Let’s face it. At major networking events we often end up with a business card from someone who shoved it in your hand, spoke only about doing business with them and had no interest in us. They don’t know that passing out business cards is not considered networking. Collecting business cards isn’t networking either.
I may ask, “What type of businesses are you looking to connect with, maybe I can help with networking,” to get the conversation going in a better direction. If that doesn’t get me anywhere, I put their card in the pocket reserved for losers. When you become the connector of two businesses, you create an opportunity for reciprocity, seldom before.
Not much chance of ever doing business with them or establishing a business relationship with them, right? Hmmm. Let me think… maybe.
Most of the time those business cards end up in my trash basket. At least, that’s what I have done in the past. Recently after tossing a stack of business cards I received from people who have no clue about how to effectively network, I reached into the trash and put them back on my desk.
I decided to practice what I preach – Follow-up!
I designed an e-mail to be used as a a template to send to people like them that does several things.
1. Follow-up. Following up is what the pros do. By doing this I want to demonstrate to them that follow-up is important.
2. Teach. It contains several links to several articles (on this blog) that might be of help in the future.
3. Give them an opportunity to connect with a pro. I invite them to link to my social networks. I add another link that lets them know I am available for networking coaching and a way to subscribe to this blog for free.
I know, it’s a long-shot, however, it takes only about 1 minute per card. I have no expectations about whether they will respond or that I will ever receive business from the contact. It’s just something to do when you have a few extra minutes. I keep the cards for at least 2 weeks just in case “they” do follow-up. If not, they go in the trash for good.
The first time I did this I received four e-mail thanking me for the links. Networking has helped to make my businesses a success. Yes, I made lots of mistakes when I first began networking, but thanks to great networkers like Anne Boe (deceased), Bob Burg, Donna Fisher and more, they helped me get on the right track.
My intention with this new follow-up e-mail is to truly help others to see what a terrific advantage effective networking gives them over their competition.
How about you? Can you spare a couple of minutes to help someone?
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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