After writing my last blog on networking, I decided that a follow up was in order.
Networking is not about selling your business to the first person you run into. If that’s what you do, just stop. Instead, find out about the other person. What do they do? How can you help them?
The best way to gain someone’s trust is to give away information. Maybe you don’t need the services of his printing company, but so-and-so from place is looking for new business cards.
Set up the referral. “Hey printing dude, I have a friend that does something really cool and needs business cards. Would you mind if I send her your way?” Exchange business cards, small talk and polite goodbyes as you find someone new.
When you have a second, note what you plan to do. Actually SEND the referral. Do them a favor. These favors come back two-fold. Some day, Printing Dude will have a client who needs a new website, or house remodel, or (insert your expertise here) and will recommend you.
Why? Because you sent business his way. And if he did it well, you’ll probably continue to do so. It’s reciprocal.
Remember, try not to sell your business at networking. Instead, pinpoint the people you can help, help them, and they’ll help you!