Ever since I set up my business in 2017 I have networked on a constant basis and have grown from being quite nervous to very confident when asked to speak. This has taken a lot of time to polish and wanting to speak and feeling that I can convey my message clearly. What I found the most difficult was to cut the apron strings from having a cloak of confidence with my corporate background and then confidently wearing my Auxilium cloak and speaking loudly and proudly about my business. After all, selling a big brand can be easier than your newly formed small business.
One of the things that I realised was that networking was the key to this and constantly meeting new people, understanding what they do, and how I might be able to help them. Meeting someone for the first time and hearing their 60 seconds pitch or even a 15-minute talk, doesn’t mean that you really know what they do. The important thing is to follow up and have a more in-depth chat. This is vital as you can often find out more about the person, the business, their why, how, and who, and also can get a deeper understanding of how you can help them.
Following up with someone after networking is an important step to maintaining and building a professional relationship.
Here are my top tips;
- Make an appointment to follow up straight away. Everyone is so busy and so it s vital to get this booked asap otherwise time will lapse and opportunities missed. Don’t forget to like them on socials and follow them too.
- Begin the conversation with them by expressing your gratitude and appreciation for the person’s time and for the opportunity to connect with them.
- Remind the person of where or how you met, perhaps your previous conversation, and mention any topics that were discussed.
- Take notes whilst speaking to them as you may forget key information. Don’t worry they are probably taking notes too.
- Show your interest in the person and their work by asking follow-up questions and learning more about their background and interests.
- Share any relevant information that you may have come across since your last conversation, such as an article or event that may be of interest to them. It could also be a key contact that you think is aligned with their business, so introduce them to each other.
- Discuss potential collaboration opportunities and discuss them further and see if there is a potential to work together in the future.
- Finally, make sure to exchange contact information and agree to keep in touch. Follow up with the person periodically to maintain the relationship and stay top of mind.
- Once someone knows enough about you, likes you and your business, and most importantly trusts you, then these contacts are the key marketing bridges for your business. They will tell people about you and refer your business so the work is done for you. The person receiving this information will feel assured that you are the one to help them and it’s a win-win situation.
- Networking takes time to polish and reap rewards and it can take up to 7-8 months before you get your first client when you start but the rewards speak for themselves when you are a “giver” to others first and don’t sell to people – the main NO NO in networking – Do NOT sell to people.
A great book to read about giving is “The Go-Giver” by Bob Berg and John David Mann. Another useful book is “Endless Referrals” by Bob Berg.
How are your follow-ups going ?
If you have any additional tips let me know.