Become a Champion Networker with this 1 Magical Question

The power of belly to belly networking is incredible for entrepreneurs and should be part of every small business marketing strategy.

The ability to connect in person can strengthen a business relationship and will always create amazing opportunities.

Too many entrepreneurs hide behind avatars today and consider that networking.  While social media is amazing and can make a networking event even better, business owners that want to succeed need to get out and meet belly-to-belly.

To network effectively I’ve got a proven 3-step process that works even for introverts.

First though here’s the most important part of networking that seems so simple, yet is often overlooked.

When you’re at a networking event and meeting people, keep your business cards in your pocket. Do not walk up to people with the intention of exchanging business cards. How many people actually do something with those cards anyway?

Give someone new you meet a 110% of your attention.  Don’t look at whom you may be speaking with next, give the person in front of you all your attention. Ask them this magic networking question:

“I love connecting people.  Can you share for me who’s a good referral for your business?”

You love getting referrals for your business, don’t you? Everybody loves a great referral and by asking this you’ll learn so much about that individual and make an impactful impression.

Remember it’s not a race to collect the most business cards; it’s about forming meaningful beneficial relationships that can create amazing unknown opportunities in the future.

Here’s the 3 step process to maximize networking opportunities:

Before the Networking Event

Before attending a networking event learn who’s attending the event and connect with them socially, via email and calling when possible.  Most events today have a list of the individuals who are attending an event and their social handles.  If they don’t go to Twitter and search the events # (Hashtag) to see who’s talking about it.

Connecting with individuals before hand is rarely done, but if you’re an introvert who’s uncomfortable at new events this is gold.

When you reach out socially beforehand, when you’re at the actual networking event these people will be looking for you. You don’t have to worry about walking around because if you use a recent photo as your avatar, people will be approaching you from your communication socially.

When connecting you can use the # (Hashtag) for the event and simply mention the individual you want to meet.  Start a conversation online around the event and you’ve now made networking a breeze.


At the Event

Meet as many new people as possible at networking events. Sometimes we fall into the trap of mingling with the few people we know, but always try to meet new faces (hopefully ones you’ve met online beforehand).

Take a lot of pictures and share them socially using the # for the event and @ tagging people in the pictures. They’ll in-turn share it with their network and inadvertently many will begin to follow you.

Other than sharing socially about the event and pictures, keep your phone off. You’re there to network, so network!


After the Event

The real party is the after-party!

The real fun of networking starts after the event. This is when you want to reach out to everyone you met with a thank you email. Connect with them on all social channels and if you can make that perfect introduction for them, now’s the time to do it.

Thank the host with a call or email and consider writing about the event so others can learn about it.

Lastly make sure to use some type of system to stay in front of people.  Reach out every 60-90 days to your network to keep the relationship fresh. Ask if anything has changed in their business and share something that you believe can add value.  This keeps you top of mind and opportunities will begin to flourish.

This is a little cheat sheet below with the steps to help you network like a champion at your next event.

Network like a Champion

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite part of networking?

Wishing Entrepreneurial Successes to all.

This guest post was written by Michael Kawula, Founder at Self Employed King.

Self Employed King helps small business owners around the country work the Core 16 Strategies that are Guaranteed to Grow a business in 12 months. These marketing strategies helped Mike build a $20,000 a week local cleaning business and also build an annual $3 Million+ Online Business. Connect to learn more about the Core 16.





  1. Very interesting post: there are a number of pearls that I will be taking away from this.

  2. I LOVELOVELOVE this post! From the “belly to belly” networking (no, you can’t hide behind your computer or phone and expect the same results) to the golden nugget for introverts in connecting before hand. Yes! A++. Will be adding this to my “share” list this week! 🙂 I can see why Michael is referred to as the “king.” 😉

    • Amber, thanks for your reply, the exuberance really made me smile. Yes, I agree there is definitely something special about meeting someone face-to-face compared with virtual interactions. Thank you for sharing this post, I hope it is able to add value to your community. Christine.

    • Thanks for the kind words Amber. You know it more than anyone that belly to belly, nothing like it.

  3. As a former anti-networker, I totally get this article now (I wouldn’t have gotten it a couple years ago). Everything really comes down to people. Your income comes down to people, your business, your friends, everything comes down to networking with people. Great article. Would love to know exactly how you use hash tags (in twitter only?). Thank you!

    • Happy to spend a few minutes if you’d like. 10 minutes and you’ll be set. To summarize though I use #’s to search around topics or tweet around keywords I want to be associated with. ie: Looking forward to #NMX2014 or Loved #EOF Podcast today. Now anyone searching the #NMX2014 can see my comments also and connect with me.

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more! Along with actual networking events, I try to use some of these strategies as I travel to work conference and meetings. What do you think about a 20-30 second follow-up video inside your email? I’m thinking about doing that but not sure if that’s crossing into that creeper stage. Definitely don’t want to be there! Ha.

    • Collin love video. The one concern though in email is many times you can end up in a spam filter. I like quick follow-ups with a scheduled call or meeting to further relationships when possible.

  5. I Love it! Never in my life did I think I would see a step by step guide to networking! Brilliant! Some of it seems like common sense but not something we usually do so just filling in those gaps and having it in this format really helps bridge that gap from good networking to great! If you are going to network you may as well do it right! I truly believe that business and life in general are a “team sport” kind of hard to make money without the help of anyone. It’s not always about what you know but who you know! Great post Mike and Christine! Nailed it!

    • Thanks Justin and definitely a team sport that is helped by who you know. Gary Vaynerchuk had a great write up on LInkedin the other day saying he wished he’d used mentors more when starting out to propel success faster (if possible) and having a good Network can help with that for sure.

  6. Really like the 3 step process to maximize networking opportunities. Belly to belly for me is the best. I can really put my attention to the person face to face. It’s the event after the event where the party gets started 🙂 The graphic you provided is way cool. Thanks for taking the time to do that.

    • Eric, I agree Michael’s graphic is cool! I’m glad you like it. I think the three step method is great as there is a tendency to either over complicate networking or simplify it to a point where either steps 1 or 3 (or both) are omitted. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • Thanks Eric….

      Always about the After Party 🙂 Appreciate the comments on the graphic. I’m an image guy personally, thus I like including in post.

      Have an awesome networking week ~ Mike

  7. Such a powerful tip, thank you Mike! I really like asking that question you presented to further expand your network in such a meaningful way. Naturally when making a connection for them too, it’s a win-win and really starts to multiple. Who is the biggest name you have received back in return for asking someone that question?! I’m so curious to know!

    • I sincerely ask with looking for nothing in return. This weekend I had the awesome opportunity Dean to Mentor at LeanStartup in NYC and met some amazing mentors and sponsors of the event. Posing this to one person I didn’t even know was a big sponsor. This has led to some nice discussions this week and will see where it leads. They say your network is your net worth ….so true.

  8. Great post Michael! My favorite part of networking is meeting new people. I enjoy the connections and learning about them and how I might be able to help them. Great tips on following up after the event and the is definitely a topic that I need to work on more. Thanks again!

    • Thanks Celest! I’m actually considering getting a new CRM to follow-up. We all make great connections that months or years later time passes and we don’t speak. Anyone I connect with I want to stay in front of to help and learn. Have an Awesome Week! Mike

  9. Mike,
    You are just awesome! You walk your talk and I have benefitted from being connected to others by you. I love the info-graphic (easy to share). 🙂
    I agree with the “give 110% of yourself”. This is about connecting humans!

    Along with that, I like to also go to each networking event with a specific goal (as opposed to business agenda). Examples of goals would be: find others interested in forming a meet-up, get feedback about an idea I’m working on, identify impactful folks to interview, etc. Inevitably people ask me how they can help and if I have a clear goal in mind, as opposed to blabbing about the ten irons I have in the fire, We have valuable conversations and I benefit greatly from it. We want to help each other and if we can make it easy for others to help us, it is very beneficial. Thank you!

    • Melinda, you make a great point about specific goals helping us to get the most out of an event. While we must remain open to the opportunities that people bring, having clarity about what we stand for and where we are going in our business and what would help us get there is vital.

    • Thanks Melinda and yes agree! (Just got off the Phone with Libby and she says hi 🙂 )

  10. Love this! Speaking of After party? How fun is the FireNationElite party in Vegas going to be? If you aren’t going…come on, it’s gonna be a blast! GREAT work here Mike and Christine…Love to see the collaboration!

    • Thanks John, Your comment means a lot. Unfortunately, I am unable to make it to the Vegas party. Would SO love to be there, but its just not possible. Collaboration is the best. Next week, its the amazing Dean Patino of The Top 5 Percent Income.

  11. What a great piece!! I absolutely love the infographic at the end and have saved that in my Evernote for future reference.

    One great tip that I learned about events and networking is that so many great sales and relationships are built over a beer. Stacy Johnson of Money Talks News says, “Alcohol beats email.”

    Again, I love this piece! Keep it up.


  12. Love this subject. I get inspired by going to conferences and networking. Your question is a great suggestion I find ways to help people and connect.

  13. I really like the idea of asking someone you meet about who would make a good referral for their business. A great way to get someone to remember you is to do a helpful favor like referring a client. 🙂 It’s like how the way to get people to think you are a good conversationalist is to be a good listener. It’s a wise idea to listen, and think about what you can do for others rather than talk talk talk and think only of what others can do for you.

  14. Thanks Mandy and couldn’t agree more. 2 Ears and 1 mouth for a reason…right? 🙂

    Have an amazing weekend.

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