I attended a large networking event last evening. I had about a dozen people ask me for my business card. I exchanged cards with them all. Then I waited.
I waited to see how many of them were what I would call savvy networkers. I was curious to see how many would actually follow-up. Other than 2 leaders from the group, only “one” of the dozen actually contacted me today. So… they wanted my business card, but committed one of the biggest mistakes that networkers make – failure to follow-up. I was impressed that the leaders of the group gave me a courtesy call to ask me how things went.
In my networking seminars I teach that follow-up must occur within 24 hours otherwise you may have missed the opportunity to ever connect again. Strike while the iron’s hot! Unfortunately more often then not, your card ends up on their desk and you never hear from them again. When will we learn?
One woman gave me her card, told me what she did, then asked me what I did. I told her. She never asked for my card and I didn’t offer it. It was obvious that she wasn’t there to see if she could help anyone, but only there for herself. Opps!
Some networkers have no problem talking to strangers at events, however, getting comfortable talking to them on the follow-up call is just one of the many challenges that an effective business networker must overcome. The real problem – in my opinion is – they either have no interest in following up or don’t know what to say when they do. Boiling it down… the truth is “fear!”
You must have engagement! After your meeting, if you have decided you would like to continue the relationship, it is extremely important to follow-up with them. Follow-up has to be a part of your overall plan. It’s a lost art that must be learned. You have to feel the fear and make the call anyway if you want networking to work for you! One face-to-face contact does not a relationship make.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do and the right thing to do are the same thing!
“It’s simple but proper follow up starts by knowing what you want to accomplish. It’s thinking with the end in mind so that all of your follow up and communication can move things forward in the manner you are seeking. It goes back to making it a part of your plan… but like all things, your plan will only succeed if you work it.” ~ Daniel Decker
Building a relationship with a new contact begins with setting up a time to get together to learn more about each other and each other’s businesses. Notice I listed the personal side first. It’s important to be friends. Friends are people we come to like and trust which is an absolute for successful networking. Without following up to promote another opportunity to interact, a relationship can never develop.
So… Follow-up! This sounds like the easiest part, but is all to often missed by many. If you meet someone you feel you can help, tell them you will call. Be sure to call them exactly at the time you set up. Then arrange a time to get together for another one-on-one, face-to-face meeting. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your physical first impression was at the event, this is where you are making your business first impression. This will set the stage as to if your new contact will want to do business with you. Tell them you will call them at a certain time and don’t, will lose all credibility you established with them at the event.
“Networking can take time and energy if you let it, or it can be integrated into your daily activities with a simple change in mindset to be more effortless. A small, consistent investment of time each week can pay off huge dividends in the future for you and your network.” ~ Ashlee Hartwig
Who are you calling today?
BONUS Articles: What to Talk About at the Follow-Up
8 Steps To Build Relationships After A Networking Event
Seven Steps To Building Your New Relationships Through Follow-Up
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!
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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