Some are attending 3-4 events a week in a bid to get more business. They then become so busy meeting new people that they have difficulty in following up and cultivating those relationships.
A friend at a recent Chamber of Commerce event in Sydney said, "I am so busy attending networking events but this is not translating into sales for my business." This person was failing to cultivate relationships.
Whilst meeting new people is an integral part of networking, it is important to remember we are doing this to develop a professional relationship with people that will eventually lead to an ongoing exchange of business.
When meeting someone for the first time, focus on the potential relationship you might form. Networking is not about closing business deals or meeting dozens of new people - it is about developing relationships in which future business can be closed.
Once you start practising this approach by asking contacts about their businesses and listening to their answers, people will see you in a new light.
When attending your next networking event, limit the number of contacts by going for quality - five to eight might be all you can handle. This may seem low, but it is sufficient if you are talking to the right people.
Aim to spend five to 10 minutes talking to and listening to each person. Ask for their business card and follow up after the event as this is where you are putting in place plans for future business.
After spending some time with one person and before moving on to the next person, write some notes on the back of people's cards or in your notebook. This will help you to remember what the other person said at an event.
So to do really well at networking events, remember that you are not there to sell anything to the people you have just met, but you want to find some way you can help them, remembering the old expression that what goes around comes around, usually in the form of referrals for your business.
By changing the way you network, you will find an increase in the amount of business you will get from your networking activities.
Tony Benner - Corporate Focus PR