Are you ready to make your networking efforts pay huge dividends?  There are many things you can and should do to ensure success, but none so important as setting time aside each week and meeting with individuals face-to-face, also known as having a one-on-one.  Individual meetings with people are so critical that we believe you cannot truly succeed without them.

When it is just you and another person meeting you will have the ability to really get to know each other.  You will have a chance to learn about each others personal life, goals, and dreams.  In learning more you will also discover things you have in common and you will naturally grow to like each other.  That is assuming you have carefully chosen those with whom you meet.

One-on-one meetings are where the networking plan you have created really pays off.  Since you have carefully considered the people you want to meet and you skillfully asked questions previously, you won’t be wasting your time when you meet discovering if you are a match.  You can get right into knowing each other better.

Occasionally you will have a one-on-one with someone that you thought would be a match but turns out not to be.  When this happens it is best to refer them to someone else and move on.  Be polite but honest.  The best thing for everyone is to have people in your network that truly belong.  Skillful questioning, careful listening, and clearly explaining your needs will clarify the relationship.  Both you and your meeting partner will quickly see if there is a good match or not.

Meet at a neutral location like a local Starbucks or other coffee house.  Meeting at a neutral location keeps the focus of the meeting on the two of you as equals and prevents the conversation from turning one-sided.  Neutral locations also provide ease of exit when a match isn’t felt. One-on-ones can be over a meal if you choose.  We suggest breakfast as the meal of choice.  It’s easy to focus on the food and restaurant when having lunch or dinner, but you want to focus on your meeting partner.  Breakfast also provides the lowest cost of entry and the shortest time.  One-on-ones should be short and to the point but long enough to become comfortable with each other.

You should bring what you believe will be a good lead or referral for the person you are meeting with.  As you engage in more one-on-ones you will become skilled at referring others on short notice.  You’ll hear what they do and quickly think of someone you just met or have known for quite a while that needs to know your meeting partner.  But and in the beginning it may take a bit more thought.  Having at least one potential lead or referral means you have done your homework and that you cared enough to come prepared.  It also puts into motion the law of reciprocity.  Simply stated, you have done something for them, now they feel obligated to do something for you.  All too often we leave meetings feeling like we have made a great connection and neither party takes the next step and gives a referral. Coming prepared puts the relationship into action.

One-on-one meetings are essential to success.  They are the building blocks of relationships that will result in more referrals and closed business.  People do business with people they know, like, and trust.  One-on-one meetings give you the opportunity to know, like, and trust each other.

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