When you are building a network of professional contacts that can and will refer you business, you must remember the golden rule:
"Do unto others as you would have them do to you!"
And then do more for them.
Quite often people think that when they are networking and meet others, that these people will immediately start sending them referrals. They return to the office and wait for the phone to ring. When nobody calls, they complain that the people they meet do not understand networking.
Meanwhile, they do nothing to help the other people.
While we are all hoping that our networking efforts will lead to increased business opportunities, you have to remember that other people want the same thing. By actively looking for ways to serve others, you will be more successful.
Does that mean that everyone you help will instantly find ways to send you business? NO. Some may not have the ability or connections that will benefit you (but you should be happy to have helped them anyway). Others are selfish and never help others. But most people will be grateful and find ways to reciprocate.
I always try to find out who others want to meet in the local business community. If I know the other person (and feel like it is a reasonable connection) I will follow up with an email introducing the two people. While I get nothing directly from their interaction, by making the effort to help others in my network I know that I will eventually see others do the same thing for me.
Author Steve Harper describes this in his book The Ripple Effect. Harper says that if you toss a rock into a pond, the ripples will go out and affect the whole body of water. At some point the ripples will hit the sides and return to the center. The same is true in life.
Discover ways to help others and you will find the success you seek.
Have A Great Day.