By Abby Donnelly
Attending a networking event? WHY??
That may seem like a strange question, but time is one of our most limited resources! Taking a few minutes to evaluate why you should attend THIS particular networking event may save you hours of unproductive time and energy. Often, sales professionals tell me that they make their decision to attend an event based on the location of the event and their calendar availability. Instead, base your decision to attend an event based on:
1. Will your ideal target market likely be there? If not,
2. Will people who know your ideal target market be there?
If the answer is no to both of these questions, attending the event probably isn’t a good use of your time. You may meet some great people, you may have some interesting conversations, but you will probably not build the kind of business relationships that will deliver an ongoing stream of qualified referrals. Instead, find a networking event that is a better fit, or invest that time 1-1, building important relationships with key prospects, or with people who know your key prospects.
If you can’t bear to skip the event, at least go into the event with a specific goal. Maybe you set a goal to meet 3 new people. Maybe you set a goal to reconnect with 5 people you already know. Maybe you set a goal to connect 2 people who need to know each other. If you are going to spend your time attending an event, make it count! The additional benefit of setting a goal in advance is that once you achieve it, you are free to leave—you have already had a successful event!
Abby Donnelly is a partner and Executive Coach with Training and Development services, a Sandler Training franchise.
Illustration by Rob Green