If your goal is to make the sale, then you are dependent on the buying decisions of others. But if your goal is to create value for others, you are dependent on nobody but yourself.” From Go-Givers Sell More by Bob Burg
We can’t control the actions of others but we can control our own. Here are the top 3 Don’ts to ensure you are NOT that guy (or gal) at networking events.
#1 DON’T sell
Have you ever gone to a networking event and, as soon as you walk in the door, someone hits you up with the hard sell? You didn’t ask for information about their company or products yet they dive into their pitch and it doesn’t sound like they’re going to stop. Don’t be that guy… the generalized, quintessential, slick, pushy, overbearing, not-gonna-let-you-get-a-word-in-edgewise, door-to-door-salesman-type who will try to overcome any objection you present. This is an example of what not to do at a networking event.
Thinking you’ll close a sale at a networking event is a quick-fix approach and rarely works. This is not to say it never happens because it sure does. But don’t forget your reason, strategy and goal for networking. If someone is interested in buying or learning more from you, suggest visiting with them after the event or secure an appointment to share more information and complete the transaction.
#2 DON’T be a drive-by networker
This is that guy who keeps conversations shallow and brief in order to meet as many people as possible, collect as many business cards as possible, while handing out their own like they’re dealing a deck of cards. Remember that people would prefer to buy from, and refer business to, their friends and people they know, like and trust which means you need to be intentional and engage in quality conversations to form deeper relationships. Don’t be that guy who pops in and out of networking events, picking up and giving out business cards like their a Las Vegas blackjack dealer.
#3 DON’T be evasive about your business
Answer honestly when people ask “So what do you do?” Red flags rise high when you’re vague and ambiguous. If you think being honest means they won’t want to learn more or buy from you, how will things be different when you finally lower the veil? You’ll be more productive by being up front, honest and pre-screening people and inviting only interested parties to learn more about your products / services. Don’t be that guy who wastes his and other people’s time by being evasive.
We occasionally get off course with self-serving, short-sighted and other what-not-to-do behavior, thinking the purpose of networking is to get that quick sale. But networking is so much more than that and if you focus on all the right things, you will have greater success on the networking circuit.
These are the top 3 don’ts. What other specific actions should be avoid at networking events?
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