Networking can be a powerful way of building up your business. However, too many people approach it with the wrong attitude and consequently think it does not work for them.
Here are five common mistakes people make when networking, together with simple strategies to overcome them.

1. You always expect everyone at networking events to be a client. You should rather be focussing on making contacts. Networking is about building business relationships, not necessarily sales.

2. You give out as many business cards as you can. It is not a competition. Collecting cards from other businesses is just as important as giving out yours. Again, you are building relationships.

3. You don’t want to chat but cut straight to the deal. This won’t work. You need to build a rapport with people. Tell them about your products and services of course but try and see how they suit these new contacts. Get referrals.

4. You try and close a deal immediately because this may be your only chance. People don’t go to these events for a hard sell. You are much more likely to close a sale when you have established a relationship.

5. You follow up everyone you have met with an offer they can’t refuse. They will, though. If you are going to follow up then send an email referencing something you talked about. Send a link to an article that might be of interest, for instance, or give them a referral.

Networking is all about building relationships for the long term, not necessarily short term sales.