Business networking events are a great way to build your contacts and increase your business. However, you need to be sure to do more than just show up if you want to get the most out of them. Here are a few simple ideas to help you get more from the business networking events you attend.

First of all, you should be genuine and honest about your business. People respect honesty and genuineness, and you will gain their trust if you have these qualities. If you don’t, others will pick up on it and be less willing to do business with you. Some people seem to have the mentality that honesty and sales are not entirely compatible. This is a very short sighted mentality. Business is all about building trust and relationships. You cannot do that successfully in the long run without honesty.

When you are meeting others at networking events, you should first focus on how you can help them. Take the time to listen to them and understand their business. Try to think of ways you can give them referrals, rather than thinking of how they can bring you business. If you help them build their business, you will earn their trust and they will feel compelled to return the favor. If you first focus on what they can do for you, they will sense that and be less willing to do business with you or refer you to others. There’s a very simple principle that whatever goes around comes around. If you do good things for others, good things will come to you.

When you meet contacts at a networking event, be sure to write down things about them and their business. They will see that you are taking the time to understand them, and this information will be very useful to you later on. Remember, you want to focus on how to refer them business, so you need to be able to remember details about them after the networking event is over. An easy tip is to write on the back of their business card. That way you don’t lose the information.

After the networking event is over, be sure to follow up promptly with your new contacts. Usually a quick email will do the trick, and the person you are contacting will feel grateful you took the time to follow up. Be sure to add some detail about them when you write the email. If you found out something interesting about them or their business in your conversation, make a brief mention of it. At the same time, you want to keep the email short and to the point, so that it’s not a burden to read. Their schedule is probably very busy like yours, and you want to respect their time.

In short, to be a successful networker, it is important to be courteous and think of how to help others. If you live by this principle, you will develop solid relationships and others will naturally want to refer business to you.