Building and growing your network is critical when you work in sales. By establishing relationships and building credibility with key people, you can take your career to the next level. However, it can be difficult to set aside networking time in an already busy day.

May Busch, an international executive and career consultant, says professionals should capitalize on everyday opportunities when looking to build their network. By doing so, they can build an impactful network in very little time. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Busch’s tips for growing your network in just five minutes a day.

Create a “dance card” for each person you meet. Busch creates what she calls a “dance card” for each person she wants to impress or build a better relationship with. A dance card is your chance to jot down key information ahead of time, such as who the person is that you need to talk to and the two to three main points that you want to convey to them or ask them about. She says a basic framework for an effective dance card is to cover one or more of these areas:

  • What do they need to know about you or your business?
  • How can you help them?
  • What help do you want to ask them for?

Busch advises that you tailor your dance cards to what information and questions most apply to your situation and the person the card is for. Sometimes, she has just one dance card that contains three points that she wants to update her supporters on. Other times, she might create a dance card for each important person she might bump into.

Modularize your key points ahead of time. According to Busch, the next step is to modularize your key points before you need them so you’re not under pressure to pick out the right things to say in the moment. By “modularize,” Busch means grouping the main topics or ideas you’re most likely to be asked about or want to share into separate categories or modules. For example, one category could be about your accomplishments, another about strategic industry trends and a third about your group’s results.

You can create further sub-categories or topics within each larger category. For instance, within accomplishments, you could identify your top three for the year and a way to succinctly talk about each one.

Make use of regular meetings. Busch says that once you have your dance card and you’ve modularized your key points, the third piece is to make use of the meetings you regularly attend. If you have to be there anyway, you can might as well maximize your time.

Armed with your dance card and modularized points, you’re ready to spot opportunities to put them to use. When the people you want to build trusted relationships with are at those meetings, you’re prepared so you can be more confident. Busch says that if you know you’re going to be in a meeting with your boss’ boss and need an excuse to chat with him or her without your boss getting upset, that’s a perfect time to have a quick sidebar conversation as you’re both getting a cup of coffee or walking out of the meeting together.

Busch says another way to use regular meetings is to invite that senior person to come and speak to your team. You’d be doing them a favor just as much as they’d be doing you a favor because you’re giving them a chance to be more visible and perhaps do more business together.

You don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time building your network. With a few tweaks and a new perspective on what you’re already doing, you can grow your network in a way that’s practical and doable.

Source: May Busch is an international executive and career consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator, and the author of Accelerate: 9 Capabilities to Achieve Success at Any Career Stage. She is passionate about helping people thrive at work and reach their full potential.