades.
- Not the Right People
Often people focus on who they can meet who will be their next client. There are many other opportunities when meeting new people. Recently I attended a very large networking event in Toronto. Just when I thought I had not made any key connections, I met a trainer in the real estate industry. He hosts very large realtor education events which was a great match for my business. He followed up with me exactly when he promised and I since exhibited at his event. When attending networking events, think beyond just meeting potential clients.
- Not Enough People
Get moving! A complaint I have heard is that a person sat at breakfast table and only met about 5 people. You will not meet enough people if you do not mingle before and after sitting down for the meal. It is your responsibility to make new connections.
- Too Busy to Follow Up
This is the main reason networking does not work. If you meet some great connections, chances opportunities will be lost if you do not follow up with a call or a meeting. Most people do not follow up after a networking event. This is a very common mistake and makes the time and effort of attending an event useless.
Jill Schoenhofer Follow me on Twitter for more helpful networking and referral tips. @welconnected