How do I make the right connections when networking?

Q &A by Donna FeldmanAt a recent presentation on networking, we were asked this question by a graphic designer: “I’m looking to meet CEO’s, CFO’s or COO’s, but when I’m out networking, I meet mostly middle and lower-level managers. What do I do to get to the right people?”

If the people you want to meet aren’t at the networking events you attend, consider how the people who are there, or who you already know, can help you make those contacts.

You can start by asking them for referrals, resources, or information to help you make the needed connections to grow your business. For example:

“Hi, I’m Donna Feldman of The Networking Gurus and I wonder if you could help me. I’m looking to meet CEO’s of midsize companies to speak with about my coaching services. Who do you know who is a CEO that I could speak with? Or who do you know who works for a CEO, is related to a CEO, is married to a CEO, plays golf with a CEO…?”

Be clear when asking for help. Tell people exactly how they can help you by telling them who you want to meet and why. Don’t forget to ask how you can help them, and follow up all referrals with a thank-you.

Another solution is to find out where the people you want to meet usually hang out. If it’s on the golf course, you may need to take up golf to meet them. Is there a professional organization or service club where you might connect with those people? Where else can you go to meet the types of people you want to connect with?

Remember, networking is about building relationships through many avenues; it’s not just about attending networking events.

If you’re not meeting the “right” people at your events, you’re either not attending the right events, or you’re not asking the right questions. Network your way to the top by asking the people you do know for help in finding both places to go and people to meet.

This article was co-authored by Donna Feldman and Cindy Rold. Donna and Cindy are The Networking Gurus.

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