I was at a networking event last week, and a thought struck my mind that I haven't been able to shake.
First, we all know that it is common practice and common thought that "more networking" is "good". We can get into all of the reasons at another time, but we know that, "the more people who know you", and "the better your name recognition", then, "the larger your pool of potential customers", and so on.
I will be the first to admit that, for me, networking is something that I do if the time remains open in my calendar. I mark most of my favorite or best "potential" networking events in my calendar, and, if I can make it, I do. At this networking event, I saw several of the "usual suspects" (the ones who never miss a networking event, you know the ones), and I spoke to one of them about his attendance at networking events. The conversation got me thinking.
It's fairly common that most people are not very good schedulers. From a scheduling standpoint, I have long taught that one should put the most important things in their calendar first (and for everybody, these will vary. My family comes first, followed by my customers). Then, you schedule around those. So, for somebody who is scheduling networking events first, it begs some thoughts:
* Since the average person is not a very good, or very disciplined planner, you are either exceptional, or you don't have very much business. Knowing that not very many people are exceptional schedulers, I default to assuming that you have a lot of free time if you are at every networking event. Especially if you were the first one there.
* If I DO decide to do business with you, are you going to schedule my work around your networking events?
Am I saying that you shouldn't attend every networking event? Not necessarily. However, and please don't go to the OTHER extreme with this, I would, as a potential client, a story about the client who's problem you solved. Don't sell me, just reassure me that you will take care of me if I ever need you.
And that you won't blow me off for a networking event.