If you go to business networking meetings, being able to clearly answer one question can help you get results. I’ve eaten too many networking breakfasts over the years and yet I was still surprised last week.Business networking event in progress

What surprised me?

I was chatting with a practice manager that had been representing her firm for quite a while. We talked about what the practice does, some of the successes they’ve had and what networking she’s done (good questions when you’re trying to get to understand a networker) as well as a little about her competition. I then asked a question that she struggled to answer…. That question is what this article is about.

What do you talk about when networking?

When you’re having chats with people at meetings, or in the follow up “121’s” afterwards; what do you talk about? A mixture of business goals and previous successes (helps understand where they’re going and their credibility) as well as something about the person. Most importantly I want to know how I can help them, should I wish to do so.

How to help a networker when you want to?

If you know somebody that can help, it’s a straightforward thing to offer to connect them. But you can only do this if you recognise the connection.

The call to action?

I’m sure you heard about the importance of a clear call to action on an advert, 60 second elevator speech, website etc. There is a networking equivalent, but you can’t do anything, if you don’t know – clearly – who they want to be connected to.

How would I recognise your best prospect?

So, what is that question I told you about in the introduction? It’s easy really!

How would I recognise your best prospect?

It’s a simple question and hopefully the answer is straightforward. If you can’t paint me a picture of the person you want me to introduce you to, I can’t do it!

Two arms, two legs and a pulse doesn’t do it, SME business owner doesn’t do it – there are too many around. Give me something to go on, help me select from my mental database and in a way that’s memorable.

What should I do then?

Ideally you could also tell me what I should ask them and how to introduce you. But you can’t do that unless I recognise your best prospect.

Help me to help you….

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What would help you to help other networkers? I’d love you to add your thoughts….

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

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