When you waste time at networking events for over a year

When I finally escaped the dreaded clutches of retails sales, I did absolutely everything I could to embrace B2B sales.

I told myself I was finally going to go to all the networking events near me now that I was working for a real company.

The best part was my company already had memberships at all the local chambers in town, so I could either just attend for free, or expense the fee at the door.

As excited as I was, I remembered just sitting at those chamber events, trying desperately not to look like a loner. It reminded me of high school, trying to avoid sitting by myself in the cafeteria. At the time, I struggled to make just simple small-talk with other people in the room.

And I remembered there was a guy who was probably 5-10 years older than me. He was an account executive at a local financial advisor firm that was actually near my office.

And every event I attended, this guy was there too, and he was always talking with somebody. While I was struggling with just basic conversation, he was laughing with others, having a good time and made it look super easy.

At those events, I’d always be thinking in the back of my mind about the deals I was trying to close for that week. I just remember being super stressed because I was overthinking about how I was going to meet my quota for the month.

Meanwhile the other guy looked incredibly relaxed and always had a smile on his face. He didn’t seem to have a worry in his mind. I really envied that guy’s relaxed demeanor.

This guy was at multiple chamber events too. I’d see him at early-morning breakfasts, lunch speed-networking rounds, after-work evening mixers. Literally wherever I was, this guy was too.

I remembered even when I was door-knocking in an area of town, I was turning my car around at a nearby local brewery. While I was busy prospecting, low and behold, this guy was walking into the restaurant with his portfolio in hand.

I assumed while I was cold-calling my ass off, this guy was already meeting clients who were interested in what this guy had to say.

He also looked older than me by 10 years, and I thought he knew some secret to selling that I didn’t.

One night, one of the local chambers held a big after-hours trade show where there was a big open area with local vendors. They had good food and drinks. It was just a relaxed after-hours event.

I remembered I was walking around, and I ran into this guy, and I figured I’d strike up small-talk with him.

And I remembered the guy was kinda quiet and reserved. It was totally the opposite of what I initially expected. I always saw him talking with someone else, but in our conversation, I was doing all the talking.

But the big shocker was I told him, ‘Hey, I always see you at these events, but we’ve never actually met.’

And he replied, ‘Yeah I always go to these events, but I never get any leads. Have you had any luck at these things?’

And that answer was a big eye-opener for me.

For one, I thought this guy was successful when really he was just trying to make it like I was.

And two, we were both wasting our time going to chamber events where we weren’t going to run into a qualified buyer to save our life.

So things aren’t always as they appear, especially in business. 

That and don’t waste your time going to events where you’re not going to meet qualified buyers you want. Spend your time on real marketing activities that grow your business, and save your time for the events that actually count for you.

Take it from my one-to-two years worth of experience attending those things.

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