Marketing Mondays: Networking Sucks! Unless You Do It the Right Way

How’s your Monday going?

I gotta say, most networking events suck!

You walk into the building where the event is taking place, look around and wonder what to do next.

Two things generally happen. You decide to make a move and walk up to someone to introduce yourself. Or someone comes up to you.

Regardless, the outcome is often the same…you end up listening and the other person talks your ear off. They tell you about what they are doing, how wonderful they are, how they can help you, and how you should hire them.

Put simply, the quality of people at many networking events is abysmal. They’re like sharks swarming around just wanting to get a piece of you.

You walk into the building where the event is taking place, look around and wonder what to do next.

Yet, you always hear how good networking can be to build your business. If that’s the case, why are most events such a waste of time and what should you do about it…

The reason: People want results right away. They think that if they don’t sell you at the event they’ll never see you again. What they don’t realize is that by thinking short-term their driving you away anyways.

The plan: If you want to make the most of your networking try attending industry events rather than ‘networking’ events.

Think about associations, organizations, seminars and presentations that your clients or potential strategic partners would attend.

They often cost a bit of money. Not much, but enough to weed out the tire kickers.

You’ll find that the people that go to these events are there to learn, not just to network. And because that’s their approach they tend to be more genuine. The way you meet them will be more ‘real’ and you’ll find starting a relationship with people much easier.

The plan: If you want to make the most of your networking try attending industry events rather than ‘networking’ events.

Here’s the thing with networking. It is extremely powerful, but it takes time. If you go into an event expecting to walk away with new business you’ll be disappointed.

Walk in, however, with the plan to meet potential clients or partners and build a relationship with them over time and you’ll start seeing results.

The more events you go to, the more relationships you start. The connection you have and as long as you keep in touch (very important that you do), the more opportunities you’ll find yourself being presented with.

Networking does work. As long as you approach it the right way.

 

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  • griselda

    Great advice Michael. Thanks for sharing.

  • Well Said. It’s always taken that you go and you get it. I never say networking working in my life, but every time I make friends from the event, they always buy from me.

  • Michael, you’re absolutely right. Networking is all about connecting with new professionals and building relationships. One of my favorite reminders for networking goes like this. Sell through the room, not to the room.

  • Michael…good article. That is pretty much my take on structured networking events as well -everyone is so concerned with selling you. And they never want to hear about you and what you’re looking for. Networking is, above all else, a two way street. You must genuinely WANT to help other people if you expect others to help you. It’s also never going to deliver a 1:1 payback i.e. you won’t get a job lead for every person you help. My experience is that it’s about 10:1, that is, you might stumble over an opportunity after helping 10 other people.