First, don’t forget the good business friends and clients you have already developed. Never take them for granted, always stay in touch and be a good friend to them. In many businesses and professions, more than 70 percent of new business will come from existing contacts, not total strangers.
But none of us can help wanting to make new friends and find new customers or clients, can we? So, how do you go about meeting the right new contacts?
1. Rely on your current contacts first. People who already know you and your reputation are more willing to introduce you to their friends. Think of a few concise questions you might ask them:
“How can I help you with your business? Anyone I know you’d like to meet?”
“I was looking at your LinkedIn page and noticed that John Smith was a contact of yours; do you think you can introduce me to him?”
“You’ve been so generous over the years with excellent referrals, has the feedback been good?”
2. Continually build and work your LinkedIn network. Regularly endorse and provide positive recommendations to people important to you. You will stay on the radar of those most important to you. Quite often, your contacts will return the favor with endorsements and recommendations for you.
3. Get involved in and support industry, civic and charitable groups your key contacts care about and attend. It’s always nice when a friend introduces you around and brags about you and your work. Let others do your talking instead of the awkward shameless self-promotion we so often endure.
4. When you meet new contacts, focus on making a good impression. Make it about them and not you the first time you meet. Ask an open ended question and let them “run” a little bit to see where the conversation gravitates (people like to talk about themselves). Find out what is on their mind and what keeps them up at night. Who do you know in common?
5. Find a reason to follow up the next day. Personal note cards are really effective, and face a lot less competition than their overloaded email inbox.
6. Invite them to be a part of your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter networks.
7. Follow up with an “off-campus” meeting such as breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks.
8. Try to help them in any way you can, even if it doesn’t result in immediate business. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to have a little fun. This relaxes people. Know your currency, i.e. contacts, introductions and new business referrals.
9. Help them with their business or solve a problem for them, and they’ll never forget you. Remember, the world is full of takers, but givers get!

Don Silver is COO of BoardroomPR, a statewide integrated PR and marketing agency. He can be reached at

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