I hate the term. It just seems so cliche. Business buzz words drive me nuts.
And, it doesn’t help that most networking is useless. Did you go to that conference to be productive and meet people? Or did you go to get out of the office for a day.
Then, what did you do with the contacts you received? If you answered ‘put them in your tickler file’, you lose. Did you even get any contacts?
Even worse, do you wait for them to come to you? If so, you’re not ‘selling’, you’re being an order-taker. You’re just there representing the company, which is guess is still better than nothing. But if you want to make the most of networking opportunities, you need to make it happen.
Like anything, you have to look at your process to make sure your getting the most out of the event. Planning, execution, and then the follow-up. And which do you think is most important? You might be surprised.
For most, networking is about getting out of your comfort zone and striking up conversations. That’s step one. For your typical ‘high I’ sales person, it’s about shutting the fuck up and listening. Just go to one of these conferences and you’ll find that that guy within 30 seconds.
But after that, it’s about taking action items on the opportunity. THAT is the most important part.
Set time on your calendar for the next week to take action on the event. Email or call (or both) each contact you made. Talk to them. Ask them how you can help them, then do that.
You WILL see the return.