by Sue Clement
Networking is one marketing idea that is well worth the time and effort. If it’s not working well for you, you could be making one of these five networking mistakes.
Are you networking to grow your business? Are you constantly looking for more prospects? If you’re wearing yourself out attending scores of networking events and still have very little to show for it, it’s time to try something else. A good way to get started is by learning from your mistakes…
- You go to networking events ‘expecting’ to find clients.
- You try to pass out as many business cards as possible at every opportunity.
- You don’t like to waste time with ‘chit chat’ and instead tell people about what you have to offer as soon as possible.
- You try to close the sale right then and there — after all, you may not have another opportunity.
- You follow up with everyone, making them an enticing offer they can’t refuse — and are puzzled that they decline anyway.
So what should you do instead?
1. If you’re going to networking events focusing on getting clients, you’ll miss out on what you COULD find: connections.
Focus on getting to know people instead. They may not buy your product today, or ever, but in time they may send numerous people your way who could – but not unless you develop a relationship with them.
2. If you think passing out business cards is a numbers game, you’re sadly mistaken. Instead, focus on getting to know people — and get their cards as well.
Quality is far more important than quantity. Make sure that you have made enough of a connection that people actually remember you when you call later or see them next time — and remember you in a positive light.
3. Don’t jump in with your offer.
Instead focus on the other person, get to know more about them and their business. Start by building rapport and connections. Try and find ways that you can be of service or help them, make introductions and refer them if you can. Ultimately, just get to know them.
4. The hard sell is dead.
If you want to chase away prospects, this is exactly how to do it. It’s ok to talk about what you do or offer, the problems you solve and outcomes your clients get. Where you cross the line is when you assume what you do is what they need and start selling and pushing your product or service on them.If the person you’re talking to is interested in your services – schedule a sales appointment. You’ll be much more likely to make the sale once you’ve established a relationship.
5. When you follow up with people after networking events, don’t start selling them.
Again, develop the relationship by finding out more about them, seek to be of service and continue to build that relationship. If your follow-up is by email – don’t send a sales pitch. Instead reference a point in your conversation and offer them something of value – an informational article, resource link or introduction.Keep thinking about ways to build ‘relationships’ and be of service.
You’ll find your networking will start yielding more connections, friends, referrals and opportunities!