Networking is more than just showing up at a networking meeting or event. Sometimes it’s what you “do” before and after the meeting that will get you the most attention and the most networking results.
Always remember: A person remembered will remember you. Something awful will happen if you are out of touch with the people in your network who count… NOTHING!
People appreciate appreciation. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Acknowledge others with a handwritten note for their contribution or for their referrals to you – regardless of whether if results in a sale. Saying thank you is giving recognition and recognition is one of the strongest motivators.
Follow-up takes action. If you wait more than 24 hours to follow-up on a referral you may have missed your chance. Turn interest in you or your business into appointments.
Whenever I read a magazine or newspaper I’m thinking to myself, “Is there anyone in my network that would appreciate knowing about this article or information. If so, the scissors come out, I clip the article and send it to them through the mail, not e-mail. If someone writes an article for a magazine or newspaper, jot him or her a quick note to let them know how the article contributed to you. Send them an extra copy and a business card. Always send clippings from newspapers and magazines that relate to or affect your networking friends. For the next part, a little extra effort is required. I always send a letter on my letterhead that says something like this:
Dear Doreene, Congratulations, Doreene! I see you made the news! It’s always good to see good friends making good news! Enclosed is a copy of the article that appeared in the April 18, 2014 issue of the Arizona Republic. Keep up the good work!
If I have written something similar on my blogs, I may add a link to the blog. What makes this kind of connection especially noticeable? You had to “do” something that took a little extra effort.
Use the telephone to stay in touch. Having a good reason to call is better than having lots of people to call. Before you pick up the phone, make a brief list of what you want to communicate. Have a specific idea to discuss and be sure that the reason you call is important to the person called.
Keep the call brief. Say hello, establish the relationship again, then get to the point, say what you want to say and get off of the phone. One reason people hesitate to use the phone is because they are afraid they will get hooked into a long, drawn-out conversation. If you know what you want to say, this won’t happen. Be prepared. Let them know it is a business call and you have other calls to make. Respect their time and they will respect your time. A brief telephone connection is better than no connection at all.
When meeting a networker for the first time, spend 99% of the conversation asking questions about them and their business. Remember this: they want to talk about their business, not yours… so listen.
Can’t assist? There will be networkers you cannot help because their needs don’t fall within the scope of the services you provide. Do your best to provide a good referral source. Provide a reference to someone else who might be able to help if you can. This simple gesture continues to position you in a place of value.
Visit people in their office. Get to know them one-on-one. It’s a great opportunity to see what they do. Ask them for a tour of their office if it’s appropriate. Take this opportunity to ask them to define precisely what kind of business leads they are looking for. When you are making your calls and happen to be in the neighborhood of one of your networking partners, drop in. I usually carry a business card booklet in my car with everyone’s business card and address. If they are busy and can’t talk, leave your card. Since it’s a “drop-in,” I recommend that you spend only a few minutes with them, unless they have more time.
I once sent everyone in my networking group a postcard while I was on vacation, just to let them now I was thinking about them.
When I founded the “Tulsa Business Connection” many years ago, I volunteered to write and print a weekly (1 sheet) newsletter welcoming new members, listing the top referral givers, any upcoming social events, etc. Yes, it was a little more work than I bargained for, however, my name was in front of everyone in the group every week for about 6 years.
Create your own effective follow-up system for keeping connected. People will go places, do things and go out of their way to associate with people who make them feel special, important, cared for, worthwhile and in control of their lives. Your challenge is to stay connected and provide those needs for the special people in your life. Keep your name in front of people. Send them a brochure. Mail them a flyer. Always include a business card.
“A little less conversation, a little more action, please!” ~ Elvis Presley
The point is… when you network, be in action! Go far beyond what people expect. Give your networking friends more than they expect. Invent new ways to be in touch and to stay connected. Brainstorm with your friends. Make “staying connected” a topic at a networking meeting. Trade ideas about staying in touch.
Stay in touch with your friends, business associates, your customers and clients and all of the people in your life that matter. Don’t let your relationships smolder. Keep the flame lit by connecting with them often and helping them connect to others. Never forget the people in your network and never let them forget you.
Be in ACTION!
Larry’s NOTE: A special “thank you” to my friend, Bob Burg, for inspiring a few of these ideas!
Copyright © 2014 – 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 Networking 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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