I went to a free seminar last week on networking. I belong to a great women’s networking group and I thought this seminar could give me a few pointers on how to network smarter instead of harder. Although I would probably be part of this group even without networking potential. They are actually a great group of women to just hang with anyways. But I have to admit I did pick up a couple of good ideas, although it was a long day and I had a feeling I wasn’t being told everything. The presenter was intentionally holding back information. There was a reason the seminar was for free.
The presenter was hosting a free seminar to advertise his network training materials. Now this individual was very well informed and seemed like he had a system that was well thought out and potentially worthwhile. I just wasn’t completely sold. Now I understood that no free seminar is truly free and I did learn a couple of new tricks but I believe that when giving a seminar a presenter should try and be a little humble. Their system is not "the greatest," or "the newest thing" or "the only system you’ll ever need," marketing is a moving target and changes over time are required so no system will be your last.
While I agreed with the presenter’s idea that advertising is a waste of money and time, you get a lot of interest but mostly people who want to kick the tires, not real sales. I disagreed with his making training session a priority. He said that a client of his cancelled a training session because the client had a meeting with a customer. He felt that training was more important than a face to face with a customer. How? Customers are your business, without them we wouldn’t have a business. While it is important to take the time to learn new methods of marketing it is also important to take care of the reason you are in business, customers.
So the main point I took away from this seminar was that networking is important. Not the kind of networking whereby you try and make a sale but the kind of networking where you build relationships. Networking can only work if you go in without any preconceived notions of making a sale. It takes time to build a business and it takes time to build relationships. They are one in the same and you cannot have one without the other. So work on your relationships and the sales become a natural part of these connections. see, this is why customers are so important.