“It’s not just who is in the room”

Clichés abound in business and Business Networking is no exception with one of my most hated phrases being “selling though the room”. However, although I personally find that phrase irritating, it does sum up one of the benefits of networking which is that when you talk to someone at a networking event, you are not just talking to them as an individual, but you are giving yourself the chance to communicate with everyone else they know and are connected with.

Of course, these connections will never be obvious on the surface and people will not give away their contacts without being confident in recommending you which means you need to think carefully about your networking strategy.

The best results are gained from networking when you view it as a long-term plan and commitment. You need to attend regularly, get to know people, help people with advice, share your knowledge, pass on leads to others, make introductions…

… and it is amazing how when you take this attitude you suddenly find that you start getting calls from people who you don’t know but who have been referred to you by someone who knows you from networking.

This is particularly true when attempting to find contacts within the supposed holy grail of “bigger businesses”. I was at another event last year when I spoke to someone who I had not met before. He was leaving early he said because he was only interested in working with “bigger businesses” and he had concluded there weren’t any big businesses at this particular meeting.

After he left I spoke to someone else, who asked if I knew where this other chap was as he was working on a project for one of these “bigger businesses” in exactly the area the other delegate was seeking. Too late he had gone – because he had only seen the people in the room – not who we were all connected to!

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