We had a smaller than usual event last night. One of our members had an association meeting, another was traveling, and one of our regulars was still dealing with the flooding. Of course, when some of our regulars and semi-regulars communicated they weren't able to come, it was a disappointment to not see them but it was nice to hear from them and I did pass on their regards.
I wasn't sure what to expect anyway because we came out of a few days of flooding. I know some people call in advance and ask how many people will be attending. I usually don't know because it's a different mix every week and people don't usually RSVP. If they do RSVP, however, it helps with set up and also alerting attendees of a change (such as if I had to cancel due to weather or the recent flooding).
I was sorry we didn't have more in attendance because we had a guest and usually they hope for larger numbers when attending a new network group. I also, however, know that the power in networking comes from not only meeting but getting to know people beyond the surface.
When I have a one-on-one meeting with someone, I learn so much more about them than I would had I relied on a few moments connecting at a mixer. I try to schedule a one-on-one with participants of my meetings an hour earlier of a regular meeting to do just that. The one I had last night turned out to be beneficial as I got to know a woman better than I had thus far.
The group sat down for the formal part and following our introductions, we had significant time to really have people reveal their goals and elaborate on their businesses. With more time for each individual to speak and the intimacy of the setting, we were able to uncover much more information than usual.
The end result was that we had an exchange of potential business. I know I will be making at at least a couple of purchases from two different attendees as well as a couple of immediate referrals to others. There were leads and ideas exchanged and others discussed following up with each other for more information and to purchase. I was provided with useful information and alerted of an upcoming event that could prove useful. Even though I had a one-on-one appointment prior to the event, it wasn't until the end of our event, that she mentioned something about one of her products that caused me to make a more immediate commitment to purchase.
Often at a larger event, the minimal time with numerous people causes attendees to take home a bunch of cards and often those cards are set aside with little to know follow up occurring afterward.
Without the follow up, sales do not occur, relationships aren't built and opportunities aren't opened.
We may have had small in attendance, but I think the results were enormous.