Attending networking events is a great way to meet potential customers, but how you go about it has changed. In fact, some networking techniques that were popular just a few years ago will get you nowhere at today’s networking functions. Here are five networking mistakes you should avoid.
Hang with your friends for the whole event.
If you are at an event to build your network, you need to take action to meet new people.
Hanging with your friends can be lots of fun — but it doesn’t help you build your network to increase your referral sources.It also fuels the reputation that you only speak to friends in your clique or, perhaps, are an elitist.
Instead, find ways to merge your time spent with friends with new people too.If you want to sit with your friends over a meal, make a point to include a new person or two at the table as well.If you are hanging with your friends because you are too nervous to network, pay special attention to the section that follows about how network with more confidence.
Lack clarity, focus and response
It’s hard to help someone if they can’t articulate what they want. Be as precise as possible when you talk to people. Try to identify the type of role, sector, company size and location, or even the type of progression or career move you’re looking for.
And when you offer information and promise to get it to people, they expect your word to be good. In fact, they may be counting on you to help solve a big business problem for them. Your lack of responsiveness speaks ill of your business and your integrity. So make sure that everything you say is a promise you intend to keep. Concentrate, and remember everything your promised during the networking event.
Launch an “in-your-face sales attack” at events.
People attend networking events to build and further relationships to help their own business.They do not invest their time and money to have on the spot, in-your-face sales attacks.
When you enthusiastically launch into a heavy sales pitch with someone you view as a hot prospect in the middle of a networking event, you are disrespecting the person you’ve met — AND the product or service you’re attempting to sell.If your product/service is that great, it deserves the full attention of your prospect.If you meet someone hot, exchange business cards and suggest a meeting in the near future.
Not connecting authentically with people – and just focusing on giving away as many business cards as possible at events.
Yes, you want to meet people and build your business with your networking — but there’s a lot to be said for quality over quantity.If you don’t talk to people long enough to make an impression, they won’t remember you — or send business your way.
Meet two or three new people at events and have a good conversation with them.Now more than ever, people want to know that they can trust the people they send business to. Remember, trust takes time to build.
Forgetting to thank or give feedback
Thanking someone for their time or help isn’t just a question of politeness, but it will help if you need to ask other favours in the future. It’s just as frustrating to help someone out but then never hear back. Let your contact know how the meeting went, or what was promised or decided. If you just leave your contact hanging it can be awkward for them too.