Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Networking’s Secret Ingredient
By Dave Block and Victoria Munro
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
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:
feel you really ‘connected’ with
could be great power partners
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
some things you have in common
their interests, passions, hobbies
how long they’ve lived here and what brought
them to the area
about their family
out how they spend their non-work time and what
kind of books they like to read
to understand their philosophy and core values
2. Questions to ask about their
business or work:
sort of products or services do they provide?
is their ideal client?
would make a good power partner for them?
aspects of the business do they enjoy the most?
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:
an idea or offer a suggestion
a referral or refer someone else to them
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
© 2005-2008 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
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..
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