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Victoria Munro and Dave Block of Make-it-FlySuccessful Networking’s Secret Ingredient
By Dave Block and Victoria Munro

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Successful businesses are built on relationships because people want to do business with those they know and trust. Attending networking events can be an excellent way to meet, get to know and start building relationships with other business owners. But, to make the most of your time and money invested, you must keep your focus the other person and have an effective follow-up strategy.

Create a Clear Follow-Up Plan

Instead of randomly collecting lots of business cards at an event and then allowing them to collect dust in piles on your desk, employ a consistent follow-up plan. At an event, look for people you’d like to get to know better. They may be those:

You feel you really ‘connected’ with
Who could be great power partners
You know you can help

When you meet someone like this, ask him or her for a business card. Then follow up within 48 hours with a personal note or email to set up a second meeting. This meeting can be in person or over the phone. Everyone is busy, so be respectful of their time, and make sure your focus on the other person and his or her interests rather than yourself.

That Second Meeting Is Key

Have a plan for the second meeting. Your goal might include any of the following:

1. Get to know each other better:

Find some things you have in common
Discover their interests, passions, hobbies
Ask how long they’ve lived here and what brought them to the area
Learn about their family
Find out how they spend their non-work time and what kind of books they like to read
Seek to understand their philosophy and core values

2. Questions to ask about their business or work:

What sort of products or services do they provide?
Who is their ideal client?
Who would make a good power partner for them?
Which aspects of the business do they enjoy the most?
What is the biggest challenge they face in the business?

3. Find out what needs they have and how you can help them. Perhaps you could:

Make an introduction
Share an idea or offer a suggestion
Give a referral or refer someone else to them
Recommend a helpful book or pass along an article of interest

The better you know someone and what his or her needs are, the more likely you’ll be able to offer assistance, and build trust as someone who genuinely cares.

The Secret Is Simple

Keep the focus on the other person—it’s all about them, not you. Pay attention, listen as they talk and make mental notes on ways you can help. Never try to sell yourself or your services unless you’re asked. Relationships are built on trust, so make sure you follow through on anything you promise.

Keeping in touch with people and nurturing your relationships is a critical aspect of effective networking. Take the initiative to stay in touch. Each email, card or phone call becomes an opportunity to strengthen the relationship, enhance your visibility and better position yourself to help others.

(637 words)
© 2005-2008 Victoria Munro.

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About the Authors: Dave Block and Victoria Munro are co-founders of Make-it-Fly® LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for small business owners through creatively-designed programs and tools. Dave is known as the “Master Networker” in the business community and loves sharing how to become a successful business owner by learning the art of networking. Victoria has started and run nine different businesses.. To receive FREE business success articles with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,” at:, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.

You’re welcome to “reprint” this article in your ezine, print publication or on your website, as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end). Please send a copy of your reprint to

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