Top 10 Networking Gaffes

Stupid mistakeWould the year be complete without a top ten list to countdown? To ring in the New Year, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten networking gaffes. Of course, we’ve all been guilty of one of two of these over the years, but if you’re consistently making these faux pas, you’re missing out on valuable business opportunities.

As we continue to deal with a challenging economy, downsizing, and other less than pleasant business realities, networking has become more important than ever. This “Top Ten” is a reminder of what not to do in 2009 to increase your networking success.

Number 10 – Not Saying Thank You to the Person Who Made the Introduction

An introduction is a gift. Treat it as such. Thank the person who gave it to you, regardless if it leads to a sale or not.

Number 9 – Not Following Up with Introduction in a Prompt Manner

We’re all busy, but following up with an introduction should always be prioritized. Without a timely follow-up, you are sending a clear message that you don’t care, and you very well could miss out on a potentially lucrative opportunity.

Number 8 – Blowing off an Introduction Because You Don’t Think They’re Worthy

Don’t ever make assumptions when it comes to introductions. Often times, it’s those that seem the least plausible that become the most valuable to you. Keep your mind open and treat every introduction equally.

Number 7 – Not Taking the Time to Learn About the Introduction

Do your homework before you pick up that phone. By learning about the introduction beforehand, you’ll have a good foundation for determining how you can help each other.

Number 6 – Being Overbearing or Overreaching

Just as you don’t say “I love you” on a first date, don’t scare away an introduction with being too aggressive. Take your time to determine ways to best work together and let your relationship flourish.

Number 5 – Not Reciprocating with Introductions

Networking is most definitely a two-way street. You should be providing your contacts with as many, if not more leads, than you are receiving.

Number 4 – Being Dishonest About Who You Know

There is no point in bragging about untrue big-wig contacts to impress others. Once they figure out that you’re all talk and no action, you’ll lose credibility and the real contacts who can generate real sales.

Number 3 – Not Closing the Loop

Oops! Did you forget to keep the person who made the introduction up-to-date? This is one of the most common and easy-to-make gaffes. By keeping them in the loop, you’re expressing your appreciation for their networking efforts.

Number 2 – Not Thinking Out of the Box

Develop some networking creativity. Explore new ways to work together and offer unconventional leads. Sometimes, the least likely relationships are the most productive of all!

Number 1 – Not Realizing How Important Networking Is For Business Development

You’re not an island. You need the assistance of others, and they need your assistance. Every business requires new customers and new opportunities, and networking is simply the most cost-efficient, most effective way to grow your business.