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Business Networking


  Make Any Situation 
  A Networking Opportunity

If you're like most sales professionals, you probably spend much of the day keeping your existing customers happy. Since there's often not much time left to drum up new business, it's essential to make the most of your precious networking hours ó or even minutes.

Fortunately, you probably attend community functions where you rub elbows with potential customers. With a smart system for handling these opportunities, you can increase the chances of meeting new prospects.

The next time you're invited to a charity event or other professional gathering, try this four-step plan and make your connections pay off:

Step 1 - Try to meet six new people, rather than standing around with people you know. Go right up to strangers and introduce yourself: Many people are shy and looking for someone to help them feel comfortable. Ask about the person's company, position, educational background and interest in the sponsoring organization.

Step 2 - When people ask what you do, donít just say, "I'm a sales rep" or "I own a computer company." Create a brief one-sentence description that gives value for your clients. For example, "I'm a software sales specialist who helps small companies become more efficient."

Step 3 - After five or ten minutes, politely say good-bye. Ask for your new acquaintance's business card. Mention that you periodically send useful information. If you uncover a pressing issue, request permission to call. Move on graciously by saying, "It was nice to meet you" and approach the next prospect.

Step 4 - When you return to the office, enter the business cards into your database of potential clients or customers. Include these contacts when mailing marketing material and send any information that highlights your relevant expertise.

For top candidates, send a follow-up e-mail or hand-written note letting them know you enjoyed meeting them. Then try to set up a meeting.

Be proactive: This four-step plan lets you turn small talk into a wide circle of valuable customers and acquaintances. Ronald J. Cappuccio, J.D., LL.M.(Tax) 1800 Chapel Avenue West Suite 128 Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 Phone:(856) 665-2121      Fax: (856) 665-9005 Email:

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