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Networking Tips Lead For Business Success

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William Mura of Pedersen & Pedersen, Inc. and Jill McKibbin of McKibbin Consulting. Photo by Joe Wojcik – Pittsburgh Business Times

Did you ever wish you could be in two places at the same time? Do you ever reach networking burnout where one more event just isn’t in the cards? With so many networking opportunities, how can you capitalize on the best events?

Jill McKibbin, owner of McKibbin Consulting, has found a solution to the networking dilemma. She attends events on behalf of her clients. The connections made can then result in appointments and may lead to business.

At a recent Pittsburgh Business Times Corridors of Opportunity event, William Mura of Pedersen & Pedersen, Inc. and Jill McKibbin of McKibbin Consulting, discuss how to grow new business leads for 2016.

McKibbin offers these effective networking tips:

  • Be prepared have an ample supply of business cards, but don’t pass them to everyone in the room. Quality connections versus a quantity of business cards are more beneficial.
  • Follow-up promptly – have some type of process in place when you meet someone at a meeting – either fold the corner of the business card down or make a note on the back of the card.
  • Create a diverse network of business associates and be a giver, offering to make introductions on behalf of others and follow through with that promise.
  • Organize your contacts by category and influence level
  • Befriend gatekeepers, they often hold the key to the executive’s calendar

Develop a passion for connecting influencers in various fields to see how they might compliment and do business with each other. When networking, recognize yourself as a catalyst for helping others and remember the saying – “giver’s gain”. Be genuine if your effort to support business. There is strength in collaboration through individuals of various businesses in a team-setting creating powerful strategy for combined growth.

To learn more about how McKibbin Consulting can help you grow your business, contact 412-498-3572 or email jmckibbin@mckibbinconsulting.com.

About the Author: Jill McKibbin, of McKibbin Consulting combines sales experience, sales processes, developing ideal business relationships, and contractual skills. These supportive services make increasing business opportunities easier for clients. Through a variety of networks McKibbin has the ability to match any client with a contact or potential opportunity, whatever the need. McKibbin formed a Commercial Industrial Service Trade Group (CIST). With chapters throughout the region, this highly organized networking group brings together a variety of trades to network and pursue construction focused project opportunities.

Networking group provides opportunities for construction, building management – We In-CIST

Jill McKibbin of McKibbin Consulting and founder of the Commercial, Industrial, Service Trade Group talks to members of the  new CIST North chapter during a meeting May 6 at Farmers National Bank in Cranberry Township.

Jill McKibbin of McKibbin Consulting and founder of the Commercial, Industrial, Service Trade Group talks to members of the new CIST North chapter during a meeting May 6 at Farmers National Bank in Cranberry Township.

Business Matters – June 2015

Jill McKibbin of McKibbin Consulting and founder of the Commercial, Industrial, Service Trade Group talks to members of the

new CIST North chapter during a meeting May 6 at Farmers National Bank in Cranberry Township.

The new Commercial, Industrial, Service Trade Group North chapter meets May 6 at Farmers National Bank in Cranberry Township.

The group will meet at 9:15 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the bank.

A networking group that recently expanded to Butler County aims to provide opportunities for all types of businesses involved with construction and building management.

The Commercial, Industrial, Service Trade Group’s North chapter in April held its first meeting in Cranberry Township.

CIST is a free, category-exclusive networking group open to any business that is involved with construction or building management, from civil engineers to general contractors to cleaning companies.

The new CIST North chapter meets at 9:15 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the Farmers National Bank of Emlenton, 20581 Route 19, Cranberry Township.

While CIST is new to Butler County, the group has been active in the Pittsburgh area for about a decade.

Jill McKibbin of McKibbin Consulting, which provides business development services for regional construction businesses of all sizes, started CIST in 2005 as a way to generate more leads and sales when she was working for a heating and air conditioning company.

At the time, she learned there weren’t many networking opportunities specifically for construction-related businesses. Plus, she was faced with the obstacle of having to join dozens of business organizations just for the chance to meet other companies involved with construction.

So, she and some of her peers in 2005 organized a diverse group of representatives from the construction industry that started meeting once a month for an hour to share their specialties, talk about their recent projects and present a “hot list” of projects they were looking for.

The new Commercial, Industrial, Service Trade Group North chapter meets May 6 at Farmers National Bank in Cranberry Township.  The group will meet at 9:15 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the bank.

The new Commercial, Industrial, Service Trade Group North chapter meets May 6 at Farmers National Bank in Cranberry Township. The group will meet at 9:15 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the bank.

Eventually, the group became known as CIST and that chapter is now CIST West, which meets monthly in Carnegie.

“I constantly refer,” said McKibbin, a South Hills resident who has worked in sales and business development for nearly 20 years. “It’s kind of like I’m an Angie’s List, but for commercial and industrial people.”

McKibbin said any business or individual that can provide a service to the construction industry is welcome.

In addition to general contractors and subcontractors, CIST members include engineering firms, architectural firms, commercial cleaning companies, furniture suppliers, attorneys, banks, fire safety companies, property managers and more.

“All things are related,” she said.

“People think, ‘Oh, I don’t want to talk to the furniture sales person or the cleaning people.’ Why not? They probably know the owner of the building, or they know who is paying them.”

CIST continued to grow, and in 2009, the CIST East chapter, which meets near the Penn Hills neighborhood of Pittsburgh, started up.

Both chapters continued to grow, and demand led to the formation of the new north chapter this spring.

McKibbin said many companies based north of Pittsburgh, as well as those looking to do business in the north, drove the creation.

She said the Community Development Corporation of Butler County and the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau helped to get the word out to businesses that might be interested in joining.

CIST also hosts semiregular after-work mixers where members of all chapters and prospective members can meet.

“I don’t think anybody is actually focusing on the construction industry,” McKibbin said.

“The contacts we have and the leads that we give are up to date. They’re real projects that are going on.”

Testimonials
Jill is the go to person for linking people and business together.  If you have never worked with her it is just amazing how she never stops thinking of how to network and partner people together. She’s a person you want on your side helping you day in and day out. Although she seems to work nonstop she’s a very approachable down to earth people person as well. I would recommend her to anyone looking to expand your networking capabilities.
Jay Cravotta, Office Furniture Warehouse
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Jill McKibbin, President

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What types of clients are represented by McKibbin Consulting?

Architects
Audio Visual Engineers
Civil Engineers
Construction Cleanup
Construction Managers
Environmental Engineers
General Contractors
Geotechnical Engineers
MEP Engineers
Structural Engineers
Surveyors

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Who do McKibbin Consultants clients meet with?

Property Owners
Property Managers
Directors of Operation
Facilities Directors
Purchasing Agents
Architects