Do More People Mean More Sales?
I have no idea why but people are under the assumption when attending networking events that more people, the more the merrier, is the way to go. This is not always true, and here are a couple of reasons why:
- In a room where 100 people are networking it can be difficult to focus on getting to know people in more depth. Ideally the smaller networking events, up to 40 people as an example, offers you a chance to take the time to get to know 3 – 6 people and find out more about them.
- Larger networking events are less about building relationships and more about creating awareness by handing out business cards to everyone in the room. This often does not pay dividends because no one can actually follow up with 100 people or more. Business cards get lost or thrown in the garbage.
If you are attending a large networking event and there are tables with up to 6 people sitting at each table, there may be time for introductions around the table. This depends on the type of event and if the noise does not overpower the conversation around the tables.
Social Media Platforms
The same applies to connecting with people online. If you are connecting to thousands of people just to gain large numbers of connections, and think this will make you look good, think again. What is the point of connecting to anyone if you do not engage with them?
Online networking has many benefits, such as:
- Showcasing your brand
- Sharing your content
- Gaining mentors, sponsors, clients, friends
- Being seen to be seen, making you memorable
Benefits of Networking
Networking events offer a range of benefits which encourage you to attend such as:
- Education in the form of a seminar or workshop.
- The chance to share your elevator speech to everyone in the room.
- An opportunity to build new relationships and stay loyal to existing ones.
Less people does not necessarily mean it’s a waste of time attending smaller events. It is still a great way to gain more exposure for your brand:
- Take photos of yourself and other attendees and share on social media sites.
- Offer a door prize and ensure you are offered a few minutes to introduce yourself to attendees.
Above all always remember to follow up with the people you are interested in building a relationship with.
If you are attending a primarily sales networking event the aim of the game is to gain new prospects. Even in this scenario people are becoming tired of the same old, same old, sales pitch. Work on new ways to interest the people you are connecting with, versus the “here is my business card, I will send you the information when I get back to my office”. Why not suggest you connect online via one of the social media sites and find out more about each other. This enables you both to further the relationship without leaving your office. Once you feel the time is right make an appointment to meet your prospect over lunch or drinks and then discuss the solution you have to offer.
Have a Networking Strategy
If you prefer the large events with more people ensure you have a strategy before you attend the event. Contact the organizer to see if there is a public list of attendees, that will enable you to do some simple research before you attend the event to find out more about the attendees. Focus on fewer people if you do want to build those all important relationships.
People like to know you are interested in them, the research will have given you some ideas how to start a conversation with the individuals you have decided you want to get to know. Asking questions of the other person means you are gaining valuable information about them that will help you when you next meet them to discuss their needs.
Some people feel more comfortable at small events, this may be because they don’t like large crowds because of the noise and may even feel intimidated by so many people.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The thing to remember is more of anything does not always mean great benefits for you; I used to work at a shoe store, one of my three jobs before I decided to start my own business. I love shoes, but I soon got turned off when I had to sell them every day, and make sure they were in the right boxes on the shelf!
- Too much cake or chocolates may make you sick.
- A big budget may mean you spend quickly on things you don’t need.
- Too many people at a networking event may mean you walk away with no new prospects.
Quantity or Quality
Personal choice and the networking strategy you are following will determine whether you want to meet more people or less. Ideally you have an idea when you attend networking events, the Why, Where, When, and How concept.
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