The secret to building your sales prospect base? Follow Susan RoAne’s networking rules, show up, and succeed!

Guest Blog by Susan RoAne

Rainbow-colored circle of individuals - networkIt’s so much easier to do business with people you’ve met, know and trust. More importantly, it’s easier for people to recommend and refer you once they have met you. If a face –to- face interaction isn’t feasible; a phone call can establish rapport and connection.

The best way to meet those people is… to meet those people. To start, you have to RSVP, and show up, and “work” every room: meet, greet, chat, laugh, and have fun with others.

Some of us may think we’re too busy to waste our time doing what, for more than 30 years, has been called “networking.” You may even be one of those people. But showing up at events, meetings, fundraisers, meetups, tweetups, charity golf tournaments, and parties need not be difficult if you are prepared, have a plan, and understand the benefits.

Make the Connection

One of the biggest benefits is a “live” connection with someone who could be a potential client, referral resource, or friend. And it goes both ways. You could be the very same for others.

It’s true that not everyone you meet is going to be a client, or a boss, or offer to connect you with someone you need to know. But everyone you meet has their network of contacts, connections, friends, and family and can either make the introduction or choose not to do so.

RoAne’s Rules

#1: Be nice to everyone. Don’t deselect people based on the first four seconds. Why? You never know whom they know!

To pack the pipeline with potential for referrals, you constantly need to be visible in your community, your professional association, and your company.

#2: Talk to “strangers.” If you are at a meeting, conference, or event, you already have something in common with everyone in that room. It’s not enough that you know people; they must know and want to remember that they know you!

Start with small talk and pleasantries. Because the conversation is organic, rather than “hijacked,” you can add phrases that reflect your area of interest or expertise. That gives your conversation partners an opportunity to get to know you, pick up on your comments, and share their thoughts.

#3: Be aware that building a base of contacts includes offering what you have to share. Assess your skills, contacts, and expertise and be open to sharing them.

#4: Identify what you need and be willing to let others know. How can they offer to return your help if they have no idea what you need?

Rule #5: Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up in a timely manner. Touch base within 48 hours with a note, email, invitation to LinkedIn, or¬ go analog (old-school telephone). Be different. Be smart. Use your smart phone to make a call. Leave a friendly message saying that you enjoyed meeting and chatting. Suggest a future get-together.

Get Connected. Get Ahead.

I promise that if you don’t follow up in a timely manner, people won’t remember you.  Don’t give them a chance to forget you.

To turn contacts into referral sales? You’re at the right site. Joanne Black expertly will teach you how to build a business without ever making a cold call.


Susan RoAne is an in-demand keynote speaker and best-selling author of How To Work a Room®, The Secrets of Savvy Networking, et al

Follow her on twitter.