Most people go to networking events to get new clients. They do not go to networking events to buy something themselves.
So there’s an inherent mismatch in the focus of everyone attending.
However, there’s a way round this problem.
If you go to the networking event with the aim of having a one-to-one with people, things work very very differently.
A one-to-one is not a sales meeting. Instead, it’s a “getting to know you” meeting. This is what my business is about, these are the types of client I work with, this is why I’m good at it.
One-to-ones are a great way to get new clients. But they are a long-term, indirect strategy. We have a one-to-one, then months later I’m talking to someone else. Something they say reminds me of you, I make the introduction and you end up with a new client. And, of course, vice versa.
Once you treat your networking events as the opportunity to have one-to-ones, to get to know people and to look for referrals for people, those events become much more valuable.
It’s a slow burn, it’s a longer-term strategy, but it’s one that works.
And it makes those networking meetings much less excruciating.