Make Networking Pay

You can hit the streets and pound on doors to get business.  Or you can make friends and get referrals through networking.  When you go to a networking event, don’t just collect business cards.  Try to meet one or two people with whom you can establish a relationship. You’re looking for someone with whom you can, in a sense, build a business partnership.  If you’re a writer, you may want to pair up with a graphic artist or a printer. They’re in compatible fields.  You also want to get to know the guy who installs maintenance-free decking.  By finding out more about his business, you can steer more potential customers his way, and he can do the same for you.  Try to give a referral before you receive one. You’ll appear helpful to others.  But don’t expect to give (or receive) a referral on Day One.  It takes time to get to know people and understand what they do, and vice versa.  Soon, you’ll find yourself seeking referral opportunities for others.  Recently, I met a painter who was working for a woman whose basement had been flooded.  “Do you need a carpet cleaner?” I asked.  “I know a great one!”  Prepare an “elevator speech” or little commercial about yourself and what you do. Try to keep it to under a minute, or you’ll put people to sleep.  Then, tell them what kind of referral you’d like, and be as specific as possible.  “Please introduce me to administrative assistant to the CEO of _____ Corporation. I can’t get an appointment without her.”


A special thank you to writer,  Cynthia Sowden of Homegrown Communications for this article about networking. You can learn more about her on her website:


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