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The People You Meet At Networking Meetings

The People You Meet At Networking Meetings
by Leni Chauvin

Sooner or later, no matter who you are or what you do for a living, you're going to do it. You're going to attend a networking function sponsored by your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, or Women's Group. We ALL do it, and here's the reason why: someone, somewhere, in their infinite wisdom told us that if we go to enough of these functions and pass our cards out to as many people as possible, that we're going to get a ton of business.

So off we go, like a bunch of sheep, following the rest of the sheep as we trudge from networking event to networking event, giving out our cards, schmoozing a bit, having a glass of wine, and thinking we've truly done something productive.

You know what happens next? We get home and count up the cards. One hundred... one twenty-five...one-fifty. "Wow," we think. "One hundred and fifty cards! Boy, I sure must have been doing something right!" Guess again.

Most of us do one of two things with the cards we've collected: we look at them and then pitch them, OR we look at them, put them in a drawer, and pitch them six months later when we clean out the drawer! Why? Because we have absolutely no idea whatsoever who the people are whose cards we're looking at. How could we? We were so busy trying to grab cards that we never took the time to do what is of utmost importance to anyone who wants to build their business based on referral networking, and that is to form a relationship with the individuals we meet. That's the first step. It's got to be, or else anything that follows is just a waste of time.

Think about it. You pitch the cards of the people you just met because either you can't remember them or aren't in the market for their product or service, While you're busy tossing cards in your house, what do you think is going on in their households? Yup, you've got it. They're doing the exact same thing. They're tossing your card out, too!

And why not? Why would they possibly give you business or refer business to you? Just because you met them at a business mixer? Puh-leeze! Even if they did remember you, what do they know about you? Do they know:

--if you're ethical?

--if you do a good job?

--if you can deliver what you say you're going to deliver?

--if you stand behind your work?

--if you'll go the extra mile?

--if you provide great customer service?

--if you've got a winning attitude?

No, of course not! How can anyone know any of these things based on a ten-minute conversation in a crowded and noisy room?

Would you put your reputation on the line by referring someone in your network to a person you just met? I know I wouldn't. I'd want to make sure the people I was referring were in good hands, because however they are treated will reflect on me.

If I send them to someone who will look after them and knock their socks off with fantastic customer service, it makes me look great in their eyes, and they'll tell other people. If I send them to someone who neglects them, is dishonest, or does a poor job, it makes me look and feel AWFUL, and guess what...the results are the same: they'll tell other people, too. I certainly would not risk losing a valued friend or a client by sending them to someone about whom I knew nothing.

It takes time to build relationships of all types. Sometimes it does work, but most people don't run off and elope with complete strangers. The majority of marriages are preceded by a courting period of some sort. Why should it be any different in business?

By all means, go to networking events. They ARE great places to meet people, but take the time to get to know the people you encounter there. Meet again in quieter surroundings. Find out all you can about them and their business. Stick with the people who think the same way you do. Eliminate all the rest. Once you feel you've truly connected with people you like, trust, and respect, that's when the referrals should start to kick in. The business you each receive will be strong, and the honeymoon will never end.

©1999 Leni Chauvin

About the Author

Leni Chauvin is a Professional Success Coach and an internationally recognized expert in business networking whose strategies have led to millions of dollars worth of referrals for her clients. She is available for keynotes, training, and business coaching for people who want or need more business.To subscribe to her FREE e-mail newsletter, mailto:NetworkingGazette-On@lists.WebValence.com

E-Mail: mailto:leni@superstarnetworking.com Web: http://www.superstarnetworking.com

Tags: Communicate



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