At a business networking event last week, one of the attendees complained to me. He said, “I don't think I'm going to attend this event anymore. No one wants to buy from me.” I pointed out that he had only attended the event twice and no one had the chance to really get to know him. “Networking is what gets you in the door,” I explained. “It's up to you to build the relationship.” I received a confused look and began to explain…
The networking event lasts 2 hours. If you attend 2 of the events, that's 4 hours that people have in their time bank of getting to know you. That's assuming you talked to one person for the entire 2 hours. Let's be realistic: Did that really happen? NO!
Knowing someone for less than 4 hours does not give you an accurate description of who the person is or what their business does. It has been said over and over: People do business with other people who they know, like, and trust. I don't think you can know, like, and trust someone in less than 4 hours at a networking event.
People typically don't buy from others at a business networking event. A business networking event is used to create visibility for you and your business. Networking gives you the opportunity for people to ask you about your products or services and for you to get to know others who may be interested in doing business with you.
Use your time wisely at networking events. Qualify potential prospects and other businesses you want to partner with, renew relationships, and set up appointments. Networking is what gets you the introduction and plants the seed for the relationship. It is up to you to follow-up and get to know the person to allow the relationship to grow.
Did he understand what I said about networking? Probably. I asked him a question, “How long did it take for your best friend to become your best friend? Didn't that take time?”
He laughed and said, “What best friend?” Then again, maybe not.
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