It's often said that business is built on relationships. Given my own experience, I'd have to say this is absolutely true. In fact, I'd even argue that knowing how to cultivate relationships has been the secret to my success.

It's relationships that have taught me how to properly run Facebook ads, gotten me major media mentions and referred me for speaking gigs. Relationships are also what have gotten me content marketing consulting gigs with FinTech companies and apps. And finally, it's relationships that have paved the way for me to get columns like this one.

I'm well aware that the mere thought of networking and building business relationships makes a lot of people cringe. This is likely because we've all seen terrible examples of what effective networking looks like.

In an effort, to clear up some of the confusion, here are some of the networking strategies I've used which have led to successful business relationships.

Attend events with the right intention.

Are networking events a great place for you to find potential customers and clients? Of course. But that's not going to happen if you walk into an event and all you see is dollar signs on people's heads.

Here's what I mean. A business coaching client of mine invited me to a networking event in their industry. I, of course, said I'd be there I'd be there to show my support. Not two minutes after I walked in the door and I already had three people trying to sell me something.

Shoving your business down people's throats in a desperate attempt to make money is not networking, it's just annoying.

If you simply shift your focus to trying to help people who are there - whether it's helping the event organizer put this thing together or encouraging the person standing in the corner to engage in a conversation - you can start building real relationships that can lead to business success down the road.

Move fast, but have patience.

Another area in which people drop the ball when it comes to networking strategies that lead to more money is moving too slow.

If I meet another writer at a networking event who is struggling with getting their career off the ground, I immediately help them a bit and then tell them about a course I have for aspiring freelance writers as another resource.

If I run into a FinTech company at the expo hall of a marketing conference and it turns out they need help with their content strategy, I'm immediately setting up the next meeting.

The conversation doesn't end there. That's why the next step is to have patience. I never expect someone to throw their money at me after just meeting me. I understand we have to go through a few points of contact first.

For example, I recently ended up having a meeting with the investors of a FinTech app to discuss the importance of content marketing before they hired me. They needed to vet me. I get it.

The problem is most people don't get it. And that's why they give up way too easily when trying to follow up with potential clients they've met at events.

Practice common courtesy.

If a colleague has a new book out, I'll invite them on my podcast and tweet about it.

If someone at an event has a question about the organization putting on the event, I'll step in to help if I can.

The truth is if there's any way that I can help someone else, I'll try to do it to the best of my ability.

By the way, I also have colleagues who help me all the time. One colleague recently got on Skype to explain Facebook ads to me. Thanks to their kindness I was able to run a split test and then use the data to significantly drive down how much I was paying ads.

What did I do after this? I thanked them graciously and I did it publicly. If they ever need help with something they know my door is open.

Final Thoughts

This sort of reciprocity - and basic human decency - can get you pretty far in business. At the end of the day, even though money is important, when it comes to relationships it's not really about the money. The great thing is that if your focus is on fostering the relationship instead of the money, then the money flows more easily.