There are thousands upon thousands of articles and books on the hows and whys of networking. But at the end of the day, there are just three simple things that you need to remember:

1. It’s not about you. The second you get into a long monologue about what you do, you run the risk of putting people to sleep. No one cares what you do. If they care about anything, it’s how what you’re offering might affect them and/or the people they might introduce you to. Go on and on about the ins and outs of your business and you are going to turn people off.

2. Follow up. It’s the only thing that will provide you with ROI for your networking efforts. Simply put, if you don’t take the time to develop robust relationships, you can kiss your introductions and referrals goodbye. Nothing happens until you have multiple conversations and/or meetings with your potential referral sources. You need to develop trust, and trust takes time.

3. Networking is a game of patience and strategy. You need to play it well in order to get results. Think long and hard about which networking events you should attend and what you hope to get out of each event. Be strategic. Not every group or meeting is right for everyone. But the good news is there is a group for everyone.

It can take months and even years before you see profitable results from your networking efforts. But if you can forge the right bonds, the effort you put in to networking can come back to you many times over.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Adrian Miller is the founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training. To find out more or to visit her blog go to http://adrianmiller.wordpress.com.