How often have you been at a networking event the person you are talking to goes into a sales pitch without asking permission. Don't get me wrong, selling is a vital part of having a successful business, without it you wouldn't have a business! It is a question of a time and place.
At the networking events we run we ask "who is here to buy?" After all the years we have asked this question we still await a positive answer. So, don't sell at networking events it will just put people off!
Recently a contact said to me "I really need to be networking with companies with more than 250 employees."
We explored this a little more & established that her target market does include companies with more than 250 employees. She is selling into those companies not networking with them. The decision makers in those companies are those sometimes called the C level executives. The Chief Exec, The CFO, the CNO etc. These people do network , but they do it with their peers, ie other Chief Execs, CFO, CTOs etc.
As an independent professional providing service to those businesses it is important to build a network with other professionals with complementary products and services in that space ie with others that also provide services in that Corporate Space.
It is those trusted relationships that are the route to market.
Here is another piece of information. I rarely see businesses of more than about 25 people at networking events (apart from solicitors, accountants and banks). This is because once businesses get to that size the business owner devolves many of the ket business functions to others - and a salesman/sales manager gets business development. They don't tend to go to networking groups. So don't expect to see these larger bsuinesses at networking groups.
As NRG CEO, Dave Clarke puts it,
"If you are looking for business today from the people you meet, that is selling. Successful networking builds your business for tomorrow."
NRG Business Networks