I was at a networking event once; it was in a nice restaurant, lovely evening, great food and pretty good wine. Just a typical, well to be honest, better than average, networking event with well over one hundred people intent on doing business or just having a good time.
I’ve been to many similar events – some good, some bad – but I have never witnessed what I did that evening. I have to say that even I was speechless!
I’m sure that we have all seen the inexperienced, or just plain bad, networker who thrusts their business card in your face and says “If you ever need a (whatever it is) you know where to find one”, and disappears as quickly as they appeared. But this person, at this event, took it a whole stage further.
He walked up to the person I was standing behind and said, and I am not making this up, it really did happen, “Hi. Have you got a will?” The startled man said, “Yes” and this guy just said “Well you’re no good to me then”, and walked off. I still can’t believe I heard it or saw it happen. Needless to say, I avoided that person for the rest of the evening.
So, what’s my point? Other than the fact this is not a good way for anyone, ever, to act when at a networking event.
Well it’s simple. Networking is about the beginning of a relationship; it’s not about selling whatever it is that you are selling. Not at the event any way. It’s about helping people; it’s about building relationships that hopefully will be rewarding and beneficial to both parties, over many years. Above all, it has nothing to do with a quick sale and moving on to the next prospect.
If you treat networking with respect and forget the quick hit, I promise you networking will bring you the rewards that you are looking for.