The “gold” is in the follow up. Wouldn’t you agree it makes good business sense to have a workable plan for following up with the networking contacts you’ve met?
If you want to grow successful business relationships, it is important to take your networking follow up as seriously as you would any other business-building tool. The time, energy and effort you use to meet prospective clients/customers are serious marketing tools.
Think of follow up this way, if you had to pay someone to represent you at networking functions and then build a relationship with the people they’ve met, it would be extremely expensive.
With time, energy and a workable plan of action you can turn networking opportunities into profitable “gold mines.” Here are five tips for mining the “gold” in the follow up:
1. Go to networking functions prepared! Make sure you have your infomercial ready. Go to each networking opportunity with the mindset that you are there to provide a service to fellow networkers. Ask open-ended questions and listen quietly and carefully to the answers. A key question to ask: “How may I help you succeed?”
Be prepared with business cards, flyers and other information you would like fellow networkers know about you and your business. Take networking as seriously as if you are applying for a job because you are!
2. Decide ahead of time how you are going to organize your networking contacts. You can organize your follow up using an Excel Spreadsheet, a contact management program, a business card album or even a storage box. Find a system that works for you and then faithfully work the system. Don’t wait days after an event to organize, do it as soon as possible – the sooner the better.
3. If there is someone you truly want to meet, don’t wait. To me, waiting longer than 48 hours is waiting too long to make the initial follow up contact. Plan on meeting no later than one week after the networking event. Make sure they know your meeting is business – don’t leave any doubt in their mind. Don’t lead them to believe it is social and blindside them with business.
4. You can’t be everything to everyone. Prioritize what you can and will do when it comes to giving and receiving referrals. Sometimes, we want to please people and may have a difficult time saying no to referrals that do not fit into our marketing plan.
5. It’s all about the Law of Cause and Effect. I’ve learned over the years that it may take months to build win-win networking relationships. Always do your best to add value to the other person’s networking efforts. Keep following up to build relationships of mutual respect and trust. Don’t give up before payday!
Building your network is about building solid relationships – relationships that are a win-win for everyone.
Networking rule of thumb: Don’t waste your time and energy networking and meeting new contacts if you are not going to follow up. After all, the gold is in the follow up!
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I’m Sharon Michaels and I teach you how to do business successfully. http://SharonMichaels.com
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