Networking No-No’s (Part 1)

I recently attended a networking event with the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.  It was a great event with many professional business people.  I was standing alone for a brief moment and a man came up to me to introduce himself.  His style of networking felt rather contrived and imposing.  You see, I go to networking events not to sell, but to simply meet great people and be a connector.  His motives were just the opposite.

The conversation started out the right way, him asking me questions about my business, and me asking a couple questions about his business. It was a friendly exchange at first, but it quickly changed.  He began to sell – I mean hard sell and he used fear selling too!  I was immediately turned off.  I did not need his services – I already had a provider for his type of service and I had let him know that.   But, that did not stop him from hard selling his company.  He started to criticize the provider I use and tell me why he would be a better choice. 

It was a difficult conversation to break away from without being rude, but he took care of that.  He asked me for my business card to follow up with me.  I had only one on me, as I inadvertently left a stack of business cards in my vehicle.  I told him in a sincere tone that I had left my cards in my vehicle and I could not give him one. Well, he did not believe me, said something rude under his voice and walked off.

I’m not sure where he learned those sales techniques, but I am sure that won’t work well for him.  A wise person once told me that people do business and refer business to people they know, like and trust.  How true.  This gentleman will not get many people knowing, liking or trusting him with his current sales techniques.

Here's a Few Networking Do’s and Don’ts:

  • DO be friendly
  • DO ask the other person about them and their business
  • DO listen to the other person
  • DO build up trusting relationships
  • DO have a great elevator pitch (Unique Sales/Value Proposition)
  • DON’T ask for someone’s business card for the sole purpose of selling to them after the event.  If they hear what you do and have an interest in what your company offers, they will ask you for your card.  If you have someone to connect them to, it is OK to ask for their card for that.
  • DON’T offer your business card.  Wait for someone to ask you for it. 
  • DON’T sell at networking events.  Go to meet people who you could help by connecting them to people you know.  Be a giver.  Set up a one-on-one meeting with individuals there was a mutual connection.
  • DON’T criticize the competition.  This just makes you look like you are threatened by the competition.  You should know your competition and what makes them weak, so all you need to do is have a good unique sales/value proposition that talks about your strengths.
  • DON’T leave your stack of business cards in your vehicle when attending a networking event.

If you think you would like to learn more about sales, customer service or networking training, please contact us.

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