I’ve been attending networking events regularly since 2006, and have met literally thousands of people in that time.
You meet a huge variety of people at events, the purpose of which is to make connections that could lead to possible business rather than make a sale on the day.
In the six years I have been networking I have attended events ranging from small ones with a handful of people right up to the larger ones with 500+ people.
At one event in London, the presenter asked the audience ‘who is here to sell today?’ and most of the hands went up. He then asked ‘who is here to buy today?’ and out of 500 people only a few hands went up. It’s something that’s important to remember – if you have a service you need to establish your credibility first.
Dr Ivan Misner, who has over 25 years experience in networking, has developed the VCP(R) process:
Visibility & Credibility = Profitability
Visibility – being at a networking event with other quality businesses for example.
Credibility - you need to establish your experience and qualifications, which can take time, and in the example above it’s unlikely that people are ready to buy right now in the room. Once your credibility is established then they are likely to do business, and also refer their contacts too.
Profitability – or the sale, where business is done.
In my time networking I have witnessed a couple of incidences where people have been so focussed on selling to the room that they tried to jump the process and go from Visibility right to Profitability, with the result that they have actually missed out on potential sales:
1) I was at an event in Guildford several years ago, there was a chap there who was approached by a bookkeeper – he just looked at her name badge, said ‘I don’t need bookkeeping’ and walked off! What he didn’t know was that the bookkeeper was approaching him because they needed HIS services. He could have actually made a sale if he hadn’t been focussed on selling.
2) At an event recently there was a person who wanted to jump right to the sale. They had attended an event with quality business people in attendance but wanted to sell to the room that day, and became somewhat fractious when they couldn’t. Rather than use it as an opportunity to get to know people, start to develop relationships and establish their credibility they wasted the chance.
It’s important to remember that you don’t know who the people in the room know – they could have the ideal contact or referral for you, but if you focus on selling to them then it’s unlikely they will make the connection for you. If you take the time to establish your credibility though, and are genuinely interested in other people at the event then the rewards can be immense.
Want to know more?
If you would like to find out more about networking face to face, and potentially reach thousands of contacts, the new networking group I am launching in Cobham next meets on Tuesday 24th April – please contact me to reserve your place.
If your interest is in online networking, I am one of the presenters at the ‘earn more money from Social Media’ event in Dorking this Friday the 20th April – please do contact me to reserve your place there as well. With many quality businesses attending the event, it’s also a great opportunity to make local business connections in Surrey.