It is hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close and my business networking group Mass Professional Networking is closing on its sixth year of existence. Since it is the end of the year, I am not going to bore you with some end of the year formal list of business networking tips, but I like to provide some feedback of what I have learned over the last few years why networking is actually a waste of time for some people, if you do it the wrong way.
Business Networking is the #1 way to build a trustful leads database. Now I am not talking about some names list, but simply a list of people that you know. You hear it all the time from sales training education to "make a list" but in reality, if you use social media, you already have a list by default.
I would like to provide you some approaches to how you can network that will help make the most of your events and the time you spend before, during and after an event.
The first tip is the most important. You need to serve the people that you meet, not sell to them.
Everyone has a skill or a service, but not everyone needs you or your service. That is why you need to lose the elevator pitch now and just go into a networking event with the mentality that you are going to serve the people you meet, or in other words, help them. If you don't want to help people, then networking is a waste of time.
The second tip is easy, lose the elevator pitch.
I have met thousands of professionals over the years, and at least 80% of the people I meet, start with a fifteen minute story about their company, their business or simply themselves before they even ask me my name or even what I do. I understand that time is money and your boss wants you to make appointments, but a networking event is not the place to do this. For this reason, networking is a waste of time, and you are better off dialing for dollars doing cold calling.
The third tip is more of an online tip, what you do after an event or after connecting to someone on Linkedin. I have thousands of Linkedin connections as a result of all the networking. The biggest pet peeve I have is the elevator pitch follow-up message from someone I met at an event or even from someone I connected to on Linkedin. For example, I connected to this IT professional from Denver since I figured they had similar skills and perhaps I wanted to expand in Colorado someday. Five minutes after I connected, the person proceeded to send me a long elevator pitch message asking if I had any computers that need to be recycled. Gee, can you wait a few days? If you intend to use social media to mass message your elevator pitch, then online networking is a waste of time.
Finally, there is the networkers that think a networking event is a dating event. I am a very happily married man and because I am an extrovert and run business networking events, I have no problem going up to people. So one day, I went up to a very attractive woman to introduce myself and she proceeded to turn her back on me pretending to be on her phone. She proceeded to do this to anyone that came up to her. Again, I am there for business and part of the deal at events is that everyone is supposed to be friendly and look for ways to help each other professionally. So if you go to a networking event with the thought that if some guy or girl goes up to you to introduce themselves for non-professional reasons, then for you, networking events are a waste of time.
So hopefully some of these tips will help you and provide some insight. To summarize, help one another, stick to business and hold the elevator pitch, and you will notice that networking events are no longer a waste of time.
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