Recently I attended a networking event and listened to about 20 people pitch their business. The common thread was that they all pitched in exactly the same way as they would if we were prospects. The problem with that is that networking events are not full of your prospects. They are full of people like you. How do you feel when people constantly pitch at you?
The people I know who get the most out of networking focus on building a trusted network of contacts. A group of friends in business. People who provide support, advice, a sounding board when needed and introductions to other friends when they need the services of someone like you. They know that doesn't happen overnight. You have to really get to know people first which takes time so you need a strategy to keep in touch. Joining a networking group is one way of ensuring you meet people regularly to build that all important trust.
I host a couple of NRG Networking Groups and the most frequent comment I get from guests is how refreshing it is to meet a group of people who are genuinely interested in you rather than just pitching at you. This isn't accidental. It's a combination of attracting people who agree with our view of networking and then providing a facilitating environment to accelerate the trust building process by focusing on interactions that will do just that.
The next time you're at a networking event why not say to people that the reason you're there is not to find customers, but to find people who are interested in helping each other grow business in mutually supportive ways.
Let me know how you get on.
If you would like to understand more about how to invest your networking time and get a better return visit the 8 blog series on How To Win More Business Through Networking