That’s right; the number 1 reason why people fail on LinkedIn or at networking is that they simply do not follow-up with people afterwards. I’ve lost count of the number of people, who, have handed me their business card and asked me to get in touch with them; or after a coffee meeting said they’ll introduce me to particular people; or mentioned they’ll send me something; or have asked to connect with me on LinkedIn and ‘disappeared’ once I’ve accepted. No matter how big or small, people remember promises and not following through is the first step to ruining a potentially fruitful business relationship.
The idea of networking is very much like dating – you’re in it for the long haul, and you’re in it for the relationship. The people you meet may not need your business or services right away, but they may do – or someone they know may do sometime in the future. However people like to do business with, or refer business to the people whom they know, like and trust – and this is the difference between successful networkers and ‘event dabblers’. If you were proactive and have made the effort to send that article, or make that introduction, or phone call – then you are the one that gets remembered, you are the one that gets invited to further events, or have the favour returned to you when you least expect it. The best thing is that the majority of people out there do not do this; this means that if you do – you are on your way to being well ahead of your competitors.
Here are some ways you can follow-up with people:
- Call when you say you would
- Invite them for a coffee if there was a real connection with them
- Send them a link/article that’ll help them in their life/business/career
- Introduce them to someone who you think would benefit
- Send them a note to thank them for connecting (on LinkedIn) or meeting with you in-person
- Be open to learning more about their business and how you may be able to help them – you never know what opportunities can arise just by doing this
- If they have added value to you or helped you in some way, phone or send a thank you note
- Invite them to the next event you’re attending
- Ask if you could connect with them on LinkedIn to keep in touch – and connect!
These follow-up activities don’t take up much of your time, they are not salesy or pushy in anyway, however they work wonders in helping you to build and nurture long-term, win-win business relationships with your networks. It takes less effort to nurture existing relationships, than it does to consistently spend time at events or trawling through the LinkedIn database to find new ones. If the quality of the relationships you have are strong enough, you will find there will be more people who will be willing to help you in return and will be the ‘brand advocates’ for your business or service. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of room for you to expand your networks at events or on LinkedIn, just don’t stash away the cards like you’ve never met them – actually make an effort to consistently build that ‘like/trust’ factor with the people you meet and I guarantee you won’t fail.
If you would like to learn more about how to build a more profitable business through LinkedIn from myself or networking in-person from the Master of Networking, Ron Gibson, CLICK HERE to find details of our coming event on the 4th of March, 2014.
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