Networking Events! The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.
Networking events! If you are in sales, business or lonely, you have probably been to a networking event. And of course, the purposes of attending networking events can range from, learning how to connect with people to getting prospects. But our focus is going to be on networking events geared toward getting more sales and business. I’ve been to many network events and I have to admit that in most of those cases I have felt rather awkward. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to network. I communicate fairly well, I clearly know the benefit my product offers and I know my market. In other words, I know how to work a room. My awkwardness is based on who the attendees are. You see. I and many others in sales or in business are told that networking events can be a great place to attend to get more customers and, to increase your business. So one would expect that you are attending an event with buyers. Wrong! When you walk into a networking event, almost every person there are sales or business people looking for buyers, including you. You don’t attend a networking event looking for people who can sell you something. You attend a networking event in hopes of meeting people who can become prospects that you can convert into customers. Now, I am well aware of the whole attending the event to connect with people and build relationships and, so on and on and on. Right! If you make a living in sales and it’s how you eat or, you are a small business owner who’s struggling, then if you are really honest with yourself, you are there to find prospects. That’s it! Not to fall in love! You can join Match.com for that. So what is the good? The good is that you get a chance to get out, meet people, some of them being your peers, collaborate, drink and possibly relieve the stress of selling and, running a small business. And you might get lucky and get a real prospect that connects with you. If you are lucky. So what is the bad? Many people are not quite good at making the right connections and following up for the purpose of building a relationship and, turning those relationships into real business gains. The stress of needing sales can have you starting out all wrong. Does the word desperate sounds familiar. You can do more harm than good. Then what is the awkward? Being in the room with a group of sales people who I think should be buyers when they are not.
Can you give me your business card so that I can see if I can sell you something” and “can you give me your business card so that I can see if I can sell you something”? I am going to sidetrack for a second. When I attended networking events, I stop taking my business cards. When I met a person at the event, I would ask them for their business card. When they asked me for mine, I would tell them that I did not have any. If they are really interested in connecting with me later, they would take out one of their business cards and ask me to put my information on the back. That’s a sign. So what do I do? I am not quite sure? But, if you like attending networking events then keep attending. If you don’t, then stop. But you must be aware of the company that you are keeping at a networking event. They are mostly sales and business professionals looking for customers. Are you a customer? Al Roche Chief Sales Strategist