When entering a business room full of suits, our first instinct is usually to find people who we already know. After a couple of hours conversing and then leave the venue, we realize that we don’t gain anything from this so-called networking event. We only get a few cards from people who are introduced to us by friends. These people often ask us for a favour and they may not have a plan return the favour. If this is your situation, then your networking method is broken and you won’t progress far. Typical networking events rarely produce valuable contacts, because they are not really designed to help you know new people. If this happens, you are wasting your energy and time, which could be spent elsewhere. Business networking should solve your problems, instead of wasting time, money and effort.
However, some of these problems can be resolved by addressing potential mistakes that you make. Here are things you do that may cause problems with your networking efforts.
1. Your networking effort is forced and contrived
Your networking method should similarly follow the principles of marketing. A good networking effort should allow you to effectively market yourself and represent your company. Your efforts should be authentic and you need to be genuinely interested in making new relationships. It is not really a good idea to just walking into a random group of business professionals and start whipping out dozens of cards to them. Instead of doing this, you may actually get better results by adding new LinkedIn connections. If you have a true networking, you should have mutually beneficial relationships, which are meaningful and last for years. When connecting with a new individual, you should do it in depth. You will know more about the person and share various information. This lay a more solid groundwork for a lasting relationship. You will know whether you can work with the individual and find new opportunities.
2. You try too hard to sell something
It’s true that you can sell your products during networking events. But if you think that it’s your primary networking goals, then you’ve got it all wrong. Instead of trying too hard to sell something, it is better for you look for ways to nurture a better relationship. You need to think long term. In fact, you should genuinely seek to help and connect with others when you go into a networking event. It can be surprising what we will get when we put other people first. You can take examples from a company such as Metrofone who doesn’t go all out to sell their phones. They offer cheap deals and that brings in customers.
3. You don’t follow up
Your business networking effort won’t bring good results if your follow-ups are weak. It’s easy to meet someone, talk for 20 minutes, swap business cards and add their LinkedIn account. You need to go further than that, if you want to build a meaningful relationship. As an example, you can send an email that contains useful titbits and latest development in the industry.
4. You are not focused enough
A broad emphasis won’t bring you desired results and if you try to relate with everyone, it is possible that you lose opportunities working with people who are relevant to your business operations. As an example, you should focus your efforts on events that are specific to your industry.
5. You go to typical networking events
There many networking events out there and you may find that most have a similar sequence of monotony. When you enter the venue, people grab appetizer and drink; then have some random conversations. The primary part of the event is to listen to speakers and you may start to lose interests. You can’t wait to rush out and go back to the office. As you go back to office or home, you have a nagging feeling that it’s just another wasted effort. If you go to a networking event, you should be able to escape the cycle of monotony. It is better to look for networking events that are more structured and can bring results. There should be a special session in the event where business people are encouraged to meet with one another. You will be able to save time and get quality contacts.