I was at a networking event recently; it was in a nice restaurant, lovely evening, great food and pretty good wine. Just a typical, well to be honest, better than average, networking event with well over one hundred people intent on doing business or just having a good time.
I’ve been to many similar events – some good, some bad – but I have never witnessed, what I did that evening. I have to say that even I was speechless!
I’m sure that we have all seen the inexperienced, or just plain bad, networker who thrusts their business card in your face and says “If you ever need a (whatever it is) you know where to find one”, and disappears as quickly as they appeared. But this person, at this event, took it a whole stage further.
He walked up to the person I was standing behind and said, and I am not making this up, it really did happen, “Hi. Have you got a will?” The startled man said, “Yes” and this guy just said “Well you’re no good to me then”, and walked off. I still can’t believe I heard it or saw it happen. Needless to say, I avoided that person for the rest of the evening.
So, what’s my point? Other than the fact that is not a good way for anyone to go networking.
Well it’s simple. Networking is about the beginning of a relationship; it’s not about selling whatever it is that you are selling. Not at the event any way. It’s about helping people, it’s about building relationships, that hopefully will be rewarding and beneficial to both parties, over many years. Above all, it has nothing to do with a quick sale and moving on to the next prospect.
If you treat networking with respect and forget the quick hit, I promise you networking will bring you the rewards that you are looking for.