Reason 1 | Reason 2 | Reason 3 | Reason 4 | Reason 5

Problem: People Join the Network Only to Pitch Themselves

When you show up to a networking meeting, do you have a USP? (USP: an acronym for your Unique Selling Proposition, your 30-second elevator pitch.)

I once attended a networking meeting where 200 people each took 15 seconds to pitch themselves. That took the first hour of the meeting. No trust was built. No action was taken. No value was provided. No relationships were formed.

Not one person in that meeting had a follow up plan to develop business with someone they met at that meeting. How do I know? Because I gave my card to 6 of the organizers, and I told each of them that I had a client to refer to them. Not one organizer called me to follow up. Since the leaders of the group weren't successful networkers, I never went to another meeting.

MANY BLOGS WOULD WRAP UP HERE. I've given you a problem. If I were trying to bait you, I might just promise that I have the solution to get you to read my next blog post. But I find that annoying. When I read something, I expect the author to deliver information I can use. I am not going to pitch a USP and then leave you without providing real value. Read on ...

Solution: Bring Real Value to the Network

What if you showed up to the Network and offered to help someone else in the group? They may not even know what you do. They might just be grateful for the help.

Do you think that they would eventually ask you about your business? Do you think they would feel some obligation to refer a client to you? Psychologists tell us that most people are programmed to RECIPROCATE. Once you provide a gift of value to a person, a normal person will feel an internal obligation to provide something in return.

Reader Comment:
Marketing » Have You Ever Attended a Successful Business Networking Event? said:
[...] of a series of posts about why networking fails, Thor Roundy wrote: I once attended a networking meeting where 200 people [...]
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Helping someone in your network is a better introduction than an USP. You take action (and your new friend makes more money as a result). You provide value. You begin to form a relationship. You create a foundation for building trust.

Have your USP ready, because when you approach networking by providing help, people are going to ask what you do. And this time, when they ask, they will be listening to what you have to say!

Read the rest of this series: Reason 1 | Reason 2 | Reason 3 | Reason 4 | Reason 5