Warning: This post may contain some math. Remain calm. Do not panic.

Some people view networking events as opportunities to sell and others look at them as opportunities to start new relationships. Neither one is really right or wrong. Either can find some measure of success. Let’s take a look at the numbers, though, and see if one might be more efficient than the other.

First, we’ll make an assumption: On average you can meet and have a substantive conversation with about one hundred people over the course of a year. Yes, some people can do more and to others that number sounds unbelievably unachievable. Let’s stick with it, though, as it makes the math a lot easier.

Now, let’s looks at the case for prospecting for clients at the event. Over the course of the year, we meet those hundred people. Let’s say that we are just an amazing salesperson. We’re able to take them through our sales process and close a full ten percent. Doing a little bit of math, we get ten percent of one hundred or ten sales over the course of a year.

Hey, ten sales is pretty darned good, right? I wouldn’t turn down ten sales. Let’s start selling at events!

Whoa, there. Let’s slow it down a little and look at the other option.

Once again we meet one hundred people and start the relationship. Now we do have a little bit more work because we have to develop the relationships (though probably not much more than we’d have to do to take people through a sales process). Now supposedly every person knows about 250 people well enough to show up at their wedding or funeral. So, doing the math, our 100 new friends know something in the area of 25,000 (that’s 100 times 250) people. Because those one hundred are looking out for us, if any one of their connections might need our services, they’ll probably refer those folks to us.

Let’s assume further that just a half a percent of these people need our help. That’s .005 X 25,000 or 125 people who might like to buy from us.


So the choice is ten possible sales or one hundred twenty-five? The argument seems to be somewhat in favor of that whole relationship thing (I’m sure you’re surprised).

But, wait, there’s more!

And we’ll talk about it tomorrow.

Photo credit: Ayhan YILDIZ