“It’s not what you know but who you know” — it’s an age-old saying that’s been considered a successful businessman’s mantra. If you’re fresh out of grad school, you could be doing all you can to prove this saying wrong but at the end of the day, you’ll realize that connections matter far more than you think.

As early as now, you need to build a strong network in order to get the big bucks. Today, we’re going to tell you how to really make money off networking in more ways than one.

Have your 30-second elevator pitch

Whatever you do, whatever your selling point is, you need to lay it out to someone in 30 seconds or less. This is why it’s called an elevator pitch. By the time you end up in your desired floor, you would’ve won over that guy you were talking to.

Remember: First impressions in the realm of business only have very short attention spans that expect something unforgettable. Whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur, ensure that you have the strongest grip around your product/service.

Print business cards

Countless young people think business cards are outdated. Contrary to popular belief, these cards continue to add tangibility and credibility to whatever it is you’re doing. There’s nothing like handing someone your card. Besides, it does make look and feel like a pro so don’t skip out on them.

Be on LinkedIn

There are 332 million users in LinkedIn, which is considered the most powerful professional networking site in the planet. Not only will you be able to display your work experience there.

You will also have the opportunity to reconnect with those people you met, say at a business conference or have your mutual connections introduce you to new ones. Use this cleverly and before you know it, you’ve established yourself among relevant people in your field.

Attend events

News flash: Not everything is online. Sometimes, you have to go out there, be somewhere and talk to people in person. Mixers or networking events are the perfect venue to strengthen your networking. These events will pave the way for you to meet key people in your field, especially if you’re eyeing to work with a certain company.

Just keep in mind that when it comes to these events, quality trumps quantity. It doesn’t matter how many people you were able to talk to and hand out business cards to. What matters more is who you developed a working connection with.

Join groups

When you are around like-minded people, you become more motivated to push through with your goals. A good way to accomplish this is by joining organizations and groups. Not only will you get the chance of building new connections. You’ll also realize that you are now part of something that’s far bigger than yourself.

Keep in touch

A common mistake among budding entrepreneurs is they fall short of following through. When you stay in touch with those you’ve met, you have a better shot at being remembered and being on top of their minds. Shoot an email or text message from time to time. Call and see how they’re doing. When you strengthen your connections, you strengthen your chances of bringing home the bacon.

Help goes a long way

Altruism isn’t only the right way of life. It is also an opportunity that could better your network. However way you can help someone, be it an advice, partnership, support or sponsorship, this kind of good karma goes back to you threefold. You’ll never know how successful the person you end up helping could be thanks to that nudge you gave them. From here, expect valued recommendations and introductions that will give you a boost.

Sure, knowledge counts when you want to make it big in this world but never forget; Connections are equally (if not more) important. Keep these points in mind and you’ll be on your way to the top in no time.