When networking, following up does not mean simply adding those people you meet at networking events to your e-mail list, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s more than that.
It takes a concentrated effort to go out of your way – in other words, “plan to follow-up” – to stay connected to the key players in your network. Effective follow-up is a key piece of the networking puzzle!
Let me clarify: As a part of your follow-up “it is” important to add contacts to your e-mail list, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn… especially with your new networking connections. But… don’t stop there!
Listen up! I’m only going to say this once! (or maybe as many times as necessary to make sure you get the point!). It is my belief that the lack of follow-up has caused the the demise of more salespeople in networking than any other single reason.
Follow-up will elevate your success and your own impression of networking because it really works! Follow-up will help you turn networking into an extraordinary experience. It’s the best prescription for your future success.
One of the biggest mistakes new (and some seasoned) networkers make is trying to sell their product or service to people they have just met at a networking event. Only fools rush to close the sale. That doesn’t work! They are the ones who need a crash course in “effective” networking. Your networking fortune is in your follow-up! That’s where you “test the water;” where you begin to develop the relationship. There is seldom ever a sale made without first pursuing the relationship.
The genius of follow-up is that it is where great relationships begin. Build the relationship first and business leads, sales and more will follow.
The BEST of the new breed of networkers follow this 4-step process:
1. Reach Out. In the beginning, attend lots of networking events, meetings, leads groups, etc., then as you become more savvy with networking, zero in on one or two of the best. To increase your network, from time-to-time, visit a new event or meeting to expand your network. Reaching out to connect is only the beginning.
2. Connect. Meet lots of people. Fine-tune your initial conversation with them to help you sort through the people you meet to assure that the connection is valuable to both of you. Ask questions about how you can help them. Taking advantage of your first connection with them requires a unique perspective. The experience and expertise you demonstrate will help move you to the next step.
3. Engage. Keep a sharp eye for those who impress you as the movers and shakers. They are the people who do not rush to sell you their product or services. Dig deeper. Looks for things you have in common; a topic of interest, whether personal or professional. You power your network and business growth by uncovering and unlocking their networking intentions. The information you get will enable you to connect with them at a more personal level. Make sure they know you are on a mission to help others. These are the people you will want to have longer conversations with.
4. Follow-up. Set the tone for the follow-up when you first meet them (provided they are someone whom you would like to get to know better). Follow up starts when the conversation begins. Ask if they would be interested in getting together to talk more about how you can help each other. The faster the follow-up the quicker you move forward with the relationship. Keep the momentum going. Exchange business cards and agree to call to arrange a time to get together. Breakfast, lunch, their office, your office, it matters not where, only that you get together. At the meeting, offer an idea, a contact or some other resource that may be helpful. The most effective follow up highlights the benefits of working together.
Develop a meticulous follow-up plan; a relentless pursuit of ways to help others in your network. Think of it as being fiscally responsible for your business success.
No follow-up plan? Trust me. You will get burned. The good news is that networking works! It will help you experience a dramatic turn-around. The bad news is that unless you seek powerful networking guidance tools (and use them) you will most likely complain that networking doesn’t work and eventually you will quit. How sad!
Networking is our communication life-line and follow-up provides us with opportunities to enjoy what we treasure most – great relationships!
Follow-up is the first smart step in the right direction. It’s a start to which there is no finish because it’s where the relationship begins. And… when the relationship is good, it goes on and on. It becomes the foundation for a healthy business that brings you more friends, business leads, ideas and more clients and customers than you ever imagined.
Now… get off your butt and follow-up!
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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