- Not having a strategy going into the Networking Event. It’s kind of like going fishing. You need to know what kind of fish you want to catch and once you know that, then you know what kind of equipment to bring along, and what kind of bait you need. If not, you are going to waste time and energy meeting and talking with the wrong prospects.
Determine ahead of time how many contacts do you want to meet and what kind of contacts. Are you going to set up an appointment or take them out to lunch? The more time you strategize what you want to accomplish at the event the greater your success will be.
- People don’t have a 60 Second Elevator Pitch or an Attention-Grabbing Introduction. I find it funny that somebody will spend hours, days, maybe even months perfecting their business cards, perfecting their brochures, tweaking their website, and yet when they go into a meeting, they freeze.
They just have no clue how to answer the question. They don’t know how to introduce themselves professionally. You need to know what to say and how to say it well to instantly grab attention from your conversation partners.
- Most people try to be Interesting instead of being Interested. Here is an example. At a networking event I met with the owner of a sales training company. Before I could introduce myself, he took one look at my name tag and started to share his philosophy on sales, I couldn’t shut the guy up for 20 minutes. He never asked me a single question. He just assumed what I did, and he kept going on about the core concepts of his intellectual property and what he’s teaching sales people and how they’re different from everybody else.
During whole time I was thinking, why are you telling me all of this? I really don’t care. And that’s what a lot of people do. Once they turn on they say everything there is to know about the business. Folks do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Trying to sell too early. I have people all the time who get my card and right there on the spot they say, “You know, I would like to get together for a cup of coffee with you. How about tomorrow?” The answer is no, for several reasons.
First of all, you haven’t even asked me about my business, so I know that you don’t care. You just want to sell me something. And, two, because you have time tomorrow, that means you’re desperate. So, don’t push your sales stuff. Build a relationship first with a few contacts and follow-ups.
- Not following up. And I really, truly mean it. In the 20 years that I’ve been in the professional consulting business I can probably count on just the two hands, less than 10 people that actually followed up with me after I initially met them.
Even if I ask people specifically, “Hey, I would love to hear from you, but you know, I am kind of forgetful, so please, please send me an email or call me.” It never happens. It just never happens.
Recently I met somebody again and I didn’t want to sell the guy anything. I’ve got a great product for him, but I said, “You know what, I know I will forget. And I just want to give it to you. Its great stuff and it will grow your business. Just send me an email and I will forward it to you.” I haven’t heard from him yet and I probably never will.
So to wrap it up, do not make these mistakes. You will waste your time and money at the next Networking Event. Take my recommendations to heart and you will meet people that are great leads, or they will have access to others that are great leads. So go out and make it happen by networking the right way.
Written by Jon Bingham.
Jon is a Strategic Marketing Consultant, he creates proven marketing systems for Fortune 500 companies. Connect with him at Twitter @jon_bingham or email firstname.lastname@example.org or 435-574-2145.