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Knowledge is Power

Why does research and education play an important part of the business relationship?

Have you ever attended a business briefing or meeting without reading the materials ahead of time? I know I certainly have, and I also know that I felt like a fool when asked a question. It was up to me to be informed about the meeting and to read the information, and I neglected to do so. When you attend a meeting for a potential client, you will often find that they have not read much about you and have not done their research. Make sure that it is the other party wearing those shoes and not you. Find out all you can about their business so that you have a fairly accurate understanding of their potential business needs. You may also discover some problems they may have in keeping up with the competition or other items of interest that you can discuss at the meeting. You want to make sure that you are better informed about their business than they are about you.

Once you have gained an understanding of their business, spend some time in the meeting asking relevant questions about how they tackle certain aspects of their business. You are working towards forming a bond and a business relationship here, and not trying to sell your products or services. Have them speak on what they do best and what they think the competition's weaknesses are. Also give free advice on some possible solutions that you can discuss in detail further down the road. The main goal of the first meeting is an introduction and to get to the second meeting, nothing more and nothing less.

You may discover in your research that the company has many strong points, but at the same time some weaknesses may be revealed. Do not play on those weaknesses, but play to their strengths. If the weaknesses get in the way, it may be time to book a time with another client.

Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people's attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the "Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit http://www.BlueprintBooks.com

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