I’m a bit new to networking, having done it for just five years. However, in this time I have attended a wide variety of networking events: after hours, before hours, luncheons, etc. I am always astonished about the networking process. I have met thousands of people, but what amazes me is that out of all the people that I have come in contact with, I have only had two people follow up with me. When I ask others about their networking experience, it is clear that this is not an isolated event. Non-follow-up is a very common theme.
What a hugely missed opportunity. If a business owner takes the time to attend a networking event why not take the next step and make something happen with it? Some statistics in the business world point out that, on average, it takes seven contacts with an individual before people decide to do business with them. That means that following up on all leads is critical in creating a sale or new connection.
Think back to your last networking event: How many cards did you collect? What did you do with those cards afterward? Did they get lost somewhere between the event and your office? If they did make it back to your office did they get entered into your contacts or did they simply get thrown in a drawer destined for the trash in six months?
All business cards will eventually get discarded if there was not a relationship attached to it. People do business with people they know, trust, and like. It is through consistent effort on your part that the know, trust and like part happens. More succinctly put, you become important to them.
How do you become important to them when you only just met? People like to feel valued and networking gives you a way to do this by letting them know that they made an impression on you and that conversations you shared with them were not forgotten as you left the room. The process below outlines five simple ways to make the most out of networking by doing just that.
It’s easy, it’s routine, personable and it works. Many a current partnership exists in my business because I’ve repeatedly employed these connecting efforts. Most all of the time, the person I follow-up with is grateful and happy for the communion, whether it results in mutually beneficial business afterward or not.
Try it. You’ll likely be very happily surprised at the results.