August 11, 2020

The Best Answer to the Hardest Networking Question

You have a great conversation with someone at a networking event. You discuss each other’s business, find out you have some mutual friends and like the same sports teams. The two of you hit it off. Now, she asks you the daunting question “how can I help you?”

How can you help me? Many business professionals have no answer. They either don’t know the help they need or are too stubborn to admit they can’t be completely self-reliant.

This blog explains the importance of asking for help and the best answer to the hardest networking question.

Aimless Networking

It’s no secret that networking is a major component to one’s growth. Anyone who has studied the greats in business knows it’s important to surround yourself with a network of successful people.

The problem is many professionals network just because they have been told they’re supposed to. They do it without any real goal in mind. This is aimless networking.

That being said, having a goal and knowing your desired outcome from networking does not mean that you should walk around with “commission breath” (Remember: RELATIONSHIPS BEFORE BUSINESS). But you should always have an idea of what steps you need to take to get to the next level in your business development.

You Are Not Good Enough

No matter who you are or what kind of product you deliver, you are not good enough to be successful in business alone.

Many people take pride in their self-reliance. They think it’s more admirable to achieve their goals by themselves than to get help from others. Often, these people were brought up to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness.

However, all these people are doing is impeding their own success. It’s impossible to be proficient in every aspect of business. Therefore, without collaboration you will fall behind.

The most successful business people in history have understood they don’t have all the answers. To compensate, they surround themselves with smart, successful people with different areas of expertise. Henry Ford even said “I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people.”

Those who have trouble admitting their limitations will struggle with their growth. You’re network is full of valuable resources. CAPITALIZE!

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People Want to Help

When asked “how can I help you?” many people feel as though this is not a genuine inquiry. Many think “They just want to be nice. It’s just a thing you say!” Others don’t give a sincere answer because they don’t want to be a burden.

PEOPLE WANT TO HELP YOU. They are not asking you to be nice. They are asking you because they genuinely want to help.

People want to help others because it makes them feel good. Evolution encourages good deeds. Scientific studies show that helping others increases life satisfaction, provides a sense of meaning, increases feelings of competence, improves our mood and reduced stress.

Taking someone up on their offer to help will not make you a burden. In fact, psychology proves that it may make the other person like you even more! Ben Franklin suggested in his autobiography that asking someone who doesn’t like you for a favor will put you into their good graces. This has become known as the Ben Franklin Effect.

How CAN I be helped?

Too many times is the question “how can I help you?” followed by blank stares. The truth is a lot of professionals genuinely don’t know how they can be helped.

Without having any idea of where you want to go or how to get there, there is no way for others to help you. If you’re not taking advantage of the help that others are offering you, you are aimlessly networking.

Constantly ask yourself – Where do I want to go? What resources do I need to get there? What strategic alliances would be beneficial to me?

Once you clearly define what it is that you want and your road map to get there, it becomes much easier to respond to the question “how can I help you?”

Networking is a great business development tool. That is, it’s a great business development tool IF you use it correctly.

Too many people network without a goal or are too stubborn to take the help they are offered. Without taking advantage of this help, your networking becomes pointless.

Clearly define where it is that you want to go and what steps you need to take to get there. After this, you will have the best answer to the hardest networking question.


Not everyone is good at building connections. At Connections4Hire, connecting is our business. We pride ourselves on creating new business opportunities through mutually beneficial connections. Let us help you develop connections into business.

You know your business. Connecting is our business.

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