You probably don’t go to networking events with intent to buy something. So why do you go with an assumption that someone else has the intention to invest what you’re selling? Besides the obvious buzzkill that you create by asking qualifying questions at a networking event, you leave behind all of the leverage that the person in front of you represents.
Let’s put it really simple…would you rather ruin a new relationship by assuming someone is a prospect and potentially get a bad reputation in the room as a “bottom feeder” or would like to establish a lifelong pipeline of opportunity?
Leveraged networking is not the exchange of dollars; rather it is the exchange of knowledge and relationships. The primary purpose of attending events is to identify who you should meet with one-on-one. Getting to know a little bit about the background and focus of the person across from you will help you determine if a more thorough exchange would make sense.
When you prospect at a networking event you offend people and turn them into anti-sponsors. The basis of good networking is advocacy. When people say good things about you to others you are able shorten the time it takes to establish trust and intimacy…which of course leads to valuable exchange.