This post relates to the people at events or online that seem to dismiss others as soon as they have connected with them. Is this the single quickest way to miss opportunities? It happens to me so here’s how I identify them, handle them and finally, I highlight an opportunity that they are missing.
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Feeling ignored at events?
Last week, I was at a great networking event where managing directors meet to see if they can work together for mutual benefit. I was chatting to a couple of people and we were positioned so others could join us if they wanted (it’s called an open three). A smartly dressed lady joined us and I asked her name. The lady told us (I’m going to call her “Di”), asked what we did and walked away without a word of explanation once we had all told her.
Perhaps this was because we were not her “target market” and therefore of little immediate interest. It reminded me of the time when the question was asked on LinkedIn “what do you want from a networking event or group?” One respondent replied “people with a need and a budget.” I ventured that they are more likely at “meet the buyer” events. You will find decision makers at networking events yet they are likely to be there looking for business development opportunities.
How do you handle the ignorant?
It’s probably not their fault so the top tip below indicates one way to help “Di” and yourslef at the same time. There are a variety of reasons why people behave like this. Some are looking for immediate sales, others may be at the beginning of their networking journey. Don’t be offensive even if you are offended. I remain polite at all times ensuring my brand is not affected. There are lot’s of other people at events and online that do want to build relationships.
If they do find I am their target market and launch into a long winded pitch it’s important to bring it to a close and move on without offending them. You are unlikely to find a benefit in listening to a pitch about a service you don’t need. I find a break in the conversation (usually when they pause ever so briefly to breathe) and let them know that whilst I am impressed with the wealth of information they have provided I do not require their services right now. I also add that we should both consider “networking” with other people at the event that may find us of value.
What opportunities are they missing?
One of the two people I was speaking to when we were approached by “Di” was an events organiser. A few minutes later I started talking to a gent who explained he provided software that helped event organisers generate more confirmed attendees. I made a point of making an introduction to the lady that was there to promote events as there was a good reason for them to have a chat.
The immediate opportunity that Di missed may be real or non-existent as there may not have been anyone there that needed what Di provided. Yet, I was one of three people who might have been able to make a connection for her. I will never know if I meet someone that does what Di does. And neither does Di – that is her missed opportunity. The two people I introduced thanked me for it and I got the chance to let them know what I do.
Wrap up: Does this happen to you at events or online? Thankfully, “Di” didn’t launch into a pitch. You might miss opportunities if you do get trapped by the wrong people. If you want to save time find a polite way of saying “no thanks” so you can get on with what you are supposed to be doing.
Top Tip: Try and catch “Di” before she leaves and let them know about a connection that has been made that day to see if it strikes a chord with them. If not, it’s fine, at least I tried. And Di is more likely to remember me.
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