Networking: 4 Minutes to Turn Around Your Future!


Networking is a form of prospect “sourcing” that allows you access and exposure to a number of prospects through some arranged medium. This could be an association meeting, a trade show, or otherwise.  It is a true exposure, meaning you are face-to-face with an influencer or potential buyer as opposed to trying to get past a gatekeeper. Networking is also using your contacts, and theirs to meet potential clients. Let’s talk about what networking is and what it can do.


Networking – The Skill

Networking is also a skill set that can yield strong results efficiently.  Quick reads as to whether someone is receptive during the personal contact will help you determine who is an immediate prospect, and whom you need to work on.

That means that although you do not get benefit of racial anonymity, as a Black sales professional you get a chance to impress and inform. If you are solid and you are armed with some of the items below, the networking introduction might be all you need to secure an appointment.

This document is short and to the point and discusses how to prepare for a networking event.  It gives some great guidance about the process, objectives, and preparations.

Networking – The Activity

Networking is an activity that is casual and non-threatening and takes place in many settings. The forums (associations, chambers, etc.) are designed to make these comfortable and easy places to have relevant business discussions.  I would make the statement that if one does not want to be involved with entrepreneurs and sales representatives, they would never attend such  events.

Here are some examples of networking opportunities that are available to sales representatives:

Local Chamber of Commerce Meetings – There is one for each significant municipality.

Trade Association Meetings – Retailers, construction companies, wholesalers, transportation firms, etc. all have some group they are involved with.

Trade Shows – These are great sources of leads with many designed put a particular trade or industry group in the room with those particular organizations that supply and vend to them.

General Networking Events – Usually pre-arranged ‘Meet and Greets’, business cocktail hours, etc.  Usually sponsored by some organization that stands to benefit from getting local organizations together, these allow for easy face-to-face contact with others and can be profitable, yet are not as focused as the others above.

Your event or forum should be thoroughly investigated to avoid wasting your time.  You might ask a couple of relevant questions:

  • How many of your current key clients will be there? They can introduce you to many others, and that is a great way to get credibility and get the immediate referral. Do not be afraid to ask a client to introduce you to some of their peers.
  • Does the group have your type of prospect/customer there? Research the group well for your specific target prospect.

Three Minutes of Fame

You only need that brief opportunity, 3 minutes, to be successful if you consider a few very important points:

  • Have a solid easy to follow introduction that serves you and your company well.  Practice it!
  • Know your ‘elevator speech’, which is your value statement. This is called an ‘elevator speech’ because you have just enough time to tell it between floors to a prospect.
  • Have a closing line prepared. This is the one, which gets you further contact or the appointment.
  • Have your informational/promotional material to hand out “prepackaged” if possible.
  • Keep solid notes and data records.  This is extremely important.

Proper Follow-Up Is the Key

You must do timely and effective follow up to have the whole event be meaningful.  Follow-up with a note or e-mail as soon as is practical.  I prefer a note if possible as I covered in Black Sales Journal 2/3, “Make Yourself Memorable”.

Also follow-up on any promise you have made regarding information or referrals within, or outside, your organization.  Strike while the iron is hot!

Attempt to do these events on a monthly schedule, or try to do one a quarter to increase your scope and prospect base.

Remember as we have said before, be personable and tactical, and you could find yourself sourcing more prospects than you know what to do with.

Give it a try.  Please let us know how it works. You can reach me at

Why Can’t I Get an Interview?

Relationship 2

You are back in the job market, or recently out of college, and you need to get hired as quickly as possible.  There are bills, potentially including college loans, to be paid, and you are having trouble even getting an interview.  There are some things that you might consider to put you on the radar screen and these things revolve around your resume.


What Do Employers Look At?

Recruiters and hiring managers look at a variety of inputs. The most important item you have what it comes to creating interest is your resume, so we will start there.  The resume can have a positive effect, but the other items can have a deleterious effect. The group is as follows:

  • Your resume
  • Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Your Social Media
  • Google, Bing, Yahoo Search
  • Public Records

Any of these items any of these items can harm your job search if you aren’t careful. It’s your job to construct them or police them, or at least be able to explain them.


Your resume is that fact-filled item which creates the interest in you, and hopefully gets you the opportunity for a phone or face-to-face interview.

I cannot stress the importance of having a superior resume, because your competition is honing his or her own resume, and someone will get the call. Recognize that this is an area that deserves as much of your time” cheesy”.

I note the following the following articles to help you get that resume looking as good as possible:

Constructing Your Resume? I Will Give You One!

6 Ways to Sharpen Up That Sales Resume’

Should You Hide a Termination?

Race and Your Resume – Part 1

Race and Your Resume Part 2 – The 3 Ps

The resume is something that you should be proud of it after it’s completed, and remembers, always lock your resume down by only sending PDF copies of it to prospective employers if you are forwarding it electronically.  As you will read in the articles I offer, bullet point your accomplishments, and quantify your results. Also, be prepared to back-up what you have with proof sources.

LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is nearly as important as your resume. It is a way for prospective hiring managers as well as HR professionals to check you without actually making contact using this business-networking site.

With that in mind, make sure that your profile is well done and professional.  It should mimic your resume.  Remember that it is a “tease” more than a complete “platter” of you and your accomplishments. With that in mind keep it reasonable in length, and it should accentuate the important things that you have done.

Below I’m going to attach an article that might help you with your LinkedIn profile. It is incumbent on you to have a solid, well done LinkedIn profile.  People will view it, and you will potentially be contacted without doing anything else.

Keeping in mind the fact that the LinkedIn profile can potentially include a picture, recognize that a picture on the LinkedIn profile obviously erases any possibilities of racial anonymity. In other words they will know you’re race and your gender by taking a look at the profile picture.   It is just the way it is now days. It can work to your advantage, or it can work against you in cases where people are being close-minded.  I suggest a well-done shot from the shoulder up.   No web cam shots and no shots of you at the party at the club.

This article can help you with the link in profile:

Are You LinkedIn? The Best Have Been For Years!

Social Media

If you have read BSJ before coming you know my feelings about social media, and your ability to get employed.

42% of hiring managers and human resource professionals indicate that they would reconsider an applicant after a visit to the applicant’s social media sites! Think about it.  This is a window to the type of person that you are.  Your actions and your likes and dislikes can be seen there.

Take a good look at the links below, and make your decisions consciously before you lose the chance to get a job.

Employers Checking Your Social Media Profile? Bet On It!

Social Media – Friend or Foe?

I see many individual’s social media sites and they often include pictures that may be funny and novel, but might make me reconsider whether I would consider them for a position.  Note the posts above and make the necessary changes.

Search Engines and Public Records

I will put these two topics together as they are similar.  This is important, and I cannot emphasize it enough:

Be the expert on yourself!

I have included one of my favorite posts on this subject, because too many job seekers forget to “investigate themselves”.  It is the very first act you need to take in preparing to seek employment.  If you neglect this step, you could get a rude surprise in the job search.  Know what is on-line which ties you to any problem activity.  Check your name, and all variations of your name, so that you can have explanations ready.

Remember this is your first step:

Investigate Yourself! The First Activity of Your Job Search!

You cannot get a job without getting the first interview, so please recognize that now is time to make the changes. Long before start looking at the want ads, get straight your online personality and investigate yourself!

I welcome your comments. Please write me at