Networking Beyond Business Cards and Elevator Speeches
This is a guest blog by Miss Kemya, Marketing Strategist and Social Media Manager at Phisco Marketing.
Are you committed to networking to build your business? Sure, you have a killer bio, and you’ve practiced your elevator pitch to perfection. You’re always armed with a stack of crisp business cards.
You’re attending plenty of networking events, and you even met a couple interesting people in that long line at the grocery store and exchanged business cards.
Is all this networking paying off in a major way? If you don’t feel it is, don’t tear your hair out in frustration. Instead, think about your networking process.
How do you transition a person from stranger to powerful business connection? How do you continue the relationship after the initial small talk, to make networking a meaningful business activity?
You may be missing a critical element of the networking process that so many people skip altogether.
Of all the networking tips you read, try, and practice, there is one key to networking that, if overlooked, pretty much makes every other effort a waste of time.
The key is follow-up. Follow-up is the most critical element of the networking process.
The money is in the follow-up. The relationship is built during the follow-up. But I don’t have to tell you that. Think about the networking connections you have made, either online or offline. How did that connection become a relationship? By follow up and engagement beyond the initial conversation right? Of course!
You have to take initiative and follow-up with people in order to develop relationships. Here are three simple action steps you can implement as you develop a system that works for you.
Set a Follow-up Meeting
If the initial conversation is meaningful enough that you want to set a follow-up right on the spot, just go for it! We’re all in business to grow, so take the lead and let the person know you’d like to follow-up. If they’re local, offer to meet them for coffee or drinks. If not, set up a call or Skype to continue the conversation. Then schedule it on your calendar!
Send the person a quick “Nice talking to you about x”, “I’d like to keep in touch for” type of note. Sending a brief “nice to chat with you” follow-up email the same day or within 24 hours is not spammy, it’s just good business. You want to solidify the conversation while you’re still fresh in their memory.
Connect via Social Media
Reach out and find those people you want to keep in touch with and find them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. Take a look at their social media profiles and blog, and if you’re moved to do so, connect with them.
Keep in mind, you won’t necessarily want to connect with every single person you meet around town and during your networking activity. Build your network based on quality conversation, quality interests, and quality connections and you will enjoy following up with people.
It’s not enough to be committed to networking. You must also be committed to building quality relationships. Relationships take time to grow and nurture, and following up to build these relationships is the critical action step that can make a world of difference. You never know what opportunities you may miss as result of not following up with some great people you’ve met along your journey.
I’d love to know how you follow up with new people. Leave a comment and let me know what works for you!
Miss Kemya is a Marketing Strategist & Social Media Manager at Phisco Marketing, a marketing consulting firm that facilitates the growth of small businesses through conventional marketing techniques merged with social media tactics. Visit her blog for all your DIY marketing and social media needs, and hire Phisco Marketing to kickstart your marketing and fall back in love with your business!