An outrageous claim perhaps, but realistic if you make one small shift in your approach and here it is …
People need to look at networking as a long term strategy not a short term tactic. Instead of looking at a room of 100 people and thinking “Ooh, 100 prospects!” and then trying to pitch the room try this…
Look at the room instead as 100 people with 250 friends (avg contacts per person [re: Prof. Dunbar’s number]) then the potential becomes MUCH larger … 25,000 connections. Now all you need do is seek to help the people behind the people and the dynamic changes entirely.
Instead of focusing directly on your needs, focus indirectly on the needs of the people you meet. You will still get what you want (more connections and more business) but it will come indirectly to you instead.
This Indirect approach also has many other added benefits including becoming true friends with more people, getting referred more because you’re “not that person” who pitches first asks questions later and so on.
Try it, it’s also the non-pitch approach so if you suck at selling, stop pitching. Simply seek to find out what your new connection is looking for and make a mental note to connect them others you’ve met who offer that solution. This in turn works the same way for you too … network/lead by example.
Help others get what they want and they will help you get what you want.