If you network a lot but aren’t seeing results, this article is for you. You could be making a few (or all) of these mistakes which will keep you spinning your wheels, frustrated and wasting precious time and money.
These are 6 common mistakes to avoid and how you can fix them.
1. Drive-By Networking
The “drive-by networker” is the business card collector having as many superficial conversations as possible. He who has the most conversations and business cards at the end of the event doesn’t always win.
Solution: Take the time to have quality conversations and make connections. You’ll only have 2-3 quality conversations so you’ll want to be able to start and end conversations efficiently to make the most of your time.
2. Talking Too Much / Long
If you’re doing most of the talking, you’re not building relationships. People love talking about themselves and find it hard to listen to you for longer than a couple minutes. Talking to the same person or with friends for too long is inefficient.
Solution: Ask good questions, get them talking about themselves, gather data and ask how you can help. When they ask you a question, answer briefly and redirect by asking them another question. If you want to talk to someone longer than 5 minutes, set up a coffee or phone appointment and end the conversation to meet new people. The same is true when talking to friends but before you part ways, ask them if there’s someone new you should meet.
A networking event is rarely the place for selling your widgets. Don’t push people into buying, meeting or talking about something they have zero interest in.
Solution: If someone asks what you do, give them a brief and interesting answer and don’t sell. Then turn the attention back to them by asking a question. They’ll let you know if they want to know more about what you shared.
4. Being Evasive to Get an Appointment
Some are strategically evasive about what they do, in hopes of getting more people to their presentation or meeting, believing their close ratio is just a numbers game. There’s nothing worse than being in an appointment through some type of bait and switch tactic. Being evasive raises red flags that you’re about to pounce with s sales spiel.
Solution: Be open, honest and brief about what you do and the purpose of a meeting and/or presentation you’re trying to schedule. It’s the best way to get the right people there, which will increase your close ratio.
5. Not Following Up
This is one of the most common mistakes networkers make. You don’t have to follow up with everyone you meet. In fact, follow up “strategically, not evenly.”
Solution: Prioritize your connections, then set up an in-person or phone meeting with those who are of highest and mid-level priority. Here are 10 unique and creative ways to follow up and keep in touch.
6. Looking for Clients
This seems counter-intuitive doesn’t it? The truth is, you’ll rarely meet someone new at a networking event who’ll hire you on the spot. Sure, it happens, but it’s rare. The lengths you have to go through to close a deal at a networking event is off-putting because you can’t help but break rules #2 and #3 above.
Solution: Be on the lookout and ask for introductions to referral partners. One new referral partner could yield 10 new clients, possibly more. That’s a much greater return than finding one new client. This solution will completely change the results you get from networking.
Even if you’re not the best at networking, avoiding these mistakes will get you headed in the right direction. Here are a few more mistakes people make networking.
Which networking mistakes do you see people make that we can add to this list?
© 2016 CERTUS Professional Network / Behind The Moon, Inc. All rights reserved.
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