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When people start attending networking events, they tend to make various mistakes. It’s human nature to feel uncertain when faced with new situations, not knowing the appropriate way to address them.
Whether you’re a networking beginner or an expert, the experience shouldn’t be impersonal, solely focused on what benefits you can gain. Instead, it should revolve around building relationships that extend beyond the confines of a professional connection.
What I Learned as a Beginner Networking Enthusiast and How You Can Avoid the Same Mistakes
Recently, I was discussing networking events with a friend, mentioning how I’ve been attending them more frequently. I recalled my initial approach to these events when I was primarily focused on “making the sale” by searching for potential clients.
As I explained, over time, I realized the importance of shifting my focus from self-promotion to understanding the individuals I met. I started to prioritize learning from their experiences and perspectives.
This realization led me to change my approach to networking events because, in reality, it often takes a considerable amount of time and communication to turn a new acquaintance into a client.
When attending a networking event, it’s essential to concentrate on wanting to learn about the other person. Be curious and open to discussing non-work-related topics. There’s beauty in getting to know someone beyond their professional life.
As a beginner, it’s crucial to recognize that people have feelings, issues, and interests that extend beyond their work sphere. If you’re genuinely curious, you’ll discover the depth of others.
Nurturing Those Relationships After Networking With Them
In today’s world, we might assume that our expertise or knowledge alone will make people listen to us and follow our advice. However, that’s not how trust works in reality.
Building genuine trust involves nurturing relationships. This means creating space for follow-up and learning more about the people you’ve met at networking events. Nurturing requires reaching out, engaging on social media, and producing content relevant to their interests and professions.
It’s common to feel a sense of urgency to make a sale and acquire new clients. However, I’ve learned that the best client relationships are built on a solid foundation rather than chasing a quick profit.
“I don’t care about making new friends; I just want to make more money and close more deals!”
I understand that your job may have certain expectations. Ideally, you shouldn’t rely solely on networking events to find potential clients.
So, how can you strike a balance between making new friends and generating sales? Simply find out if someone is genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
A time-saving question for a new prospect is, “Are you in the market for…?” This question will save you from trying to convince someone who isn’t interested in your service.
If someone isn’t in the market, they probably won’t buy from you, regardless of how excellent your product or service is.
My suggestion is to offer them a taste of what you have — a free version, a free trial, or a free product. This allows them to experience why they should choose you in the first place.
Therefore, the next time you attend a networking event, don’t solely focus on impersonal conversations or pitching your services. Take the time to inquire about others and their offerings. Getting to know them on a personal level yields more significant long-term benefits compared to short-term gains.