Updated: Oct 22, 2021
As a well informed and a smart entrepreneur, you understand the importance of networking for your business success. Strategic networking is all about building strong, valuable and long term relationships that will work for you and be there for you whenever you need them. And the beauty is that you don’t need to spend huge marketing bucks to make it happen.
Only problem is that when you, unknowingly, make these networking mistakes, these might cost you priceless relationships, business, and even your credibility. You must avoid these at any cost.
1. You misunderstand networking.
You go to the networking floor, grab the first person, offer your card, and start with your sales pitch.
Wait! Networking is not about selling. It is about building relationships. The art of networking is in its ability to sell without selling. So, when you go to any networking event, first strike a chord with the person you are talking to. Spend some time and introduce yourself when the other person shows interest. Lastly, hand over your card only when one asks for.
2. You network without any goals.
Networking without clear goals is like hitting arrow in dark. Your networking goal is simply what you want to achieve based on your long term and short-term business goals.
Identifying your networking goals will help you save time and resources.
Examples of some of the goals are –
- Learning & development.
- Find like-minded people.
- Build & grow your business network.
- Grow business.
- Build your support system.
So, write down all the possible answers for why you want to network and then move in the right direction.
3. You won’t network until you really need it.
You think you don’t need to network until it is a business emergency for you. But, the truth is that you need to start networking much before you may need networking.
You need to give it time for networking to work for you. Why? Because networking is all about building relationships and trust. You need to give people time to know you, to understand you to be able to trust you before they can recall your name and refer you. So, start networking now if you haven’t yet given it a shot.
4. You come across as a business machine.
When you meet people, only thing you talk about is your business and how good it is. It is all about your product or service and no mention of you. This is a wrong approach.
First, create an impact as a human, which is your character and then, talk about what you do, which is your competence. Create a healthy balance between the two. Afterall, people do business with people.
5. You network with a transactional mindset.
You go to a networking event too focused on who can and will buy your products and services. Once you know one is a potential buyer, you start following up aggressively.
Soon people in the network will identify you as a hunter and know that you are only there to get, leaving you alienated. Imagine, if everyone were to get, who would give. If you want to build relationships, go with a giver mindset.
6. You ignore people who are not your prospects.
When you identify someone as not a potential client and decide to abandon him, you, make a very silly yet big networking mistake.
Everyone has a whole network behind one, even if one may not need your services. So, when you ignore one person, you ignore their whole network and a big opportunity to get introduced to it.
7. Sticking to people you already know.
You, like everyone, have a stranger fear and would like to avoid going ahead and talking to totally new people. So, what you do is stick around people you already know.
This is a huge mistake. When you go to any meetings or conferences where you have opportunity to network, use it to your advantage. Connect with at least 3-5 new people. You can ask your existing friends there to introduce you, in case you feel shy.
8. You expect every conversation to convert.
This cannot be possible. There is nothing like 100% conversion in life. This is overestimating and subjecting yourself to undue pressure, fear of rejection and much damage.
So, drop this expectation of every conversation converting into a relationship. The life will filter the right ones for you.
9. You don’t follow up.
You meet some wonderful people, have great conversation, exchange cards; but you forget once you are back. You get so busy in your usual business that you don’t follow up. In the process, you miss out the opportunity to build valuable relationships.
Make following up as an important part of your networking goals. Follow up with the new connect within first 24 hours and then on regular basis.
As you avoid the mistakes and build your credible relationships one by one, your next goal should be building a network that will determine your net worth.
A good professional or a business network is a sum of all your professional relationships who know you, trust you and would not think twice to refer you.