If you want other people to assist you in your career, you first must find ways to help them. Very often people will make a commitment to "networking", and after a few months they will sour on the whole process. When asked why networking is not working, they will reply with; "the people I have met do not refer business".
If you think that meeting business professionals and handing them your business card will make them run back to their desk, dive into their database, and spend hours telling the world about you and your company....you are not just wrong....you are having delusions.
To really inspire others to become a referral source, you need to find ways to help them with their business first (I know, you are saying "that's NOT FAIR, why don't they help ME first?). Most people will want to return favors to those who helped them (not everyone, there are a lot of pure "takers" out there, but they are rare).
I suggest you take one hour every week where you go through your contacts and look to see how you can be of value to others. Review the names of people in your network of professional contacts and think of whom you can introduce them to, or other ways that you can help them.
1. Do you know a local reporter for your Business Journal (or other publication) whom you can have lunch? While at lunch share with them positive and colorful stories about key business people. This is a double win, business reporters love to meet interesting people in the community (one never knows what stories they will be assigned in the future), and it helps those in your network, as maybe the reporter will want to feature their business in a story!
2. If you are going to be attending an interesting business event, forward the information to others who would benefit from attending. Or better yet...invite them to come to the event as your guest.
3. Plan a breakfast or happy hour at a local gathering place and invite the key members of your network (the ones who are the most helpful) . My friend Scott has put together a group called the "Get It Group" (those who "get" how networking really works) which meets once a week. While I had never met any of these other people before, they are some of the most outstanding people I have ever met. Although the group is new, everyone looks for ways to help each other achieve their goals. And everyone appreciates Scott's efforts in arranging the meeting.
If you look for ways to help others you will see results. Plus, it just feels good to be of assistance to someone else.
Have A Great Day.