Why your approach to Networking Events is Failing you…… & even Hurting you!

Networking EventsWhenever I go to a networking event, I’m always reminded of what not to do. There’s always someone (or several someone’s) who think their purpose in being there is to hand their business card to everyone they meet and sell their wares. These people don’t get it. They’re continually forcing their business into the conversation, slipping in pieces and parts of a sales pitch, trying to make a sale.

I’m not saying you won’t ever win a new client or make a sale at a networking event. In some cases, you will. I’m just saying it won’t happen as often as you would like. The reality is that few people go to a networking event looking to buy something and they certainly didn’t go there to be sold to by you or anyone else.

So, don’t go to networking events with the intention of selling to people in the room. And don’t go events in the hope of collecting business cards from people just so you can sell to them later on in your follow up emails, newsletters, etc. That’s not how business networking works!

BIG MISTAKE! If you’re attempting to sell to people when you’re meeting them for the first time they will be put off by your approach – it’s annoying to them and they don’t want to talk to you.

The idea is to start a conversation that can be continued at a later date. That initial encounter should be just about discovering common ground, building rapport and creating an interest in taking the conversation further. How? Ask about them — who they are, why are they there and what they’re looking to achieve at the event. Then think about how you can help them, what connections can you make for them, what useful information can you share, what favors might you offer, who can you introduce them to. And then act on it. This way you’ll find people are more responsive and interested in you.

Hold back from telling people about your business. Inevitably, people will eventually start asking you questions and that’s where you can talk about your product, your service, your expertise, what you’re looking for or whatever is important to you. Then your goal is to develop relationships with those good connections you make by following up and staying in touch with them. As you grow the relationship, by being helpful to them, you want to ensure that they know what your products/services/solutions are, what problems they solve for what type of people and the typical results you tend to achieve for your clients and customers. If you get the relationship right and your message is easily understood, they will start to refer you, recommend you and open doors for you. And, if they are seeking the solution you’re selling, they’ll buy from you too.

As I have written previously, the real power of your connections is in who they know —there are many more opportunities there. My philosophy is that I’d rather you refer me 5, 6, 7 or more times than buy from me once because your referrals will almost always pan out successfully and that will produce a lot more clients and business for me. And if you trust me enough to refer me to your colleagues and friends, who else would you turn to if you need the product/service I offer?

Grab a copy of my newly revised book “Making The Most Of Your Business Networking Conversations” to access practical tips and strategies for making networking and business events enjoyable and worthwhile.

Comments 7

  1. Hi Jenish,

    I’ve always believed that you should be yourself.

    Don’t try and be someone you’re not. Giving someone the hard sell or continuously talking about your business or product won’t cut it. People aren’t interested from the word go.

    Build a relationship first, but do it in a natural way. Let the conversation take a natural course and if you don’t get the chance to get your point of view or topic over then leave it. If the person thinks you’re interesting then you’ll get another chance.

    Being too pushy will only hold you back.


  2. Hey Jenish,

    Thank you for sharing. Ron is absolutely correct. Attending events has aligned me with some of the best friends, clients and business partners I’ve ever had. I encourage everyone to attend a live event as soon as possible. There is a business etiquette, so to speak, when networking at events. One of the things that works for me is showing a more keen interest in what the people you are engaging are doing, as opposed to trying to push on them what it is you do. I find that when you are genuinely interested in how you can learn more about their business and how you can help them, you will find that they will reciprocate and become more interested in you.

    Thanks Again!

  3. Hi Ron, great article. Many great points.

    It’s good to circulate, but the networking blowfly who buzzes from person to person or group to group at a networking event may do themselves and others more harm than good.

    It would be good to get your tips on finding the right balance…

    Richard Keeves

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