I meet many people throughout many different networking events, some of which are members of their local chambers and some not.  What I have found to be very effective for me is to participate.  Yeah I know, you have heard that before, and it sounds so lame, but it’s true.  The more active you are, the more others will recognize not only who you are, but what you and your company do.  Like anything else, though, results will come over time and won’t happen right away.  So how do you make sure that you get results?  Here is my process, which I believe will work for anyone if done correctly:

  1. Show up often
  2. Show up early
  3. Find compatible businesses that can you can refer business to
  4. Setup a time with those businesses to learn more about them in depth
  5. Talk about them, not you
  6. Show up again
  7. Make sure to find folks you have met with and greet them, thanking them for their time
  8. Spend about 40%-50% of your networking time with folks you have met with before, no more.
  9. Find and send referrals to people that you know, like and trust.
  10. Referrals will come your way now!  Believe me…they will, just be patient!

This system works very well for me.  I continue to have success with it and will continue to work with the system because it works.  I look at the process about once each year to see if I need to tweak it at all.  One note:  Track your sales by referral source, this way you can pull a report at the end of each year to see which networking group is sending you the most business, as well as the least business.  Once you know this, you can now decide if you want to drop the group that sent you the least and spend more of that time in other places.