There is never enough time to establish a solid or productive new business relationship at most networking events. That is why you should invite any interesting new contact to meet you a few days later for a client lunch. If you want to increase sales, this is a critical step and the very best way to convert your efforts at networking into increased sales.
Are you LUNCH WORTHY? Is having lunch with you going to be WORTH the five hours it's going to take? In many cases, it IS worth it. I love to connect with former colleagues and I definitely enjoy work-related business lunches with current clients or prospects. There are also worthwhile industry functions - which are tremendous networking opportunities!
A strong ability to build relationships can assure your success - whatever field you are in. WHY? Because PEOPLE PREFER TO DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE THEY LIKE! Your parents were wrong: success in life actually IS a popularity contest! After all - who wants to hang out with or do business with people they DON'T LIKE?!