I do a lot of networking. In fact, most of my business has has come from networking - both in-person and online. In both places, I see three types of networkers:
1. Slimers - these are people who think that the old sales techniques still work (they don't) and tend to mercilessly push their services on others without taking any time to find out what the other person does, cares about, or wants. Such one-sided marketing leaves me feeling "slimed."
2. Wallflowers - these are people who think that showing up is enough (it's not). I totally understand that sometimes you just want to lurk - that's fine! And lurking can also be OK if you are doing market research, but lurking will not grow your business.
3. Enlightened Marketers - these are people who recognize that the best way to market yourself in a networking environment is to meet lots of new people and truly listen to what they have to say. Then they make suggestions, recommendations, referrals, etc. based on what is most important to the people they meet. They follow up either with a recommendation or some other personal comment based on the conversation they had. This approach results in a high level of qualified leads because potential clients feel as if you truly care about who they are and what they do.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts about the above approaches - or perhaps some additional ones that I haven't noted!