The first time is always the hardest. The more networking events you attend the more people you are likely to recognize soon after arriving. It’s perfectly fine to get reacquainted with them and it’s even better if they are then able to introduce you to some new people right on the spot. Even if that happens, remember to make an effort to mingle with others in the room as well. It’s not a bad idea to set a goal of introducing yourself to one or more new people at each event you attend.
Successful networking takes time, time to build relationships and connections within your networking groups. A good solid relationship is built on trust and respect and that doesn’t happen overnight. Ask about other people’s businesses instead of immediately trying to pitch your own. They in turn should ask about yours. Be prepared with a brief business description and tell them what sets you apart from your competition. Educating your fellow marketers about your business will help them to get a better understanding of you and what you do, and it goes further than a sales pitch.
If you go in with the idea that you are going to close X number of sales, you are likely to find networking a frustrating experience. Everyone you meet will not be an ideal client for you, but there might well be someone in their circles of friends, family and other business groups who is. Likewise, you might not need the services of your fellow networker, but once you know and trust the person, you can try to connect her/him with someone else you know who does need them. The more you can make yourself a resource for others, the more likely many of them will return the favor.