One thing you may find difficult is a most important aspect of business networking. That is how to help your networking partners.
There are several ways to do this:
1- The best, of course, if you can refer your own customers to them for a complementary product or service. For some of your networking partners, you can incorporate this sort of recommendation into your normal business practices in working with your own clients. One way is to simply ask them if there is anything else they need right now, since you have a network of equally high quality professionals in whom you trust.
2- Another way you can help is to use the network of trusted providers you’ve built up to help them find those who share a common customer type with them (though perhaps not with you). This is one of the most satisfying things you can do for both yourself & your partners. Namely, providing them with a “Golden Goose” who keeps laying business eggs. When I can’t be the golden goose directly myself, this is what I seek to do for my networking partners. Whether it ends up helping you or not is almost irrelevant. It’s a joy to be able to help others this way.
3- Perhaps you can’t connect them to their golden goose, but rather simply connect them with someone they can help, or who can help them. One is just as good as the other.
4- Another option is to lead them to a resource that will help them. Perhaps a book on a topic for which they want ideas. Perhaps it’s an organization that might be helpful for them to learn about or join.
5- Perhaps it’s simply being there to support them in their charitable causes that they care about.
The point is that any way you can help your networking partners is good for both of you, and is something for which you should always be on the lookout.
David Coblitz – The St. Louis Artographer – “Helping Interior Designers take your walls from bland to grand.”