Last night I had a had a chance to attend a local networking group, TriNet, in Hagerstown MD. While there, I realized just how rusty I was at networking in person. I’ve been focused in product development and a variety of projects. I was desperately out of touch with business networking offline.
While networking online can result in new referrals, leads, clients, and revenue – soft skills networking in person still has a strong place. Businesses can gain valuable connections by attending these events, but it isn’t always about the sale.
I’ve been to plenty of events and watched the crowd. There are those that came for the beer, some who just happened to be in the place where we came to network, and others who are hoping to make a sale. A few people have a goal to hand out lots of business cards and collect others cards, as if they are baseball trading cards.
When attending any local networking event, it’s important to have a goal. Last night my goal was to meet 3 new people and learn what their ideal client is and who I can refer business to. Then i followed up via email with them as soon as I got home.
My goal was to form a relationship. Business networking isn’t about an instant result. The goal is to build relationships, refer business, and help others. It will work out that things come back around for my business as well.
What is your goal when attending a networking event? When is the last time you went to such a group? Make it a priority to build relationships. Look for the key networkers and group organizers. When you spot them, be sure to plan a follow-up coffee just to learn about them.
- Given up on networking? Don’t think it works? [Ann Andrews CSP] (ecademy.com)
- So You Belong To a Networking Group. Now What? (blogher.com)