New Studies show - building relationships can help build business

Lest you think that you can avoid the ‘networking beast’ that has grown over the last several years, I would advise that before you dismiss it you consider the following.

The "2005 Consumer-Generated Media (CGM) and Engagement Study" a new

study of consumer behavior by Intelliseek Inc., reports that consumers are 50 percent more likely to be influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations from their peers than by radio/TV ads. Consumer trust toward traditional advertising is being challenged by growing confidence in consumer-generated-media (CGM), and the recommendations

of other consumers. Key findings from the analysis:

• Word-of-mouth behavior among "familiars" trumps all forms of advertising and is more trusted than news or "expert commentary."

• Positive word-of-mouth from a personal acquaintance carries just as much impact as negative word-of-mouth.

• Men are more likely to spend time on Internet message boards, forums, and discussions, while women have a higher tendency to "forward something (they) had found on the Internet to others."

So you see, word of mouth as an advertising tool is the most cost efficient way to promote your business. And word of mouth referrals come as a result of good networking – long before you need to use it. Making even one connection can start a chain reaction – and Revere knew this.


Yes, there are rules you must apply- or get burned and ruin your reputation as a networker. You may have heard them before, but take a moment and ask yourself as you read the following, if this is your intent when you go out to a networking meeting.

1. Be a relationship person. Networking is about building relationships - NOT GETTING MORE BUSINESS. More business might be the side effect, but there are no promises here.

2. Be willing to give more than you think you can get back. Yes, you need to pay it forward. Connect people to the things and people that they need to know. They will remember you and do the same for you.

3. Don’t do the whole room. You will never be able to connect with everyone at an event. Make three to five quality connections and follow-up with emails or a coffee date.

4. Get personal. Ask others what they NEED to make their business grow. Ask them who their perfect client is and write it on the back of their card. It is also acceptable to ask a little about them personally later in the conversation. Be interested in who they are and what they have to offer the world.

5. Pick someone, or a group, suck it up and just walk up and say hello to someone you do not know. Forget about how nervous you might be and think about instead how you might be saving $1,000 on advertising. This may be the person who will connect you to more clients than you know what to do with for the simple cost of a handshake and a little conversation.

These are few basic rules of the road to the connections you need to make before you even begin thinking of using those connections to help grow your business.

Men Vs Women

On a final note let me offer a bit of advice for men on networking. Invite a confident woman along to accompany you on your next networking function. Watch how she makes connections with other men and women. Women tend to be more personable and accommodating and so naturally ask the ‘right’ questions to help others succeed. By nurture we have been raised to be supportive, and to ask how we can help. A confident, competent networking woman will instinctively seek out the needs and offer to connect others to what and who they need. In short, she speeds up the connection process by asking and offering the right information.

For the faint of heart

Regardless of your gender, there are many of us who would rather die than appear in public – especially if we do not know anyone. My advice to you is again – put your money where your mouth is - literally. If you understand that this is the most cost effective way to promote your business, and that much advertising that you have done in the past has about one tenth the effectiveness you may quickly lose your timidity when it comes to networking. Start by going with someone who is obviously a great networker – and let out your terrible little secret to them in confidence. That’s how I began. Within one year my business had catapulted to several times the size as others who started a similar business at the same time as I did. Unfortunately two years later, she still sits at home complaining that she does not get enough business. I guess her telephone book advertising did the walking – not the talking she needed to grow her business.

Messages for the meek:

1. Underneath the ‘suit’ know that the person you extend your hand to is likely as uncomfortable at first when meeting someone.

2. Look people in the eye and smile. If you cannot look in their eyes- look directly at the top of the bridge of their nose. (close enough)

3. Carry a paper napkin in your right hand and switch it to the other as you approach someone- that way your hands will not be ‘sweaty’.

4. Ask questions. He who asks the questions in fact controls the conversation – it is also a fast way to ‘win friends and influence people’.

5. Don’t pretend to be what you are not. Many people put the ‘fake it til you make it’ persona on. Don’t . Be yourself – people like that.

6. Never underestimate your value in a crowd. You may have just the contact someone else needs. It would be unfortunate if that person never had the opportunity to meet with you so you could connect them. (you would not like that would you?)

7. Take someone with you for moral support for the first few times you go out networking.

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"One of the keys to effective communication and dispute resolution is understanding ourselves and how we think and also understanding how others are wired as well. Each of us has personality styles that are unique to ourselves - however there are also patterns as well. When you understand the differing personality styles and their blends - you begin to see people as they are with more understanding! For more information on understanding personality styles please contact at"


Mandie Crawford is a marketing expert, business coach, trainer and motivational speaker who was recently awarded Calgary Business Woman of the Year for her contributions to the business community.

Mandie also has skills and expertise in providing high quality guidance in time management and system implementation for small a medium sized businesses. Her passion as a business and professional development coach is to helps women recognize their value and self worth.

She is the Preside...

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