Networking can be a great place to develop relationships that can lead to business, if you do it right.  But there are some definite rights and wrongs to networking.

Definition:  A network is a group of people with whom you have a relationship through which you can send and receive information, introductions, and referrals that contribute to your business success.   The best places to network are civic or business organizations; the worst, generally, are leads clubs.

How can you make your networking efforts more successful?

  • Get on a committee and become involved.
  • Have a clear purpose when you go to the event.
  • Prepare well – have your elevator speech ready when they ask you, “What do you do?”

The five things you should not do at networking events.

1. Don’t spend all your time with friends.
2. Don’t spend all your time with one person.
3. Don’t sit at an empty table.
4. Don’t sit in the back row.
5. Don’t sit by an empty chair.

What are the five most critical questions you should ask someone?

1. “What brought you here today?”
2. “What does your company do?”
3. “What do you do with the company?”
4, “What is your target market?”
5. “What can I do to help you in your business?”

When you get a business card, take time to write the following information on the back of the card.

1. Grade the card:  A is a potential referral source, B is a potential prospect, and C has no potential (toss the card).
2. A bit of information that will help you remember them.
3. Date & event where you met them.

The best way to conclude a conversation with someone whom you would want to have further dialogue with is to say, “I enjoyed meeting you.  Looks like we have a similar target market and may be able to help each other develop business.  Are you open to discussing this further?  When would be a good time to talk?”

Self-Study Assignment:  When was the last time you attended a networking event?  How successful were you?  Make it a priority to attend at least two events to in the next 30 days and memorize the questions to ask.