My first job after college was selling tech equipment. Having no background in sales, I purchased a book by Joe Girard entitled "How to Sell Anything to Anybody". His "secret to selling" was to build a referral network, growing your contact lists, brand yourself in the market place, and understand the importance of taking care of your customers and your coworkers. In other words, spend your time building and maintaining your business network.

Years later I have read many more sales books, taken multiple sales training courses, and observed some truly outstanding salespeople. Although there were some very good sales tips in those other books and trainings, the best sales advice still came from Girard's book - building your business network is the most important sales activity that you can do. Years later the best lesson that a new or experienced salesperson can receive is that sales success correlates directly to your business networking ability.

Business networking skills doesn't just happen. You need to have measurable networking goals, a plan to meet those goals, and targeted actions to execute on the plan. In addition, activities are needed to perform your networking activities well.

Everyone has networking strength and weaknesses. Some people are extroverts who are very comfortable meeting and conversing with new people. Other people plan their time well because they are very organized and goal-oriented. However, very few people have all the skills and knowledge needed to be an excellent business networker. As a result, many salespeople could be much more successful.