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

Interview with Jason Jacobsohn of Networking Insight

Jason Jacobsohn is Director of Client Services Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

Jason enjoys advising entrepreneurs on their businesses and helping others succeed in networking through introductions, planning events, and sharing resources through his e-mail newsletter, Network Your Way to Success, web site, Jacobsohn.com, and blog, Networking Insight.

Jason also writes a column, Tech Connect, for MidwestBusiness.com. He has cross-functional expertise in relationship management, due diligence, consulting, and analysis and has worked for National Association of Realtors, Vcapital, and Equity Office Properties.

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

Jason Jacobsohn: To me, business networking is about building mutually beneficial and sustainable relationships with people. It is not a short-term activity.

It is important because most business is transacted with people who you know well. At the same time, it can open up new opportunities and bring new people into your life.

Josh: Can you share a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Jason Jacobsohn: In order for networking to work effectively, you need to be proactive in maintaining your relationships. Whenever you meet someone who you connect with, make sure that you follow-up within 48 hours.

Most people never follow-up so take it upon yourself to not be like most people. You don’t need a business reason to follow-up.

In networking, you need to make yourself stand out so show that you care about building relationships. Another good technique is to personally brand yourself around a particular subject matter. Brand yourself as a subject matter expert by developing a website, speaking to groups, writing articles, or creating a newsletter.

As I mentioned before, you need to make yourself memorable, otherwise, you will get lost in the crowd.

Josh: Jason, do you see any common mistakes people tend to make when it comes to attempting to make business connections? If so what are they and what corrections could they make in your opinion which would help them to be more effective in their approach towards networking?

Jason Jacobsohn: A very common mistake that I continuously observe is that people try to sell their businesses way to soon in the relationship.

Effective networking is about getting to know people before you try to sell them. You need to form trust, credibility, and a comfort level with people before they will consider doing business with you. Be patient and build the relationship for the long term. When the time is right, people will buy from you.

Another common mistake is that some people are business card collectors. They collect as many cards as they can to put names into a prospect database and then send a blast email. First, you should always get permission before you put anyone in an email database. Second, it is more important to build fewer quality relationships than try to touch everyone. This is a common mistake with LinkedIn as well.

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