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The 10 Mistakes We Make At Networking Events
and How To Avoid Them

Mac Cassity, Guest Author

Question: What is the cheapest most effective way to build your business?

Answer: Get more referrals!

Question: How do I get referrals?

Answer: NETWORKING! Well... networking the RIGHT way that is.

You see, you can meet 100 people per month at networking events and still get no business. What you do and say at events and mixers is incredibly important. Most folks think if you go to enough events and pass out enough business cards you'll start to get that phone ringing. That's not always true. Even if you DO get some business that way, you still have to do what is necessary to build and cultivate that relationship so they continue to do business with you and/or send you more referrals.

Below, I have created a list of the top 10 mistakes I see people make over and over again at networking events. We see this stuff all the time, and sometimes we don't slow down enough to realize that occasionally, WE are the culprits. I'll bet most have you have done at least one of the things listed below at some point in your business career. A lot of you make be making these mistakes RIGHT NOW... that is where I want to help. I have devoted my life to helping others get better at referral marketing, and this article is just one resource in that journey.

This article is actually a snapshot of a larger ebook that I created along with my business partner Glenn Garnes. We offer that ebook for free as well because we truly believe in giving value to those we come in contact with. Anyways, please read through this list carefully. Identify these mistakes when you see them, and do your best to correct your mistakes. The better you get at referral marketing, the more control you will have over your income and your eventual success.

  1. We misunderstand the purpose of networking - Bottom line? If you are at an event to sell your services, do everyone a favor and leave. People that see others as dollars signs are VERY easy to spot. You might have thought this was your purpose, but it's not. You are there to build and cultivate referral relationships. Remember the term REFERRAL MARKETING? Well, what would you rather have, 100 sales, or 100 people referring you business on a regular basis?

  2. We only hang out with the people we already know - This is a tough one, but here's the deal. You are there to build your business, not talk with people you already know. Tell them nicely that you will go meet some new people and try to introduce them. Have them do the same. That is leverage. You guys can catch up as friends later, you are there to build NEW relationships.

  3. We talk too much about ourselves - This is a BIG no no, but we see it ALL the time! People coming up to you, ramming their business card down your throat, telling you how their product or service is the best. I'll bet you have even seen someone at an event and thought to yourself "oh no, here comes so and so..." and the reason why you thought that is because of this mistake.

    Your best bet is to ask questions. Put the focus on THEM. Let them talk, and you will have your chance... believe me. Even if you have to schedule a follow up one on one to talk about what it is YOU do, they will be happy to give you the time of day based on the fact that you gave all your attention to them first.

  4. We don't describe what we do in a way that is meaningful to others - Ok, you may be an insurance agent, but...well, that's boring! How about: "I speak with individuals and families and learn more about their situations so that I may be able to help them protect their personal and financial assets." Think about what you do. Think about how you can tell others in a way that will make them listen and hear is a skill, but if you take the time, you will reap the benefits.

  5. We don't have an effective follow up system - You went to the event, you met a bunch of people, you got a ton of business what? You can let them sit on your desk, or even put them in a drawer, but what the heck does that do? It happens, you know it does. The key is following up with folks in a meaningful way.

    This DOES NOT mean try to sell them now that you have their card. It does not mean put them on an email blast. It means touch base, tell them you enjoyed speaking with them, and set up an appt to have a one on one where you can find out even MORE about their business and how you may be of service.

  6. We don't meet the host/center of influence - You are standing in a room full of about 100 people. Someone was responsible for getting them all there. Think you should meet them? The answer is YES. The people responsible for putting on successful mixers and events usually have a pretty good contact list. Meet them EVERYTIME you can. Get to know them, and watch your contacts dramatically increase.

  7. We are not good matchmakers - This mistake can be corrected very simply. Meet people and introduce them to folks who you think might make good referral partners. If you spend your time doing this, you will avoid mistake number 7 and just may be the hit of the event.

  8. We show up just to be seen - We have all heard this one as well, "I am just going to make an appearance." Do me and everyone else a favor... don't bother. If you can't attend an event long enough to make a meaningful impact on others, just don't go. Running in and running out because you are too busy is, well, one of the reasons you are too busy. Choose an event, schedule it, and attend the whole event.

  9. We don't ask the right questions - When meeting someone at an event, you usually only have a few minutes to make an impression. Asking someone about the weather, or if they have ever been there before is not going to do the trick. How about finding out what they do? What got them into that line of work? What do they like most about what they do?

    And the best question you can ask at a networking event (I borrow this from referral and relationship marketing expert Bob Burg "How Do I know if someone I am speaking with is a good referral for you?" Try this one... you will be amazed at the results.

  10. We don't attend enough networking events - Now that you know some of the things you shouldn't do, and in turn some of the things you SHOULD do, go practice! Staying at home or in your office will not build your business like networking will. Choose some events, put them on your schedule and attend. If you only attend 2 or 3 events a year, you won't reap the benefits. Try hitting 2 or 3 a month and you will really kick your referral marketing into high gear.

I hope identifying these mistakes and what you SHOULD do has been helpful to you. My goal is to work with and help as many business professionals find success with referral marketing as I can. I wish all of you success with your referral marketing efforts and remember these 10 mistakes we make at networking events... because now you can AVOID them.

Copyright © - Mac Cassity - Reprinted with permission. Mac Cassity is Vice President of Perfect Networker and Referral University. The goal of these two organizations is to help business owners and professionals dramatically increase the number of qualified referrals they receive by helping them build and nurture productive and quality referral relationships. Mac is committed to helping you improve your referral marketing success. Check out for a free interview Mac and his business partner Glenn Garnes did with referral marketing expert Bob Burg.

Call us at 800-306-6488, with any questions aboutthe interview or The Referral UniversityMastery Program, or email us at:

Article Source:

Click on a book cover or book title link to place an order
The Six X-tremes of Power Business Networking: How to Get Your Business Noticed in Crowded Rooms! - Jeff Glaze - This 60-Page e-book breaks all of the rules of modern business networking. It gives you detailed information on how to stand out from the rest of the crowd when you are trying to promote your business. Whether you are a seasoned networker or a beginner, this e-book has information that can help you to be more successful and increase recognition for both you and your business.

Larry's Review: An excellent read for enthusiastic networkers!

Power Networking: 59 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success Power Networking: 59 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success - Donna Fisher & Sandy Vilas - Packed with 59 proven networking methods for achieving success in all areas of your life, this inspiring book helps you to discover key networking skills to show you how to make the requests that get the results you want.

Larry's Review: The importance of making important business connections cannot be understated. Donna offers sound advice and encourages you to give up your shyness and offer to assist others as you build a network of support; one that increases your visibility, expands your network and marks you as someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

The Essential Network: Success Through Personal Connections - John L. Bennett - This book is about establishing, maintaining, and reaping the benefits of connections. It incorporates many personal stories to illustrate the productive results that can occur from building connections. These include people who have found life-partners, avoided personal and financial disasters, made career changes, built businesses, and met famous people.

Larry's Review: The principles of business networking in an easy-read and understandable format. Highly recommended!
Essential Network

The Networking Guy's Top 50 Tips The Networking Guy's Top 50 Tips: A Simple Guide to Networking Success - Dave Sherman - These 50 success-proven tips will change forever the way you do things, bringing power and purpose to those brief encounters that once were meaningless and unproductive. Easy to understand and simple to apply, they will show you precisely what it takes to become a comfortable and effective networker in all situations - and with all persons - you encounter.

Larry's Review: I love this book! A quick-read, no nonsense book with everything you need to know about being a successful networker! Read it and reap! Highly recommended!

  If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Networking Coaching for specific details.

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Your book the "Ten Commitments of Networking" is one of the best books I have read in a long time! It's sales, self-help and networking all wrapped into one. I did not want to put it down last night! I hope that others will check it out as it's a must read for anyone in business. ~ Andrew Avella, Tucson Networking Association

8/12/08 Networking is something many people shy away from, which is to their disadvantage. Now - or anytime - is really a great time to get out there and meet people and keep yourself on everyone's minds. You'll find that as you become more connected, there are many benefits in addition to the increased exposure of yourself and your products.

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