Networking doesn’t work unless certain things happen so please find below some of my tips to make Networking work for you. I hope you find them of interest.
All the ‘experts’ on networking agree about the need to follow up after networking meetings and, according to research by Mike Stokes of Positive Networking a third of people attending the meetings always follow up, a third never do and the other third do it intermittently. Yet nearly everyone who regularly goes to networking meetings have gained business from networking, so how much more business could be transacted between members if we followed up every time and why don’t we do it?
We all know that we need to build ‘TRUST’ to secure good business, whether this is a direct sale, through collaboration or referral. This can rarely be built with one touch or contact, so follow up is essential to build trusting relationships and is the reason why networking is successful.
Tips for great follow up
- Before you attend a networking meeting set aside time in your diary for any follow up.
- Only follow up with contacts that you have met at the event unless there is a specific reason that you couldn’t talk with them at the event
- Timeliness – show that you are a professional – contact preferably within 48 hours and no longer than a week from the date of the network meeting
- Remind your contact where and when you met them – some businesses attend multiple networking meetings – and what you discussed
- Invite them to link with you on Linkedin or other social media platform which is relevant to their business. This will give you a greater understanding of the culture of their business and how that ‘fits’ with you
- Don’t be ‘pushy’ or ‘salesy’. If you don’t like being sold to the probability is that they don’t either
- Explore areas of possible interest and arrange a 1 -2-1 meeting at a time and place suitable to you both to discuss in more detail
- Try and leave them with something of value such as details of an event in the near future which may be of interest to them.
- Follow up can happen through any media such as email or social media however picking up the phone, although more time consuming, is a very personal way of starting and building the relationship
Networking has a cost in both time and money and to ensure that you get the best out of the follow up, whether in terms of content or confidence, I am offering you a complimentary 20 minute, no obligation discussion on the phone, Skype or face-to-face meeting (you supply the coffee) to help you to gain new sales and customers from networking through great follow up.