I co-lead a business networking meeting every other month in New York City that focuses on helping business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales leaders grow their business. It’s a lot of work, so I’m glad to have a business partner to help run the show!
The meeting is based on a “by invitation only” model, so there is a vetting process to determine whether a “suggested guest” is approved or not. This way, once registration is closed, we have an idea of how many paid attendees will, well, be in attendance. The result? A room full of quality connector types that will make their networking experience fun and profitable.
What else can you ask for? At the beginning of every event, we get the room excited about being there and create the energy and positive vibe that sets the stage for great things to happen! But sometimes great things don’t happen.
This past week, someone took our attendance list (which we send out a day before the event) and focused on meeting everyone on the list that works for a big company so he can ask to be introduced to their CFO to sell his products.
Too pushy? Maybe.
Here’s a great measure. Once you know, like, and trust someone – and they know, like, and trust you, awesome things can happen. But it takes time!
Time to give. Time to help. Time to learn. Time to get to know. Time to get to like. Time to get to trust. Time to develop a great relationship. And relationships take time. Are you getting that?
Here are some behaviors that won’t get attendees invited back to my group.
Being a Hunter
Networking is about farming, not hunting. Cultivating relationships not hunting for a quick sale. If you view everyone you meet at a cocktail party, chamber mixer, association meeting, golf outing, or networking event as a prospect, you’re probably hunting. If you request introductions from those you meet for the first time, again, you’re probably hunting. Keep in mind that a prospect is someone that knows, likes, and trusts you, and expresses interest in hiring you. That’s a prospect. Nobody is showing up to an event to become your client or customer – they’re probably there to grow their own business. So help them. And see what happens!
Collecting a slew of business cards for the purpose of adding them to your newsletter or blog is spamming. Unsubscribe. Inviting those you meet to be your Friend on Facebook or Connection on LinkedIn just to hit them with promotional posts that add no value could be perceived as spam. Or maybe that’s just social media. Be careful! As you’re exchanging cards with those you meet, if appropriate, ask them if they would be interested in receiving your blog or included in your social media world. Very often, if you post something of value (an article, quote, or something else that’s useful), others won’t mind so much and might even find the information helpful. If you’re simply promoting your services, it’s a great way to lose Friends and Connections.
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