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

Dave Scott Founder and CEO of Marketfish Inc.

Dave Scott is the CEO and Founder of Marketfish, creator of innovative list marketing technology. Prior to founding this technology start-up, Dave served as vice president of global marketing and strategy at Intermec, Inc. (NYSE:IN), where he was named “CMO of the Year” in 2006. Scott also served as the vice president of marketing and strategy for the global services division of PeopleSoft, Inc., which was acquired by Oracle.

Josh Hinds: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it’s important?

Dave Scott: To me, business networking is another way to say “word of mouth” marketing. It’s a way to promote your services or what you do to others within your network, or circle of acquaintances. It’s the oldest form of marketing and the most reliable. First of all, the return on investment (ROI) is great because all it costs is your time. Second, no one can sell the value of the business better than you.

Josh Hinds: Can you give a few ideas that someone could put into practice which would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Dave Scott: Get out there and mingle. Every event you attend, from a networking event to a happy hour, has the opportunity to bring you business. I’ve found leads in the weirdest of places – alumni events, Cub Scout dinners, even the gym.

Josh Hinds: Based on your experiences, which places and activities have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your professional network (either online or offline)?

Dave Scott: The most important thing to realize is that, even if you don’t yet have the budget for a huge annual convention or trade show, there are still many great networking opportunities. Your local networking opportunities provide a perfect opportunity for finding clients and business partners right in your area.

In Seattle, we have a Seattle Direct Marketing Association. This is a perfect place to get in touch with my target customer without having to weather a huge annual convention or trade show. Online opportunities provide equally great networking opportunities for businesses of all stripes. LinkedIn has many professional groups who have interesting discussions about your industry, as do Facebook and Yahoo Groups. Just dive in!

Josh Hinds: Can you share a personal networking success story with us?

Dave Scott: I belong in Rotary, the ultimate in business networking locations. At a meeting I sat next to a friendly gentlemen and started chatting about traveling, the weather, and service above self. When I explained that I wanted to start a company – Marketfish – he revealed that he was an angel investor and startup lawyer. It’s been a beautiful marriage ever since.

– Yours in networking success, Josh Hinds
(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)

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  • Nice Interview, i've heard fo Dave from his PeopleSoft days so your article caught my attention. We have just started a new venture and I've been spouting the same thing, Networking, Networking, Networking. One point not mentioned in your interview was the tendancy of younger people to only trust word of mouth, ignoring traditional marketing and advertising efforts. Also, I think, word of mouth keeps company's honest and hard working.

  • lizinIllinois

    I LOVE that story about the angel investor. I've found clients unexpectedly as well, though not quite as good as your story. You just never know when the work you do is going to get noticed by someone, sometimes in unexpected ways. And yes, networking really help. You have some great tips. Lucy Rosen is another networking expert, so to speak — I know she's considered the Queen of Networking. She has a book coming out in June, “Fast Track Networking” that I'm looking forward to reading. I've seen the pre-release info and it looks very useful. From reports it looks like it's going to have lots of easy techniques that will work. That's what I need right now!

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE that story about the angel investor. I’ve found clients unexpectedly as well, though not quite as good as your story. You just never know when the work you do is going to get noticed by someone, sometimes in unexpected ways. And yes, networking really help. You have some great tips. Lucy Rosen is another networking expert, so to speak — I know she’s considered the Queen of Networking. She has a book coming out in June, “Fast Track Networking” that I’m looking forward to reading. I’ve seen the pre-release info and it looks very useful. From reports it looks like it’s going to have lots of easy techniques that will work. That’s what I need right now! n

  • Yes, networking is a proven system of people helping people to succeed. In fact, I’ve helped more people to get engage with the business. And I’m excited to help more and more people to do the same. Le’ts all unite and take action in spreading the real power and advantage of doing networking. Looking forward to share more knowledge and experience all over the worl.nnBest regards,nClark Kenneth Ingles