“Giving your business card out is pretentious and besides, have you ever gotten any business from doing that?” was Doug’s reply when I asked him for a card. I realize the bar at Brio wasn’t what you would consider a typical networking venue, but in my experience opportunities to make great connections can happen anywhere.
In the Do’s and Donts of networking, Doug is correct in the fact that giving your business card out to anyone who happens to be within two feet of you is the wrong thing to do. Consider waiting till someone asks for your card because it shows the person you’re speaking to has an interest in continuing the conversation, and at some point potentially doing business with you. If they hesitate to ask, it’s not the end of the world. The timing may not be right, or they may just be one of the lovely people that frequents networking events to simply hang out.
Your best opportunities can happen in the least likely places.
His comment, “Have you ever gotten any business from doing that?”, took me by surprise and my response is a resounding YES! Networking is the number one way of marketing my business so I’m constantly attending ‘formal’ events, however some of my best networking connections have happened at coffee shops, restaurants and yes, even bars. This makes sense because when I ask audiences what they like most about networking, food and alcohol are at the top of the list. When you’re in a relaxed environment even the biggest wallflower tends to open up. As a recovering wallflower who wouldn’t start a conversation to save my life, I can relate. Now it’s easy to strike up conversations in line at the grocery store, on an elevator and any other time the opportunity presents itself. The key is always being open to the possibilities.
If your networking isn’t working then consider the events you’re attending and your mindset about the process. A blog post from Grasshopper.com, “Want to Grow Your Business? Get Out And Network! (part 2) features networking wisdom from Bob Burg, the author of Endless Referrals and Sam Richter, the author of Take The Cold Out of Cold Calling and me, from the mindset perspective. It’s an honor to be included with the gurus! Finally, remember the Boy Scout motto of always being prepared, and that includes carrying business cards, or you could miss out on an opportunity to create a business relationship.
Until next time….