Networking Tip: Your Success or Failure Depends On Your Answer To This Question

You network because it’s an age-old, proven way to build solid business relationships that lead to new business. But if you’re frustrated by seeing very few to zero results and just wasting precious time, this information is for you!

One unique difference between the networking haves and have nots is how they answer the oft asked question “How can I help you?” And you can be sure you’ll be asked this question… if you’re not, I suggest finding a different networking group. I digress… that’s a whole other topic.

How you answer this one question is crucial and will lead to your networking success or failure.
How can I help you?

The customary answer is who our ideal client is. A CPA might answer “I’m looking for business owners who need their taxes done.” Or a Realtor might answer “Do you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home?”

NO… wrong answer! Of course new clients are what they’re ultimately looking for but asking for and expecting to receive the referral of a new client is unrealistic and rarely happens.

To get gang-buster results, our CPA could answer: “I’m looking for introductions to bookkeepers, business attorneys and commercial bankers. Can you recommend any? Would you be willing to make the introduction?”

Our Realtor will be astounded with the results when answering “I want to meet outstanding interior designers in the Denver area. Do you know any you could recommend and make an introduction for me?”

The odds of someone knowing a bookkeeper or interior designer are far higher than having a direct link to a new client for someone.

Know Your Ideal Referral Partner

When you network, ask for introductions to your ideal referral partner. When you get a recommendation and/or introduction, reach out and begin to establish relationship to determine whether you can refer business to one another. You see, if the CPA has even one bookkeeper, one business attorney and one commercial banker as partners and the Realtor has a few interior designers on his side, their mutually beneficial partnerships will result in mass referrals. They become an external sales force for one another.

Do the same and it’s a win-win-win partnership between you, the partner and the client whose need is being met.

Why not harvest the biggest rewards when you’re out networking. Knowing your ideal referral partner and asking for the introduction will dictate your success or failure in getting results on the networking circuit.

So… how can I help you? Post your referral “power” partners and geographic area in a comment below so we can recommend someone for you. Be sure to check back often for recommendations.




Sabrina Risley

Sabrina Risley is a master connector. She’s been hosting live networking events since 2004 and has welcomed 20,000+ professionals to those events. She shares her observations, insights and tips of how the top 2% of effective and magnetic networkers build their businesses. She also shares what NOT to do when networking. Get her complimentary e-book: Strategic Networking for Success.
Sabrina Risley

6 thoughts on “Networking Tip: Your Success or Failure Depends On Your Answer To This Question”

  1. Knowing your ideal referral partner is key. It is also important to know your target audience so if you are asked the question “What is your ideal client”, you can answer intelligently with absolute clarity in detail. “Everyone” is not the right answer! Very, very specific responses are in order.

  2. I also like to ask the question “who do you know that I should know?” It’s important to remember (and I learned the hard way): You have not because you ask not.

  3. Love your article Sabrina!
    These are powerful words, “How can I help you?”
    Finding those Power Partners can extend your sphere of contacts.

    Nancy Chin-Wagner

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