What NOT to do after a networking event

by She Will Shine on 03-04-2015 in Networking, Business Basics
What NOT to do after a networking event

Last week I attended a very reputable women in business event.

It ticked all the boxes:

- Run by my local council TICK
- Inspiring female speaker TICK
- Great business women on my table TICK
- Fantastic venue and setting TICK
- Delicious hot meal uninterrupted by my kids TICK

There was even a nicely designed take-home booklet for each of us with attendee names, business name and contact email. Very forward thinking to enable further connection with obviously a cost involved to Council. Big pat on the back to organisers!


BUT what I am now left with is a sour taste in my mouth and it has absolutely nothing to do with the event itself.

As the afternoon drew to a close, our table was approached by a flyer carrying last-minute hopeful with the sole aim to talk about themselves and persuade us to buy x, y and z. To be honest, I didn't think too much at the time as I was deeply engrossed in an actual conversation and there was no need to feign interest in an obviously repeated a thousand times "shpeel".


It's what happened afterwards that really made me stop and think about this. In the space of less than a week I have received unsolicited email from three other businesses who have obviously taken my details from the rightly-intended attendee booklet and added my email to their "list". Now don't get me wrong one or two of them had taken the time to personalise their communication with my first name but that's where it ended. I had become a number to be sold to and little else.

Now I'm not too sure what sort of results, if any, these businesses have had, but I can tell you that in my case it has had a negative effect and made me think about how customer relationships right from the very beginning are oh so important.


Why would I want to do business with someone who has used my email address without my permission?


Why would I want to do business with someone who sees me as a number?


If you have not taken the time to get to know me or my business why would I even consider using your business? How in the world would you know what I want or need?


I have set a negative opinion in my mind about your business and I don't even know you. You could be fabulous.


From someone who has attended her fair share of networking events as well as run my own, I know it happens a lot. This won't be the first or the last time. But from a woman who runs her own business it is dissapointing, especially at a women's event.

Women are currently starting businesses at double the rate of men* and a movement is happening. Traditional ways of building and running a business are changing. Focus has moved from the short term dollars to looking at the long-term, where spending time building lasting and personal client relationships far outweighs short-term goals.


Isn't it time to move on from this out-dated form of marketing and embrace genuinely connecting and building client relationships? Don't be scared, go out there and have a real conversation.

You might even enjoy it.

 

 

PS: In the space of writing this post I received another unsolicited email to take it to a total of 4 in less than a week.

 



* Research by Bankwest using Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealing the rate of women starting up businesses over five years (7 per cent) compared with men (1.9 per cent) to February 2011.



4 Comments

Danielle @ She Will Shine
21-05-2015 01:30PM
Hi Rebecca, I sure do. I think the most important thing is to be genuine. People's first impressions are important. Feeling nervous? Say that. Chances are the person you are chatting to will be (or has been) feeling this way too. It's an ice breaker and definitely starts a very "real" conversation. Also, there are a few articles about this in our Resource Centre. Here's the link for you: http://shewillshine.com.au/blog/category/networking-31.html Good luck and happy networking... yes it will actually be fun. Danielle x

Leonie
05-05-2016 10:25AM
I think you could always ring them, or email and let them know you're curious about their business and would like to know more if they are up for a chat. They may not be at all 'useful' to you in the immediate future, but you've made much more of a genuine connection than if you add them onto your email list without asking.

Bec
02-04-2015 04:11PM
I love this post Danielle, it's a lovely reminder on how to attract attention for the right reasons. x

rebecca
01-05-2015 12:26PM
I agree that those sort of interactions are not effective but do you have other ideas on ways to interact with people you've met at a networking event without feeling salesy?

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