Networking is key to getting you where you want to go in business, but how do you do it without feeling salesy? I’ve got some simple steps for you.

group of people standing beside each other holding devices

I believe that real, authentic relationships are the key to growing your business online. I’ve shared about the 3 types of people you need to develop relationships with in your business: your ideal audience, your colleagues or peers, and your mentors.

But how do you actually do that? And how do you do it in a way that doesn’t come across as salesy or spammy? I’m sharing 6 strategies for networking that will help you build relationships and give you the most value for your time.

#1: Show Up

You have to show up in the places where your people are hanging out. Whether you are looking to build relationships with your ideal customers or clients OR your peers, you need to show up where they are. Is that Facebook? LinkedIn? Clubhouse? 

It could be any number of social platforms or online hubs, but if you want to connect, be sure you are actively showing up where your people are.

Keep in mind that “showing up” does NOT mean spamming links to your program, messaging people you just connected with about your programs, or only talking about yourself and your business. Relationship building always needs to come first!

#2: Interact Authentically

Don’t go into the group or the IG DMs immediately trying to make a connection. Instead, be real–be authentic.

Show up as yourself! Comment on the posts that ask what your favorite flavor of ice cream is. Respond to an IG story where your ideal client is asking for help with something.

Be helpful!  If someone asks about something you know you can help with, respond. Not “I’ll DM you” but really answer the question.

Just like in real life, people don’t want to be sold to when they are networking in a social setting. This is not a sales call. This is a social experience so you need to stay focused on being helpful and being social.

“Be yourself, and be helpful.”

#3: Optimize Your Profiles

Make sure that your personal profile for whatever platform you are using is optimized.

Can someone look at your profile (without being a friend or follower) and see what you do? See how to connect with you? See what you sell? Make it as clear and easy as you can.

#4: Reach Out for Coffee Chats

When I was in a local networking group for businesswomen, I would sometimes reach out to someone to meet up. This usually meant going to a coffee shop and chatting. Often it was just to find out more about what they did and for me to share a bit about what I did.

And I’ve done the same thing online.

When you find someone you’d like to get to know more, reach out and ask if they’d be interested in a quick chat to get to know each other. Make sure you are clear that you’d like to just hear more about their business and how you might be able to support them.

Most of the time this is effective. But if you are elusive or sound sketchy, they will probably say no. Be sure to be clear about your intentions.

If someone messages me asking for a call but I have no idea what for, I say no. But if I am in a group with someone and we create a real connection and we are chatting in the DMs, then sometimes this might lead to one of us asking for a coffee chat.

“Stay focused on being helpful and being social.”

#5: Use Coffee Chats Well

When you do a coffee chat with someone, ask lots of questions! Don’t launch into what you do – start off with asking them what they do. Ask how they got started, what they love about their business, what is a struggle. Take notes. Find out how you can support them.

Usually they will ask you about what you do and you can use that opportunity to share. Have your Confident Connection Statement ready, but be real and don’t read it!

“You have to go into the meeting wanting to be helpful, wanting to be supportive of other people and not just looking for what you can get out of the relationship.”

#6: Follow Up

After the chat, be sure to send a thank you note (email or DM) and thank them for chatting. Tell them you were glad to connect and appreciate their time. If there is a logical next step, you can offer this but often, it’s best to leave it as is.

Faith Focus:

Our faith focus today is Philippians 2:3-4:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Shine a Light Segment:

Today I want to shine a light on Abigail Turner of Flourishing Family Coaching. She helps Christian families to move past the cycle of frustration and guilt caused by ADHD and develop a vibrant and cohesive family team.

Abigail has some amazing resources for families and offers coaching and workshops to help you as a parent of a child with ADHD. Could you or someone else you know use her help? Head over to to learn more! 

Abigail is a member of my upLIFT Mentormind program. Here’s what she says:

“Thanks to Esther’s coaching program, upLIFT, I was able to simplify and clarify my framework in a way that I think will be highly marketable. I have clarity for my path forward so I can start implementing. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and the other ladies.”

Abigail is such an amazing person and I know you will benefit from checking out what she is up to!

Connect with Esther:

If this podcast was helpful, consider leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or your podcast app.