Stop Making THIS Networking Mistake

Let’s face it we’ve all been there before. You just finished a great networking conversation at a chamber event or a cocktail party or a friend’s house and they’re interested in learning more. You remembered your business card and exchanged with them, promising to follow up.

Then what happens? A week or two goes by and then you remember you told that guy at the party that you would follow up with him. What was his name again? Where’s his card? Well, he said he was interested, he’ll call me or send me an email.

The Networking Mistake We All Make

Such a frustrating experience. You paid for the membership, you showed up to the event, you gave a good pitch, and got interest… then nothing.

I’ve been a part of three networking groups over the last 10 months. In that time, I’ve exchanged cards with over 200 people. In that time I’ve had less than 10 people follow up with me after the event. That’s 5% of the people, at best.

I’m not talking about them reaching out to me to learn more about my business. No, I’m talking about them reaching out to share more about their business with me! So, what’s the networking mistake that they are making, that we all make? We don’t follow up.

Burning The Networking Bridge

If you think of a networking event as an opportunity to build a bridge. This bridge gives you access to a potential client/customer and potentially a sale. The problem is when you don’t follow up, you’re setting the bridge on fire as you build it.

That’s not likely going to go well for the relationship.

A month ago I attended a networking event where I exchanged business cards with 21 people. Each of us gave a short elevator pitch and then on to the next person. This approach gives you a chance to briefly meet people, get their card, and see who could be a fit to do business with. (Business Speed Dating!)

Within a week of the event, no one had reached out to me. Now, a month later, still no one has reached out.

Again, I’m not referring to them asking about my business, but them sharing more info with me about theirs. This is a problem.

The Ticket To Crossing The Bridge

In the digital world, the email is your golden ticket to cross the bridge and start building a meaningful relationship with your potential client or customer.

In the networking world, the business card is your ticket to cross the bridge. That business card is your permission to follow up and walk across the bridge.

This doesn’t mean you’re getting a sale, but you get to market and brand your product or service if you follow up. BUT you won’t get a sale if you don’t follow up!

Okay, you get it. When it comes to networking it’s all about follow up. Here’s what you can do about it.

Three Simple Approaches For Networking Follow Up

When we meet people at networking events, the hope is that we open some sort of a loop in their brain that gets them to say, “I wanna know more”. That loop will only remain open for so long. So if we don’t follow up that loop will eventually fade and go away. In the worst case, it will be replaced by the loop that your competitor opened in their mind.

For example, if I say we can help you save 1000s per year on the cost of miscommunication in your workplace, that would likely open a loop. So if the loop is open, how do we keep it that way?

Three ways to keep that loop open and not lose out to the competition.

  • Relaxed approach: Send them an email. Nothing fancy. Just a good to meet you, some sort of comment from what they said that was interesting, and a link to an article you wrote or something helpful to them.
  • Confident approach: Call or email and ask to learn more about their product, a pain point, or share something that would be immediately helpful for them.
  • Next step approach: Use this approach when you are confident the prospect is ready for more info on your product or service. This is likely an email or call to set up a meeting to get to know each other.

It’s All About Follow Up

In any relationship, we have to nurture it by providing continuous feedback and follow up. It really is no different with businesses. Sometimes I see networking as speed business dating.

There’s no chance to get to know one another, to go on a second date, or to complete a transaction together if you don’t follow up from the start. If you don’t follow up you are losing out on sales, guaranteed.

Imagine what would happen to your business if you reached out to all the recent contacts you made. Just a simple email to start. What would it do for your business if you constantly had a stream of conversations going with your prospects?

Imagine the impact this approach would have on your bottom-line. What could this simple change to your networking process and sales?

Let’s connect. Send me an email or schedule a 15-minute call with me. I want to learn more about your networking and marketing. One of my favorite topics to work on with my clients is their networking and marketing.