Common Business Networking Mistakes
I love to network, I gain business and new customers from business networking and yet, lots of people are frightened to network, here we list some of the most common mistakes to help you improve your levels of success from networking.
Business Networking Mistake – Being unprepared
How many times have you been at a business networking event and having been introduced, thought I must get one of their business cards that sounds like something I might be interested in, upon asking you find that they don’t have any business cards with them? This as you can imagine is disastrous and will generally result in that potential sale walking out of the door. However what is not often associated with being unprepared is a failure to plan, do you have a networking plan, do you have trigger points to make sure you stay on target or do you amble off to a business networking event and just hope for the best?
Business Networking Mistake – Rape and Pillage
At every business networking event you will find at least one of them, they tend to go around collecting people’s business cards and trying to be as pushy in their sales approach as possible. There sole purpose in being there is to gather as many sales as possible (isn’t that everyone objective) and due to the way they go about it all they end up doing is upsetting people and making people think that they’ll be the last company I would use. These people tend to attend a networking event once and then you never see them again… as there approach is to rape and pillage and then move on.
Business Networking only when you need something.
Networking builds relationships or as a friend of mine said (Brian Hayley of Ecomist) it builds business friends. Friends are people you can count on when you are in trouble, these are people you can count on when you need help and advice and these are people you can count on when you need an introduction. So if networking builds friends why do some people attend networking events spasmodically or only when they need something? This type of networking makes you a casual acquaintance at best and not someone that will be thought of when someone needs your products or services.
Business Networking Is Not About You
We have two ears and one mouth and in networking terms this means that we should spend more time listening than we do talking, those that can’t shut up about themselves and how good they are need to learn how to, ask people you meet leading questions about them, their business and what challenges they are facing, they will then allow you to speak and pretty soon you have made a connection.
Taking without giving
As mentioned networking is about building friendships, so don’t just take from your friends; give to them also. Many people want to feel as if they have received value from you before giving to you, so give them your time and your experience freely and pretty soon you’ll find reap the rewards as instead of developing a one way relationship you will have developed a two way one, that it mutually beneficial.
Online Business Networking
I’m an online guru to many, yet nothing beats networking with people face to face, it’s much more enjoyable and the results are often lots better. However because those new to networking feel uncomfortable meeting people they often focus purely on online networking, and miss out on a whole potential client base and who knows how many referral partners. So my advice is to networking online (most definitely), but to also focus time on networking in the flesh so to speak. If you are in Perth feel free to contact me and come along to a Swan Chamber of Commerce event.
Always act in a professional manner, remember you only get one chance to make the right impression. Dress as you want others to remember you, be it dressed up in formal wear or in jeans, create the impression you want to leave others with.
At many networking events, alcohol flows freely, don’t take your eye off of the prize and drink so much that it actually negates your reason for being there, act professionally and leave people with the right impression.
The number one mistake most people make when networking is in not following up on those people they have met. If you go to the trouble of attending a networking event, and fail to follow up, you are missing out on all those warm leads. Simply send people an email, give them a how things? Call … the number one secret to successful networking is to actually follow up.