Better Networking… Part III


In my experience, the top three reasons small business owners cite in not wanting to attend networking events are:

1) They have other uses for their time, but feel an uncomfortable obligation to be there.

2) They believe there is an inadequate ROI associated with the event.

3) They often end up engaged in “selling” behavior with people who are not qualified buyers.

In the last several articles, we spoke about the concerns associated with the time and ROI issues. Today we’ll look at the third point, and expand my view that networking is really about influence… nothing more… nothing less.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken with small business leaders who were trying to sort out their “elevator speech” ten minutes before an event. Let’s agree to move past that right now… and never worry about it again.

Next time you’re asked what you do, instead of giving your Job Title and Company Name, or launching into a commercial… simply frame your services with a question they will agree with, and then tell them specifically who you serve, and what benefit they receive.

That’s it… then turn the spotlight on them, and learn as much as you can. So, here’s how it sounds: Someone asks what I do, and I answer…

“You know how small business owners are having to do more with less these days?” Yes…

“Well, I help ‘em eliminate the most common and costly leadership and marketing challenges… the stuff that hangs everyone up. They get more business… usually without advertising… and they make more money.”

“So, what do you do?” And you’re into a conversation about them.


Remember, more often than not, the person you meet cold is not likely to be your ideal customer… so do not sell to them. Instead, spend your few minutes together learning everything you can about their ideal customers.


Because you are now going to go out to your existing network and use your influence to get them an ideal prospect. As I said, networking is about influence… and as a leader… it starts with you.

Imagine the follow up call a few days later… rather than trying to sell them, you say “Hi Joe, this is Steve Buelow… I want to arrange for you to meet with an associate of mine… I think he would be a great customer for you.”


I’m not generally a gambling man, but I bet the next conversation will go something like “Tell me again, Steve, what exactly do you do…? I think I know several people that could use your services.” And your off to the races… carrying the full influence of the person that gave you the referral.



This isn’t about building rockets… it about building relationships.



If I called your office tomorrow to offer the name of a qualified, ready to buy, ideal customer for your service… how difficult would it be to get past the front desk?


Photo Credit:

Peter Kaminski