That’s the question you should ask and be prepared to answer when you do a one-on-one with anyone.

This does not have to be the first question you ask as to best answer requires some knowledge of the person and what it is he/she does. Yet if you leave the meeting without asking it or having it as a follow-up item, you have done yourself and the other person a disservice.

Some view one-on-ones as a direct path to business. Most times, they are not. It’s a process. Many times the person we meet with in the one-on-one can’t help us directly. But as you describe what it is you do, it will more than likely become clearer to them as to who in their network you should talk to—and vice versa.

Bingo!

Many times, the path to who do you know that I should know occurs organically. As you learn more about somebody and their business, you probably do start thinking of people. The pointer here is to go in very consciously looking to ask that question and provide an answer. If you don’t have one by the end of the one-on-one, then make it part of an action item list following the meeting.

This is far from an original thought. Melissa Murphy of Insight to Success put this one front of mind for me as part of her Live2Lead gathering last month, featuring John Maxwell. But if you faithfully do one-on-ones with this mission in mind—finding out who the other person knows that you should know—you will see better traction than simply looking for a direct lead or referral.

For more networking pointers, download My Pinnacle Network’s ebook “15 Keep-it-Simple Tips for B2B Networkers”.