When we build trust and relationships with others, work can become more enjoyable and profitable. It’s not the number of contacts we make, but the quality of the impression we leave that’s important.

1. Be genuine.

Don’t be overly concerned about simply making contacts. Successful networking is about building relationships. Listen carefully, don’t interrupt or exaggerate your own importance.

2. Take the initiative and approach others.

Ask open-ended questions, as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Asking questions in this way opens up the discussion and shows that you are sincerely interested. Listen carefully to the answers and discover shared interests and goals.

3. Become a resource for others.

One of the most effective ways to market your business and convince potential customers that you can help them is to provide information. Doing this instills confidence and shows that you care. Instead of concentrating on what you do, concentrate on how you can be of service.  This approach will set you apart from your competitors in a real and visible way.

4. Have a clear understanding of what you do, and focus on the problems you solve.

You should be able to easily articulate what you do in about 8-10 seconds. Practice it aloud until it becomes fluid and natural. This short, concise description will be easier for listeners to remember.

5. Follow through on referrals.

A referral is like an endorsement. When you are given a referral, your actions will reflect on the person who gave it, so make the contact as soon as possible. Handling it professionally may result in more referrals.

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