Networking Mistakes Auto Industry Leaders Should AvoidNetworking is about building relationships and is a critical skill for leaders to have. A survey from Referral Institute found individuals who spent six hours a week networking garnered 47 percent of all business from their referrals and networks. On the flip side, those who claimed networking didn’t play a large role in their business networked less than two hours per week.

“Not all networking can be judged on equal terms,” says Tara Horner, contributor to Smart Blogs on Leadership. “Many people could gain more from their networking efforts if they only avoided some costly mistakes. Others do not know enough about what works and what doesn’t, and thus lack confidence.”

Horner offers some common networking mistakes business leaders should avoid.

Seven Networking Mistakes to Avoid

Cloudy Purpose

To prepare for networking, you need to have a clear goal. It could be to find a new job or to gain new business. “With a set purpose, you will be able to target your goal contacts and better prepare for networking opportunities,” says Horner.

Throw Cards at Everyone

Instead of targeting anyone who crosses your path, you can better prepare for networking if you have a client or contact in mind. It’s important to know your target market so you know with whom to spend your time. “Do not go to the point of inflexibility,” warns Horner.

Think outside the box and change course if an off-target comes your way.


Business cards are a necessity. No one wants to sit around while you type their contact information into your phone. It looks unprofessional and you look unprepared.

Rude Networking

“A rude networker is losing at networking,” says Horner.

Treat your prospects with respect. If you don’t, why would they spend their time and money with your company? Give people time to talk and really listen to what they say, but also be respectful of their time.


You should never stop building your network because you never know when your biggest client could leave you to join your competitor. “Steadily building your network ensures you have a pool of contacts at the ready,” says Horner.

Avoid Face-to-Face

It’s easy to hide behind a computer and send an email or social media messages. It’s also easy to delete a message without much thought. A meeting in person is hard to ignore or forget, says Horner. When you attend a networking event, the goal is to meet new people so introduce yourself, ask questions, and engage in conversation.

No Follow-Ups

The most common mistake is to not follow-up. Horner says, “Many people are simply too busy — your offer sounded great, perfect, in fact, but they don’t have the time to dig out your business card and make the call. So do it for them!”

Give them time to think your offer over then make a call, send an email, or leave a social media message.

Big, successful businesses don’t happen from years of slaving alone. It’s about whom you know so focus on truly building relationships.

What other networking tips would you add?