Business and career people have clients, suppliers and sometimes staff.  They may have also worked at other places or be a member of other networking groups.  Now extend your thinking…

Beyond being business people – they’re just people!  They may have kids that go to schools, play sport and do Scouts.  They may play sport themselves and be part of a club.  They may be on a school council, kindergarten committee or volunteer in the canteen on Tuesdays.  They may be part of the Army Reserve, volunteer firefighters or be a member of a scuba diving club.  Philately?  Ornithology?  Are you getting the picture?  A photography club?

People have networks beyond their work.  These are the toughest to crack and take a lot of time but they come with a very personal stamp of approval when your do. 

However, you will never access those networks unless you win their trust.  The easiest way to win that is to give something with no expectation of a return gift.  But what to give?

Think back to your conversation at the event… 

Were you holding something/one back?  Did they want to meet a great business coach, conveyancer or bookkeeper?  Know any? 

Consider their business as a link in that active chain of consumer transactions.  Who’s up/downstream of them that you know who may be of interest? 

If you found out they are a sporty type and are over 40, they may be interested in the Bowen therapist or osteopath you use who puts your body back to right.

If they were raving about the chocolates in the goodie bags at the event, buy a bag and share some over your coffee. 

Are they a keen theatre goer?  Read up on the shows in town right now and casually break the ice as your latte arrives.

Some of these gifts are more valuable than others.  But all demonstrate you’ve taken an interest in them personally or professionally.  This is often the most powerful gift of all.

By the end of your first coffee date, you’ll probably be in a position to decide if you’re willing to trust them with a name.  Remember, being the first to give breaks down other people’s barriers very quickly and immediately puts some gold dust in your bank of goodwill.  The gift may be as simple as sharing an interest in what they are interested in.  This modest offering could open a whole new world of contacts and fun for you.


Lisa & Jo


If you have found this blog useful. Check out our book “The Heel to Toe of Networking” by Business in Heels.