Mistake #1 – Showing up late or canceling without sufficient notice. As a professional networker NOTHING is more upsetting and will more quickly kill your credibility with me as a business networking partner than this most egregious non-professional mistake. Solution: Plan on arriving 15 minutes early. If you must cancel give as much notice as possible and immediately offer some alternative dates. When done professionally, business introduction meetings can be powerful growth agents. When not… well I think you get the picture.
Mistake # 2 – The hard sell. Your business networking partner may or may not also be a prospect. Regardless, when you set a networking appointment your role should be to network and create value NOT to hard sell your services. Failure to abide by these rules will result in a very short networking career. Solution: Remember the old maxim, “giver’s gain”. Focus your attention on learning how you can help your networking partner first. If this person does need your service the credibility you build by being a professional networker will position you well as a supplier.
Mistake # 3 – The 40-minute feature spew regarding your product or service. Similar to above but not done with intent, just out of habit. Remember, the purpose of business networking is to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people. Solution: Value creating networking can only be accomplished if you hold a conversation. You should spend as much time listening as you do speaking. The professional networker proves his worth in the quality of his questions not in the power of his pitch.
Mistake# 4 – Bringing no value to the conversation, relationship or beyond . A business introduction meeting should ultimately be about creating new business opportunities, not just making a new friend. Solution: Sure, it’s beneficial to learn about the other person, their history, interests etc. but by the end of the meeting you should have contributed some insight and have a plan as to how you are going to create value and opportunity moving forward.
Mistake # 5 – Failure to follow-through on agreed upon next steps. Lack of follow-through is a hallmark of the amateur networker and yet another way to ensure a short lived networking career. Solution: A professional always makes sure that he leaves a business introduction meeting with a clear understanding of what will be done by both parties to create value. Then, the professional follows through. Many professional networkers are reaching new levels of success and avoiding these mistakes at BizBlindDate.com the service that connects like minded business people face-to-face for mutual gain. I recommend you head over there and check-out the introductory video.