Have you ever NOT wanted to or NOT had time to attend a business networking function, but forced yourself to go — at least for a little while? Sure you have. After all, you’re busy. You don’t have time to waste standing around networking events, making chit-chat with a bunch of people who only want to try to sell you something.
So, you say to yourself “Self, we’re only going to stay for a half hour. Then, we’re out of here.” And off you go to “network.”
You meet someone, strike up a conversation, hand them your card, spew forth your 30 second commercial, spend 5 or 10 minutes talking to them and say something like “We should get together sometime soon and talk about this further.” Then, on to the next person — same scenario.
Once your time is up, you leave — tossing your newly acquired business cards into a purse or jacket pocket.
And the folks left holding your business card and expecting an email or call from you, never hear from you again.
That, my friends, is the Networking Hit and Run. You “hit” them with your pitch and your business card, then “run” off to make another contact — never looking back or following up.
It’s a crime, really. You’ve just stolen someone’s precious time from them — something they can never get back. Don’t you hate it when someone wastes YOUR time? Sure you do!
Networking is only effective if you follow up with and maintain the contacts that you make.
Simply collecting cards at events doesn’t equate to building your network — it’s only data collection.
You have no relationship with these people, so if you try to sell to them or ask them for something, they won’t be very motivated to help you or do business with you.
Think about that the next time you are at a networking event — don’t leave a chalk outline on the floor by the people you network with!