What is Networking?


Networking typically refers to meeting new people who may be able to help you with your goals or who may know other people who can help you. Networking can help people who are looking for work opportunities, but, it is especially crucial for business owners from specific industries. Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well that’s partly true. In business, you do need to know what you are doing. You need to be an expert in the service(s) and/or product(s) that you offer, but, you also need to get to know lots of people who either want to buy your products or services or who may know others who may buy your products or services.

You may have the best products or services to offer, but, most people prefer to do business with someone they have done business with before and were satisfied with the products or services; or with someone who they have heard of before; or with someone they know has had a positive experience with. When you know a lot of people, and they know what you offer and that your offerings are good, you will not only get more clients, but, you will also get more referrals.

Think of the last time you asked someone else if they “Know someone/a company who does xyz…”or of the last time someone asked you if you knew “Someone/a company who does xyz…” If you don’t know many people or more importantly if not many people know or have heard of you and your business, your business “prospects” are literally low.

How can you meet new people so you can spread the word about what you do? Business Networking Events are a great place to do that. Everyone at these events are entrepreneurs, who are there to make new connections and further develop current connections if they run into any people they have met before. The business owners at these events are ready to give you their Elevator Pitch and you should have your Elevator Pitch ready as well to say to them.

A very important thing to remember though…. Since networking means getting to know people, you can’t just go around telling everyone at an event what you do and expect any or much results. You actually have to get to know the other people a bit, and have them get to know you a bit before you and they say your pitches.

How do you get to know someone? Start out with a greeting, then some general conversation. A greeting could be “Hi, How are you?”, “Good morning,” “Happy Holiday,” a compliment or something else that is pleasant opening line to begin a conversation.

What is a conversation? It is a BACK and FORTH EXCHANGE of WORDS between 2 or more people.

I emphasized “Back and forth exchange or words…” as sometimes when people are in networking situations, they are so happy to be able to talk TO others and tell them about what they do, that they forget that if they are the only one who is doing the talking, that they are not actually having a conversation and getting to know the other person; they are giving a MONOLOGUE.

NO ONE goes to a Networking Event to hear people give monologues, unless it’s a case of a Speaker giving a presentation where the guests are learning something. People want an EQUAL chance to talk and listen as part of the GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER process that includes learning about each of their businesses.

If you are not asking the other person in a conversation situation any questions or making any comments about what they are saying, you are only talking about yourself, you are creating a “BLACK HOLE CONVERSATION,” where the listener feels stuck in a situation for which there seems to be no end.

If you talk for longer than 1 minute at a time (TIME YOURSELF AT HOME 1st), then other person will get tired of listening to you and will start thinking of ways how they can get out of the situation. They will start thinking things like, “Wow, this guy talks a lot,” or “When is she going to stop talking?” or “He’s really full of himself,” or “She has no sense of awareness,” or “This was a mistake agreeing to talk to this person,” or “This is awful, I can’t take it any more,” or some or all of the above; and they will make sure to avoid you in the future.

If you want to do business with someone where you will need to have further interaction with the person to follow through the sales process, but, you have done something that has made them want to get away from you and avoid you in the future, then you have not only wasted your time going to the event, but, you have actually started to create a bad reputation for yourself and you have lost potential clients and referrals.


Before you go out to an event, practice asking questions and answering questions aloud, including your Elevator Pitch where you tell the other people what you do/what you offer for your business.

The chances are extremely slim that anyone you meet for the first time will pull out their credit/debit card and pay you for something you are offering. Typically, you meet someone once, then you follow-up with an email, then maybe a phone or video call or in-person appointment, before business gets done. If no one wants to interact with you again because you pushed them away with your constant talking and not asking them any questions about themselves or commenting on their answers, then you have no business.

You need to show other people that you care about them and what they have to say before they will invest any more time or money in what you are offering.

On top of these critical reasons for engaging in healthy BACK and FORTH conversations, it is also very important to ask the other person questions to see if they are “QUALIFIED” to be your client. There is no point in spending a lot of time talking with people at Networking Events if they are not qualified to begin with.

You need to QUALIFY people to determine the chances of them being a prospective client (A prospect). Most often when you attend a networking event, not everyone at the event is in your target market. Maybe you sell houses or you offer mortgages or other expensive things, not everyone at the event is in the financial position to afford such high priced things. If you don’t take the time to ask some probing questions before talking on and on about what you do, to find out if a person is indeed a qualified prospect, then you may waste a lot of time and energy, and miss out on talking to other people at the event who are qualified.

your time at networking events wisely. There are a limited number of minutes at the event and a finite number of people. It’s good to count the number of people in attendance and divide the number of minutes to network with the number of attendees to find out the maximum number of minutes per prospect you have to engage in a BACK and FORTH conversation.

While you’re asking the probing questions, if you determine that a person is not qualified, then you may want to ask them if they anyone who is looking. Don’t ask for their names. Just say it was a pleasure to meet them; then follow-up later with a monthly email-marketing campaign where you remind them what you offer. Then, if or when a situation arises when someone they know is looking for the type of products or services that you provide, you might get a referral from them.

The bottom line with networking, is to be polite, professional and leave a POSITIVE IMPRESSION of yourself. Leave the other people with the impression that you are a nice person, who cares and who was pleasant to interact with.

Then, you started something with potential..

I welcome you to attend any GTApreneurs Networking Events Toronto online event and our in-person events whenever they are allowed to resume.

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Tammy Defoe
Author: Tammy Defoe

Tammy Defoe is the Founder and President of GTApreneurs Inc. She is a Business Coach, Sales Trainer and Public Speaking Instructor. She is very skilled and experienced at helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

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