With all of the networking functions that go on in a city like Vancouver, most business people will find themselves attending meetings from time to time. I would always recommend people attend them regularily, but that is not the topic of today. I think one of the challenges we face is that too often a networking event is seen as a group of potential customers we should be trying to sell to. This is far from the case and will get you nowhere in the fast lane.
A networking function is an opportunity to get to know someone a little bit and discover what he and his company does and has to offer. If you feel there is synergy with your new found friend by all means set an appointment at which you can begin the sales proccess. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, try and make a deal then and there. It is neither the time nor the place.
One of the biggest problems trying to “sell” at a networking event creates is that you miss the opportunity to get to know someone who is not part of your “target market”. What is often overlooked is just because I may not be in your target market, it does not mean I don’t know anyone who is. Some of the most well connected people I know don’t show it. So take the time to establish rapport with everyone, you just never know who they might know. A solid long term relationship is worth way more than on one time deal.
These are just my two cents,