Marketing Tips

Epic Fails in the Wonderful World of Business Networking!

If you are a business owner, a business development officer, an employee looking to advance your status, someone who thrives on meeting people, someone who hates meeting people, an outgoing person, or an introvert, this information is for you!

Epic Fails in the Wonderful World of Business Networking

Being outgoing and in sales does not guarantee that you are an effective networker.  Being an introvert and rarely coming out during the daytime does not imply you cannot be a successful networker. Whatever preconceived notions or misperceptions you have about effective networking, wipe the slate clean and be open, receptive and willing to change. 

As a Professional Networker, I meet hundreds of people a week and fortunately (or unfortunately) I see just about everything imaginable.  

These are some of the biggest spurs in my side:


The Hit and Run Networker

This is the individual bouncing from person to person handing out his/her business card before they have even begun a conversation.  I consider this person a lazy networker. They are too much in a hurry to stop and get to know anyone.  They are simply after numbers. They are looking to meet as many people as possible. They’re looking for sales opportunities rather than connections. They are so busy looking for the next person to hand their business card to that they don’t even look you in the eye.  This is also the person who is shaking your hand and looking at other people walking by or looking for their next mark.  They don’t make eye contact with you at all and don’t even remember your name.  They are so busy trying to meet as many people as possible that they have no concept of what being a good listener is or how to build long lasting relationships.  This person makes me feel like I am not valued or not good enough for them. This person makes me feel like I am not worthy of their time. 

If you find yourself falling into some of these bad habits, use these tools to improve your networking strategy:


At the event

  1. Create a plan before you attend any meetings and make it your goal to REALLY connect with 3-6 people a day (depending on how long the event runs).
  2. Take time to find out what is going on in that person’s business. I use this question, “What is the biggest challenge in your business right now?”  They will open up and share their frustrations with you and somewhere you will discover how you can solve theirRemember, the person asking the RIGHT questions is in control.
  3. Be sincere and be a super listener. If you find yourself doing all the talking then stop and start asking
  4. Ask them for their card and make notes about something memorable about that person.

The Follow Up

  1. Follow up after the event on a more intimate level. Do not send just an automated (This is much easier if you make notes – see #4 above.) Consider a phone call or a personalized card.
  2. Use the 3 / 1 Rule when following up. Mention them 3 times before you mention yourself or your business. This is not easy to do so I recommend practicing this before you send them anything.
  3. The follow up is NOT about you. It is about how you can solve their challenges.
  4. When in doubt about what to talk about, use the Who, What, Where and How. NEVER ask WHY!!


Most networkers do not follow up at all so if you implement a number of strategies, you will be way ahead of the pack.

And my favorite way to follow up? I like to snail mail my love notes to people.  They never forget a personalized message that mentions something important in their life or business.


The Cliques

Have you ever walked into a meeting, event, room full of people and everyone is huddled up like they’re in the middle of the fourth quarter and it’s a tie ball game?  You feel awkward or embarrassed because you don’t know anyone and no one is inviting you to participate in the conversation.  This can be one of the most difficult situations for anyone but especially difficult for introverts.  If you find yourself in the huddle make an effort to open the group up so it’s a semi-circle and not a closed circle.  Invite people into the conversation that you see standing alone or seem like they want to be included in the conversation.  This is a strategy that Sandra Yancey, CEO of eWomenNetwork, has taught all of us members and it works to make the meeting or event more inclusive and rewarding. 

If you find yourself on the outside of the huddle, don’t be afraid to catch someone’s eye and introduce yourself to one of the people in the huddle.  They should welcome you into the conversation and introduce you to the other people in the group.


What You Can Do to Be a More Successful Networker

Depending on your personality type; outgoing or introvert, find your comfort zone with the above solutions.  Most introverts I know that have learned to become really successful networkers did so through being a “Give Getter”.  They focus on the other person and how to help them.  They take the emphasis away from their shyness and have learned how to focus on helping people.  NOT selling to them!

The same goes for the outgoing person who has never met a stranger.  The outgoing person sometimes forgets not everyone is comfortable networking.  Reach out to them in a more personal one on one setting and spend time listening to their challenges. People do not want to be sold.  They want to be heard. 


MJ Jensen, Chief Idea Officer

IdeaMagic visionary marketing & CRM automation

Infusionsoft Certified Partner since 2015


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