To really set yourself apart from the competition you have to do things a little differently.
Most businesses are very protective with their ideas and their content and are reluctant to offer help and advice before a deal has been agreed.
But what if you started giving away value, whenever and wherever you could?
Do you think that would mean you'd make less sales (and as a result, money?)
I don't think so.
When networking this week, I offered the people I had appointments with free help and advice on how to win work on social media.
I wasn't trying to sell anything. I didn't put any caveats on the deal (such as signing up to a newsletter). I just gave helpful advice.
What resulted was that one of the people I spoke to asked if I could work with them more closely and help them with their full social media strategy.
This isn't something I've been asked to do before, and had I not set out to just give value and be helpful, then I likely wouldn't have discovered this new business opportunity.
So when you are networking (both online and offline)... Make it about the other person.
Try to find out how you can help them, with no expectation of anything in return.
If you do this well enough, and often enough... You will see the 'law of reciprocity' kick in.
The other person will WANT to help you back.
This could be in the form of a direct sale, an exchange of skills, or possibly even them referring business to you.
So, as counter-intuitive as it sounds; to receive, you must first give.
Give willingly at every opportunity that you can.
Because for ever action, there's an equal and opposite reaction... Or something like that.