"Another critical aspect of Event Networking is FOLLOW UP. This is the step just about everyone misses. And, it's a shame because it is a crucial step. When you spend time talking to someone at a networking event, ask for their card. Remember - don't give them yours unless they ask for it. That same day or the next, follow up with a handwritten note." excerpt from Lemonade Stand Selling
What is so troubling about this is the thought process. I think that people believe two things. One is this - as long as I'm out there being seen, business will come. The other is - if the other person is interested in doing business with me they'll call me.
Whoa! Hold on one minute. This is really flawed thinking. Sales is active; networking is about relationship building. If you want to grow your business YOU have to take action, not wait for others to. When you meet someone at a networking event and you really hit it off, call them and schedule a coffee meeting. Keep the relationship building process moving. If you don't really feel a connection to the person, at least write them a note. You never know where that might lead.
You aren't going to make the sale at a networking event - that's not the point. Networking provides you with opportunities to meet other people. It is then your responsibility to nurture and grow those relationships for the long term. Networking takes time and energy. I submit that if you aren't going to follow up don't bother going! The damage you'll do by behaving like a salesperson is hard to overcome down the road.
People are looking to build relationships with people they can trust; people who are interested in building long term relationships not coming in for the quick kill and moving on. They want people to be sincere, genuine, and authentic. It takes time to believe in those qualities in another person. Think about it - aren't those the qualities you want in your business associates?
Right! So, the next time you go to a networking event take the time to follow up with the 1-2 people you meet. When you are engaged in the process you'll see how well it works.
Come back next Tuesday for Lemonade Lesson #17 - The Value of Leads