Whether you’ve been in business for 1 year or 20, you know that networking is extremely important to get the word out about your business products or services.  However, year after year I have noticed that a lot of businesswomen are still not effectively networking.  Many might go to a networking event every other month, but then their participation drops off.  

Networking Isn’t About Collecting Business Cards!
So, what are businesswomen not understanding about networking?  Why is networking still considered one of the most effective techniques for small business owners? 
The truth is that Networking is and always has been an interactive method of building relationships.  However, when the only purpose for attending a networking event is to get a business card or close the sale, you miss out of the most important part of the process.  It’s what happens after the event that’s the key and yet, calls are not returned, business cards stack up on the desk and relationships are not built.  This is why many business owners don’t see results!
I have always been about building sincere business relationships and it’s a principle that Women About Biz was built upon. Perhaps that’s why when we first started, we grew so quickly from just 50 women to thousands of women in less than two years and all word-of-mouth!  Today, I stand by my belief that it’s the relationship that’s missing in networking and it’s time someone speaks the truth about what works and what doesn’t.  I’m happy to fill that role!
Below are 3 Networking Techniques that work for me and I know they will work for you!
1.  Get In the Blessing Business!  Become the resource, share information and connect people with others and let them know what you need help with as well.  Print off short articles to take with you to hand out to others that might find the information useful. Don’t just talk about your product or service, but give others the benefit of experiencing it first-hand with a sample or free service.  Listen out for the needs of others and if you can be of service or provide a resource then do it!
Always go to a networking event with the thought,“I’m Ready to Bless Someone Today!”
2.  Be Consistent in Your Networking!  You should be attending 1 to 2 networking events weekly, but you’ll need to visit many to determine which groups are best for you. 
There are so many different types of networking groups from leads only groups to general networking – they are out there!  Once you decide on which groups you’ll participate in,  schedule a phone conference or live one-on-one meeting with the group coordinator/leader and ask how you can help and again, let them know what you need help with!  The most important thing is to be committed in who you are and be consistent in attending.
3.  Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up! How many times have you heard how important follow up is in networking?  Probably a lot right?  Well, follow up serves as the foundation in networking.  Without it, all networking you do is pointless!! You should be scheduling a connection call and following up with those you meet within 24 to 48 hours.  Now, while sending an email is good – a call followed by an email is better!
The techniques above truly work if you work them and if we have not connected personally before, I would like to invite you to a connection call where we can both share what we do and get aquainted!
About the Author:
Trina Newby is a Business Success Coach and CEO/Founder of Women About Biz (WAB).  She has helped hundeds of businesswomen to understand and implement relationship-building strategies in their networking plan. Make sure you check out the Savvy Networking Women Channel on the WAB site to keep up-to-date of  networking articles, courses and events.