We keep hearing that networking is a great way to build your business. I totally agree! But I’m frustrated at the number of people who seem to miss the mark – or perhaps I should say, think that I am the “mark”.

Recently I was at a networking event where you had to stand up in front of the 40 or so people and in one minute extol the virtues of your business. Within minutes of finishing the show & tell portion, a fellow makes a beeline over to me and in a matter of seconds he’s flashing his brochure in my face. I guess that at some point during my 1-minute introduction he assumed that I was his target customer. The operative word here is “target”.

Here’s the truly funny (read “unfortunate”) side of this situation… I really had no interest or need for what he was selling – BUT could think of several people that would.

So what are the lessons to be learned…

1. Don’t sell at networking events. It’s a time to meet and connect with others - the goal is to build relationships. If there’s a good match up, ask if they would be willing to meet with you in the coming week.

2. Don’t look for prospects – instead, look for potential referral partners. It’s much easier and more powerful to build alliances with others who share the same target market as you.

3. Remember, true networking is about being of service. Look to pass a referral, introduction or resource to everyone you meet – you’ll have thankful contacts who’ll joyfully try to reciprocate.

Finally, keep in mind that networking is an excellent marketing strategy with a profitable ROI, but you need to be patient – it doesn’t happen overnight. So get out there, start networking to build relationships and your business… but please, save the target practice for the shooting range!

Author's Bio: 

A dynamic speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, and business coach Sue Clement brings the experience of more than 25 years in management and sales to every presentation and coaching session. After building a local employment agency from concept into a multi-million dollar enterprise, she is no stranger to the challenges of owning a business and is an expert in marketing, sales and customer service.

For the past 7 years Sue has been a certified business success coach. Working with entrepreneurs and small business owners, Sue helps them overcome barriers to their success, reach their goals faster and achieve outstanding results and profitability in their business.

To find out more about Sue's coaching and teleseminars please visit http://www.sueclement.com