If you want to be successful in business, learn how to build relationships.

Don’t worry, it’s not hard. “Networking” and building relationships is as easy as sending a birthday card or referring someone business. It comes down to one principle: Think of how you can help them, not how they can help you.

It’s really that simple. Instead of going to business functions looking to hand out 100 business cards, or sell your services, think of all the people you can help in some way.

Basically, people know when you’re just out for yourself. We all have agendas, businesses to run, things to do. No one wants to be “sold” on something. But when you talk to people for the first time, many of them do just that. They “sell” themselves.

Next time you meet someone, don’t say one thing about yourself (other than your name) unsolicited. Instead, ask questions about the person you are meeting. Learn everything you can about them and see if there is a way you can help them out, either by referring them business or just by getting a card and keeping them in mind.

One thing I’ve found about networking is that it’s much easier (and more effective) when you focus on them and not yourself. Try it.