Networking produces 50% success in developing business, while cold calls typically result in 1% success in sales (Source: American Management Association, "Principles of Professional Selling"). Both require numerous attempts and using proven techniques to succeed.
Attending networking events with the intention of connecting and learning about others, not selling, is the key to successful networking. Connecting with other business owners and public management personnel, as my management consulting services can help both, has helped me learn how to expand my business services, as well as, gain business.
I regularly attend networking events for the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, because the members want to connect to help one another, as well as, themselves. Connecting with business owners and organizations that want to "give before receiving" creates productive networking and business connections.
I met yesterday to network with an instructor of a class that I recently attended at the Frederick, Maryland SBDC. He is a small business owner, like me, and our intention was to get to know one another and see how we could help each other with our businesses and possibly work together. We found many similarities in ourselves and continue to help one another in identifying potential improvements and opportunities in our businesses. Great networking connections can turn into ongoing mentoring and further personal development.