In today’s competitive business environment, an important aspect of any marketing plan is to build and maintain relationships with other people. And networking is the most effective way to do just that. 

By taking the time to meet with other business people, learning about what they do and discovering how you can both help them and they can help you, you develop relationships that will provide a great return on your time and effort.  

People often think that choosing a business network means choosing one where their services or products are needed. And, although in an ideal world it would be nice to close a sale with every single businessperson you ever meet – a good network for your business is actually one that doesn’t necessarily include your end customer. 

Instead, a good business network is one where your end customer is upstream. By this we mean that the ideal network is filled with connectors not customers.  

If your network is only filled with potential customers, you are making just one sale per network member. Even if a member becomes a regular client, it’s still just one new customer. A network filled with connectors allows for an infinite number of connections and thereby an infinite number of potential new clients – exposing your business to people you haven’t even met personally.  

Connectors are not the goose that lays the golden egg; they know the goose that lays the golden egg.  

So, how do you meet these connectors? That’s the easy part. Everywhere you go. 

When people think about business networking, they immediately think of professional networks and organizations, networks surround all of us every day and there’s no reason to discount these networks. These are your family members and friends, people in your community, parents at your children’s school, and peers on your weekly sports team. Be warm and friendly with everyone you encounter and, when the timing is right, talk about what you do and ask what they do. You never know; the person sitting next to you may lead you to your next big sale.

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