This has it's upside and downside. After all, we have a limited amount of time available and it would seem a waste of our time and effort to go to a networking event and not get anything from it.
While helping to organise the Speed Networking Event at yesterday's Brighton & Hove Business Show, one of the attendees wanted to know who the companies were that were registered so he could decide if it was worth him attending.
Now, this would seem like a very short-sighted approach to networking. You can't be that clinical and precise with networking. It's rare that you get direct business from one meeting.
- You don't know who they know. Someone you met at a meeting months ago may refer you to a friend or colleague of theirs which results in a considerable amount of business.
- The person you talk to may not be a potential customer. But - if you've made a positive impression they may know the perfect customer(s) for you.
- They may not be ready for you. Not everyone is ready to 'buy' your products or services when you first meet them. The important thing is to establish contact and build the relationship until they are.
Keep an open mind - business and opportunities can come from the most unlikely sources and unexpected connections.