Next month I will be celebrating 8 years in business. Referrals and business networking have been the biggest contributor to getting clients and still is.
I’ve been a member of 4Networking for 2 years now, and seen, shall we say, some interesting ways of how people network. Some have been rather impressive (‘that’s so good I might try that’) and some have been just awful (‘get me outta here I’m a businesswoman’)!.
Seemingly insignificant behavoiur can actually sub-consciously (or consciously) completely destroy any hope of doing business or getting quality referrals from me and probably loads of other people.
So here, I’ve distilled a list of my top 5 networking turn-offs – be warned….
1. Your image doesn’t match what you do
Whether you like it not, first impressions do count. You need to look the part. You are an advert for what you do or sell. For example, if you’re in the health industry, then you need to look healthy! If you’re into weight-loss, or fitness, then you need to look slim and fit! If you don’t, then either you’re not using your own products or they don’t work. So I’m out!
2. Boring Pitches
Sadly I, like most people, have a very short attention span. I was never very good at paying attention to boring monotone teachers at school. With adulthood and age, I’m sorry to say, it’s not improved. I’m still not very good at listening to boring monotone speakers! If you rattle off a long list of what you do, then, sorry, you’ve lost me. Short, succinct and punchy – that’s what I need for my attention to be held (as well as everyone else in the room).
3. Assuming you have my permission to add me to your newsletter list
There seems to be a common misconception among, even seasoned networkers. Just because we were at the same networking event, whether we spoke briefly or at length, (or not), then receiving a newsletter out of the blue does not reflect very good manners or communication skills. Out of courtesy I would expect to be asked (at the event) ‘Is it ok to add you to my email list’ or follow up with an email that reminds me we met and that you have a wonderful regular newsletter that I might find interesting and is it ok to add you, then click here and assure me that I can unsubscribe any time. Mostly I have no objection to this kind of request, but assuming it’s ok does not score points with me.
4. Being sold at
Networking is about meeting new people and building relationships so you get to know like and trust someone enough to feel confident in passing business their way. Yet it amazes me how some people expect to make a sale first meeting. They pitch at me without asking me a single question! To the other extreme where I’ve ended up talking to someone (who doesn’t know me or who I know) who’s declared there’s no-one in this room who could be a customer of theirs and his attitude is a negative ‘can’t be bothered’. Well that’s a shame, because my clients would probably make good clients for you, but you haven’t bothered to find out about me, so I’m not inclined to share that information now.
5. Not showing up
As the ops assistant for the Hemel 4N group I have gradually got connected to hundreds of people. I have the job of confirming numbers. I communicate this by email, phone or text. Most people are good at replying to me – they get my thumbs up. Those that don’t and don’t show up, or those that do confirm and don’t show up, maybe don’t realise what damage they are doing to their reputation and how much influence I have with those who they’re hoping to do business with. Do they honestly think that I’m going to refer or put business their way when they have demonstrated their unreliability and lack of communication? I don’t think so…… If you can’t make a meeting then say so! If an emergency happened that prevented you from attending when you’re expected, then follow up with an apology afterwards. It’s courtesy and puts you in a better light than if you remain silent.