Networking Success Strategies -- Building Lasting Relationships Brings Networking Success

Are you frustrated by your lack of networking results? Maybe you're not doing enough to develop strong relationships with the people you meet. 
Read on for three key strategies that can easily turn your contacts from names on your Rolodex to connections that might last for years or even a lifetime.
First of all, realize that it does take time and regular contact to build relationships.  So here are a few tips to help you with the repeated contact aspect, and as you follow up, the time factor will take care of itself.  If you keep this up, you will soon find yourself with a strong network of contacts.
Connect Regularly
Regular contact is the key to turning a casual contact into a long-term relationship. We all know this... but how do we do this? Here are a variety of ideas to make that connection.
You can send them something that would interest them.  Whether it's a newspaper clipping, a magazine article, or a link to an online resource, it will signal to your contacts that you thought of them and thereby strengthen your relationship.
Don't be shy about phoning them to connect. I know we're all busy people, but a call from time to time is a nice personal touch. Always make sure to check if you've caught them in a "sane" time and do they have a moment to talk before getting into a dialogue.
Invite them to something - an event, speaker, seminar, networking evening, round of golf, coffee or lunch etc.  Getting some face to face time especially in a social setting goes miles towards developing a relationship.  
Send them a referral - this is a great (probably the best) way to develop the relationship. But first make sure you're clear about what a great referral is for them and how they'd like you to refer the person. 
You can also ask for help.  If you call them for advice, it will make them feel valued, and since you will owe them a favor in return, it will provide you with yet another opportunity to follow up.  You should also let them know what happened, especially if you took their advice. And the thank you note you'll be sending them is another point of contact.  In this way, asking for help can lead to an entire series of contacts.
On occasion, you can include information yourself and your business. Send your prospects short notes with any newsworthy updates pertaining to you and your company, especially if it's relevant to their own business.  Just don't overdo it.  Make sure that your promotional messages are just a part of your overall points of contact and also married with value.
Keep Records
You can't manage what you don't measure... So create a file or a data base (or even a notebook for a low tech approach) to keep track of the people you meet.  Record when you met them, who made the connection, and whatever it was you discussed at your first meeting.  
Also make note of all the follow-up you did.   For example, if you send cards, you want to make sure you don't send the same card to someone twice.  The same goes for articles, promotional emails or materials, and for requests for help or follow-up mails.
As you can see, building strong connections is not rocket science. But it does take focus and a bit of work.  If you follow these simple steps, you'll soon see results.
So what are you waiting for... get connecting!