It sounds weird to read that we can make mistakes during networking, but it’s more common than you think, even for experienced networkers. In this blog, you will learn about the common mistakes people make while networking and how to maximize your own personal networking.
Mistake # 1: Thinking that you know everyone:
All business professionals need to continue to grow and improve on all their existing relationships and continue to connect with new professionals, no matter at what stage they are in their business cycle. Thinking that you know everybody and that you don’t ‘need’ anything from them is a BIG mistake. We seldom know all there is to know about people professionally, and certainly lack knowledge on just how far their spheres of professional influence may reach. While networking, you are able to connect to a lot of people, in or out of your circle, so avoid the common thought pattern that you can’t grow as a person, networker and professional by expanding your perspective and welcoming additional time with people you already know into your schedule. And, when you approach a new connection, always remember the first impression counts!
Mistake #2: Not Using Your Social Networks Enough:
Like it or not, we are living in the digital era. No matter what type of business you have, it is essential to have active social networks. What does this mean? Just posting, right? Wrong! Remember that social media and networks work much like in-person networking does: if you make a conversation all about you, people become less and less interested in the selfish guy, right? It’s a quick and easy fix to comment on posts of profiles in your audience, even if you don’t know them. Networking virtually via message, likes, and comments always helps to bolster relationships with current connections as well as it allows your mutual audiences to get a feel for your relationship and, over time, can lead to spill-over of clients and relationships. Always share your events and invite people, creating connections with your network and new prospects. Oh, and here’s an insider tip: sharing stories on Instagram that feed over to Facebook a few times a week will get you seen and heard more often and will allow your contacts and potential customers to get a feel for you behind the scenes, building on that know, like, and trust factor that is at the heart of sales and business development.
Mistake #3: Not Giving Back to Others in Your Network:
Truly successful networkers know that they attend netowkring meetings to give just as much as they receive. If the only thing you’re thinking is what you can get from others, the only thing you will get is nothing in return. Expert networkers understand the law of reciprocity: people give back when given to. It’s simple. We like to give to those who help us! In order to build a lasting positive reputation for yourself and your business, it’s important that those who you networker with know that you care about them and you are looking to refer them business.
Mistake #4: Not Hunting for Prospects:
Ever heard the phrase, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying?” Well, for some, this may seem excessive, but, if we take a look at successful businesses over the yars, we find that this saying holds more than a little bit of truth. Businesses who get too comfortable with their current client load tend to suffer most in times of economic global and national turmoil and tend to really lose out when one of those bigger clients goes through changes and no longer needs their services. As tiresome as it may be, or as scary as it may be to outsource or hire help to hunt for more prospects, these efforts, backed with a strategy to properly onboard and service new clients can ensure that your business survives challenging economic times and thrives when others are pulling back. Remember, every networker has a purpose, and even if you can connect with people out of your business circle, you need to find your own.
Mistake #4: Not Listening to Others:
Trying to sell yourself or over promoting your business during networking events is another big mistake that a networker can make. Want to be considered interesting and valuable to talk to? Ask questions, listen carefully and you will create a great impression that will likely foster new relationships or referrals. After all, many times seasoned networkers get business not by selling their products to their audience, but by selling themselves as a caring individual who is invested in more than just hearing themselves speak.
Mistake #5: Being ungrateful:
Now, this one plays into mistakes numbers 2 & 4 very well. It’s simple: ever given a nice gift and not been thanked by the person receiving it? While you may not be giving to be thanked, it certainly does stick out, doesn’t it? When someone in your network has helped you to grow your business, don’t be afraid to say thank you. Show gratitude publicly to the old and new connections that you make, not just for what they give to you, but for being there. By showing them gratitude in your networking group, you can help increase their reputation and their book of business, which, ultimately, will come back to you!
Mark Hirsch, Founder of Prime Time Business Network.