Why Do You Network?
by Biba F. Pedron
After spending the last four years organizing business networking events, I still don’t have the answer to why some people go to them.
The only goal for most people who attend networking events seems to be to collect business cards. They have the feeling of a great event if they come back home with 30 or more business cards.
How many of you follow up with everybody after each event?
How many people who you met follow up with you?
When I train people on networking, either one-on-one or in a group and ask those two questions, I usually have the same answer.
“Oh yes I follow-up, I send an email the next day”. My next question is, “What do you do after this email?” and the usual answer is, “Well, nothing, because I don’t know what to do next”.
So what is the purpose of spending two to three hours at a networking event and pay $20 to $50 each time, if it is just to go and say hello to some people who you will never contact again. Repeat the process two to three times a week, and this is a big waste of time AND money.
I recently attended a business expo, and, of course I met a number of people. I didn’t take everybody’s’ business cards, only the ones I had an interest in. I also spoke with the owners of two different booths, because they had a product I was interested in purchasing. I asked all of my questions, explained why I needed the product, gave them my card, and asked them to contact me to close the sale after the expo. This was a very easy sell for them, but guest what? None of them followed up with me or even returned my e-mails. Well, they both lost a sale, because I didn’t find them to be very professional.
I guess that if they didn’t follow-up with me, chances are that they didn’t follow-up with other people either. So what was the purpose of having a table at this expo?
What is your goal when you attend a networking event?
Are you trying to get new contacts to buy your product or service, or do you give the opportunity for people to get to know you, as the first step of your networking system?
People are always surprised in my training when I say that I never try to sell anything during an event. One of my secrets is that my business card mentions, “The Connection Queen”, which usually gets me lots of comments and questions:
“How do you speak with strangers?”,
“How do you introduce yourself without being pitchy?”
“How to you leave people if you are not interested in what they are doing?”, and so on.
My only purpose is to listen to people, see how I can give them a contact, a resource, or some advice. It shows them my expertise without selling anything, but offering them to participate in my free e-course, “15 Ways to Maximize Your Networking Results”, to get the answer to all of their questions. Offering them my free e-course is a way to get them to sign-up for my weekly newsletter and get a chance to know me, trust me, and later, buy my product or service when they are ready.
I attend networking events to build a long-term relationship with people, not to collect business cards or to sell anything.
So why do you network?
Try to think of your strategy for a moment. Test different approaches; stop selling and start implementing a follow-up system. You will get much more results and will attract your ideal clients, and only your ideal clients, the ones who really appreciate your services. Clients who like and trust you, clients who respect your knowledge and experience, and, very importantly, clients who will work with you in the long term, will refer you to people like them. This means more ideal clients.
Still struggling to develop your follow-up system? Check out my program, “Power of Networking Secrets” where I reveal my proven Seven-Step Follow-Up system.
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