Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Carol Deckert – Virtual Marketing Assistant

Carol Deckert’s experience in the administrative field for more than 35 years, and the last 13 years as a business owner, provides the background for her Virtual Marketing Assistant business. Her niche is working with small businesses, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs, providing marketing administrative support.

Networking is one of Carol’s passion and she is the founder of Referrals Unlimited Network (RUN), Lancaster, PA.

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Carol Deckert: Business networking is a way of life. It is about the success, confidence and accomplishments achieved by working together and connection of people for mutually beneficial results. Networking is an invaluable technique that anyone can use consistently for building contacts with people.

Building a database of quality referrals that you can help new people with that will make you a quality person to know. I truly believe in the “Givers Gain” philosophy or in “Paying it Forward” and networking is the best way to do that. By helping someone, with no expectations of receiving anything, in return, builds credibility. You cannot be successful in business if you are not credible, honest and willing to “go the extra mile.” Business networking provides the avenue to do all that.

I am lucky I have found my passion and I am not going to hide it. Passion, positive energy and a love for what you bring to this world are all reasons to get up in the morning!

Josh: Can you share one or two ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Carol Deckert: Take notes when you meet someone, online or offline, write down their needs, wants or even desires. As you go through your daily life, be aware of the people you meet. Is there someone in your sphere of influence that you can introduce to one another in order to solve either one or both of their pain? Networking is not about you, it’s about the other person. Giving before receiving is the best networking practice you could have.

Listen, and then listen some more. People love to talk about themselves. Good networkers listen to find out where the other person’s “pain” is and try to connect them with someone who will help.

Make yourself memorable. Be the best of the best. Be clear and concise in talking about what you do and be sure to tell everyone you meet, online or offline, how you are different, how you help solve problems. Make it easy for people to repeat what you do to someone else. When you are memorable and repeatable, you are referable.

Actively look for opportunities to assist or introduce people who can benefit from each other’s acquaintance. Be enthusiastic in your conversations and don’t be afraid to talk to strangers!

Josh: Can you share some of the ways you use the internet for business networking?

Carol Deckert: As a Virtual Marketing Assistant, one of my tasks is to be able to find ways in which I can help my clients become visible to others. The internet is a great place to meet people and websites are great sources of information. Make your website easy to navigate and tell me your “story”.

One of my local clients, needed a ghostwriter and I did not know anyone in the local area that I could refer so I turned to my online connections. The ghostwriter that I connected her with had participated in several of the same online forums that I have and I saw her as the expert, the perfect match for my client, not only in skills but personality.

I participate in many online forums, with the intention of becoming visible. It’s amazing what you learn when you have a genuine interest in listening, posting questions and/or answers that will position you as a trusted resource. Be selective where you spend your time and energy and make sure that the group you join is a good match.