The key to business development in a B2B world

It’s not what you know but who you know.

We’ve all heard it before but I believe the old adage – especially in the business-to-business world – should say, “It’s what you know and who you know.”

Boosting your networking efforts can lead to new business, but networking must be combined with informative and constructive conversation centered around what your business can offer. Choosing the most efficient and professional way to network with others can often pose a challenge. Here are three simple steps to networking and business development in the B2B world.

1. Be curious –  Ask open-ended questions, be open to meeting anyone.

Curiosity is key to power networking. Being genuinely curious will make your time at events easier, especially for those who are more introverted. Ask questions, and let the answers be your guide.

2. Be helpful –  Follow up with the people that you meet; connect them with others.

While we are all continually trying to make lasting connections, it’s important to make your brief conversations relevant. Connect them with others. Send along interesting and pertinent items of interest, such as news articles, white papers or websites.

3. Be genuine – Approach each conversation with the idea that you don’t need to gain anything.

Crossing the finish line is important. But don’t get so caught up in your own success that you forget the value and importance of having a genuine conversation with someone. When networking, focus on relationships first; not the sale.

Russ Florence is the president and chief operating officer of STF  and an expert in all things strategic communications.  He brings a broad range of expertise to clients, including strategic planning, media relations, crisis communications and reputation management. If you’d like to learn a more about Russ, please visit his biocontact us at our Oklahoma City office or connect with him on LinkedIn